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It is common practice for a struggling company to call in a consultant – someone that can help the management team identify underlying problems and make improvement recommendations. While Senior Managers tend to focus on the standard financial reports (e.g., the balance sheet and income statement), the wise consultant knows that financial “struggling” is most often a symptom of poorly managed and measured activities further up the production lifecycle.

And so, they go looking. What they usually find are areas of the company that are trying to manage themselves using production and performance measurements that no longer match the vision and values of the company.

Take the church for example. I mean the church that Jesus Christ is building. That church has come upon hard times – particularly in North America and Europe. We have gotten to the point where measurements are no longer needed to recognize our struggles. The end product is certainly not up to the Master’s standards.

There are at least two reasons the Western church is struggling. First, we are measuring the wrong things. Secondly, we are not doing things God’s way. Put those together and we can say that the Western church is failing to measure itself in the way God has prescribed.

So, where do we start measuring in the right way? Scripture makes it clear that the shepherds will be held responsible for the health of their flocks (Hebrews 13:17). If I was the Master’s consultant, that is where I would begin.

Sometimes it is hard to point out the right way to do something without first identifying what’s being done wrong. In this case, I am relieved that such an approach is not necessary. Why is this? Because whatever way is not God’s way is the wrong way – and get this – no matter how successful that way may appear.

But who am I to judge? Exactly! Judgment is not my intent, nor is it my responsibility. I’m just the consultant. We are called to judge ourselves… and for good reasons.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31-32

If we will not judge ourselves, the Lord will judge us. In either case, the chastening and correction are for our good and the good of our ministries. No one is perfect. The wise leader makes an assessment on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

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There once was a steward. We’ll call him Stewart. Stewart the steward – catchy name.

Stewart was given responsibility for a vineyard. It wasn’t a big vineyard, but it had potential. The Master of the vineyard, after encouraging Stewart to invest himself wisely, left for a faraway land.

For a time, Stewart enjoyed watching over the vineyard that had been left to his keeping. He cherished and nurtured each vine. He did his best to help every vine produce the best tasting fruit possible. Stewart felt that he was accomplishing something important for the Master.

As He had promised, the Master periodically looked in on Stewart. He always had an encouraging word – a “well done, faithful steward.”

Stewart the steward had done well. Each year, the fruit produced by the Master’s vineyard tasted sweeter than the year before. The fame of the vineyard began to spread, first in the town and then across the country side.

One day, Stewart decided to ask the Master to give him a larger vineyard to manage. The Master, pleased by Stewart’s request, asked His Father. The Master’s Father, without an explanation we are aware of, said, “No”. Forever obedient, the Master passed along His Father’s decision.

Regrettably (and predictably), Stewart the steward was not happy. He knew he could do more for the Master’s kingdom. He knew he could make his vineyard (oops!) the biggest and sweetest in the whole region; maybe even in the whole land.

Looking out over his vineyard, Steward decided to take matters into his own hands. He would grow his vineyard with or without the Master blessing. And that is what he set out to do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Warning: This article took a bit of a weird twist. It begins with a realization about teaching: That sharing isolated truth can be confusing – even injurious – to the body of Christ. Here are a few examples:

 

  1. Teaching the importance of good works without first establishing its relationship to the hearing of faith and the appropriation of grace for good works (by that faith), creates an environment where the probability for religious and soulish work is extremely high. The same is true when we fail to first develop the congregant’s relationship with the One “working in us to will and do to His good pleasure”.
  2. Teaching that God desires to show Himself strong on our behalf, without first establishing what it means to be loyal to Him, results in an attitude of passivity and entitlement.
  3. Inviting someone to enter the kingdom of God, without first instructing them about the costs of that commitment, the necessary striving to enter and the diligence required to make their election sure, will leave many falsely secure (and later wondering why He never knew them).

Then there’s the twist: Many will read this and think the problem here is about truth, and how effectively we share it. Yes, it is important that we share the whole truth (and nothing but the truth, so help us God). However, this article is going somewhere else – to a deeper issue.

My fear is that the leader reading this will be moved to try harder; to be more excellent; to hire more and/or new staff; and keep doing what they are doing. Please hear this: Better, smarter and more inspired people will not solve this problem. It is not a people problem. It is a process problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Reach OutWhen needs converge, there is great potential for synergy; and the advancement of God’s kingdom. Here is a great example.

Need One: You do not have time to reach your community (much less “all the nations”) with the Gospel. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19). Time is the Pastor’s most precious commodity. Investing it wisely should be one of his chief concerns.

Need Two: The King needs more disciple makers. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37). God has positioned Leaders in the Workplace, giving them authority and influence for the advancement of His kingdom.

Need Three: Disciple makers in the Workplace need a shepherd. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary  and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Workplace Leaders desire to make a difference for the kingdom, but they lack true discipleship.

If you are a Pastor, consider this: Of all the demographic groups in your fellowship, none has more potential for kingdom impact than the Workplace Leaders whom God has placed under your care. These individuals are in contact with hundreds of people every week. Why are they the only group without a focused ministry? Why are they the most neglected disciple makers in your congregation?

Mobilizing Workplace Leaders is not as hard as you might think. They are industrious self-starters. Most are process oriented problem solvers. God has positioned them, with heart desires for kingdom success.

The investment you make in the lives of Workplace Leaders will be multiplied 100 times over. The risks are negligible. The kingdom returns are exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask or think. I am here to help you get started.

If you are a Workplace Leader, consider this: God has given you influence and authority for the advancement of His kingdom. He may be calling you to ignite such a ministry in your fellowship. You will need your Pastor; and he may not know it. Warning: Do not try to give him this task, nor do it on your own. Instead, ask him to be your covering in it. Then go find the other Workplace Leaders God has called to join you. I am also here to help you get started.

Humbly yours and forever His,

A Storm is ComingThese things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

I have not heard “these are turbulent times” for quite some time now; perhaps because that description no longer does justice to our times. Chaos abounds! It has become normative.

One bit of comfort (if you can receive it): Tribulation is normal for the followers of Jesus. In fact, it is helpful. The Greek word for “transformed” in 2Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 12:2 is metamorphoō.

See what I mean? God uses tribulation to mature us into the very image of the glory of Jesus Christ.

The tribulation that has come to the church in America will continue to intensify. It will be felt by individuals and organizations of all kinds. Many are already suffering. Few know what to do, or how to help their neighbor.

Tribulation does not have to be a bad thing. God used tribulation to force the Gospel out of Jerusalem. The nation of Israel was formed out of the tribulation of WWII and Hitler’s genocide.

We do not have to be overcome by tribulation. There are ways to find – and help others find – the peace, joy and strength of God, in the midst of the chaos. There is a safe place. It is called “the center of God’s will”.

Of course, finding that place is easier said than done. Good intentions are not the same as being intentional. To find Him, we must seek for Him with all of our hearts.

So, where do we start? How do we find the center of God’s will? To find God’s will in any situation, we need to understand and commit ourselves to what He is trying to accomplish. I suggest we start with the three eternal purposes of God. Read the rest of this entry »

the-light-of-godMost assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12

Have you ever wondered: Where are the “greater works” that God has made possible for His children? What must we do to walk in them?

Many will say that faith is the issue; the lack thereof. The greater works are for all who believe in Jesus. So, what then do we make of the faith of a mustard seed moving a mountain?

Are those that claim to believe simply deceived about their faith? Or, is something else contributing to our lack of greater works?

As we explore this possibility, keep in mind that God is raising up Christians in the workplace to be disciple makers and transformation agents – to lead others into this life. Furthermore, Jesus has given pastors and teachers, as gifts to the church, to encourage and equip them for this ministry.

So, how does a leader in the workplace (and the pastors/teachers leading them) become transformation agents?

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

No one can be an agent of transformation without first experiencing the transformative work of the Holy Spirit, through the renewal of their mind.

Many times, the gap between our hearing and doing greater works exists because we do not participate with the Holy Spirit in His renewal work. Consequently, the faith that comes from the word of God gets stuck in our hearts, failing to come alive in the greater works of faith.

So, how do we actively participate with our Transformer – the Holy Spirit? Read the rest of this entry »

Business Man with TabletFor by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

Sometimes the smallest words carry incredible meaning. Take the word “all” for example. All things were created through Him and for Him. Not some things, or even most things. ALL THINGS!!

All things include the place where we spend most of our waking hours – the workplace. Whether you are a pastor, business owner, executive, or professional, God has very carefully created the environment where you have authority and influence. This is most encouraging; so don’t forget it.

With that encouragement, let’s talk about why He created your workplace. Ultimately, it is “for Him”. What does that mean? It means that for Him to be active in your work, He must be the Boss. Be careful: Boss does not mean partner. There is only one Boss.

