What is the President’s job?

Yesterday I talked about how maybe we aren’t asking all the right questions.  There are issues beyond “the issues” and beyond the party with the question of who our president will be.  This year as I’ve given it more and more thought, one of the most important issues for me is the question of leadership.

It first struck me in reading about leadership as it applies to the church and business.  I think we get sucked into so much to the political talk that we neglect this major issue.  We spend lots of time concerned about it in the church & business worlds.  We ask: what is your record; can you manage people; how do your inferiors perform (i.e do you make them better while they make you better).

Everyone has different opinions about our current President.  You can think what you will of the war, taxes, economy, etc.  However regardless of your political position, I think where he has lacked has been in the area of leadership.  He has be bold when neccesary, and decisive when need be.  Those are good things.  But he has (in my opinion) chosen poor partners, appointed poor leaders beneath him, and reaped poor results in various branches and departments because of it.  

For example, the biggest turnaround in Iraq happened after the appointment of a new leader.  That is not a coincidence.  I would also say this has been one of the largest problems with getting something done with the current economic crisis.  President Bush has lost his leadership value, and you can see it as no one really cares what he as to say about the situation.

So the question is, which of these two men would be the greater leader of our country?  Who would make the best executive, the best “governmental CEO.”  Because that is the presidents job, if we remember.  He does not legislate, he does not judge; however we regularly vote based on what laws a president says he will enact and what ruling he says he will overturn.  But how will he LEAD?  How will he command control of a massive, ungainly corporation that is our government?

Do “the issues” matter?  Absolutely.  Should we look to our legislators to do the legislating?  I think so.

 The issues and leadership are tied together in many ways, I understand that.  But does leadership matter more?  You’ll have to decide.

Postmodern Politics

This is one of the most unique & insightful things I have read this election season. The modern/postmodern discussion and debate has been at the forefront of Christian thought for quite a while now. In the Out of Ur blog Collin Hansen filters the candidates and last weeks debate through this lens.

As much as we discuss how the postmodern world has changed people faith and views, I’ve never thought much about how it effects politics. It is completely applicable and in the same way we must adjust our leadership in the church, we must also in government. Which is not to say I am endorsing either candidate because of this one issue.

It does bring up something I’ve given lots of thought this year-the more I see, the more I think we should be focusing more on leadership ability as the main litmus test when choosing a candidate. That’s a big topic, so more on that later.

by dietrick

by dietrick

Evolve Conference Part 3

Part 2 

In the interest of time, this will be my last blog on the Evolve Conference, at least in this format.*  If anyone really want some notes from other sessions, let me know and I’ll try to throw them together. It’s been one week since the conference began as of today, and I’m still buzzing.

Session 4: Mark Batterson: The Secure Leader

(This all is based around 1 Samuel and the story of Saul and David)

  • You have got to guard against insecurity!
  • Don’t play the comparison game.
  • When you compare, you get two choices: jealousy or pride.
  • Your success is not in the numbers, it’s in being a good leader.
  • It’s good to celebrate your failures.
  • Don’t Panic (be patient)  Saul rushed to action when Samuel ran late, and it cost him dearly.
  • Don’t get defensive, listen to your most important critics.
  • Surround yourself with your assets.
  • It’s tempting to surround yourself with people one step behind you so you look smart, but they will fail you and work against you in the end.  Their success is your success!
  • Keep building altars; remember where it all comes from

*One of my favorite parts of the conference was the breakout for UNchristian.  I’ll be blogging in multiple parts on the the thoughts from this breakout.  This will probably be a continuing theme for a while.

Evolve Conference Part 1

Hey there kids.  This Monday and Tuesday the leadership team at Life went to the Evolve Conference in Cumming, Ga and hosted by Mountain Lake Church.  I had really wanted to blog daily about the event, but tech issues made that impossible.  Over the next few days I’ll be posting recaps of most everything.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the thoughts here.  Make sure you check out the links as they come up as well.

