Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today's Quote

"The greatest churches in history are YET to be! Will you pay the price of conflict and criticism to be used greatly by God?" - Pastor Rick Warren

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Historical Society of Church of God Movements Meets This Month

The ninth annual meeting of the Historical Society of Church of God Movements is scheduled for Thursday, May 27, 2010 on the campus of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

The theme for the 10:00 a.m. gathering is “Development of Education in the Church of God Movements.”

The meeting will be held in the Curtsinger School of Music at the corner of Parker Streets and 11th Streets.

According to Dr. Louis Morgan, second vice president, this year’s theme focuses on a discussion of education and will include three brief presentations (about 10 minutes each) on various aspects of the development of education within the Church of God movements.

Also, the two-year tenure for the offices of the Society ends with this meeting and the members will be electing a new second vice president. “We are grateful to Adrian Varlack for his leadership as President of the Society for the last two years,” Morgan stated.

The Society’s mission and purpose are “to promote the study, interpretation and interpretation of the history and heritage of Church of God movements in their variety of expressions. It shall also seek to produce, and encourage the production of historical materials (written, audio-visual, Internet), to encourage the preservation of documents, records and photographs related to the movements, and to promote occasions for the movements to remember, appreciate and celebrate their history and heritage.”

In 2009, there were 20 individuals present, representing five denominations, four archival repositories, a university, a community historical society, and several local churches.

Membership in the Historical Society of Church of God Movements is open to, all persons who wish to learn more about the history and heritage of the movements, contribute to our historical understanding, or support the work of the Society. The Society meets each year on the first Thursday after Memorial Day.

If you are interested in attending or joining, contact Secretary Don Brock at

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Does the Supreme Court Line-Up Look Like?

[Click on image to enlarge it.]

Five Major Church Trends in America

The trends that follow were not created in a vacuum. Most the information is based on studies done at LifeWay Research. But much of this research provides information and facts about today’s realities. It does not offer certitude for future trends.

The process is analogous to weather forecasting. We can see all the ingredients that will likely cause a specific outcome. But those factors can change, so we can never say that we are 100 percent certain.

Because most of the research that is the basis for these trends is related to American demographics, we must not extend the projections beyond our nation’s borders. Nevertheless, it is possible that some of the research could have implications beyond American churches.

1. Our nation will see the emergence of the largest generational mission field in over a century. According to current research, the Millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, will have a very low Christian representation. Estimates now are that only 15% are Christian. With a huge population of nearly 80 million, that means that nearly 70 million young people are not Christians.

2. The dominant attitude of this huge generation toward Christianity will be largely indifferent. Only 13 percent of the Millennials rank any type of spiritual matter as important to their lives. They are not angry at churches and Christians. They simply ignore them because they do not deem them as meaningful or relevant.

3. Senior adult ministries in churches will experience steep declines. As the large Baby Boomer generation moves into their older years, they will resist any suggestion that they are senior adults, no matter how senior they may be. Unfortunately, many churches are slow to adapt to new realities. If they do senior adult ministry the way they’ve always done it, it will be headed for failure.

4. The large Boomer generation will become more receptive to the gospel. The data is anecdotal for now, but there are indications that the Boomers may actually become more interested in spiritual matters in general, and Christianity specifically. If so, this trend will be counter to other trends where adults tend to become less receptive to the gospel as they age. The Baby Boomers have tried it all and found no joy. They may likely turn to the hope of the gospel.

5. Family will be a key value for both of the large generations. For the Millennials, family is their most important value. Nearly eight out of ten of the Millennials ranked family as the important issue in their lives. They had healthy relationships with their parents who, for the most part, are Baby Boomers. Some churches say they are family friendly, but few actually demonstrate that value. Churches that reach both of these generations will make significant changes to become the type of churches that foster healthy family relationships.

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed

Leading Like a Child

As soon as he walked in door everyone immediately stopped talking and stood to attention. That’s the correct thing to do when a lieutenant general walks into the room. The General is considered a leader because he has three stars on his shoulders, but we often confuse rank for leadership. Yes, he is a high-ranking official in the military, but what makes this general a great leader is that he acts like a child.

There is one question that all children ask that we almost completely stop asking when we become adults: "why." With one glaring exception: great leaders.

When we ask “how?” or “what?” we’re usually asking for details, process or clarification. We’re asking for information that will help us do our jobs or get something done. The question why is very different. When we ask “why?” we reveal that we don’t understand something. It shows vulnerability. It reveals not knowing. And that is exactly the reason great leaders ask why so often. They are aware that they don’t know what they don’t know and they aren’t afraid so show it.

The General sat down and his briefing commenced. His guest started sharing with him some new ideas that the General had never heard before, and his whole demeanor changed. He was no longer an imposing general, he became like a little kid. He didn’t pretend he knew the subject matter. He wasn’t intimidated that he didn’t understand some of the concepts. Quite the opposite. He leaned forward with a child-like wonderment, ready to learn something new.

Great leaders are not the ones who hold the highest office or make the most money, they are the ones who inspire the people around them. And people are inspired when they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. The General, like all other great, inspiring leaders, inspires those around them not because of what he knows but because of how he makes others feel.

When someone of vast achievement or status shows genuine interest in the ideas of those around them, it makes those people feel valuable. It makes them feel like they are contributing. Command and control is not great leadership. It may be great management or delegation, but great leadership is not just about the ability to get things done, it’s the capacity to inspire others to take responsibility to get things done. When people in an organization believe in the greater cause and are made to feel a valuable part of it, they become vastly more conscientious about everything they do to contribute to that cause.

Poor leaders often reveal themselves very quickly when they point to their rank or accomplishments as reason they don’t need to listen to outside ideas. If you’ve ever genuinely wanted to contribute and been swiftly rebuffed with words like, “we’re a lot more successful than you, I think we know what I’m doing,” or “and what have you achieved that gives you the right to tell me what to do?” then congratulations, you’re talking to someone who may have achieved a lot, but they are not great.

The reason great leaders ask "why" is simple – they have an insatiable curiosity and they want to know what they don’t know. They understand that the more ideas, perspectives and things they can learn – inside AND outside their own disciplines – the more information it gives them to make better decisions. Great leaders are eternal students. Regardless of what they have learned, what they know or what they have achieved, they always want to know more. The value of their curiosity is more than a nicety, it has a biological benefit.

The rational and analytical part of our brains – the part of our brain that makes us sound like adults – can access the equivalent of about 2-feet of information around us. This is the conscious information we access when we think about a problem, when we weigh the pros and the cons, consider the facts and the figures before we make a decision. In contrast, our limbic brains – the part of our brains that actually control behavior and decision-making - can access subconscious information. Information that doesn’t come out on any list of pros and cons. Our limbic brain is filled with our entire life’s worth of experiences, lessons and information; the equivalent of 11-acres worth of information. This is the information that is being tapped when we make gut-decisions or when we act instinctively. No data is weighed in these decisions yet they are, very often, better quality decisions.

Those with an insatiable curiosity, those who constantly want to see more, do more understand why, are filling their subconscious brains with data that can be tapped at a later date. It will help influence and drive decisions and the decision maker won’t even know it’s happening when they’re doing it.

There is something we can all do to fill our subconscious brains to make us better decision makers and, ultimately, make us better leaders. We can learn to act like children again.

Here are some ideas:

1. When we’re kids, we read all kinds of different stories, but as adults we focus on our industries. Take time to read more books and magazines that have nothing to do with your industry. Learn about how others are doing and how they solve problems (maybe even read fewer from your own).
2. When we’re kids, our parents and our teachers drag us to museums and performances of all kinds. Go wonder around the natural history museum or an art gallery. Go see a ballet performance. And don’t just complain the whole time that you want to go home. Try to find something you like about any of those things.
3. When we’re kids, we go on class trips, but as adults we don’t. Take class trips. Take a day or an afternoon off and take your team somewhere that has nothing to do with work for no other reason than to do or see something new or different.
4. Ask "why." We so often ask questions to prove people wrong as opposed to understand what they mean. Really listen to the ideas of others. If someone approaches you with good intentions, ask lots of questions and try to really understand the meaning and value of the idea they are offering. Show genuine interest.
5. Encourage all the people who report to you to do all the above. Even encourage them to take an afternoon off simply to explore or subsidize a personal enrichment class they want to take outside of work.

[by Simon Sinek]

Sunday, May 9, 2010

At least 10 things I have learned about leadership.

#1 – Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always fix it; in fact, it may actually just cause it to be a more expensive problem!

#2 – A leader should care way more about HOW people are doing rather than HOW they are doing their work. (The leader that doesn’t care about the people he serves with is most likely using them for his glory, not God’s!)

#3 – Loyalty cannot be demanded … it must be earned.

#4 – If there isn’t a system to see what you want to see happen on a consistant basis … then it probably isn’t going to happen on a consistant basis.

#5 – If we don’t make integrity an issue then it WILL become an issue.

#6 – Getting a clearer vision of JESUS is essential to having a clearer vision for our church … we can’t be like Him if we don’t know Him.

#7 – People do not naturally drift into making radical commitments … they must be challenged to go there.

#8 – The risks don’t get easier … they become more intense.

#9 – If God has called you to do "it," then you are empowered and gifted to do "it" as well!

#10 – The people God has placed to lead with you should be listened to and valued; after all, God speaks to them too!

[from Perry Noble dot com by perry]

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Foundation that’s Biblical
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

Excitement that’s Contagious
Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed.

Love for the Lost
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

Leadership for Change
Revelation 21:5 “I am making everything new!"

Opportunity to Serve
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Worship that’s Fluid
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Structure that’s Simple
1 Corinthians 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

ouse of Honor
1 Corinthians 6:20 were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Innovation that’s Attractive
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created...

Practicality in Teaching
Matthew 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.

[by Ed Young]

Definition of the Local Church

"A local church is a manifestation in time and space of the ultimate, heavenly-eschatological assembly of God’s redeemed humanity. Each local church represents what it means to be God’s people by assembling together in one place for worship, encouragement, and accountability; by being a community shaped by the Scriptures; by observing the symbol-laden acts of baptism and the Lord’s supper; by maintaining its purity through church discipline; and by seeking to make disciples of all nations. All of this is to be done under the leadership of elders, the service of deacons, and the rule of the congregation."- by Grant Gaines.

"The local church is a group of people who are united with Christ through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and repentance of sins and who have been united with one another by Christ’s baptism of them into his body by the Holy Spirit. These individuals have then obeyed Christ in receiving the outward physical sign of the basis for the forgiveness of their sins (the death and resurrection of Jesus) and their baptism by the Spirit, namely water baptism by immersion. A local church is led by pastors, served by deacons, administers the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) and is governed congregationally under the headship of Jesus Christ by His Word. Local churches should seek to exposit the Scriptures in preaching, exalt the Savior in worship, equip the saints in discipleship, and evangelize sinners as their mission." - by Steve Weaver.

What would be your definition?

How Much Longer Will We Be Free?

Congress established the very first National Day of Prayer on July 20, 1775. The war with England was in its infancy with the battles of Lexington and Concord barely in the history books. The original proclamation began:

“This Congress, therefore, considering the present critical, alarming and calamitous state of these colonies, do earnestly recommend that Thursday, the 20th day of July next, be observed by the inhabitants of all the English colonies on this continent, as a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer; that we may, with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins; and offer up our joint supplication to the all-wise, omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events….”

The next proclamation when President John Adams declared May 9, 1798 as a “day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer,” with people of all faiths being encouraged to pray, “that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it.” The United States was locked in an undeclared naval war with France and fear gripped many American hearts as victory was in doubt.

On March 30, 1863, the United States was busy going about the business of tearing itself apart over slavery and states rights. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that stated, “the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins.” The proclamation declared a day of “national humiliation, fasting and prayer,” hoping that God would restore, “our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”

The current incarnation of the National Day of Prayer was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on April 17, 1952. The official proclamation called on the American people to, “turn to God in prayer and meditation.” In 1972, the National Day of Prayer Committee was created which soon gave birth to the National Day of Prayer Task Force. In 1988, a bill was introduced in Congress fixing the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May. The bill passed and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on May 5. Upon signing the bill, Reagan said, “On our National Day of Prayer, then, we join together as people of many faiths to petition God to show us His mercy and His love, to heal our weariness and uphold our hope, that we might live ever mindful of His justice and thankful for His blessing.”

The National Day of Prayer has a rich history and heritage. How sad it is in our politically correct age that we are no longer spiritually tolerant. The controversy generated by the Pentagon’s disinviting Franklin Graham and the entire National Day of Prayer Task Force is both un-American and unnecessary. Graham has expressed his opinion on the danger of embracing the teaching of Islam concerning jihad and the death of infidels. Not once has he or anyone on the National Day of Prayer Task Force suggested that Muslims be excluded from First Amendment protections against the prohibiting of the exercise of their religion.

The same First Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits Congress from making any law that establishes a particular religion or prohibits the free exercise thereof also protects Franklin Graham’s right of free speech to express his opinion about Islamic fundamentalism.

But in our politically correct age, the criticism of Christianity is welcomed while the truth claims of Christians are under constant fire. Muslim Clerics and Islamic fundamentalists can rail against Christianity without fear of reprisal. Yet Christians are often singled out as being bigoted, homophobic, hatemongers who are ruining our national hedonistic party.

Last month, a federal judge from Wisconsin struck down the National Day of Prayer, ruling that it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion. Judge Barbara B. Crabb called the statue “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.” Again, the First Amendment, while forbidding Congress from establishing any one religion forbids Congress from doing what Judge Crabb believes she has the right to do ... prohibit the free expression of religious convictions. Since the National Day of Prayer does not elevate one religion over another it does not violate the First Amendment. Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund said, “The National Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for all Americans to pray voluntarily according to their own faith and does not promote any particular religion or form of religious observance.”

Douglas Laycock, a University of Michigan Law School professor said, “Judges have never been absolutists in these establishment clause cases. If they were they would tell the president to stop issuing Thanksgiving proclamations and tell the Treasury Department to take In God We Trust off of our money.”

America is a country that recognizes the “freedom of” not “freedom from” religion. While we recognize and respect an individuals right to reject belief in God, the vast majority fervently defends the right to publically express belief in God. People can be free from religion if they choose but they cannot demand that those of us who believe should lay aside our beliefs so they can be free from religion.

We are a nation of over 300 million people. Fully ninety-two percent say they believe in God. Another eighty-five percent believe in heaven and eighty-two percent believe in miracles. The religion police will have to lock up over ninety-percent of the country if their crusade against free religious expression is successful.

[by Dr. Tony Beam, Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.]

Who Will Be Tested Next?

Marking the National Day of Prayer, evangelist Franklin Graham led in prayer Thursday morning at the Pentagon. Not inside the Pentagon, mind you, but outside, where he led a handful of other Christians in silent prayer.

The recent controversy about Franklin Graham is a sign of things to come. The prominent evangelist, son of Billy Graham, is known for his plain-spoken Christian testimony. He is also an internationally known figure as founder and head of Samaritan’s Purse, a highly respected Christian relief agency. He had been scheduled to speak at the Pentagon Thursday for an official National Day of Prayer event. But, just two weeks ago, he was disinvited by Pentagon officials after complaints were made about his statements concerning Islam.

In the words of the official Pentagon spokesperson, Franklin Graham’s statements about Islam were “not appropriate.” Oddly enough, most in the media seem to have forgotten that the Pentagon faced a similar controversy over Franklin Graham and the very same comments in 2003, when he was invited to speak at an official Pentagon Good Friday service. At that time, the Pentagon stalwartly refused to disinvite Graham. Indeed, the official Pentagon spokesperson said at that time: “While I, personally, would not agree with some of Rev. Graham’s comments and observations, I would defend his right to have his religious views as part of the freedom we have as Americans.”

Someone’s mind clearly changed between 2003 and 2010 - and that someone wasn’t Franklin Graham. News reports about the disinvitation this year indicate that the Army acted after criticism came from activist Mikey Weinstein, who opposes virtually all Christian influence in the armed forces.

Graham, who also serves as this year’s honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, complained that his disinvitation represents intolerance toward biblical Christianity and a violation of his religious liberty.

What did Franklin Graham say that caused such a controversy? In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Graham said that Islam is “wicked, violent and not of the same God.” In his book, The Name, Graham said that Christianity and Islam are locked in “a classic struggle that will end with the second coming of Christ.”

In interview after interview, Franklin Graham has repeated his message that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone, that the gospel of Christ is the only message that offers salvation, and that any belief system that leads persons away from that gospel is false and empty. He has also pressed his case when asked about Islam, arguing that Islam is prone to violence and mistreats women - arguments he says are validated by his experience with relief efforts led by Samaritan’s Purse.

In a recent conversation with Jon Meacham and Lisa Miller of Newsweek, Franklin Graham made these points clearly. In the most important statement of that interview, Graham said this: “I am who I am. I don’t believe that you can get to heaven through being a Buddhist or Hindu. I think Muhammad only leads to the grave. Now, that’s what I believe, and I don’t apologize for my faith. And if it’s divisive, I’m sorry.”

Clearly, for Christians the most important issue here is the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faced with mounting criticism from secularist and Islamic organizations, the Department of the Army and the Pentagon faced a hard public test - and they failed that test miserably. They caved into activist pressure and withdrew the invitation.

