Archive for the Leadership Category

How to encourage others to “step up” and help you lead your small group!

Posted in Discipleship, Evangelism, Leadership, small group leadership, Uncategorized on November 15, 2018 by mikekeaton

One way to guarantee burnout and discouragement as a Small Group Leader is is to do everything for your small group by yourself without any help.  So, how do you get others to step up and take on some responsibility for the group?  Here are several key ways you can guarantee long term success in developing others:

  1. First, Pray! – I know, I know…sounds very “christian-eze” like and cliche too.  BUT…you simply cannot underestimate the power of prayer.  The Lord says, “we have not because we ask not”.  So, ask the Lord to give you fellow laborers in this disciple making harvest called Small Groups!
  2. Ask someone! -Seems obvious right?!  Here is some clarity – ask someone specifically, face to face!  I heard a leadership talk once where the speaker said, “leaders don’t usually respond to the ‘all-call’, they like to be asked personally”.  When you ask, give them clear guidelines, a timeline, a definitive role, specific tasks, let them know they will not be out there by themselves, but you will walk alongside them to encourage, support, help, and coach.  Be clear.
  3. Start small! – Jesus said, “he who is faithful with little will be rewarded with much”.  Don’t shoot for the moon right away and try to land the next leader for the new group that is going to branch off of yours.  Assign a simple task or responsibility, like prayer time (leading it or just taking down the requests and emailing them out to the group after the meeting), or the opening icebreaker question, or taking attendance, or planning the next fun event, dinner, or service project.  Keep it simple, check on progress, offer to help, and evaluate and give feedback afterward.
  4. Create positions! – Make a position out each of the 5 elements of a healthy small group as seen in this diagram:   5elementsofahealthySGThen, share it with the group, so they can see and understand the different components of a group, then, make the “BIG ASK” of individuals. You can also consider the 5 different purposes of the church as positions, which are closely related: they are as follows: Evangelism, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, and Ministry.
  5. Use Giftings! – God has uniquely gifted each person in your group so that the whole benefits and actually grows in God’s love as they use their spiritual gift. Let Holy Spirit work through His Word by planning a study on Ephesians 4:11-16 for your group. Pass out a spiritual gifts test for each person to complete in group or take our online version.  Their spiritual gifting will help you know who could teach, or take care of hospitality, or any other position.
  6. Practice! Practice! – At some point you need to just let someone lead.  To use a sports analogy, ‘you have to let them get some reps’!  They are not going to do it like you would or even prefer, but you have to let them do it.  They will only get better by doing it, you debriefing with them for encouragement and correction, and them trying again.
  7. Consider all! -Sometimes, the best leader is the one you’re not considering! A couple of tried and true grids for identifying potential leaders are the 3 C’s and the F.A.T. acrostic.  Do they have Character, Competency, and Chemistry and are they Faithful, Available, and Teachable?

Developing disciple-making leaders takes time, dont get discouraged and dont give up.  Keep the mission in focus and in front of your group members.  Cast the vision that your group is not a ‘holy huddle’, but a mission driven environment to grow groups, people, and leaders for God’s Kingdom and His Church!

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How to facilitate meaningful small group discussions.

Posted in Discipleship, Leadership, small group leadership on October 16, 2018 by mikekeaton

Every small group leader wants to lead a great group discussion and every small group leader has experienced the discussion that didn’t go so well!  So, how do you lead or facilitate a meaningful discussion?

Before getting into the specifics, here are two basic ‘rules of thumb’ to keep in mind…

*think facilitate not lead – its a discussion not a lecture

*the larger the group, the more difficult the discussion, or, the smaller the group the better the discussion.

Lets compare leading a meaningful discussion to a airplane flight!  There is the pre-flight, take-off, climbing to altitude, cruising speed, final descent, and landing the plane.

Pre-Flight

During pre-flight a lot is happening but most of it is related to ‘preparation’. To the small group leader ‘preparing a plan’ is key to a meaningful discussion. How does a small group leader prepare a plan?    Pray, study, and pray…in that order!

Take-Off

The take off can be the most exciting and the most nerve wracking few minutes at the same time.  For the small group leader a good start sets the pace for the rest of the time. A good start involves using a good ‘ice-breaker’.  The goal is to loosen-em up by getting them laughing and talking.

Climbing, Cruising, and the Descent

The climb, cruising, and descent parts of the flight are all about the ‘lesson’. The lesson has an intro, body, and conclusion. The intro is about connecting to their heart with motivation, the body is about connecting to the head with information, and the conclusion is about connecting to their hands with application.

*Motivate them with some praise, scripture, and worship. (Read a Psalm and ask for ‘popcorn praises’ then open with prayer)

*Inform them with a Bible discussion not a bible study.  Involve them in the discussion by asking great questions.  Ask ‘why’ and ‘how’, use ‘explain’, ‘discuss’, and ‘share’, say ‘tell us about’ instead of ‘what’ or ‘yes/no’ kinds of questions. If you’re using a lesson guide with questions, look for segways in the conversation to ‘facilitate’ from one point to the next and DO NOT just read the questions one after the other!

*Apply the lesson to them by helping them know what to do with it. Help them define their “I will”.  “Because of the lesson, this week, I will ________________!”

Landing

Everybody likes a smooth landing.  End your group with varied prayer experiences.  For example: 1) share needs and then ask who will pray for John’s request, and then ask who will pray for Sarah’s request, etc., then have them pray outloud in the same order then you close, 2) pass out cards and have everyone write down their requests (saves time in a large group), put them in a hat or basket then have each draw a card and that’s their prayer focus for the week, 3) subdivide the group by men and women for prayer, 4) ask for one volunteer to pray to close (could be a clue to a potential leader).  There is no shortage to ideas of how to use varied prayer experiences for a smooth end to your great group discussion-be creative!

Each of these parts of the small group discussion are skills that take time to develop but with intentionality, patience, and perseverance.  You can become a facilitator of great discussions that will make them want to come back!!

Share your ideas of something I left out or, share your best practice to facilitate a great group discussion?

…see what I did there? 😉

 

How Would Jesus Vote?

Posted in Leadership, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 26, 2016 by mikekeaton

 

How would Jesus Vote? – what a loaded question! We’ve heard a pretty good bit of buzz out there on this question. I’ve heard people say, “he wouldn’t vote!” I’ve heard people say pretty dogmatically, “He would vote Republican!”, and I’ve heard others say “He would vote Democrat!”

How we answer the question is important!  We each may have the tendency to answer the question as to justify our cause/approach.  In other words, wherever you line up politically, you could make arguments that Jesus is for this or that and by that declare that He would vote your way.

We should have a Principle based approach.  In other words, we are to consider Jesus’ teachings on authority, government, and perspective, and let those principles guide our direction as to what we are to do, or “how would Jesus have me vote”?  And this really is the right question.

Disclaimer – I am no expert on politics.  I did not major in political science.  Some of you are probably better talking it up about politics than I am, but I did major in things related to the church and the Scriptures.  Also, as a church leader, I am not here to tell you how to vote, that’s not my job, our job is to lead you to follow the Lord and His Word!

Biblical vs political

My desire to help you be have a biblical worldview more than a political worldview…how do you do that? Here are 3 considerations:

1. Focus on the Right Kingdom

I don’t believe Jesus was politically focused. I don’t mean that I think He didn’t care, I just don’t believe that politics was His priority…there’s some evidence for this from His own words…

John 18:33-38 – my Kingdom is not of this world

Mark 1:14-15 – the kingdom of God is at hand

Acts 1:3, 6-8 its not for you to know

So what should we do? We should have the focus of Jesus!  We are to be more about His kingdom than this kingdom.  As a Christian we must have these philosophical presuppositions…the earth will pass away, we are leaving this kingdom anyway, we are just passing through this one, we are just pilgrims here, were here temporarily.

Our World is messed up for sure.  America is in a real crisis of leadership.  But, as a follow of Jesus and His Kingdom, there is no reason to be all dismayed and troubled, fearful or fretful – Psalm 37:8-9

Our first focus is to be His kingdom!

Matt. 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

 2. Filter through the right lens

As followers of Jesus who are focused on HIS kingdom more than THIS kingdom, we could say, we should be non-partisan, now I am not saying don’t be or its wrong to be a republican, democrat, libertarian, or otherwise…when I say non partisan, its just to point out that having a biblical worldview more than a political worldview is not about what party you line up under.

Consider that THIS kingdom’s parties are divided…have you ever paid attention to a presidential address?  Could our country be more visibly divided at the top level of its leadership?  One side of the room hear’s something they like while the other disagrees and a clear dividing line between them is seen by applause vs. arms folded, or a standing ovation vs. a seated protest.  Jesus said, a house divided will not stand”.  

here is a point of perspective: we are to see, recognize, or understand,  that His authority allows this authority.

Jesus told Pilate, who was the governing Roman ruler of Jerusalem in the days of the Roman Empire, where his power, position, and politics came from…

John 19:7-11 – your authority is from above

…this was not just a great come back by Jesus…not just quick wit, it was His point of view, his perspective on authority, here’s another example of Jesus’ philosophy or perspective regarding government from a day previously, He said…

Matt. 22:15-22 – Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s

So what should we do?  If we see through the filter that God is Sovereign and allows authority to be in certain places in certain era’s of time then we can have the right lens which will allow us to respectfully submit to authority.  Consider this passage on this subject: Romans 13:1-7

3. Follow the Right Leader

Being submissive and respectful to God given authority, and being more about His kingdom, should not lead us to a fatalistic attitude or action.  To say, “well, its gonna happen the way God wants it to”, or “its the world and not my home, what do I care?” NO, we are here now, in this era of time!  We have freedoms and privileges. We should be good stewards of these and exercise our freedom and privilege to vote.  Many don’t vote, b/c they are fatalistic and indifferent, this is not responsible or good stewardship.

Following the right leader is not about voting party, but voting person or the character of the person…its voting biblical-not political!

We all have experienced the reality of…

Proverbs 29:2 –“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

Sometimes the wicked rule b/c of what 1 John 5:19 says:“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Other times the wicked rule b/c we don’t stand up, not for party, but for righteousness!  So what should we do? Measure His Word against their word!

In addition: we should diligently pray for wisdom.  Also, we must do our homework.  Who is the candidate?…not just are they Republican, Democrat, or other,  but who are they in their character and conduct? How do they measure up biblically?, how do they measure up next to Jesus?, What is their track record?

The scriptures give us example after example of kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord, and as a result they led the nation(s) to fall far away from God.  Who someone is leads them to do what they do, follow the right leader by learning who they are.  A politicians track record is a matter of public record, and if we don’t know, there are plenty of resources to help us.

This world is not our final destination. But, while we are here…we must be faithful – faithful to bear witness of the truth

-be more about His kingdom than this kingdom

-see His authority allows this authority

-measure His Word against their word

Then, we can walk into that voting booth and vote how Jesus would have us vote b/c were focused on the right kingdom, filtering through the right lens, and prayerfully following the right leader

Questions…

 

