Browse Month: August 2013

Monday Musings (special Wednesday edition) 28/08/13


Picture a group of men, of all ages, sitting under a tree somewhere in Africa, and you will begin to understand the word “Insaka”.  It is the African way of older men mentoring the young generation coming behind them.  They will sit for hours under a tree in the village asking each other questions, and having a conversation about life issues.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have engaged in conversation with a number of people about succession. Bill Hybles opened the door of his heart a tiny crack at the Global Leadership Summit a few weeks ago in Chicago.  He mentioned how Willow Creek has hired a consultant to help him and his church deal with the eventual succession of his leadership.

It may just be my opinion, but allow me to “muse” a little about the church in Canada.  I am not convinced that we score high on the report card of succession.  Our structures and constitutions serve to protect us, and for the most part are very adequate.  In many churches, succession of the pastor is left up to a pulpit committee who presents a name to the congregation who ultimately vote on the new pastor.  This is what happened in the last church I pastored for thirteen years.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about the pastor who replaced me.  He has taken the church to a whole new level of effectiveness.  In this situation, the system worked!

IMG_3607However, in some situations, the system has failed.  A pastor leaves and the vision of the church leaves with him and his briefcase.  A new pastor arrives and brings with him a whole suitcase full of new vision.  Now the congregation is expected to discard the old vision and accept a new vision that may bring with it a whirlwind of change.  Depending how long the pastor stays, the congregation may face a dismantling of vision every few years.  Dismantling and dismemberment of vision often breeds confusion and chaos.

Maybe the Canadian church needs to come up with its own version of “insaka”.  Maybe we need to find a tree somewhere, or at least a good coffee shop, and have an inter-generational conversation.  Is there someone who God is raising up to succeed the present leadership?  Does the church leadership need to find a way to have someone come alongside the present pastor so that the vision is not dismantled when he is ready to leave?   Vision needs to be remodeled from time to time, but why should it be demolished every time there is a change of leadership?IMG_3608

I would love to engage in conversation with those who have discovered a good succession plan in ministry.  If you are interested in having an “insaka” on the subject, please feel free to comment on this blog and let’s dialogue together.

Until next Monday…


Monday Musings 19/08/13

New Facebook LogoThe peace of accountability and credibility…

Loyalty to organizations, including the church, for many, seems to be a thing of the past.  Some feel squeezed and stifled by structure and constitution, choosing instead, the path of independence.  Looking from the outside in, independence can appear to free one from the responsibility of accountability.  Ironically, many independent organizations seem to flourish while organizations connected to a structure sometimes stagnate and/or stumble.

Last week, MJ and I attended two days of missions training called “Segue”.  It was hosted by the International Missions department of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the organization we represent as global workers.  It brought together seasoned global workers and those who have been recently approved to go to a specific field.  The training provided practical general sessions as well as personal coaching and counselling sessions.

As we drove to our next assignment, MJ and I reflected on the time we had spent at Segue.  You know something is right when you leave feeling refreshed, encouraged, supported, cared for and appreciated.  For us, being attached to the PAOC brings a sense of credibility.  Just yesterday, I stood in a church sharing the story of a Chinese church plant in Zambia.  The story includes the partnership of at least five different organizations, all who are in one way or another connected with the organization we represent.  It brought credibility to the story and comfort to the congregation who supports us, knowing that their money is accounted for and invested in a safe place.

I am not knocking independence because I have seen the success of many organizations who have ventured out on their own.  However, whether one chooses to be attached to the hip of an organization, or one flies with what they feel is the freedom of an eagle, everyone needs accountability and credibility.  Lack of both can lead to a dark side of leadership that could otherwise be avoided.

So thanks team members of the International Missions department of the PAOC.  Thanks for the great days of training, thanks for your support, encouragement and belief in what we are doing, thanks for giving us the opportunity to be creative and courageous in the midst of structure and systems.  Thank you for providing the peace of accountability and credibility.  MJ and I are honored to submit to and support your leadership.paoc_official_colour_logo_bilingual

Until next Monday…


Monday Musings 12/08/13

iPad Spring Summer pictures 2013 151Global Summit Quotes…

Last week I had the privilege of being in a room for two days with eight thousand other leaders at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  What an amazing opportunity!  What an amazing experience!

I thought I would share a few quotes from my notes.  Hopefully you will find some “tidbits” that will be helpful in developing your leadership skills.

Bill Hybels

“Vision is a picture of the future that creates passion in people”

“Don’t abort a vision at the halfway point”

“Don’t blame God and put the vision back at His feet”

“Don’t die a coward”

“Don’t bail on your mission”

“Some of the most rewarding experiences of the leader are reserved for later in life”

“Reinvent your organization and yourself more than once”

General Colin Powell

“Leadership is getting more out of people than science says you can”

“Leaders inspire people to reach beyond themselves”

“It will look different in the morning”

“Get mad but get over it”

“Tell me early”

Brené Brown

“Love and belonging are irreducible needs of adults and children”

“We can’t give what we don’t have”

“What kills love kills organizations”

“Without failure there can be no innovation”

“You can choose courage or comfort but you cannot choose both”

Oscar Murui (Nairobi, Kenya)

“The size of the harvest depends on the number of leaders”

“Live for the next generation”

“Never do ministry alone, always have budding leaders around you”

Other quotes

“Leadership is intentional influence”

“Innovative leaders have to be humble”

“Building the capacity of the church will change the world”

Until next Monday…



Monday Musings 05/08/13

Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 245The Squirrel’s Nest…

I ate at a restaurant in Rouses Point, New York, with my father-in-law and a friend while on vacation this summer.  Years ago, my father-in-law and I would frequent the establishment for Saturday morning breakfasts.  After a series of new owners, changed menus, higher coffee prices, and a rapid turnover of staff, (all causing loyal customers to go elsewhere), it closed down three years ago.

This spring, the mayor’s wife, of the small border town, re-opened the restaurant under a new name called “The Squirrel’s Nest”.  Two things happened.  Old clientele returned, and new customers are flocking to the restaurant, especially on weekends.  A big part of the success seems to center around the historical theme of the restaurant.  The walls are covered with pictures from the past and the tables place mats give historical information.  A television plays a revolving PowerPoint presentation of the history of Rouses Point, New York.

Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 193Old timers are buzzing about the history.  I sat with one elderly couple, over breakfast, who have lived in Rouses Point all their life.  The pictures allowed them to tell great stories from the past, giving me an whole new appreciation for the community and its heritage.  New comers sit at the breakfast bar, glued to the television, intrigued by the history portrayed in the pictures.  Its a win, win, win.  The old timers win because of the memories the restaurant has created.  The new comers (many who come from the local marina) win because they gain a new appreciation for the community they are visiting every weekend.  The Squirrels Nest wins because of the income generated by all of those who eat in the establishment.Spring Summer Iphone Pictures 2013 191

The experience got me thinking about 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation churches.  With so many churches turning their foyer’s into cafe’s, perhaps it would be a good place to establish an “Ole Tyme Cafe”.  Display pictures from the past, invest in a television screen designated especially to heritage, and play some music that is so old, it is new for 1st generation church goers.  It may just keep some of the “old timers” happy (at least a little bit).  Too me, it is a win, win, win.  It will bring joy to 3rd and 4th generation believers as they reminisce about the past.  It will educate 1st and 2nd generation believers and seekers about the history of the church.  It will help the church to bridge a gap that seems to widen with every passing year.  Who knows that the “Ole Tyme Cafe” may become a place to get generations talking together.

Could it be that a little restaurant in Rouses Point, New York, could benefit the church in Canada?  The Squirrel’s Nest has “reinvented” itself, perhaps the church should consider doing the same!

Until next Monday…



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