Even on its face, this was not a smart move. An estimated 80 percent of those enlisted in the U.S. armed forces identify as Christians. Put bluntly, citizens with conservative Christian commitments are far more likely to support and enlist in the armed forces than liberal secularists - and recruiters know that fact very well.

Where would you rather serve as an Army recruiter - Cambridge, Massachusetts or College Station, Texas? The Army sent a clear message by disinviting Franklin Graham, and that message will be both heard and remembered.

Adding insult to injury, the spokesman for the Pentagon made a direct reference to Franklin Graham’s statements about Islam, calling them “not appropriate.” What is clearly “not appropriate” is for a Pentagon spokesperson to render a theological judgment about the statements of Franklin Graham.

Evangelical Christians in the United States had better see a big challenge staring us in the face. Franklin Graham was disinvited by the Pentagon for making statements that are required by faithfulness to the gospel of Christ. As reports make clear, it is not just his statements about Islam being prone to violence that cause offense, it is his statements that Islam is wicked because it does not lead to salvation in Christ that cause the greatest offense.

The Pentagon failed its test, but many more tests will follow. Faithful witness to Christ requires an honest statement about what any false system of belief represents - a form of idolatry and false teaching that leads to eternal damnation. There may be more and less offensive ways of saying that, but there is no way to remove the basic offense to the current cultural mind.

In reality, every evangelical preacher and every individual Christian will face this question - and probably sooner rather than later.

Franklin Graham will not be the last to be tested. Who will be tested next?

[Adapted from R. Albert Mohler Jr.'s weblog at]

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pastor-Passionate Strategic Planning

Teaching pastors to limit risks and liabilities, plan for the future, and exercise common sense in their own lives and for their churches is of utmost importance in the 21st Century. Pastors must be offered strategic planning tools which will form the foundation on which strong, healthy churches are built. A pastor-passionate organization will help pastors be proactive rather than reactive.

Pastors must be taught more about risk assessment, budgeting, personal finances, paying off debt and saving for the future.

Risk management includes screening every person who works with children at their church. Churches would be wise to have policies that require at least two people to be in each room where children are present, and if possible, video cameras installed where children learn and play. Eliminating the amount of risk a pastor has helps him concentrate on other areas of ministry that can help his church reach their community for Christ.

Budgeting tools could potentially help a pastor on several fronts of church ministry. To grow their churches numerically they must embrace budgeting and strategic planning. The definition of strategic planning is simply the best way to do something.

Debt is something that interferes or obstructs a person’s ability to do things God wants him or her to do. Borrowers are subject to the lenders. But lenders have the power to accomplish the things God has planned for their [lenders’] lives.

Pastors need to keep it simple, prioritize budget items to help increase growth, and let the budget be an accountability tool. Pastors would be well advised to get their personal finances in order, as they are the ones who need to set an example for their congregants. When you live a life based on God’s principles, God will bless you. Spiritual leaders have to lead because when leaders don’t lead, people can’t follow.
  • Tithe 10 percent -- because when one puts “God first” he or she is blessed.
  • Pay taxes -- because as Christians, “We have to be good citizens.”
  • Establish and maintain a savings plan -- The Bible says wise men and women save. If we don’t have a financial plan to provide for our families we are denying our faith.
If a pastor wants to get his or her finances in order, he or she needs to confess one’s sins, ask God for forgiveness, and ask, “Lord give me the discipline and the plan to set my finances in place."

When pastors embrace such risk and liability-reducing and budgeting tools, it not only helps them focus on reaching people for Christ, it empowers their staffs and laypeople.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Never Retreat

In Washington Wednesday, Franklin Graham urged Christians to openly proclaim their faith -- "even if preaching the Gospel someday becomes against the law."

An Army spokesman said Graham's message wasn't inclusive, Muslims were offended and a federal judge declared the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. That ruling is being appealed.

Franklin Graham has said he'll pray outside the Pentagon before speaking at a National Day of Prayer observance on Capitol Hill.

Since U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, critics have declared what they think of her: A Marxist. A moron. A disgrace.

In her ruling last month, Crabb said the law creating the tradition being observed today is an unconstitutional call to religious action.

President Barack Obama, whose administration is appealing the ruling, has urged citizens to "pray, or otherwise give thanks" for the nation's freedom and blessings. And Crabb put enforcement of her ruling on hold pending the appeal, meaning thousands of prayer events will go on today as scheduled.

Crabb, a 31-year veteran of the bench, has been denounced for overstepping.

