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Archive for August, 2014

My youngest son recently received a commission to become an Air Force Officer. He started his training and has been sharing with me many of the things he is experiencing. As a Pastor I spend a large amount of time teaching and learning principles for effective leadership. As he has been telling me of his experiences, I have been focusing on the lessons to be learned from his experiences. For the next few blogs, I thought I would share some of those applications.

Upon entering his dorm area, there was a stack of books with each candidate’s name and room number on them. There was also a blank sheet of paper with a pen. The future officer’s had a decision to make. They wondered whether they should sign the paper or leave it blank. They were not given sufficient information to make a proper decision, but they had to make a decision. Some would sign it and then try to convince the rest of the group to sign it. Some refused to sign it. In the end everyone gets yelled at. The group who signed the paper was yelled at because they were not told to sign the paper. The group that did not sign the paper were yelled at because they could not use common sense and sign something that was clearly evident to be signed.

No matter what the future officers did, they got yelled at. It reminded me of an important leadership principle – No decision will please everyone. No matter what you do in leadership, someone will question your actions. It is a fact of leadership that often decisions are made with incomplete information. You simply have to make the best choice based on your experience, abilities and available information. When you make that decision – someone will be upset.

In 30 plus years of ministry, I have made a number of unpopular decisions. Some were good decisions and others were bad. In every case, people got upset and I have heard my share of yelling over the years. The Air Force teaches future officers on day 1 that your decisions will be second guessed. They will be criticized and you will be yelled at. You simply have to make the best decision you can make.

THOT – How many times do you allow people to encourage you to second guess your decisions? Do you really believe you can make a decision that will keep everyone happy? Have you convinced yourself that you are a poor leader because people do not agree with your decisions? Leadership is difficult and not for the faint of heart.

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“I know where the fish are !”

I love to fish, but don’t get to do it as often as I like. One of my favorite spots is a small farm pond located about 5 miles from my home. I have fished it enough over the years, that I know where most of the fish are located. I know the right lures to use and usually come home having caught something, but many days, even with my knowledge and experience, I can be wrong.  I am currently teaching through a series on the Miracles of Christ. While studying the miracle of the fish in Luke 5:1-11, I was exposed to a concept I had previously missed. The commentator brought out the fact that Jesus knew where the fish were. He knew their exact location (omniscient) or He knew their various locations and called them into the net (omnipotence). He was never wrong!

That thought got me to thinking about my ministry in this rural area. For the most part, I minister in an obscure location. Neighbors are measured by miles, not feet. Farms are located in quarter sections of 160 acres, not city blocks or subdivisions. One of the hazards of rural ministry is that you start to wonder if you are forgotten in the kingdom. This week I will be attending a worldwide leadership seminar and the focus will be on the great things happening in the kingdom of God. The problem is that most of these things will be large and involve hundreds and even thousands of people. It is easy to start to fall into the trap of comparisons and that is never wise.

This passage reminded me of the fact that God knew where the fish where. He was aware of every fish and its location. He either put them together or called them into the one place. Either way, God knew. In a rural ministry, this should be a tremendous encouragement. What you are going through, where you are, matters to God . These things are of importance to God. He has placed us in these places to effectively minister and nothing we are experiencing is taking Him by surprise. If He knows the location of fish and tracks the birds, then the things that happen in our world is also vitally important to Him.

THOT – Have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself with others? Have you forgotten that God is aware of your situation and has not forgotten you? If He knows where the fish are, then I can guarantee that He knows what you are going through in ministry as well.

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