Category: Leadership


Silence as a response

Words express ideas of the mind and heart. Silence can also express ideas quite clearly. Now, the recipients may not always grasp those inherent messages immediately. But just give them some time. Eventually, they’ll get it.

Some never get it. Their hearts are set in a particular direction. For such people, your silence, nor your words will get through. We can hope that life will eventually get them on the right track. Maybe their hearts will be softened by the work of God’s Spirit within them.

For those whose hearts are open, your silence at the appropriate times will communicate a clear message. Silence will have a better effect than words because it gives an opportunity for self discovery. Rather than being told, they “learn” it or they “discover” it for themselves..

Thus silence at the appropriate times will produce greater and longer lasting results than your words.

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Fabricated world (limited world view)

When your world view is limited, you are confident that you are right. There are no alternative options other than your view.

While I was a student in Seminary, I remember a wise neighbor who questioned me about my reading habits. She was older than my parents and quite wise to discern my narrow way of thinking. She said, “Alexi, you’ve got to read people you disagree with. It’s the only way to sharpen your mind and your perspectives.”

That was a challenging time for me as I was sure of my point of view. But I’m glad I took the advice. Now I challenge myself with journals that oppose my perspectives in numerous ways. I’m still a bit hard headed, but hopefully smoother on the edges.

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Care is an investment

When tragedy strikes our friends or acquaintances, we are often at a loss regarding what to do. Of course, there are emergency services and organizations that handle the brunt of the professional tasks involved. Although we don’t want to get in the way or even attempt to replace what they do, it’s clear that we are not sure how to respond.

According to the need, and according to the willingness of the people to accept our help, we need to extend our hand of care. Keep your words to a minimum but keep our hands open and ready to help in every way possible. We’re not to expect anything in return as Jesus said “You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:8).

See your response as a contribution to this world and into the lives of people. That’s why we are placed here in this world as a community. Ultimately, what you do to help others will become an investment into God’s kingdom.

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Looking cool and doing cool

It obviously takes effort to look cool. That coolness shows up in the kind of clothes you wear, the brand of devices you use, the vehicle you drive, and other external items that define coolness. It’s a popularly recognized image of sophistication that you hold up to other people. Whether you want to take the effort to do this or not, it’s your choice, your preference.

There’s another level of coolness that goes deeper. This coolness is expressed through your work. Do your work with excellence and focus. Have the tenacity to push for the best of your ability in your work. Without immediate results or financial benefits, keep working your best. Put your heart and mind into the task and do your work at a higher level.

This “coolness” also takes time and effort just like the other one – maybe much more. I’m not sure if you’ll get the same level of recognition as looking cool. But surely in time, it will show up in your work. Over several years, the results of your work will bear fruit.

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Essentials for pastors of small churches

Being the pastor of a small church for a long time can be a rewarding experience. But it surely comes with its own set of challenges. Yet there are some things we can do on a consistent basis to help us in the leadership process. Here are some things I’ve been striving for during the last 20 years in my present location.

  1. Understand that you have chosen a noble task
  • Never feel guilty about taking on leadership in the church.
  • Don’t think of this as something lower than other professions.
  • It is a calling of great magnitude.

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1)

  1. Notice what’s happening around you

Be an observer as you walk around and through the church in each of the meetings, small groups, or any event. Here are some things to observe:

  • Interactions among people
  • Attitudes presented through words and actions
  • Openness to ideas and people
  • Team spirit for the various aspects of the organization
  • Contention between people as they deal with various issues.
  1. Respond appropriately

Every effort is commendable. Usually, the intentions are good, but the attitudes and approaches may be confusing.

When you find positives:

  • Give immediate praise when you find someone doing well

When you find negatives:

  • Thank them for their efforts and encourage them to do better when correction is needed
  1. Find needs and delegate

Every need is an opportunity. Every problem is an opportunity for growth and development of leaders in the organization. Here is what you need to do.

Identify – Look for an appropriate person to perform that task or lead that initiative.

Recruit – Once you find a suitable person, convince them of the need and their suitability and get them to make a commitment.

Train – Either you train them or find a suitable person to do the training required to do the task. Some training may take just a few minutes of instructions. Other situations will require more.

Deploy – Release them and get them started on the task. Encourage them and trust them to do the job well.