[from One News Now]

Young Harvest

(By Alan Nelson)

I know what it’s like when someone “leaves” the ministry. Internal eyebrows rise. We wonder what caused someone who professed a call from God to preach the Gospel and lead a congregation, to jump ship and do something else. Our minds race to the seamier side. Was the pressure too much? Did he have a call at all? We don’t often say it, but we wonder, don’t we?

After more than 20 years of being a pastor, I left the ministry, technically speaking. But after authoring a dozen books and nearly 200 articles on ministry and spiritual life, plus serving as the executive editor of Rev! magazine, I exited the pastoral field.

The reason was simple. Time was running out and I desperately wanted to change the church — and if possible, society at large.

No matter how much we value egalitarian and democratic processes, history is not made by the masses. Three dominant factors change society: discoveries, disasters, and leaders, but the most significant by far is leaders — whether good or bad. If you want to change history, you must focus on leaders. But how do you change them? For more than a decade, thanks to books such as “How to Change Your Church,” “The Five Star Church,” “Me to We,” and “Embracing Brokenness,” I was able to travel as a pastor, teaching workshops and seminary courses. But after a decade of that, I came to the conclusion that investing in adult leaders yields a low return on investment.

My dad used to say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The less you have left, the faster it goes.” By age 45, I was convinced that we needed to lower the age of leadership development, identifying and developing influencers while they’re still moldable. Barna’s research coincides with that of Kohlberg and moral psychologists, noting that character is pretty much established by age 14.

Thus I began prototyping an executive-caliber leadership training program with the upper age set at 14. The goal was to learn how young you could teach serious leadership skills. During our research phase, we discovered that if a child displays leadership aptitude, by 10 years of age, s/he is cognitively mature enough to learn sophisticated social skills required in leading. So at the ripe old age of 49, with two sons in private college, I gave up my paycheck and benefits to launch a non-profit organization called KidLead.

Pastors don’t need to give up on adults, but if we’re good stewards, we need to be putting a lot of eggs in the kid basket. Even better, we need to target our very young leaders. The most strategic time for developing effective and ethical leaders is a 4-year threshold we call the 10-13 Window. Unfortunately, very few church staff are leadership savvy. They confuse it with discipleship and service. And preteen/middle school ministries always tend to be low on the church totem pole.

Even if you don’t have a personal call to this area of ministry, you can still champion it. We have developed the first of its kind, executive-caliber leadership training curriculum called LeadNow. The faith-based version is beginning to be used in premier Christian schools and some larger churches. It is sophisticated enough to require certification to use it. You watch a brief video and take a free leadership aptitude assessment on a child by going to the KidLead website By pushing the “parent” button, you’ll get an automated response to help you understand the type of child you should be reaching for leadership mentoring. There’s also a book that summarizes our findings.

Waiting until college, seminary, and first employment is far too late to develop effective, ethical leaders. We must start younger, much younger. Churches and Christian schools are the best places to accomplish this task, because these are social communities where young leaders can develop their skills in a context of faith.

My challenge to pastors is to respond to the call of identifying and developing young leaders. If there’s one thing your church does well, make it young leader development. If you want to change the world, focus on leaders. But if you want to change leaders, focus on them when they’re young. I “left the ministry” to make a bigger impact on the church. You don’t have to quit being a pastor, but I pray you’ll join me in this endeavor.

[Alan E. Nelson, Ed.D. ( is the author of KidLead: Growing Great leaders and the founder of KidLead Inc.. The Nelsons live near Monterey, CA. For more info on KidLead, contact them through the website:]

Good Leadership

Leadership is a word that has many different meanings to many different people. So... how do you know if you're working with a real leader?

Perry Noble gives four insights that will help you figure this one out...

#1 – They come to you with problems … AND the solutions as to how to solve them. A true leader will always have direction and possible solutions.

#2 – They are more upset about a mess up than you are. Passion for what a person does is essential if they are going to be an excellent leader.

#3 – Being around them actually fires you up. Leaders will give you energy, not suck it from you.

#4 – They don’t retreat inside their shell when conflict arises but rather embrace the tension in the room and will speak the truth in love until a resolution is reached.

Perry says: A leader will speak their minds … even if they know it is not going to be popular … and even if they know that in the end they will probably lose the argument … they would MUCH rather than have a clear conscience than be a coward.

[from MMI Weblog]

National Day of Prayer

Saturday, May 1, 2010

President Obama Proclaims Thursday as National Day of Prayer



Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer. In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad.

On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation. Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences. Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid. Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders. Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place. As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day. Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness. Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.