Saturday, January 28, 2012

5 Practices and 10 Commitments of Effective Leadership

In The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write about the five practices and ten commitments for effective leadership. Their work has stood the test of time. While the context has changed over the years, the content of leadership hasn’t.

Key Take Aways
Here’s my variation of the themes and key take aways:

  • Lead by example. Set an example for others to follow. Practice what you preach. You reap what you sow. What you do comes back to you. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Take a stand. Stand for something. Find your unique voice.
  • Create an inclusive picture. In Steven Covey terms, these would be avoiding the “scarcity mentality”. Have an abundance mentality. At work I see turf wars when there’s a scarcity mentality. The solution is to frame out a bigger space where everybody gets to play.
  • Practice continuous improvement. The Japanese term is Kaizen. Focus on small, incremental improvements. Build momentum from small wins. Start with something small. Success snowballs.
  • Lift others up. In Covey terms, this would be help others find their unique voice. Find the good in others. Leverage the unique values that others bring to the table.
  • Live with passion. Link passion with results. Celebrate the small wins. No good deed goes unrewarded. What goes around, comes around. Stop and smell the roses.

Leadership in Action
Kousez and Posner write:

“The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done in organizations. It’s about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards. It’s about leadership that creates the climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable success.”

The Five Practices of Leadership
Kousez and Posner identify the five practices:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

The Ten Commitments of Leadership
Kousez and Posner identify the 10 commitments:

  1. Find your voice by clarifying you personal values.
  2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling activities.
  4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve.
  6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
  7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
  9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
  10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Practices and Commitments
Here’s the commitments mapped to the practices:

Model the Way
1. Find your voice by clarifying you personal values.
2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.

Inspire a Shared Vision
3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling activities.
4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Challenge the Process
5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve.
6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

Enable Others to Act
7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.

Encourage the Heart
9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

-- J.D. Meier ..

Friday, January 27, 2012

John Wesley - Strengthening Leadership

Strengthening clergy and lay leadership

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, Jan 25, 2011

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
By Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Special Contributor

To be leaders in the church today, we must first identify our call to Christian discipleship. No one is able to develop a disciple without first engaging in the process of becoming a disciple himself or herself.

The Apostle Paul was committed to being a follower of Jesus and embodying himself as Christlike in his journey. Only as he worked to be Christlike was he able to invite others to join in the discipleship of Jesus.

Calling is key to the integrity and success of our leadership. Calling is not done in isolation. We confirm our call through the perceptions and affirmations of community.

Wesley’s model

The United Methodist Church traces its roots to the leadership of our founder, John Wesley, a visionary leader who risked moving beyond the accepted structures of his day. The early Methodist movement was not a system of hierarchy and polity but a response to those hungering for faith, suffering through oppressive systems, and seeking the nurture and support of community.

Wesley was effective as he shared his vision, empowered others to live out their beliefs and created structures of accountability for those who labored with him. As we think about developing leaders for the 21st century, we can learn much from his example.

As we pursue the pathway of strengthening leadership, we cannot jump to the latest leadership theories without first strengthening our own prayer life, biblical study and trust in the presence of the Holy Spirit to work through us. Beginning from centeredness in the faith will fortify us for the journey.

Knowing community

There was no Book of Discipline, organizational chart or rules of order in the early Methodist movement. John Wesley trusted his heart and the faith of those around him to imagine what it might be like to spark a passion for Christ. Organization grew out of that as a way to refine the movement.

We have new opportunities that our founder John Wesley never dreamed of. The globalization of the world, the multicultural nature of our society, the ability to mobilize through technology—all of these offer us unprecedented possibilities for leadership.

At the core of visionary leadership is attentiveness to where God is leading. When leaders meet, the basic question should not be “What do I think?” or “What do you want?” or worse, “What do we think the constituency [congregation] wants?” Rather it should be “What does God intend for us?”

Leaders must discern what it means for their particular context to share the good news of Christ with the world. The central task of visionary leadership in the church is to take the congregation, the conference and the denomination to places they have never been before.

It is not the leader’s responsibility to dilute the gospel to please those who do not grasp that God has a mission and purpose for each congregation. It is the leader’s responsibility to share the vision and to be in dialogue with others in helping them understand and refine the vision.

Following God’s call

Visionary leaders need to be open to God’s call to lead from where we are to where God asks us to be. Prayer and group study of the Bible are essential. Visionary leaders need to be in constant dialogue with one another through biblical study and reflection; with the church and community to know the needs; and with God to seek divine guidance for every decision.

Leadership vision extends the call of God from one’s own heart and life to the ministry field. During the early Methodist movement, the ministry fields could be found on the streets of England and in the colonies of the New World. Early circuit riders were tenacious, brave, visionary leaders who literally gave their lives to bring Christ’s love to those settling on the frontier.

The ministry field has shifted over the centuries. My home country of Korea became a mission field at the turn of the 20th century. My conversion to Christianity from a Buddhist home was the result of visionary leaders who were willing to forgo comfort and certain success in their own land for the sake of bringing the gospel to a place where Christ had not yet been revealed. It was not an easy mission.

Reacting to centuries of invasion, occupation and deeply rooted beliefs in Buddhism, Confucianism and Shamanism, the Korean nation did not welcome Christian missionaries with open arms. My own family disapproved of my conversion. Centuries of ancestor worship and engrained beliefs clashed with this new vision.

This same message of salvation is sorely missing in our own communities. Our neighborhoods must be recaptured as our ministry field.

For too long we have waited for those seeking faith to come through our doors, to seek their own answers, to take the initiative in their quest for wholeness. We have forgotten that the church is a vehicle from which to offer Christ’s love; it is a tool in our mission, not the end product of our work.

Equipping our leaders

Though it may sound oversimplified, the primary role of the pastor is leadership of a congregation. Every other task is secondary.

The “call” to pastoral leadership has much in common with the “call” to all Christians: to dedicate one’s life to the service of God through Christ. The call to serve God comes to all, whether it is claimed or not. The call to pastoral ministry is the call to the leadership of the congregation.

Pastors have three major tasks: to lead the congregation in perceiving the particular mission and ministry to which it is called; to develop leadership that is able to help others respond to their call; and to work with lay leadership to equip every member in carrying out particular ministries.

Many congregations have expectations that conflict with the pastoral call to leadership. They expect the pastor to be the one doing the congregation’s ministry rather than leading a congregation to be in ministry. We must continue to proclaim the primary role of the pastor in equipping.

Reaching outside

Leadership is nurtured, refined and directed through the community. John Wesley learned that faith formation is strengthened through small groups. Covenant groups hold us in tension with the draw of the world and the call of our faith. Through reflection with others, we learn where we are being drawn to give witness to our faith. Continued training, growth in spiritual disciplines and supervision all enhance the accountability of leadership.

Principled Christian leaders are called to reach beyond our own walls. We realize that the church no longer draws people into our institutions just by being available. We must be more intentional in learning the language of faith-sharing. Equipping laity and clergy to move beyond the silent witness will help rekindle the Methodist movement of social and spiritual holiness. Leaders must set the tone for our “faith talk” and witness to their beliefs in public ways.

Leading the way in this outward-looking faith is new faith community development. The world has changed so significantly that many of our existing congregations are not designed to be responsive to the current generation of the unchurched. Principled Christian leadership seeks to partner with those planting churches so we can live out our call to make disciples for Jesus Christ, not just to boost our membership rolls.

Renewing visions

The Christian movement is shifting. Our faith has been built in a time of self-preservation. But we can learn much from the global South, where faith is life-sustaining. If you are poor, you go to Jesus. If you are hungry, you go to Jesus. If you are sick, you go to Jesus. Jesus is the source of life; there is no alternative.

Leaders in the church today are called to help us shed our fa├žade and dive deeply into the Spirit so that we might glorify God’s ministry.
That new vision includes a cross-cultural and cross-racial mentality. Our churches will be enriched, our faith lives deepened and our understanding of God’s beautiful creation broadened when we learn to speak one another’s languages, appreciate one another’s cultures and join into one body worshipping our Lord and Savior.

John Wesley was thought to be deranged when he left his comfortable pulpit and the financial support of the state to become a street preacher and to shake up the social norms of his day. Wesley’s crazy actions and ridiculous ideas gave way to a movement that is only in part represented in the United Methodist Church.

Maybe principled lay and clergy leaders of the United Methodist Church today need to have a bit of that deranged boldness in their ideas and actions—if we can open ourselves to a God-sized vision of Pentecostal proportions, relying on the Holy Spirit and being open to the narrative of faith that grounds us in mystery and majestic examples of discipleship.

With God’s blessing we might stir up our congregations, rekindle the flames of social holiness and reflect the power of our faith in new, bold ways.

Bishop Jung leads the Northern Illinois Conference. This is an adapted excerpt from the book 'The Future of the United Methodist Church: 7 Vision Pathways' (Abingdon).

John Wesley's 3-Strand Discipleship Process

John Wesley's 3-Strand Discipleship Process

“Perhaps the greatest single weakness of the contemporary Christian Church is that millions of supposed members are not really involved at all and, what is worse, do not think it strange that they are not. As soon as we recognize Christ’s intention to make His Church a militant company we understand at once that the conventional arrangement cannot suffice. There is no real chance of victory in a campaign if ninety per cent of the soldiers are untrained and uninvolved, but that is exactly where we stand now.” -Elton Trueblood

Founded on Jesus’ blueprint for discipleship, John Wesley developed a simple plan for maturing and equipping the saints. Wesley said, “The Church changes the world not by making converts but by making disciples.” Jesus commanded us to: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19,20)

Biblical Discipleship: “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Growing Authentic Disciples of Jesus
Discipleship is a common term in churches, but how well are we developing Christ-like people? With millions of born again Christians suffering from biblical illiteracy and culture-accommodating lifestyles, we must reassess how we train people to be true followers of our Lord Jesus.

How Jesus Taught:
Jesus ministered to the multitudes at least 17 times according to the Bible. However, there are approximately 46 mentions in the Bible where He spent His time in private with His disciples. In those smaller group settings He trained His committed followers for their own ministries. He ministered one-on-one, one-on-two, and one-on-three. At other times His ministry was conducted one-on-twelve. He also provided on-the-job training with the 70; and spent some apprenticeship time with the 120 as well as placing some emphasis with the 500 in Galilee.

“Go And Make Disciples...Teaching Them To Obey” (Show, Tell, Release, Supervise):
The great commission has two parts. The first is for us to go and make disciples. The second is of no less significance, but most often set aside to secondary importance if used at all. It is to teach them (apprentice disciples) to obey. In fact, there cannot be a disciple without this training. And there cannot be training without accountability.

The primary objective of the Church today as outlined by Jesus is for disciples of Jesus to develop other men and women into disciples. Discipleship should be at the forefront of our efforts. Everything we do, say and teach should be considered as we ask, “How will this help us make disciples?”

The most effective manner to train and equip people for any skill is by providing effective models and opportunities to practice the skill itself. Jesus used a show, tell, release, and supervise model of training. After calling the disciples, He took them along with Him, teaching and healing the sick as He went. Then, after He thought the disciples had seen and learned enough to try for themselves, He commissioned, empowered, instructed, and sent them out to do the same things. This model of training should be no different for those desiring to bring others into a complete understanding and walk in Christ-likeness.

Wesley’s Four Basic Convictions for Discipleship:
1. The Necessity of Discipleship:
John Wesley wrote, “I am more and more convinced that the devil himself desires nothing more than this, that the people of any place should be half-awakened and then left to themselves to fall asleep again.”

2. The Necessity of Small Groups for Discipleship:
In 1743 John Wesley organized a society. “Such a society is no other than a company of men having the form and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their own salvation.” Discipline was the key to this level of holy living. Wesley created 3 strands of discipleship: Societies, Classes, and Bands.

Society: Strand 1 - The Crowd (these were the multitudes)
Purpose: To Bring About A Change in Knowledge
This meeting included those in a geographical area, much like a typical, congregational meeting in today’s church. These large groups of people met once a week to pray, sing, study scripture, and to watch over one another in love. There was little or no provision made at this level for personal response or feedback. John described a society as "a company of people having the Form, and seeking the Power of Godliness."

