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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Servant leaders develop character in troubled times

by Pam Roth
Romans 5:1 – 5, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”

Have you found yourself saying, “I can’t wait until November gets here?”  Are you tired of the political rhetoric - statements filled with exaggerations, and the confusing campaign ads?  Do you find yourself muting political ads on the television?

Please, don’t misunderstand me, I love being an American and all of the liberties that come with it, but sometimes I feel like saying, “Enough is enough!  Let’s stop playing all of these games…shoot straight, tell the truth, and get down to the business of leading and healing this great country of ours.”

And then, I am gently reminded that I do not need to be fixated on these uncertain political times or any troubled time that may come my way; but, I need to be focused on what the Lord wants to teach me.  Difficult times are a time to grow and build character in our lives.  Often, I will ask myself: “What part do I have in this process?”   “What steps do I need to make to trust God more and not put my trust in a person or a system?”  “What do I truly value?”  “Where is all of this going and will it matter five, ten years from now?”  

My friend, we are encouraged not to lose heart during these troubled times but to realize that these “momentary” problems are developing character in us.  And at the heart of that process is the word – “humility.”  Paul wrote in the book of Philippians, “I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.”  What a great example of humility and a right perspective about our number one priority – being in relationship with Christ and developing his character.

In his book, Intimacy with the Almighty, Chuck Swindoll shares four areas of our lives that need to be surrendered in order to be in a right relationship with Christ.

  • Possessions – what would happen if you lost everything you owned?
  • Positions – how important is your position in life to you?
  • Plans – what happens to you when things don’t go the way you had expected?
  • People – children and relationships with others is a gift, what are you doing to cherish those relationships?
So, don’t get too caught up in the ‘hype’ or the ‘doom and gloom’ as you read the newspaper, watch national television, or catch up on the news regarding Wall Street and the campaign trail.  Instead, remind yourself of these truths.  There is hope…God loves you…He has a plan for your life…He wants to be in relationship with you…He’s patient…He cares about your concerns…He is there to listen…and He has the answer.

Feel free to leave a comment.

Click for Relevant Ministry Coaching and
The Nehemiah Response Model

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Servant leaders are others oriented

by Nelson Roth
Whether it’s ‘me first’ or ‘we first’ seems to be a recurring issue in all stages of life.  

This me/we issue also seems to creep in to how leadership is carried out and it also brings some of the challenges servant leaders face with those they lead.  

How do you nurture collaboration and working together as a leader?  Jesus taught us that genuine servant leadership really goes against the grain.  

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45  

Kingdom leadership is upside down, it’s about serving and being others oriented.  Serving is one of the ten responses of The Nehemiah Response Model.

In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”  And then he proceeds with a section on Spiritual gifts, team building, and getting along with others for the remainder of the chapter.

So what do servant leaders do to nurture collaboration and working together?

Nehemiah was an example servant leader who was faced with me/we issues with the people he was leading in the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.  Nehemiah chapter five tells the story of internal struggles and interpersonal issues that the workers began to have.  How did he respond?

  • Nehemiah focused on WHAT’S right, not WHO’S right
We often start quarreling over who’s right; instead, shift your thinking to what’s right.  Seeking truth about an issue is essential.  If two people in conflict can seek truth, and if each can take responsibility for their own faults the issue is more readily cleared up.  For this to happen, they may need help from someone else.  This is what Nehemiah does in chapter five, verse seven.
  • Nehemiah’s goal was reconciliation
Reconciliation is the parties involved coming together, dealing with truth, each taking responsibility, making confession, and seeking forgiveness.  As a result, each become changed.  Nehemiah 5:10-12, tells us that the people doing wrong stopped their wrong actions and took the next step to make their wrongs right.  
  • The outcome was resiliency and recovery
Bouncing back is possible with the two previous responses.  In Nehemiah 5:12-13, we read that they were serious about their decision to change and get back to doing what was right.

It’s hard work to shift from me to we.  Ministry and best intentions to serve can cause conflicts even in the best of relationships.  Often, the conflicts we have reveal shortcomings in our lives that when addressed and changed make us a better person and servant leader.

What challenges do you face as a servant leader and being others oriented?
How do you nurture collaboration and working together?

Feel free to leave a comment.

Click for Relevant Ministry Coaching and
The Nehemiah Response Model

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Servant leaders are change agents

by Pam Roth
Matthew 18: 3 – 5, “And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

A lot of people I meet today are looking for some kind of change in their lives.  It may be an economical change, a governmental change, a change in a relationship, a change in a work position, or a simple change in an attitude.  So, my question is what can we do to become a change agent right where we are?  

What’s the last success story you have heard about someone taking a near impossible situation and turning it into an unbelievable opportunity?  So, are there ways for you to become a change agent, someone who addresses the issues of poverty, class subordination, racial isolation, discrimination, and the harmful consequences of being disadvantaged?  When is the last time you did something because it was the right thing to do…not because it was the popular thing to do?  Are you kind and considerate to those that are around you?  Do you make it a habit to reach out to others that may be less fortunate than you are?  I believe if we all do our part to bring about a positive change within our own circle of influence, we could see change right here, right now.    

We may not be able to eradicate any of the issues we face today in an instant because the process of change can often be slow, however, we have access to necessary tools to become a change agent.  We just need to put the tool belt of servanthood on and synch it up tightly, to use it effectively.  We all can be a change agent right where we are, right now.

Here’s a few steps toward being a change agent:

  1. Begin with a heart of gratitude for what you have - Colossians 3:15, I Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 100:4
  2. Be observant, consider the needs of others – Philippians 2:3
  3. Serve wholeheartedly – Ephesians 6:7
  4. Be kind and compassionate – Ephesians 4:32
  5. Take time to encourage others by building them up – I Thessalonians 5:11
What are some steps that you are taking toward being a change agent?

Feel free to leave a comment.

Click for Relevant Ministry Coaching and
The Nehemiah Response Model

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing strong and being a servant leader

by Nelson Roth
(from Nehemiah Response, pages 99-100)

Let’s take a glimpse of Nehemiah, the servant leader.
(click this link if the video does not play in your browser or email)
Nehemiah said, “But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people…” (5:15). He never “lorded it over the people” (5:15). “Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall,” he says (5:16).

Also in this verse we learn that “we did not acquire any land” (5:16). Nehemiah served with no regard for money.

And then, we see that Nehemiah was willing to serve others. He provided for the needs of over a hundred and fifty workers out of his own pocket. That great number of people “ate at my table… Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared” (5:17-18). And we find out that Nehemiah, “…never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people” (5:18).

A servant leader! It’s interesting that the same three marks found in Nehemiah...

  • not lording over the people
  • not greedy for money
  • a willingness to serve others
...are also found in 1 Peter 5:2-3.

Actually, Peter lists them in reverse order. (1) “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; (2) not greedy for money, but eager to serve; (3) not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Who are the people in your life that really matter to you?  
How can you meet their needs and serve them?  
Which of the three qualities of a servant leader are challenges for you?  

Feel free to leave a comment.

Click for Relevant Ministry Coaching and
The Nehemiah Response Model

Relevant Ministry, Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast