Friday, March 25, 2011

146. A fitting poem to describe apostolic folks

I found this poem on Sam Metcalfs blog. (a great blog about the apostolic and missional issues.) Thought I would republish here. It is a nifty description of of the apostolic person and their experience in relation to institutional dynamics.

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest. If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!

Because apostolic people are intrinsically entrepreneurial, they often have a wanderlust of sorts. I have seen this very pattern in my own life, and in others. One of the people in scripture I relate to is Barnabas. As a Levite, he was tied to the Temple system, a system not so friendly to the entrepreneurial, pioneering types. It seems that Barnabas was an apostle in waiting. (Acts 14) and it took a genuine encounter with the gospel, and another apostle, Paul, to fully awaken this in him and legitimize it. Once this happened, it seemed that he was able to migrate away from the the institutional domain of the temple and venture out into the frontier.

I at one time was doing traditional ministry as a "pastor" and eventually discovered I was gifted apostolically. What a release! What an affirming experience to know you are not weird or a misfit. I was simply an apostle in a pastoral setting. Needless to say, it is not very conducive for a pioneer to be stuck at the settlement. It always makes me wonder how many apostolic folks out there think they some how do not fit in because they are stuck in a monolithic system that caters primarily to the settlers. Lets broaden the scope and recognize both pioneers and settlers. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

145. The Point of Leadership

This is a fabulous article by Tim Elmore on leadership. I am going to post it in full here. Enjoy!

Two Paradoxes Leaders Embrace
By Tim Elmore
Why do intelligent, emotionally healthy people need leaders? Wouldn’t you think that a group of fifteen people who are all reasonably smart could figure out the best direction to take without someone telling them?
On paper, this makes sense. It sounds great. It just doesn’t play out in life.
Think about leadership from a philosophical standpoint. People need leaders not because they are stupid. In fact, quite the opposite. It may be because all team members are brilliant that they need leaders. Historically, the primary need for leadership is to galvanize and steer. Leaders galvanize multiple minds and steer multiple gift sets into one, clear direction.
I remember being on a team several years ago. Everyone on the team was sharp; in fact, most of us had served in leadership roles in the past. We didn’t need a leader for information or inspiration. We all knew as much as our leader did. However, someone needed to step forward and furnish clarity. We needed one clear direction and we needed someone to determine how our talents best fit together. The team members didn’t lack ideas—our problem was we had too many of them. Our leader brought clarity and synthesis.
The first role a leader must embrace is to be the focal point for a season. This doesn’t mean that the cause is all about the leader. (It should never be about the leader.) It means this person must be alright being the point of focus at first to eradicate sideways energy. Someone has to help people say “no” to the many good things they could do, and “yes” to the one, best thing they could do. Even the most reserved, and quiet leaders must initially embrace this attention and prominence.
The journey doesn’t end there, however. If a person has led well, he or she arrives at a destination precisely opposite this initial role. Effective leaders eventually create momentum, then slip into the shadows. They stay out of the way of good talent and teamwork. To use a cliché, they work themselves out of a job. They eventually become unnecessary if they have done their job well. I think of Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team. He had incredibly talented young players who desperately needed his strength and focus in the beginning. There was too much energy, and egos going too many directions. In the end, however, once the Americans had won the gold medal, he slipped into a hallway and sat on the floor. He said the moment was about the team, not him. In reality, it was about something even bigger than the team. That gold medal did something for the U.S. at the time. We defeated the invincible Soviet team. The cause was nationwide morale and hope. David had beaten Goliath. The cause should always be bigger than people.
So, leaders actually embrace two paradoxical ideas. First, they must be OK with being the prime focal point. Talent and intelligence need focus. In the end, they must embrace obscurity. They chuck their ego—and point everyone toward the bigger picture. This is a rare paradox—which makes it beautiful when it happens.