Class: Strand 2 - The Cell (these were Jesus’ 12)
Purpose: To Bring About Behavioral Change
A class was the most basic group structure of the society. The class was composed of 12-20 members, both sexes, mixed by age, social standing and spiritual readiness, under the direction of a trained leader. It was not a gathering for academic learning. They met weekly in the evening for mutual confession of sin and accountability for growing in holiness. This group provided the structure to more closely inspect the condition of the flock, to help them through trials and temptations, and to bring further understanding in practical terms to the messages they had heard preached in the public society meeting. Membership in a class meeting was non-negotiable. If you wanted to continue in the society you had to be in a class. In 1742 in one society in London there were 426 members, divided into 65 classes. Eighteen months later that same society had 2200 members, all of whom were in classes. Every week each class member was expected to speak openly and honestly on the true state of his or her soul.

Band: Strand 3 - The CORE (these were Jesus’ inner circle made up of Peter, James, and John)
Purpose: To Bring About A Change of Direction, Heart and Position
Composed of 4 members, all the same sex, age, and marital status. They were voluntary cells of people who professed clear Christian commitment, who desired to grow in love, holiness, and purity of motive. The environment was one of ruthless honesty and frank openness. There were specific rules about punctuality and order within the meeting. He introduced accountability questions which everyone answered openly and honestly in the meeting each week: 1) What known sins have you committed since our last meeting? 2) What temptations have you met with? 3) How were you delivered? 4) What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not? 5) Have you nothing you desire to keep secret? You can see from these questions that there was no place to hide in a Band. Bands became the training ground for future leaders. This group held to extreme confidentiality in a “safe place”, mutual submission where matters of indifference were yielded to the released leader, and godly stewardship. This was the group that could intensively pursue goals and vision together.

3. The Necessity of Leadership in Discipleship:
A small army was needed to provide the leadership for this 3-Strand Discipleship Model, and, just as is true today, professional paid staff simply was not available. Wesley trained and mobilized a massive army of leaders, putting as many as 1 in 10 of his members into leadership roles - barbers, blacksmiths, bakers, men and women. The job description of those who looked after societies and classes was: “preach, teach, study, travel, meet with bands, classes, exercise daily and eat sparingly.”

4. Holiness and Service as the Goals of Discipleship:
Wesley’s goals for this entire process were: godliness and goodwill - spirituality and service to others. This system and process produced a new kind of citizen at a period of history when crime and every form of public sin were rampant. These men and women reformed both the church and the society in which they lived.

1. Make CORE Discipleship a priority for making disciples.
2. Be constantly involved in training others to do the work of making disciples.
3. Consider some adaptation of the 3-Strand Church Model: Crowd + Cell + CORE = Church.
4. Renew a thrust for evangelism by focusing attention on disciple-making.

Our Lord continue to bless you as you intentionally purpose to make disciples.

We United Methodists can add John Wesley and his "three simple rules" as summarized by Bishop Rueben Job: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God [Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, Cokesbury,, (800) 672-1789].

If leadership is about guiding and inspiring, about performance and productivity, if leaders provide methods to realize vision, here is Father John putting the "method" in being United Methodist.

"Do no harm" creates a safe environment for discovery and disagreement, creativity and conflict. Disarming harm establishes the climate for positive change, guarding against actions, even silence, that might injure another. This is spiritual leadership at its core: intentionally healing instead of hurting, wholeness instead of division, harmonizing with the ways of Jesus instead of the ways of the world.

"Do good." United Methodists are good-deed-doers. Yet Wesley, like Jesus, was interested in more than good scouts. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you, Jesus said. "Do good" says Wesley, "to all" whether they are like us or who we like.

This is bold, counter-cultural living, where desire for mercy, justice, care for the earth, the blind seeing and the oppressed freed become as passionate as desire for self-fulfillment. We are way beyond doing good to feel good.

"Staying in love with God" paraphrases Wesley's direction for "attending upon all the ordinances of God" (The Book of Discipline 2008, Para. 103). These practices nurture a lively relationship with God: worship, the Lord's Supper, prayer, searching the scriptures, fasting and holy conferencing. They are finding time to talk and listen to God, build trust, experience togetherness, be vulnerable and respectful.

In the musical "Fiddler on the Roof," Tevye asks his wife, Golde, "Do you love me?" "Do I what?" she replies. "Do you love me," Tevye persists. "For 25 years I've washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned the house, given you children, milked the cow. Why all this talk about love?" At the end they agree they love each other, saying, "Even so, after 25 years it's nice to know."

John Wesley knew about "staying in love with God," reminding today's United Methodists, "it's nice to know" people are loved by God and love God back.

Wesley and other early Methodists were sometimes overzealous with method and discipline, but their zeal came from knowing what it had been like to have a loveless relationship with God. They wanted to experience more.

In Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher's Episcopal Address to General Conference 2008, she reminded the 224-year-old church: "Do good. Do no harm. Stay in love with God." This is how United Methodists lead, she said. Following the rules sets the church on high ground, creates healthy boundaries and empowers United Methodists to show the world Jesus' way.

Sometimes the best way forward is remembering from where we come.

--The Rev. Alfred Day, member, General Commission on Archives and History;
pastor, Historic St. George's United Methodist Church, Philadelphia.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

John Wesley as Mission Strategist

Dr. George Hunter, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, writes about John Wesley as a Mission Strategist (Wesleyan Theological Journal, Volume 21, 1986, pages 25-33) as evidenced by these key strategies of Wesley's ministry:

1) Identify and focus on receptive people groups. This was certainly true of Wesley's work in Kingswood among the coalminers and their families.

2) Indigenous ministry approach. Again his ministry at Kingswood utilized common language, open air services and a hymnody based on the familiar tunes of the day. He was willing to disrobe from the prejudices of his Oxford education. Wesley would have acknowledged that "it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people."

3) Multiplication of leaders and units. Within the first week of his public ministry at Wesley organized small groups for new believers to grow in Christ, one group for women and another for men. Wesley would instruct his team members, "do not preach where you cannot multiply classes."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

John Wesley's Leadership Lessons

I doubt that John Wesley would have hit the motivational speaker circuit to tout his newest leadership learnings. I've been intrigued by Wesley, not just in his role as theologian and evangelist, but also as a leader in an enduring movement of spiritual renewal.

Few leaders have led better, over so many years. And few leaders have written more extensively both in treatises and in personal correspondence than John Wesley. However, Wesley did this without ever explicitly articulating a leadership philosophy.

The modern research fascination with all things leadership would certainly have caught his attention were he alive today. He was always learning and alert to the discussions of the day. He engaged most contemporary topics from medical breakthroughs to political developments.

Wesley's first leadership experience, outside of his home, is in Christ College, Oxford University, where he takes the initiative in forming the Holy Club, later to be derisively labeled "the Methodists." He helps to formulate the purpose and guidelines for this fellowship which become very much what would be described today as a missional community. They were equally concerned about their mutual spiritual formation and about fulfilling the external obligations of social holiness in caring for the poor and imprisoned.

Wesley's leadership experiences in the Holy Club merit additional research.

The next phase of his ministry occurs in the context of mission work in the colony of Georgia. Though entrusted with positional leadership by the governor, Wesley struggles both in fulfilling his mission to the native Americans and in serving his parishioners among the colonist. His own sense of spiritual emptiness and inexperienced leadership concludes with him fleeing back to England with a keen awareness of his failure.

He returns to England and, almost desperately, searches for personal spiritual transformation. Wesley's future leadership success will flow from this renewed heart (Aldersgate Street) and a clear sense of calling to the mission of God among the people of England.

Fetter Lane Society. Leading through his teaching gift. Organizing to preserve the harvest in Kingswood. Laying the groundwork for future leaders.

Small group ministry is equal parts pastoral care and leadership development. While the first priority is often the nurture and discipleship of believers, the effectiveness of these groups is predicated on the effectiveness in mobilizing, motivating, mentoring and monitoring the individuals leading those groups.

This is where Wesley's leadership gifting becomes most clearly evident. He is gifted in both identifying potential leaders (character first) and in providing the structure in which they can not only develop, but flourish.

Entrusting cobblers and miners with the spiritual care of a dozen or more new believers was not the common practice of the Church of England. Wesley's fruitful ministry was yielding a harvest that the established churches and appointed clergy had no experience in serving. Discipling these rough hewn converts was not a task for the faint of heart.

Wesley deployed laborers from the harvest to labor in the harvest. He assembled a corps of journeyman lay pastors who tended the new lambs and held the wolves at bay.

Wesley with Eternity in View

"I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans." - Letter to Charles Wesley

Wesley on Intentional Urgency

"Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry." - Letter (10 December 1777)