Effective Leaders Engage and Adapt

In a Harvard Business Review Article, May 2017 authors Botelho, Powell, Kincaid, and Wang name four characteristics of highly effective leaders including: effective leaders engage for impact and effective leaders adapt proactively.

In is the role of the leader to set the course. Once the course is set, the effective leader must have the buy-in and support of colleagues to implement the decisions and stakeholders to accept and to be on board. Communication is the key to manage resistance, to insure clarity, and to instill confidence.

It would be usual if the implementation of a decision requiring significant change goes smoothly. Expect bumps and setbacks. Effective leaders are prepared to act and adapt.

Faith-based leaders understand that life’s road is rocky and a desert-like journey. They know that the Good Shepherd has called them both to lead his flock and to also be a sheep in the flock of the Good Shepherd.

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Devotional: I Want Nothing Else

“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).

I prefer an older translation. Lacking seems too passive. “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing else that I want.” Continue reading

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Effective leaders are decisive

In a Harvard Business Review Article, May 2017 authors Botelho, Powell, Kincaid, and Wang name four characteristics of highly effective leaders including:

Their first characteristic is “effective leaders decide with speed and conviction”. The authors found in their research that leaders tend to overthink. They tend to get bogged down, because they are seeking perfect solutions. While it is sometimes better to withhold action until the leader is fully informed, avoidance is a trap that can lead to unnecessary delays and inaction that restrains the organization from needed change or advancement.

Effective leaders gather information, seek the wisdom of trusted confidents, act in a timely manner, and are empowered by their convictions.

Faith-based leaders add a crucial component that was not part of this research – they understand their calling and they seek God’s guidance.

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Devotional: The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1a).

So begins the most well-known psalm. The words are a powerful declaration. I often wonder if we fully grasp the statement that we are making when we recite them.

Shepherd: God chose to describe himself to his people in picture language. I often comment that God preferred the concrete approach of a childrens sermon. The Creator knows full well that his children, whether adult or youth, learn better when the metaphors are concrete.

Of course, God is spirit, and not a human shepherd. But the characteristics of the good shepherd describe well a relationship. The shepherd loving tends the flock, provides them with the necessities of life, protects them from predators, and gives them the assurance that they can rest in his care.

My: The Lord is not just any shepherd on a Judean hillside. The Lord is MY shepherd. That’s declarative. The psalmist, and those of us who claim the passage, are stating our commitment to join the flock of God and, like a sheep, follow the shepherd obediently and without wavering.

Sheep trust. Sheep obey. Sheep declare their total dependence on their shepherd. And in the flock of God, it is the Lord himself who shepherds.

Can you say it? Do you declare it?

Those who are called to lead follow the shepherd. The Lord is mine! The Lord is ours!

Devotionals are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services

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Four Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders

In a Harvard Business Review Article, May 2017 authors Botelho, Powell, Kincaid, and Wang name four characteristics of highly effective leaders including:

1. effective leaders decide with speed and conviction
2. effective leaders engage for impact
3. effective leaders adapt proactively
4. effective leaders deliver reliably on their commitments.

Each of these will be elaborated upon in future posts.

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Devotional: the Ladder and the Key

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23).

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is in a constant state of religious war. Continue reading

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Devotional: How Amazing It Would Be! (Part 3)

How amazing it would have been to have seen Jesus in action!

The common Jewish people in Jesus’ time had no books. In Galilee, the children of the faithful learned in synagogue schools at the feet of their rabbi, memorizing Torah. Most would never learn from an esteemed rabbi with authority, but would learn from Torah teachers. For most, their lives were simple, living as farmers, fishermen, merchants, and household managers.

Imagine! Into the community comes a teacher with charisma. He is not an aloof, esteemed rabbi who had grown up in Galilee’s version of the Ivy League in Capernaum. Instead he came from Hicksville (Nazareth): “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Continue reading

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Devotional: How Amazing It Would Be! (Part 2)

How amazing it would have been to be with Jesus when he healed the sick and raised the dead.

Well, maybe. It would have been quite a sight to behold as a spectator. But would it have been as exciting to be with him in action?

If you are like me, there is a tendency to not rock the boat too much. While I understand that it is progressive to express that change is good and desirable, inside I prefer things to be predictable, more certain, and definitely well-ordered. Continue reading

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Devotional: How Amazing It Would Be! (Part 1)

“How amazing it would have been to have personally seen Jesus in action, walking on water, healing people, or raising people from death.” Those were the words of opening on a daily devotional post that I read recently.

On the surface, this resonates with me. It is a personal blessing to be in Israel and to lead trip participants along the paths that Jesus literally walked. But when I dig introspectively beneath the surface, I wonder. How would I, and those who are in my circle of friends and fellow believers, have reacted to Jesus?

As the legendary Paul Harvey would say, “And now for the rest of the story,” and in three parts. Continue reading

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Canada Day and Independence Day

On July 1, 1867 Canada was officially born as an independent nation. Congratulations Canada on your milestone 150th birthday! On July 4, 1776 the United States declared its independence and became an independent nation. July 1 is Canada Day in Canada and July 4 is Independence Day in the U.S.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13: 1-7).

For all of our national warts, citizenship for those of us who have been blessed to be born in Canada or in the U.S. is a privilege. In both nations, liberties are treasured, the right to vote to select representatives is protected, and we enjoy religious freedom.

That was not the case in biblical times. God both warned against nationhood and nationalism and called his people to submit to political leaders because all authority is given by God.

God called Israel to be a holy nation: a people who singularly focused on obedient living. When they begged him to give them a king so that they could be like the nations around them, God warned them. Through the prophet Samuel, God told them to be careful what they wished for, because it would not go well. They persisted, God allowed it, and it ended badly. There has never been and never will be a perfectly good human leader.

Some among Jesus’ followers wanted him to upend Rome. The Jewish people wanted the foot of Rome to be taken from their necks. They had not learned from the stories of Saul, David, and the rest of their kings. They wanted Jesus to reclaim David’s physical throne and reestablish the national power of Israel. On the Mount of Olives, they chanted and cheered him on. Jesus would have been the perfect leader. But, instead of ascending a throne in Jerusalem that day, he wept. The people did not understand. It is through God’s obedient people, and not through political kingdoms, that God brings his kingdom.

Those of us who are believers with a reformed worldview do not accept parallelism. We believe that God reigns, that his kingdom is ever advancing, and that every square inch of creation belongs to God.

Therefore, reformed believers do not let governments do their own thing without seeking to influence decisions and be decision-makers for Christ. Christians belong in government, not to promote theocratic rule, but to seek justice and love mercy and seek to bathe deliberations in our faith perspective of loving God above all and our neighbors as ourselves.

Christian resistance to governments should never be violent or vile. Instead, resistance by believers must be in the context of honor and respect for the points of view of those with whom we disagree. God said so!

Jesus could have destroyed mighty Rome with a single word. Before his ministry even started, Satan tempted him to do just that. Satan offered him all of the kingdoms of the world, if he would just bow to him. Even Satan knew that earthly power is temporal, corrupts, and is not God’s way of obedience.

Rome certainly deserved God’s wrath. Caesar claimed to be god. Rome controlled its subjects with cruel punishments, including the most horrible, crucifixions. Soon after Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, the Roman emperor would execute him, and Paul knew the time was coming.

Still, Paul wrote to the Romans that even those Roman emperors are to be respected and honored. Their day would come, but in the meantime, their earthly authority was allowed by God. So, yield willingly to them by paying your taxes. Respect them. Honor them.

The words of Romans 13 are for us today, too. In Canada and in the U.S. our governments and our leaders are in place today because God has allowed it. It is our duty as followers for Christ to apply the words from Paul. Whether we agree or disagree with direction or decisions, do so with respect. Whether we agree or disagree with our leaders, honor them because God says so.

Freedom to serve God without the restraint of government control is our greatest liberty. It should be our primary reason to celebrate Canada Day and Independence Day, giving thanks to God.

Devotionals are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services

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