  1. why do you think so many people, especially Christ followers, get caught up in the political scene? How can we have more of a biblical worldview vs. a political worldview?
  1. Read Acts. 1:3, 6-8. What are the disciples asking Jesus in verse 6 and how do we see ourselves thinking the same way? How does Jesus answer them and us in vs. 7-8? How should we apply Jesus’ answer?
  1. Read Mark 1:14-15. Cross-reference this passage with these passages – Matthew 4:23, 9:35. We understand the gospel to be Jesus came, died and resurrected – believe in this and be saved. But at this time, Jesus hadn’t died yet…so, what is the gospel of the kingdom? How does it relate to Acts 1:3 and the way we should be focused?
  1. How can we be more about God’s kingdom than the kingdom of this world?
  1. Read 1 John 5:19. If the whole world is in the power of the evil one, why should we care about who gets elected? How do we balance or understand the truth of 1 John 5:19 and 1 Chronicles 29:11-12?
  1. Read Romans 13:1-2, 7-10. What is to be our heart’s attitude toward our elected officials? Why do so many not give the honor and respect that is owed to those in office? How does the 2nd greatest commandment guide us in this?
  1. Before you vote, do you do your homework on who you will vote for, or do you just vote by party? How can we move from being partisan focused to more character focused in our voting selections?

 

How do we fulfill our Vision?

Posted in Leadership on September 27, 2011 by mikekeaton

Vision is a “seeing” word or idea.  When people talk about their vision, they refer to what they see in their minds eye.  I read an author who said, “vision is a “what if” look at a preferred future”.  Well, what we see as a preferred future for our church is our vision.  Our church’s vision is:   “A fully devoted follower of Jesus, not living for their self, but daily as a missionary for God’s Kingdom”.  

I find in my own leadership that much of my frustration is a result of a lack of production of the vision.  Well, I found this article today and thought it was a good learning to share on how vision gets done.  I think you will find it enjoyable and thoughtful.  I especially liked the quote at the end so much that I wrote it on my white board in my office.  I am encouraged to always think about the next step in fulfilling our vision as a result of this article….”what’s the plan”, “yes, but how”?

Enjoy…. (you can read below or just click here)

What Kills VISION?

Posted on Sep 24, 2011

For the better part of the past 2 decades (maybe longer), the term “VISION” has been a popular buzz word in business and our churches.  It is not uncommon to pick up a book, blog, seminary outline, magazine and so on and see phrases like:

  • – What is your vision?
  • – Align your vision
  • – Visionary Leader(ship)
  • – Cast your vision
  • – With out vision, people will perish
  • -No vision, no leadership

I did a quick search on Amazon for “Books on Vision”…it reported almost 61,000…and I have read and learned a lot from many of these.

I then did a Google search for “Visionary Leadership”…it returned 166,000,000 results…that is right, MILLION

One last search was for “Quotes about Vision”…and it returned 260,000,000.  WOW.  Can imagine how many twitter posts I could get from all of these websites.

As we would all agree, there is absolutely no shortage of resources and opinions on vision and how important it is.  And I agree that vision is critical to not only our organizations, but in our personal lives as well.  I believe that without vision, leadership is handcuffed….and that without vision, people roam aimlessly throughout life.

So what “kills” vision?  What impedes vision?  What derails it?

The answer is actually very simple – THE LACK OF EXECUTION, ACTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

 

During my search of “vision” on the internet, I found a great quote that drives this home:

Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action.” – Warren Bennis

Have you ever been in a high level brainstorming session when the “vision” is so thick you could cut it with a knife?   The emotions are running high.. the excitement is palpable…questions like “Can you imagine if…” are being thrown around…the whiteboard is covered with 10 different colors and there are Post-it Notes spewed all over the walls.  You know what I am talking about….you have been there.

Vision is cast. Vision is set.  The Vision has been communicated. The troops are rallied.

So…what happened? Why did our vision not become reality?  Why do we have unfulfilled expectations? We could sit and develop a list of the “reasons” why (like money, time, etc), but the short answer is that the vision was not implemented.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “implement” as a verb is:

  • 1. to fulfill; perform; carry out:
  • 2. to put into effect according to or by means of a definite plan or procedure.

So…when a Vision fails, it boils down to the required actions were not completed.  The action items were not fulfilled.  There was not a plan to follow.  People did not take responsibility.  There was not a system or procedures to follow to accomplish the tasks.

For those of you who know me well, you know I love to brainstorm and have vision casting meetings.  I thrive on asking “What Box” and not just trying to think outside someone else’s box.  But…I am also an anal retentive, process drive fool.  I am always trying to put means/methods/structure around the vision and the goals because I have been privy to far too many great visions that never went anywhere.  They did not take flight and soar due to a lack of vision or a lack of excitement…but rather of a lack of implementation.

My point?

Vision casting and vision thinking is great…we need as much of it as we can muster.  But…if the vision is to become reality, you must have a plan to implement it.  “Vision” is the feel good part…”Implementation” is the Git ‘R Done part.

Both are necessary.

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

God’s economy is not experiencing recession, and other learnings…

Posted in Leadership on November 10, 2010 by mikekeaton

I was blessed yesterday to attend the Take Out Conference at Northstar Church.  It was a great day!  We had the privilege to learn from some really sharp leaders, like Mike Lynch, Pastor of Northstar, Jeff Henderson, pastor of Buckhead Church, Joe Sangle, financial guru from Newspring church, and many others.  And one of the coolest parts was they did the conference for free!!  Awesome!!  Some of our volunteer leaders were planning to attend and I went along with them, it was great to learn alongside them, be encouraged, develop our relationships more, and gain knowledge and wisdom for the road ahead for leading our church to take the Gospel out to the community through community ministry.

There we several things that I learned and I wanted to post them today for other’s learning pleasure:

Vision

is more of a team sport than a person sport!  when vision is 1 persons job then you put a lid on the movement

“vision casters are vision carriers and vision carriers are vision casters”

ask this question everyday, “what did I do today  to cast vision for our church”

“start where you are, do what you can, use what you have”

“dont inform me, inspire me”

Outreach

“do not assume people will show up, you “go” to them, a religious system says, “ya’ll come to us”, a Jesus system says, “we’ll go to you”

“under promise, over deliver”

“serve to be heard”

“what would it be like if our church wasn’t there in our community?”  “saddens my heart to even think such a thing” (quoted by a principal of an elementary school)

“be inspiring, encouraging, giving, and provide opportunities”

Leadership

an uncommon ministry has:  uncommon leadership, vision, God dependence, heart, & committment

an uncommon resolve comes from confidence in God’s reality, God’s reliability, God’s resources, & God’s representatives

uncommon commitment asks, “what will it take” instead of “what do I have left”

Leading a church to be generous requires being defiant with vision, leadership and confidence, it also requires a laser focus, a call to action and clear instructions

Funding

“I want to see the book of Acts come to life in my lifetime”

-our church “will” fund our vision

-God’s economy is not experiencing recession

-we must provide relevant ways to give!

-we must teach giving in some way, every week, month, and year!!

 

Well, I hope you got something from those, i encourage you to check out the conference page and get the mp3’s.

MK

Frustrated!! C’mon Man!!

Posted in Leadership on November 1, 2010 by mikekeaton

I went to a Pastor’s Conference years ago and heard the presenter say we could use any of the material he was giving us in any way we liked and then followed that with this statement, “b/c there are no copyrights in heaven”!

I thought that was great and went back home to process my learnings from the conference.   I soon found myself with an opportunity to share some of those learnings and began organizing my thoughts on paper from my notes from the conference.  During that process I was compelled to call the speaker at the church he served and speak with him about the notes and my opportunity.  Needless to say I was excited!!  However, in a few short moments my excitement was squelched.  I quickly learned that he was backing up on his comment that “there are no copyrights in heaven” b/c of a pending book deal on the material.

Now, I understand businesses have to protect their proprietary’s and a publisher especially.  But, in the spirit of ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, C’MON MAN!

Now let me bring this present tense!  As a pastor/church planter, and a young one at that (not that I am young but our church plant is), I am always reading other pastor’s blogs, listening to podcasts of other sermons and leadership stuff, reading articles and going to conferences if I can when dollars are available, and several other ways to “get” info by which to grow in my own leadership and pastoring.  One of the things I have started to like is “free” webinars and teleconferences b/c I can stay at home or my office and gain insights from other journeymen.

But sometimes, even with all that intake there is still a need for one on one Q & A, feedback and exchange through coaching.  But there is one problem – IT’S NOT FREE!!  I have heard and even agree with the statement, “everyone needs a coach”, but too many other pastors, especially those who the “church world” would deem as successful and could offer much to help younger church planters like myself and many others, want to charge for their coaching, sharing of ideas and learnings.  I think it is like they must think, “hey God helped me learn how to be effective and successful, so, I think I will charge others for what heaven gave me for free”!!  C’MON MAN!!

Honestly, idk what they think and I really don’t want to judge their heart…but I get frustrated!!  There are so many other pastors that could help so many other pastors but for whatever reason they want to charge for their knowledge.  whatever happened to the older teaching the younger Paul taught in the pastoral epistles?  Whatever happened to Solomon’s wisdom that there are no new learning’s under the sun?  if that’s the case why do we charge for ideas that are as old as time?

I would love to sit at the feet of some of these “successful and effective” Gamaliel’s and learn from them and apply those learnings to see God’s Kingdom ADVANCE.  I am willing to even pay but the economy has hit our church hard and spending is not happening now or anytime in the near seeable future.  Maybe I am just whining and just need to man up, but why do we charge for God’s eternally free truth?  why?

my resolve is to offer whatever learnings I have to anyone who cares to listen (or read) for free!!  It’s a Kingdom Thing!!  All for the kingdom, say aye!!  c’mon man.

mk

 

Take Possession of the Land!!

Posted in Leadership, Learnings on June 1, 2010 by mikekeaton

Our church is reading through the bible together this year and I have really enjoyed it.  As many times as I have read through the the OT books of Israels history I still get moved by many of the stories of faith and boldness for God.

One thing that stuck out to me recently really hits home with me regarding my own leadership and the leadership community of Crossroads.  Over and over God tells His people that He is going to give them a land of their own.  A land flowing with milk and honey, He calls it.  This was one of the covenant aspects between God and Abraham that was continually promised to his descendants.  Not until the days of Joshua was that covenant promised ultimately realized.  God’s sovereignty is seen in that He said over and over, “I will give you the Land”, “I will drive out it’s inhabitants”, and “I will deliver them into your hand”.  God did give them the land.  He did in many supernatural ways (Jericho, Aia) deliver much more powerful nations into the hands of the Israelite’s.

But do you know what stuck out to me?  The Israelite’s had to take possession of the land!  They had to go fight!  They had to wield the sword!  They had to kill people!  They had to “take possession”.  This was their responsibility!

I find that in my life leadership is the same way. (not killing people-ha) I am realizing that I need to focus on leadership development in my own life and even more so in the life of our leaders at Crossroads!  Because of that I am taking some intentional time to focus on that and how to do it over the summer.  One book I just started is “Shepherding Horses” by Kent Humphreys which was given to me (somewhat prophetically) by a church builder I met for the very first time in my office a few weeks ago.  In this book, I highlighted the following quote…

you, pastor, have been called to shepherd these leaders [stubborn horses].  Only the Living God can equip you to this task.  He is able and ready, and He will accomplish it through you…if you so choose”

God has called me, equipped me, able to equip me more, develop me, and use me to lead other leaders!! (He will give me the land), but I must choose to train them, lead them, influence them, show them, challenge them. (I must take possession of the land)!  What a powerful learning this is in my life right now!!

The same is true for you, leader!  God has called you and is able to do it.  But you and I must “take possession of the land!”  We must step up and lead.  We must make the appointment.  We must engage with the ones we are leading.  We cannot lead from a distance and hope that “they read my email!” (Have you noticed email is not working like it once did?)  We must wield the sword, we must actively pursue influencing others.  God will do it and He is more than able, but for whatever reason, He WANTS  to use us, just like He did with those bold men and women of faith in the bible.

I encourage you and challenge you and myself, to take possession of the land….LEAD!

MK