If you have settled that transaction with God – surrendering your ownership over to Him – then you are in a most advantageous position; for your success as the steward of His resources has now become a matter of personal interest to Him.

Now, imagine your boss offered to meet with you every morning. What would you do? If you were smart, you would block out time on your calendar; and you would not allow anyone, or anything, to interrupt that appointment.

God’s thoughts and ways are above our own. Doesn’t it make good ministry/business sense to talk to Him daily? How about before every major decision?

Our calendar says a lot about what is important to us. That is true for all workplace leaders – pastors included. Meeting with God, our new Boss, has got to be the most important meeting we have every day.

Consider this: First, put the meeting on your calendar (recurring, daily). Second, as the leader of leaders in your fellowship, determine how you can communicate and demonstrate this foundational principle of ministry/business success.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Man in Anguish“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

My first foreign mission trip was the longest and most intense experience of the Lord’s presence that I have ever enjoyed. It was frustrating to get back to the “normal” of corporate American life. I had a mission in the workplace, but it just wasn’t the same.

What was the difference? How could I have that experience here at home? Was it even possible?

After much searching, in prayer and conversation with fellow missionaries, I came to a very simple conclusion: The primary difference was “control”. At home, I had it. On the mission field, I did not.

On the mission field, I did not get to decide what I would eat, where I would sleep, nor where I would go to minister each day. It was the first time in my adult life that I was completely out of control.

It was an exhilarating adventure – excitement and fear in just the right measures.

God used that experience to teach me a valuable lesson about myself; and about the life I was choosing to live. Letting go of control has been a long and challenging process. The battle is still going on. I am grateful for His patience and persistence.

Of course, being “out of control” is counter-intuitive. The world tells us it is counter-productive. The risks of losing control are presented – by our flesh and the world – as far greater than anyone would dare assume.

So, let’s stop right here and face one very important fact: Most of God ways are counter-productive in worldly terms, and therefore counter-intuitive to our carnal minds. This issue of control is as old as man’s rebellion in the Garden; it is the decision to be our own king.

Leaders in the workplace – pastors included – are expected (by some very important people) to keep their environments “under control”. For the Christian in these situations, the best question to ask ourselves is, “Whose control?”

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my first foreign mission trip was under God’s control. My inability to control allowed Him to will and do to His good pleasure. His good pleasure was to give me a taste of His kingdom. My experience was an “eternal life knowing” of Him and His Son.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

Consider this: Losing control is not something you do (at least not at first). Losing control begins with a desire – a desire that God has put in your heart. Ask Him to stir up that desire; and – here’s the risky part – give you opportunities to be out of control. He will use these to encourage, edify and equip you for joyful, Spirit-filled ministry.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Double Chaos 3But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

If your organization is not currently in chaos, then it certainly will be in the future. Chaos is normal for the Christian organization that is committed to the spiritual maturity of the fellowship and its individuals.

God allows, or introduces, chaos for two purposes:

  1. To move us off our current level of glory. Most people are best motivated by discomfort and pain.
  2. Once we are moving, chaos becomes the agent of our transformation – preparing us for the next level of glory. This includes working out the bad (e.g., impatience, self-sufficiency); and working in the good (e.g., faith, gentleness).

Jesus promised tribulation (John 16:33), and it comes from all quarters. This is important: Overcoming tribulation does not mean avoiding it, ignoring it, or working around it. Chaos is to be welcomed as an agent of God to mature us, and our organization.

BTW: This applies to all forms of organization – religious and secular. As a leader of Workplace Leaders, you have an opportunity to disciple others through chaos in two ways: as an example of one who handles chaos well, and as one who walks with others through their chaos. Read the rest of this entry »

In business and in ministry, it is exciting to see things “come together”. For the salesman and the preacher, seeing someone “connect the dots” is a fulfilling exercise. Building strong relationships is profitable for both the Pastor and the Workplace Leader.

I love making connections; and one connection that is dear to my heart is the relationship between Pastors and the Workplace Leaders they are called and anointed to lead. It is for that reason that I am truly excited to offer the following thoughts about the transformation process.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

God has a way for everything. His way for maturing the disciples of His Son is called transformation. Transformation is a process of God that applies to individuals and groups. Those groups include fellowships and businesses. This is a connection that Pastors and other Workplace Leaders share. Read the rest of this entry »

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