Saturday, July 30, 2011

Does The Quality Of Leadership Matter?

Put 10 people in a room and ask them how they define leadership.  Chances are, you’ll get a lively debate but not a lot of agreement.  The word “leadership” can mean very different things to different people.  Some believe that a leader’s key responsibility is to nourish and cultivate team members, while others believe that it is to drive growth and innovation.  The reality, of course, is that both perspectives are true.  Still, no matter how they define leadership, those 10 people will probably agree on one thing: Leadership makes a difference.

The difference between the impact that a top-performing leader and an average leader has on an organization is at least 50 percent, according to leaders participating in DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011.  In fact, this research demonstrates that organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.  Specifically, when leaders reported their organization’s current leadership quality as poor, only 6 percent of them were in organizations that outperformed their competition.  Compare that with those who rated their organization’s leadership quality as excellent – 78 percent were in organizations that outperformed their competition in bottom-line metrics.

In this study of 1,897 HR representatives and more than 12,000 leaders from 74 countries some of the global findings are:

Leader quality is low and hasn’t budged. 

Only 1 out of 4 organizations (as rated by HR representatives) rated leadership quality as very good or excellent.  With leaders themselves, a little more than 1 out of 3 three gave themselves and their peers high marks – consistent with the same study from two years ago, telling us that we’ve made very little progress.  We also broke down the results geographically to see how some of the countries fared. In a comparison between China and India, India dramatically outperformed China, and was well above the global norms when it came to the quality of leadership.

Organizations are not confident in the future of their leaders. 

A mere 18% rated the bench strength for the future as strong.  As baby boomer retirements loom and organizations on the precipice of recovery and growth, confidence in the next generation of leaders should be much stronger.  As one leader said: “We need to develop key talent for the future in a strategic way, not by default.”  It can also be explained by the fact that while ‘identifying and developing future talent’ was rated as one of the top skills needed for leaders in the future, it was not rated as a top skill that was needed in the past, and a staggering 43 percent of leaders said they’re ineffective at doing this.

We’re falling down on innovation.  Innovation rocketed up the list as a skill needed for the future, however, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group, the US is investing the least in innovation when compared to other countries around the world.

However, half of leaders rated themselves as ineffective at fostering creativity and innovation, the highest among all of the future necessary skills.  One answer to this could be the high occurrence of leadership “derailers” or dispositional qualities that HR identified were the most common personality shortcomings of leaders in their organization.  The high occurrence of risk aversion, distrust and approval dependence, which were likely to be reinforced as a means of survival during the economic downturn, are qualities that will squash innovation.

Rigid management practices are holding organizations back. 

When looking at Gary Hamel’s factors for management innovation, 6 out of 10 leaders said that key business decisions were made by those in power with little discussion, and more than half said they’re in organizations that are rigid, siloed or hierarchical.  Why the concern over updating management practices?  Organizations with effective management cultures were more than two and a half times more likely to have highly passionate leaders.

And we know passion is important because leaders in organizations with higher quality leadership were almost eight times more likely to report that the passion of their leaders is high.

So what do you think – how does leadership quality impact an organization?

[by Rich Wellins, Senior Vice President, Development Dimensions International (DDI)]

Leadership Development Must Include Reading

Pastor Ron Martin's Father Passes

Thomas “Sonny” Martin, 78 of Farmington, WV passed away Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at his son’s home in Cottondale, Alabama near Tuscaloosa.

Mr. Martin was born July 7, 1933, a son of the late Harold and Vivian Bainbridge Martin.

Sonny worked at the Times West Virginian as a Printer for 37 years.  He was a member of the Katy Church of God of Prophecy and also attended Ireland Chapel.  Sonny loved church and he worked in the church for years in a variety of ministries, he especially love to sing in the church.  He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was stationed throughout Europe during the Korean Conflict.  He loved sports of all kinds and was fortunate enough to get to play them often during his enlistment in the armed forces, back in the states Sonny played fast pitch softball and enjoyed playing basketball with his best buddies Darryl Courtney and Scott Tharp.  Sonny always had a smile on his face and never met a stranger.

Mr. Martin is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Pastor Ron and Pamela Martin; three grandchildren Aaron Martin, Courtney and Husband Brandon White, and Michael Ford; a sister Emma “Jean” Jones and husband Russell; brothers-in-law Harold Markley and wife Nancy and Pete Markley and wife Pebbles.  A special cousin Joni Abel and husband Bob and several additional nieces and nephews.

The Rev. Ron Martin serves as Senior Pastor at Cottondale Community Church, a thriving ministry near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Pastor Martin has served in a number of ministerial leadership positions during his lifetime of ministry.

In addition to his parents Sonny Martin was preceded in death by his wife Maxine Martin and a brother Bob Bainbridge.

Friends may call at the Hutson Funeral Home, Route 250 Farmington today, Saturday, July 30 from 5-9 pm and on Sunday from 11am until 2pm when funeral services will be held at 2pm.  Rev. Richard Fluharty and Rev. Ron Martin will be officiating.  Mr. Martin will be laid to rest beside his wife Maxine in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Farmington.

Online Condolences may be sent to the family at

Crystal Cathedral Returns Schuller's Voting Rights

The founding pastor of Crystal Cathedral, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, has been reinstated on the board of directors and given back voting rights as two members who called for his ouster last month are dropped from the committee.

The church, currently trying to wade its way out of a debt crisis, decided in a meeting last Friday to “expand and enlarge the board,” according to a statement posted Wednesday on the Crystal Cathedral website.

Schuller, 84, is identified as Chairman Emeritus in the list of current board members.

“This new Board of Directors, created today, is a formula that will guarantee success for both our local Crystal Cathedral ministry and its ministry mission to the people of the world through the televised ‘Hour of Power,’ now in its 43rd year,” Schuller said in the statement.

Two board members, Rick Mysse and Gwyn Myers, were voted off the board, church spokesman John Charles told the Orange County Register.  He told the news agency that both Mysse and Myers had voted in favor of stripping Schuller of his vote during last June’s meeting.

According to Schuller’s daughter, Carol Schuller Milner, neither of her parents attended the meeting in which Schuller was voted off the board, the paper reported.  Milner said the pair were “extremely upset” when they learned that Schuller had been voted off.

The evangelical church, located in Garden Grove, Calif., filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of last year and its leaders have since been fielding offers from various groups interested in purchasing the megachurch, including the Roman Catholic Church. The church currently owes over $50 million to unsecured creditors.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has offered $50 million to buy Crystal Cathedral's campus and convert the historical church into a Catholic cathedral.

Chapman University, a private university near the church, has offered to buy the Crystal Cathedral campus for $46 million.

“He would be open to all proposals including the Catholic Church,” Milner told the Orange County Register about the elder Schuller's reaction to the $50 million-offer.  “But the ideal situation would be to have Crystal Cathedral Ministries continue and be there for generations to come.”

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Contributor]

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pray for Christians’ Safety During Ramadan

Ramadan, the 30-day annual Islamic fast which begins next week, may expose Christians to an increased risk of persecution in Muslim-majority countries and believers in the West should pray for them, Open Doors USA said as it launched a Ramadan Prayer Calendar.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a statement. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

To help Christians pray for the persecuted, Open Doors has prepared a Ramadan Prayer Calendar having multiple prayer points and designed to help believers pray for vulnerable Christians around the world during the 30 days.

The group, which has served the persecuted church worldwide since 1955 when its founder Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe for the first time, will also send out daily emails with a story from a Muslim-dominated country, prayer requests, and a call to action.  Open Doors has provided a link on its website for believers to register.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which begins August 1 this year, is the time when most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint as they believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.

However, “the observance of Ramadan could increase pressure on believers,” Moeller said.

Ramadan brings with it violence at times. Some governments in Islamic countries forcibly enforce observance of Ramadan and extremist groups increase their vigilante activities against both non-abiding Muslims and non-Muslims, and tend to become more intolerant toward them.

During the last Ramadan, an imam in Egypt in Shimi village near Giza called for “jihad” against Christians leading to persecution of Copts, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. In 2009, an American service member in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was shot at by an Afghan police officer for drinking water publicly during Ramadan, The Associated Press had reported.

Particularly this year, when a wave of uprisings is underway in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the threat of increased violence is real as protests are expected to intensify. Especially in Egypt, where Copts have come under attack following the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime in February, more violence against Christians is expected.

Pakistan has beefed up security ahead of Ramadan apprehending tensions around mosques and other places of worship, according to The Nation, a Pakistani newspaper.

Open Doors has found that Christian persecution has been most severe in Muslim-majority countries. Eight of the top 10 countries on its 2011 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians have Islamic governments: Iran (2), Afghanistan (3), Saudi Arabia (4), Somalia (5), Maldives (6), Yemen (7), Iraq (8) and Uzbekistan (9). Additionally, 38 of the top 50 on the list are Muslim-dominated societies.

Moreover, less than two weeks after the end of Ramadan, Sept. 11 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against America.

“It is vital that we pray for Christians and Muslims during this anniversary,” said Michele Miller, director of Open Doors USA Ministries, in the statement. “Prayer has changed the hearts of millions, so it is also important to pray past the month of Ramadan.”

According to Open Doors, an estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation.

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed]

Judge Rules Rick Perry Can Attend “Day of Prayer and Fasting” Event

A Houston judge made a ruling Thursday that would allow Texas Gov. Rick Perry to take part in a prayer and fasting rally next month, dismissing a case brought by a group of atheists.

Judge Gray Miller tossed out the lawsuit Thursday afternoon after deciding that the plaintiffs had no legal standing in their attempt to block Perry from joining The Response, slated for August 6 at the Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Mark Miner, a spokesman for the governor, told ABC News he was pleased with the ruling.

"Governor Perry looks forward to participating in a day of prayer for our nation,” Miner told the network.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued in the suit that Perry attending the event would have violated the separation of church and state as laid out in the Constitution.

The group's members, who are atheists and agnostics, claimed Perry's attendance would give the appearance that “the government prefers evangelical Christian religious beliefs over other religious beliefs and non-beliefs.”

Perry defended his right to participate in the event during a public event Wednesday.

“My prayer is that the courts will find the First Amendment is still applicable to governors no matter what they might be doing,” he told reporters.

“That what we’ve done in the State of Texas or the Governor’s office is appropriate and no different than what George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or President Truman or President Obama have done with a day of prayer.”

The governor, believed to be considering a run for the White House on the GOP ticket, issued a proclamation last month declaring August 6 to be a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges.”

Perry has partnered with the American Family Association and other faith groups to hold the daylong “Response” event.  Organizers have not yet revealed in what role the governor will play in the event.

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Contributor]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perry Gillum Hospitalized

According to his son, Scott Gillum, Perry Gillum will have an echo cardiogram to evaluate an aortic aneurysm.  He remains in CCU and will be there for a couple of days without complications then on to the main floor for three days.

Please be in prayer for the Gillum family.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christian Counseling Under Attack From Gay Groups

Marcus Bachmann came out in defense of the Christian counseling business he and his wife, Michele, own, maintaining that they do not have an agenda of trying to change someone – namely from gay to straight.

After coming under fire from a pro-gay group that claimed Bachmann & Associates was practicing "reparative therapy" aimed at "curing" gays, Bachmann told the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune that such counseling is not their focus.

Rather, treatment for depression and anxiety is more commonplace, he told the local publication.

Bachmann himself specializes in marriage and family, depression/anxiety, anger management, and family of origin issues, according to the clinic's website.

Still, counselors would address the issue of same-sex attraction if those struggling with it requested help, he noted.

"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it," he told the Star Tribune. "Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion."

His comments come a week after Truth Wins Out released an undercover report, claiming to prove that Bachmann's clinic in Minnesota "does try to cure gay people."

The group sent John Becker with a hidden camera to the clinic where he told the counselor he wanted to get rid of his homosexuality and that he was Christian.

Becker had five sessions with the counselor during which he was told that it was possible to be free of same-sex attraction and guided on how to develop attraction toward women.

The counselor, according to Truth Wins Out, told the pretend patient that attraction to the same sex “is there, and it’s real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”

"Our investigation clearly shows that his clinic has great antipathy towards gay and lesbian people and his therapists work to convert clients from gay to straight," Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen reiterated on Friday.

But investigative reporter Mark Benjamin found that Bachmann & Associates indeed isn't a "conversion therapy mill."

He wrote in Time magazine that judging from the recorded sessions between the counselor and Becker, the "therapist didn’t appear to claim any expertise in how to change Becker’s homosexual urges."

The counselor also admitted that he “doesn’t have a ton of experience with this issue” and told Becker that it is “important as we sort this out that you remember not to beat yourself up too much” about homosexual urges.

"Throughout the transcripts, Becker’s therapist came across as somebody who was willing to try to make Becker straight, but didn’t usually do that kind of thing for a living," stated Benjamin, who once posed as a gay man to find out how "reparative therapy" works.

Truth Wins Out – whose mission is to fight anti-gay religious extremism – nevertheless believes Bachmann & Associates is disdainful toward LGBT people and wants the business to end the "harmful and discredited practice of 'ex-gay' therapy."

Bachmann, who has been a clinical therapist in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years, clarified to the Star Tribune that counselors at his clinics do not force any treatment on patients.

"This individual (Becker) came to us under a false pretense,'' he noted. "The truth of the matter is he specifically asked for help.''

[By Nathan Black | Christian Post Reporter]

Reports: Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic Uses 'Ex-Gay'... by NewsyVideos

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When The Leader Loses His Compass

Most people are familiar with the America’s Cup, the sailboat race which has attracted prominent competitors such as Sir Thomas Lipton and Ted Turner.  What most people don’t know is that there is a fresh water counterpart to that race, the Canada’s Cup, sailed on the Great Lakes.  The genesis of that race, how the Americans lost it the first time and gained it back the second, is one of the most interesting in yachting history.

In 1896 the Lincoln Park Yacht Club in Chicago challenged the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto to a cross-Great Lakes race.  The first race was held that year in Toledo, OH.  The Canadians were victorious, thus they named the race the Canada’s Cup.

In the same year, another member of the Lincoln Park club, Chicago rubber magnate Fred W. Morgan, commissioned the building of his new yacht, the Pathfinder.  Built in Racine, WI, its maiden voyage to Chicago was “the event of the season,” and people gathered on the docks to watch it glide into the harbor.  The Pathfinder was 140' long (a sizeable yacht then or now) and resembled the U.S. Navy’s battleships of the day.   It had telephones and electric lighting in an era when the vast majority of American homes had neither.

Two years later the Chicago Yacht Club, with Fred Morgan as its Commander and the Pathfinder the club’s flagship, issued a challenge to the RCYC for the Canada’s Cup.  The following year the Pathfinder steamed from Chicago to Toronto for the rematch.

The first day of racing was 21 August 1899.  The object was to start near the RCYC, round two buoys, and return to the club.  The Canadians’ yacht, the Beaver, had an accident right at the start and was out of the race.   The American yacht, the Genessee, had a chance for a default for the first race (it was two out of three to win.)

But such was not to be.  The Pathfinder was acting as a kind of “pace yacht” for the race, but in the haze on Lake Ontario itself got lost and missed the first buoy.  Behind it was not only the Genessee but steam yachts Siren and Canada!  The entire entourage mistook another buoy for the first official one, where the judges’ ship waited in vain.

Because of this the Americans missed the chance for a forfeit.

In those days it was easy for everyone to follow the largest, most magnificent yacht on the Great Lakes.  But they still got lost.  Unfortunately things haven’t changed as much as we would like to think.

Many times, we are led by those who are supposedly the best connected to God and the most enlightened among us.  Yet we still experience decline every way it can be measured.

In the end the only one we can trust for the truth is He that is the truth, Jesus Christ.  Through Him all things were created, so He is most knowledgeable as to what we need.  And, of course, He is the real “pathfinder” from the ultimate challenge of life, death itself, as we walked out of the tomb after those who didn’t care for his challenge of their authority had him executed.

It’s time for all of us who have followed what looked to be the biggest and most magnificent thing “on the water” to turn to He who actually walked on it.

[Based on]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pastor Robert Schuller Removed From Board of Directors at Crystal Cathedral

Amid reports that Robert H. Schuller, the founder of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, had been voted off the board of directors, a statement from the church Monday said that only his position changed.

“Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller’s position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position,” said the statement released by the church.

The move is apparently aimed at relieving the 84-year-old pastor of administrative burden so that he may have more time for speaking and writing.

“This will free up Dr. Schuller’s time for more speaking engagements and a writing project he has wanted to tackle. He will also continue to speak in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and on the Hour of Power, and meet with staff in creative and vision-casting meetings,” the statement added.

This comes a day after Schuller’s son, Robert A. Schuller, told The Orange County Register that his father was ousted because of his differences with the other board members. The elder Schuller had been pressing to add more members to the board, a move resisted by the other members.

“A majority of that board consists of paid employees of the church and that's a serious conflict of interest," Robert A. Schuller added.

He said that in a vote that took place more than a week ago, his mother Arvella, a member of the board, was in the minority who voted against the move to remove her husband.

“They kicked him off. ... I feel bad for him because he’s had to watch his life’s work go down the toilet the last three years,” The Los Angeles quoted the younger Schuller as saying, who was himself ousted by the board in 2008, two years after he had replaced his father as the senior pastor at the Garden Grove megachurch.

The longstanding family dispute has only become more acute in view of financial problems of the church, which last year sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. And this year in May, the church decided to sell the building and 40-acre campus for $46 million to an Orange County developer.

The reins of the church are currently in the hands of two of Schuller’s daughters: Shiela Coleman Schuller and Gretchen Schuller Penner.

Schuller’s eldest daughter, Sheila Coleman, is not a board member but controls the ministry as the executive director of ministries and missions. Her husband, Jim Coleman, is the president of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Meanwhile, Gretchen Schuller Penner leads the television ministry.

“Dad will continue to provide leadership for this ministry through me for as long as possible,” said Sheila Coleman in the statement. “I have and will continue to defer to his wisdom and honor him for his unprecedented accomplishments.”

The father and daughter, however, have been known to have differences of opinions. More recently, it was regarding a controversial step by Sheila Coleman, in which she had asked the choir members to sign a “covenant” that they would adhere to a biblical lifestyle and abstain from homosexual behavior. The covenant also strongly emphasized that church leaders and choir members be all Christians. The father reportedly wasn’t very pleased with this and told The Orange County Register that he would have never personally approved it.

In any case, the statement made by the executive director Monday will do little to silence her critics, among whom her niece, Angie Schuller Wyatt, is the most vocal.

In a guest column she had written for The Christian Post after the May decision to sell the church, she said: “This abhorrent behavior conveniently hides the perpetual underlying issue among Crystal Cathedral leadership. The leadership (my aunts to be more specific) do not want to relinquish control even AFTER they have failed on an epic national scale. In any U.S. corporation, the leadership would be REMOVED in the face of bankruptcy.

“As long as the current leadership maintains control, there will be no positive change at the Crystal Cathedral. They’re buying time by hawking one of America’s greatest cathedrals. Their actions will only delay the inevitable. It’s like loaning money to a gambler.”

According to CNN, about her grandfather’s ouster, Wyatt said: “It was surprising, but not completely unexpected,” hinting that there was a pattern in the way, both her grandfather and father, Robert A. Schuller, were voted out.

“They did it behind his back, just like they did to my dad. They conspired behind his back and made this happen,” Schuller Wyatt said. “This board is causing the demise and the destruction of the Crystal Cathedral.”

“They weren’t letting him do anything anyway. Those of us here see it as symbolically awful,” said Pastor James Kok, who has been on staff with Crystal Cathedral Ministries for 28 years. “They had effectively stopped listening to him two or three years ago. It’s symbolic, not functional. He was mostly put on the shelf by his daughters.”

About the leadership style of the sisters, Kok said, “They just do things. They don’t ask anybody.”

[By Subodh S. Lal | Christian Post Contributor]

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Pastor's 10 Commandments

  1. Know your Bible better.
  2. Be a man of prayer.
  3. Don’t lose sight of Christ.
  4. Be deeply Trinitarian.
  5. Use your imagination.
  6. Speak much of sin and grace.
  7. Use the “plain style” - language that is clear.
  8. Find your own voice.
  9. Learn how to transition.
  10. Love your people.


Lord, I can almost taste the bitterness
of disappointment;
my shattered expectations and dreams
are like gravel in my mouth.
So help me—my strength fails.
Help me
to realize all that has happened,
to see, beyond the betrayal,
Your hand and Your love.
Through the failure of man
You move silently but surely,
even making human wrath
to praise you
and to being about my good.
Teach me
in this disappointment
to empty my mouth of grit
and to savor instead
the delicacies You have prepared for me.
That I may honor Christ,


[from Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Counseling For Pastors Has Never Been More Important

10 Keys to Being A Healthy Pastor:
  1. Let God restore your soul daily.  Psalm 23.  Matthew 11:28.  Worship.  Prayer.  Solitude.  Listening.  Bible reading.  “I pray for you to know the REST of Jesus in all things.”  The enemy will deceitfully persuade you that you have many things to accomplish in order to keep things running.  I am all too aware of this temptation.  Simplicity in Christ leads us to only one thing to do - let Christ do it.
  2. Give your marriage priority attention.  A bad marriage ruins the rest of life.  (Remember the Proverbs.)  A good marriage fortifies you for the rest of life.  Is your home a tunnel of chaos or an oasis of rest?
  3. Work with your personal rhythms.  Work early or late depending on your personal rhythms.
  4. Keep your Sabbath rest.  A principle of creation:  rest one day in seven.  Sabbath is a day to pray and play.
  5. Do the things only you can do – and delegate the rest.  Be ruthless in simplifying your work. Empower others!  Take some time now to save much time later.
  6. Focus on results not time at work.  The point is not to clock your time but to get things done.  Focus on your highest impact activities.  Managers do things right.  Leaders do the right things.
  7. Get regular exercise.  If you are healthier and fit, you can work harder and you will last longer.  Exercise is a huge stress reliever.
  8. Ask for help.  Secrets are dangerous.  Need help?  In the last 18 months, has a trusted person told you, “I think you need to talk to somebody about that.”  If the answer is yes, get help.  Every prominent Christian leader and pastor I know, regularly visits a counselor.  It is okay to ask for help.
  9. Let God heal your anger.  Ask God to show you … heal you.  Ask a close friend if you seem angry.  Consider:  Elder prayer, counseling, talking with an insightful friend.  This is enormously important!
  10. Don’t be crushed by criticism.  Consider the source.  Be willing to receive criticism from trustworthy people – people who are for you, who are insightful, who are not negative.  Consider if you are a pleaser.  Galatians 1:10.
[from MMI Weblog