 The Trip Up

Had a great ride up with Kevin, his wife Hannah, and oldest son Kaleb.  I do not miss GA400 at all, though.  Our hotel was very comfortable, and from what I hear much better than last years.  No indoor pool though (sorry Chris).  We had a good time at Ryans, even if the food was a little questionable.  This did begin our long run of being the loudest people around though.

Day One:Session One: Shawn Lovejoy: The Healthy Leader

  • Great way to start off, I felt totally ashamed of myself.
  • “When things slow down, then I will____________”  That is a dangerous phrase.
  • I try hard to be balanced, but I am not disciplined enough.
  • Seriously, I have got to crack down.
  • It is important to schedule time to let go.
  • He made a cool point-he does not read his Bible at night because it gets his mind racing.  That may be good for me too.  Either way, it’s important to think about when you do these things.
  • I’m not the only one with Prayer ADD!
  • It’s good to evaluate.  I’m using these as well.
  • I took the least notes in this session-I was just so wrapped up in the conference.  I guess that’s undisciplined!

Stay tuned for the next session with Steven Furtick.

Seth Godin on Communication

Totally digging today’s blog by Seth Godin:

What’s helpful is to realize that you have a choice when you communicate. You can design your products to be easy to use. You can write so your audience hears you. You can present in a place and in a way that guarantees that the people you want to listen will hear you. Most of all, you get to choose who will understand (and who won’t).

This is true in any form of communication whether it’s professional or at home with your spouse, kids, friends, etc.  We can always blame someone for not listening or not understanding, but are we taking the time to really communicate?

Integrityball

Tonight during the sad defeat of Maryland by Duke, (free throws anyone?) the big news everyone was talking about was the trouble that Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson had gotten himself into.  It seems that while coach of Oklahoma, he couldn’t abide by the rules when it came to recruiting new players.  He was put on restrictions at that school, and has since lied to the investigators looking into the matter.  This has forced more restrictions on him, even though he now coaches at a new school, Indiana.

The admin at IU are taking this very seriously, and this could possibly effect Coach Sampson’s future at the school.  The moral of this story is Integrity Matters.    When you don’t play by the rules, and when you try to cover your tracks, it will follow you– especially if you are in leadership.   At the time of his violations, Coach Sampson was heading the Ethics Summit for the NABC!  A leader has got to be on their A game all the time when it comes to honesty and openness. 

It can be tempting to stage a cover up, especially for christian leaders.  We feel like we have got to be perfect, right?  But the opposite is true, we’ve got to be open and accountable.  (By the way, as leaders, we also have to be quick to forgive and show grace.  It is out job to lift up, not to tear down.)

This is not one of those deals where the cheaters prosper.  It may feel that way sometimes, but the Bible is clear.  Proverbs 11:3 puts it this way: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.  I love the distinciton here.  Do we want to be guided or torn apart?  Integrity keeps aware of where we are going.  You don’t need GPS when you’re familiar with the territory!  But start trying to cover up and dodge, and soon you don’t know which way you’re going; it’s only a matter of time.

If you’re a leader at your job, at home, at school, your homeowners association, among your friends, whatever, the challenge is there.  If you play by your own rules,  you will fall at some point.  But lead with integrity, and you will tear a clear path ahead for yourself and for all who follow you.

Countdown to Evolve

(Don’t forget to download this week’s podcast)

Next Monday and Tuesday the staff at Life will be at the Evolve conference at Mountain Lake.  I am really amped about this trip.  I know it will be a great time of rejuvenation and challenge.  I’m really excited to go with my wife on this trip as well, we could use some time together.

I know we keep saying it, but the staff at Life is pumped about moving forward this year.  We are all praying and seeking God’s direction as we go full bore and don’t look back.  I can not wait until January ’09 when we are looking back at all the things God has done.  I’ve been on board at Life Church for a year now, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming.