When my soul is in a good place I can spot a moral problem a mile away. But when I am depleted I can begin to convince myself that a minor indiscretion can be justified in the big picture.
One time, during a depleted season, I was faced with a temptation to prop up a struggling not-for-profit organization I led by accessing funds we were holding in trust. I found myself rationalizing this clear violation by telling myself it was for the good of the constituents I was serving. Fortunately, I recognized the danger signs just in time.
Watch out when you find yourself justifying questionable decisions. Your red bar could be telling you something.
True or false: Christians ought to be the highest performing workers in the marketplace.
It sure sounds right. It feels like it should be true. Bible verses like “Work for the Lord and not for men” and the things your mother used to tell you (“I don’t care about the grade; I care whether you did your best”) come to mind.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard business owners or senior leaders complain about the laziness, distracted work, and the declining skills of employees with faith, and it makes me sick. I hate that their reputation is not one of excellence. But does excellence mean you are always the highest performer in any group?
“We called his references and one of them said, ‘I’d never hire him.’” That’s what a search team member at a former church told me about a candidate they did not hire. While references are supposed to be “user friendly,” they remain a good source of information if your inquiry is clear and specific. If the reference is not knowledgeable of the candidate, steer clear. A candidate who will pad a reference list with people who barely know him or her will swallow camels in other areas.
Related to this, unless the applicant is fresh-out-of-seminary and never served a church, do no hire a person who does not include at least one former church member as a reference. Church members have seen the candidate in action and are well-suited to give an evaluation.
Some churches and ministries never go through all phases.
Sometimes things go straight from launch to life support.
I believe God desires that our churches reach and live in that peak of Sustained Health where life change is occurring, healthy growth is happening, and the church is fulfilling its purpose and vision.
Interestingly, I’ve found that when churches get stuck, it’s often on either side of the peak, in Strategic Growth on the left side of the life cycle or in the Maintenance phase on the right side.
Leaders can allow their churches to stay there a long time without realizing what’s happening.
All of my life I have wanted to be successful. The idea of success has driven me most of my days and the fear of not being successful has kept me on course as well. As I reflect on this, I find it interesting that not much has changed for me personally. I still desire success, but my definition of “success” has shifted drastically. Growing up in the thriving and prosperous suburb of Plano the mantra and allure of success was all around me.
Success equated to the various status symbols of the “American Dream”: expensive cars, expansive homes, exotic vacations and exclusive lives. The greater cultural system reinforced what most families modeled, and we were all competing for ways to get a slice of pie. The proverbial “Jones’” kept everyone running at breakneck speed and leaving carnage in our wake; people became a means to an end as “success” was the idol we chased. This is not isolated to Plano or the Dallas metroplex per se; rather, this ethos permeates the ghetto as much as Rodeo Drive. It is American to the core.