Saturday, April 26, 2008

cool quotes about potential

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already." ~ John Buchan

"Focus on your potential instead of your limitations." ~ Alan Loy McGinnis

"If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Compliments of Leadership Wired

Friday, April 25, 2008

making a difference

This story has meant a lot to my good friend, Lon. I like it too.

Strolling along the edge of the sea, a man catches sight of a young woman who appears to be engaged in a ritual dance. She stoops down, then straightens to her full height, casting her arm out in an arc. Drawing closer, he sees that the beach around her is littered with starfish, and she is throwing them one by one into the sea. He lightly mocks her: "There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?" Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, "It makes a difference to this one." (The Art of Possibility, 55)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

being a contribution

I'm currently reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Ben Zander. Seth Godin said on a Catalyst podcast that if there was one book that he would recommend it would be this one. In this book they are trying to blow open old paradigms of comparison and scarcity with new paradigms of abundance and possibility. Ben Zander is a world renowned orchestral conductor, and Ros is a therapist/coach of some sort. Of course, since its largely secular, I must screen it all through the Bible, but it is refreshing to be sure.

Each chapter presents another catch phrase for reframing paradigms. I read part of the fourth one last night, which is entitled "Being a Contribution." Here's a blurb:

Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that the fearful question, "Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?" could both be replaced by the joyful question, "How will I be a contribution today?" (57)
This seems healthy to me as a part of the church world, where it sometimes feels like churches are competing against one another, as strange as that may sound. What if we all continually asked ourselves the question, How can we contribute to God's to world redeption and Kingdom expansion?, and refused to compare ourselves to other churches/Christians?

Galatians 6:4-5 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

cool quote

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
- Confucius

save lives

April 25 is World Malaria Day. In Africa, a kid dies of malaria every 30 seconds because he/she got bit by a mosquito.

I started a BUMC team, for participating in Nothing But Nets. This is a campaign to help fight malaria. Millions of people die each year from malaria - but there's a simple, life-saving solution, and all it takes is $10 to buy a bed net, distribute it to a family, and explain its use.

I set a $500 goal for our BUMC team to raise. One net will cover a family of four and protect them for 4 years. For each $10 net you buy, you're potentially saving four lives. If we can raise $500, that's 50 families and 200 people that we could keep alive. Its so simple. I'm stoked about how easy it is to help our hurting neighbors. I'm also proud of the fact that the United Methodist Church is participating in this with the NBA and United Nations Foundation.

Join me by Sending Nets and Saving Lives:

From our Team Page, click on the 'Join My Team' button to register and help us fundraise. If you can't join us, you can also sponsor our team by making a donation online.

In Christ's Love,
Pastor Jason Woolever

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

7 Practices of Effective Ministry

In the last couple of days I read this short book written by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones, founding leaders of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a list and explanation of seven practices that they have implemented since the beginning of North Point, which has taken it to a church of tens of thousands. Its a great, easy read, filled with baseball analogies.

Here are the practices:
Practice #1: Clarify the Win - Define what is important at every level of the organization.
Practice #2: Think Steps, Not Programs - Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you need to go.
Practice #3: Narrow the Focus - Do fewer things in order to make a greater impact.
Practice #4: Teach Less for More - Say only what you need to say to the people who need to hear it.
Practice #5: Listen to Outsiders - Focus on who you're trying to reach, not who you're trying to keep.
Practice #6: Replace Yourself - Learn to hand off what you do.
Practice #7: Work On It - Take time to evaluate your work - and to celebrate your wins.

I'm thinking of going through it with some leaders of my church. But I truly need to wait and pray and see how much of this stuff will work for our smaller, more traditional setting. That's the catch. These guys have been doing this since before they got North Point going. Gleaning from their experience without trying to copy it - that's the trick.

Monday, April 21, 2008

leading change

I finished Leading Change by John Kotter a few days ago. I'm trying to let it all sink in and also sort through what parts I can tranfer from its completely secular model for tranforming organizations to the church.

He proposes an 8-stage process for change. It is:
1) Establishing a Sense of Urgency
2) Creating a Guiding Coalition
3) Developing a Vision and Strategy
4) Communicating the Change Vision
5) Empowering Employees for Broad-based Action (by removing structural barriers, providing needed training, aligning systems to the vision, and dealing with troublesome supervisors)
6) Generating Short-Term Wins
7) Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
8) Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

One of my favorite parts of the book was the last chapter which said that the key to growing as a leader is the combination of a competitive drive and lifelong learning.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

2 movies

I have found that one of the keys to my wife's heart is being willing to watch movies based on Jane Austen books. I've seen more versions of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma than anyone I know. A couple of nights ago, I sent her to our local Red Box to check out a movie, and she came home with this movie, which is a construction of what Jane Austen's life might have been like, since we really don't know. It was actually good, though I must admit a little more racy than I would have imagined. Still, that's hardly racy at all really.

Guys, never underestimate the power of being willing to watch chic flicks with your wife. It goes a long way.

Yesterday, I got to go to the Red Box to pick a movie for us. I ended up bringing home Next, with Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel. This was PG-13, and except for a couple of inferences of casual sex and a little violence it was squeaky clean and action packed. I had never heard of it before I went to the Red Box, but the young lady behind me in line was getting sick of waiting for me to pick a movie and said I really needed to see this one. It was a winner.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is my vision from God?

Here's a follow up to Perry Noble's last post about vision. Its about how you can know if your vision is something you made up for its from God. A very important thing to know!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where does Vision come from?

As I'm seeking to learn more about visioning, the Lord led me to this post by Perry Noble about where vision comes from. Very powerful stuff. Here's a blurb:

One of the questions that is often asked of me by pastors and church leaders is, “Where do you get your vision?”

My answer usually seems to frustrate them because…well…it’s simple. Leadership (and vision) is as easy as listening to God.

- Vision does not come through a committee. Good ideas may come that way. Much needed discussion may come out of a meeting like that…but not vision.

- Vision does not come through a conference. You may get INSPIRATION…but not REVELATION. I think of of the sad things in conference world today is pastors will attend a conference, go home & then try to be EVERYTHING except for what God called them to be.

- Vision does not come out of books. Once again–excellent ideas do. Wisdom comes from reading. You can seriously be challenged and stretched by reading…but vision isn’t in the pages of the next best seller.

- Vision does not come from trying to repeat what has been successful in the past…that’s not vision, that’s the leader being a victim of previous success.

I still say that passionate, white hot, hell charging, world changing & people inspiring vision comes from intentional and uninterrupted time with Jesus…in HIS Word, seeking HIS face through prayers–staying connected with HIS Holy Spirit throughout the day.

So when people ask me, “Where do you get your vision?” My answer is always the time…I meet with God & I don’t move until He tells me to move…but WHEN He tells me to move I go until He tells me to stop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

characteristics of an effective vision

For the past few years, I've been trying to get my head around what it means to cast vision, what vision is, and its importance to leadership within a church. Last night I read Chapter 5 of Leading Change, which is about "Developing Vision and Strategy." I found it very helpful. On page 72, Kotter gives these "Characteristics of an Effective Vision."
>Imaginable: Conveys a picture of what the future will look like
>Desirable: Appeals to the long-term interests of employees, customers, stockholders, and others who have a stake in the enterprise
>Feasible: Comprises realistic, attainable goals
>Focused: Is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making
>Flexible: Is general enough to allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions
>Communicable: Is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

books - late October to early April

Blogging has been a way for me to log what books I've read. Since I haven't blogged much in the last 3.5 months, I thought I'd list what I've read to have it on record. I've been enjoying a lot of stuff in the "classics" category lately. Its been a nice break from typical church related reading. Here's a list of the books I read from late October through mid-April.

1. Hell Under Fire - Gregory K. Beale, Dr. Daniel I. Block, Sinclair B. Ferguson, and Jr., R. Albert Mohler
2. Deception - Randy Alcorn
3. Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamotte
4. The Prophet - Frank Peretti
5. Sherlock Holmes and The Hounds of Baskerville - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6. How Starbucks Saved My Life - Michael Gates Gill
7. The Way of the Small - Michael Gellert
8. Animal Farm - George Orwell
9. Home To Harmony - Phillip Gulley
10. Dr.Jeckyl and Mr.Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
11. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living - Dale Carnegie
12. 1984 - George Orwell
13. Go, Put Your Strengths to Work - Marcus Buckingham
14. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
15. I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church - Paul Nixon
16. GIG - Ed. John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, and Sabin Streeter
17. The Dip - Seth Godin

Monday, April 14, 2008

leaders and managers

Yesterday I started reading Leading Change by John Kotter a professor at Harvard Business School. This book came out in 1996 and I picked it up off of a table of give-away books at my old District Superindentents office over a year ago. Pretty good so far. He's making a point that we need leaders instead of managers to make change. Here's a blip:

Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving.

Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite obstacles. The distinction is absolutely crucial for our purposes here. (p.25)

This is a helpful distinction I think. It also helps me recognize that its the management stuff that makes me crazy, not the leadership stuff, which I find exciting. Anyone want to manage my church for me so that I can just lead?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dan in Real Life

In the past few months, I've become a very die-hard fan of The Office, specifically of Steve Carell. My wife and I have been checking out some of the movies he made. A couple of weeks ago we watched Evan Almighty, a modern-day remake of Noah's Ark. Last night we watched Dan in Real Life. This is a great movie about grief, parenting, family dynamics, and love. I have to say that Steve Carell is an incredible actor, from his improv comedy stuff on The Office to the family comedy of Evan Almighty to the straight drama of Dan in Real Life. If you haven't checked out The Office, new episodes began airing last week on NBC - Thursday nights at 8:00pm. You won't be sorry (if your sense of humor is like mine).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Dip

Today I read The Dip: A little book that tells you when to quit (and when to stick) bySeth Godin - it absolutely blew my mind over and over. If you are trying to accomplish anything at all and are losing steam - read it. It will probably blow a hole in your head too. Here's what's on the second to last page of the book:
All our successes are the same. All our failures, too.
We succeed when we do something remarkable.
We fail when we give up too soon.
We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do.
We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don't have the guts to quit.