Monitor – Check back with them regularly to see how they are doing. See if they require help or additional training. Encouragement and appreciation is always a must. Give it lavishly.

  1. Keep your eyes on Jesus, not the numbers

The temptation for number is real. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. Whatever you have to offer, give freely and abundantly. Jesus never held back. His style of evangelism was quite different from what we commonly see around us. His generosity and openness was beyond understanding. But when it came to discipleship, his demands were quite steep.


These practices I’ve outlines above are not special secret keys to make your church grow. But they are essentials for us to keep the church moving in a healthy way toward the mission and goals we have set. With lots of attention that goes to large churches and para-church organizations, the task can be quite difficult. But there is no need to despair. The key is to stay there, be consistent, and don’t give up. 

What has been your experience? What have you found to be essentials as you have led a small church?

Begin with a smile

The unsure, suspecting, careful, calculated look can be quite intimidating. It really penetrates a person’s spirit and alters the tone of the entire conversation. As a result, the encounter may not be the most pleasant one for both parties.

But at the beginning if you​ counter that look of suspicion with a warm smile, everything changes. A genuine smile from the heart also penetrates the spirit and puts one at ease. It puts a positive twist to the entire conversation.

So go ahead and begin with a smile.

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Those perfect people

They’re actually quite good at what they do. In fact, they do their tasks better than most others. They stand out from the crowd in whatever they do. Organizations can really benefit from their skills and passion for perfection.

But their excellence may affect them negatively in three areas. First, they struggle to connect with people. Part of the reason for this is due to their determined focus on their work. They put so much care and attention into the task that they neglect connecting with people. This lack of connection leads to the next negative.

Since they do everything with such quality, they may have difficulty caring about people with lesser abilities. After all, since these people do so well, caring about others who perform poorly is quite a difficult task. They can care, but it will take an additional, conscious effort in that direction.

The final hinderance is a lack of listening. Since they stand out from the crowd, they may only associate with people at that level of excellence. But if you don’t care enough to listen to the common, “lesser” people, you’re losing out. Most of the work you do may be for the benefit for the common people. Listening more to them will actually improve your ability to do your tasks more effectively for the benefit of the common person.

Keep on being excellent. But don’t forget the rest of us.

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How to keep me awake

    Talk to me. Don’t make a declaration. If you’re just expounding on a topic, I’d rather read up on it. Or, I’ll listen to an expert on that topic.

    Take me with you. Don’t make me keep up with you. Start from where I am and lead me to where you want me to go.

    Tell me stories. The greatest teacher of all time told many stories. Stories ignite something in my brain that keeps me awake.

     Speak just loud enough that I can hear you. You don’t need to yell. My ears hurt and I get irritated. Then I turn you off completely.


    Tell me something that interests me. Sorry, I’m selfish. I’m interested in what I’m interested in. If you’re only going to tell me what you’re interested in, then I’m not interested. 

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You will do greater things – really?

When Jesus said this to his disciples, I wonder what they understood and what Jesus meant. Of course, people have been trying to understand this for a very long time. You can look up the various explanations by typing those words into a search engine. The views are numerous and some complex and confusing.
I don’t want to add to the confusion in any way, but I certainly want to believe what Jesus said – just as he said it. But for now, let me work on doing the things he did. I haven’t raised the dead yet. But I sure would love to.

I would like to explore an additional possibility here. Those words represent to me the attitude and focus of Jesus. He called the disciples friends, brothers, children and other words of love and honor. As he was raising up a team of people who would spread the gospel much beyond the nation of Israel, they would certainly be special people.

I believe those words show the special focus of Jesus in building up people much beyond anything they have ever imagined. At that point, they were already doing the things that Jesus was doing, but they also struggled with their limitations as sinful human beings. But with his words, Jesus pulled off all limits and the possibilities would be beyond their wildest dreams.

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Don’t Believe the Evidence

When it’s an issue of character, don’t be quick to believe the evidence. It may be convincing. The source may be reliable. The evidence may be convicting.

But wait. Give some time. Think it over. If possible, sit with the accused and hear their side of the story. Step into their shoes and try to see it from their perspective. Things look different from their shoes.

Read this old time favorite of mine:  “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Pro 18:17).

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