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Leadership

Peter on a ‘Different Way’ of Leadership (Leighton Ford)

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What follows is (part of) an imagined interview with Peter which seeks to bring out the key elements in Jesus’ style of transforming leadership development.

Interviewer: Thanks very much for agreeing to take the time to talk with me. I know you are a busy man and I will try not to take too much of your time.

Peter: You are welcome, and not to worry – I’ve got all the time there is. I really don’t think of myself as busy anymore.

I: Right. Now, Peter…on earth we are going through a transition right now. Many of our older leaders are getting ready to come and join you, and we have quite a crop of young ones coming along. We know the Lord left behind a first generation of leadership that has never been equaled. We want to find out how he did it…

P: Of course. But I have to make two things clear at the outset. First, he never called us leaders. He never used that word. “Disciples,” yes. “Apostles,” yes. Most often “servants”. Never leaders. Second, I am not so sure I would go along with you in thinking we were such a great crop. The raw material Jesus chose wasn’t that promising to start with. We missed the mark a lot. I know I made more than. My share of mistakes. I’ll let the others speak for themselves, but you know we didn’t always get along that well…

I: Peter, your words in 1 Peter 5:1-6

have been quoted again and again as a classic statement of the values of leadership. Give me a bit of background as to what was in your mind when you wrote that.

P: …I guess we were in a situation like yours. Many of us older ones had been around a long time, and we knew we weren’t going to be there forever. Our senior leaders, our elders, had been working a long time. Some of them were just plain tired and ground down and had lost their motivation. A few, I felt,  had lost the heart of their work and were just doing it because they were paid to do it. Some who had been in office a long time really were lording it over others.  They wanted everyone to bow to them and serve them and do what they said, and jump at their every order. At the same time, we had a crop of young turks coming along who felt that the older leaders had lost their vision and served their time and ought to step aside and let them take over. They had some great new ideas, but they were impatient, aggressive even, and if they could they would have pushed the older men into retirement.

Now, that’s not the kind of leadership I saw in Jesus…not what he taught us to be. We all had the same tendencies, but he taught us to think a different way.

 

Next week: Peter speaks of what it means to be a called leader.

Leighton Ford

 

 

Taken from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford. ©1991 by Leighton Ford. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

 

 

 

 

What Makes A Good Leader? (Leighton Ford)

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What makes a good leader, especially a transforming and empowering leader? The study of this issue has become complex, sometimes even confusing. As noted in chapter one, some students of leadership have focused on the traits of outstanding leaders, some on the situations which produce leadership, and others on the process by which leaders go about their task.

In my reading, I have been helped most by those who have talked with leaders, or those who follow them, to seek out the reasons for their effectiveness. So it occurred to me that it would be valuable if at this point we could include a case study of a leader developed by Jesus. The man whom I most wanted to consider was Simon Peter. Several reasons make him the prime candidate. Most obviously, he was Jesus’ own number one choice for a disciple. Also, he is mentioned and quoted by name far more than any of the other disciples – more times, in fact, than all the rest put together. Also, my primary reference…has been Mark’s account of Jesus, and we know that Mark was very close to Peter and used Peter’s preaching and recounting of Jesus’ story as the primary source for his Gospel.

Even more important, Peter was clearly Jesus’ own test case for his leadership development. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, Peter emerged as one of the three most prominent leaders of the early church. Further, in his own writings Peter showed that he had absorbed and was passing on certain keys to leadership that he had learned from Jesus.

What follows is an imagined interview with Peter which seeks to bring out the key elements in Jesus’ style of transforming leadership development.

Later this week: Peter ‘speaks’!

Leighton Ford

 

Taken from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford. ©1991 by Leighton Ford. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

 

Solitude and Leadership (Leighton Ford)

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“If you want others to follow, be alone with your own thoughts.”

This is from a talk given at the US Military Academy at West Point by William Deresiewicz of Yale. As I read I was struck that this is something church leaders – caught up often in “frenzied busyness” – need to heed.

Here are some of his provocative statements – unusual for future military leaders to hear:

• “Leadership is what you are here to leave …”
• “Solitude is what you have the least of here …”
• “And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership”
• “Multi-tasking … is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think.”
• “Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.”

His whole speech is worth absorbing. Click here for a link to read in full.

Then get alone and think about it!

Leighton Ford

A Special Learning Opportunity for Pastors (Leighton Ford)

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I wanted to let you all know about this unusual and creative link between an outstanding seminary and equally outstanding consulting group. It is a highly recommended learning experience for pastors focused on helping them to lead change within their congregations…and within themselves!

If you are a pastor I think you will be interested, and if you have a pastor you might want to consider forwarding it to them. Please see the link below to access an attractive PDF.

(Full disclosure – I have been on the board of GCTS and my son Kevin is one of the principals at TAG Consulting).

Re3vitalize Brochure

Leighton Ford

The Seduction of Crowds (Eugene Peterson)

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“Classically, there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence–religious meaning…: through the ecstasy of alcohol and drugs, chemically induced transcendence and recreational sex, and through the ecstasy of crowds. Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and the sex, but at least, in America, almost never against the crowds. And there’s something about the moment we inhabit, I think even globally, that that feels very resonant and psychologically astute”.

-Eugene Peterson, from an interview on NPR’s On Being.

A Letter from Jakarta (Lausanne YGL 2016)

By | Evangelism, Leadership | No Comments

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Thousands of young leaders are departing from Lausanne’s 2016 Young Leaders’ Gathering held in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a strategic and thrilling time and LFM’s influence was felt clearly! Mark Slaughter, an evangelist with IVCF, penned this letter to Leighton and Jean Ford from the conference. Enjoy, and be thankful!

 

Leighton,

Warm (and humid!) greetings to you from the Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta!  I’ve thought of you daily since I’ve been here and wanted to update you.   I know how badly you would like to be here, but even though you are not here physically, rest assured you are here in prayer, spirit, and in influence.  
We enjoyed a wonderful meal and sharing together with LFM and Apple Hill alumni, courtesy of LFM.  Thank you very much!  The pre-conference Mentor Training was outstanding.  Anne Grizzle, Mary Kate Morse, & Raphael Anzenberger, and Ole-Magnus led us extremely well!  Others here include Alan Stamp, Una Lucey-Lee.  The mentors entered in and tremendously appreciated the training.  While you are not here physically, your influence and impact is certainly here physically in so many “Aspens” investing in these amazing young leaders!  I’ve enjoyed finally meeting Roland Werner and Steve Abbott from the Point Group, and seeing Susan Perlman again!  
In the opening ceremony, I was moved as they showed video clips from Lausanne through the years – Billy Graham’s opening address in ’74, Bishop Jack Dain, John Stott, you in Manila, and several more.   This Younger Leader Planning Team has honored the past and introduced younger leaders to the Lausanne Movement, while creating cutting-edge opportunities for examining today’s missiological issues.  
Our corporate worship is clearly multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-lingual as younger leaders passionately worship the Lord and Jesus is exalted.  We are immersed in Scripture throughout the sessions, being “United in the Great Story” of redemption, while exploring our own stories through story boarding and drawing them, and then seeing where our stories fit into God’s grander Missional story!  Last night Ravi Zacharias gave another amazing message on “The True Story” along with Nick Hall and others.
Small groups are processing content, practicing Holy & Wholly Listening, and praying for each other.  As I read the profiles of the 6 leaders in our group weeks ago, I was profoundly moved by their stories, faith, humility, teach ability, and significant ways God is working through them now.   Our group alone includes a woman who’s a former atheist from Alabama who’s been a medical missionary in Cambodia, a former Atheist now pastor of a growing Vineyard church in Amsterdam, a woman who is co-pastor of a church in New Zealand, a pastor from Ghana, and a MBB.  What a privilege to walk on such holy ground this week, listening to their stories and helping them pay attention to God’s stirrings in their souls!  
I hope this is encouraging to you and Jeannie.  Please pray for all of us mentors (nearly 200) to listen well both in our groups and in individual appointments where people sign up with us.  For example I have nearly 20 leaders who’ve signed up with me, plus others from my small group and spontaneous people I meet.  

It’s such a joy to see so many whom God is raising up in their generation to build off the past, walk with God deeply in the present, and lead the cause of Christ into the future.  

On behalf of the mentors, thank you for investing in all of us.  I’ve attached for you a picture I took this morning portraying LFM & YLG, which I hope encourages you and your “artist’s heart!”  I will do my best to be your eyes and ears some this week when able, and certainly afterwards.  Personally, it’s also been a sacred journey for me, watching God orchestrate a new chapter in my own calling of evangelistic preaching and mentoring… much of which we discussed 5 years ago on a personal retreat!  
Blessings to you and Jeannie!
Mark 

Position Doesn’t Equal Power (Leighton)

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In his essay “Leadership and Power”, John Gardner defines power as “the capacity to ensure the outcomes one wishes and to prevent those one does not wish”.

The ability to bring about through others the consequences that we intend is power. In our complex modern world the sources of that power are widely varied.

Today we generally equate position with power. A delightful story illustrates positional power. A new factory owner went to lunch at a nearby restaurant which featured a “blue plate special” that allowed for no substitutions. When he asked for a second pat of butter the waitress refused. Irritated, he called for the manager, but she also refused him.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked indignantly. “I am the new owner of the factory across the street.” The woman smiled and said “Do you know who I am, sweetie? I am the person who decides whether or not you get a second pat of butter!”

Those who are called to be in Christ are called to look at all things, including power, in Christ. To see power as it was “in Christ” and to be able to use power righteously when we are “in Christ” acknowledges its creative or destructive potential and also admits the possibility that power itself can be redeemed for good.

The cross was the climax of a lifetime in which Jesus disarmed the powers. And how did he do it? He showed the greatness of the servant. He showed the power of the last place. He showed the triumph of the cross.

 

Adapted from Transforming Leadership by Leighton Ford (1991, InterVarsity Press)

Solitude and Leadership (Leighton)

By | Leadership, Life with God | No Comments

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“If you want others to follow, be alone with your own thoughts.”

This is from a talk given at the US Military Academy at West Point by William Deresiewicz of Yale. As I read I was struck that this is something church leaders – caught up often in “frenzied busyness” – need to heed.

Here are some of his provocative statements – unusual for future military leaders to hear:
• “Leadership is what you are here to leave …”
• “Solitude is what you have the least of here …”
• “And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership”
• “Multi-tasking … is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think.”
• “Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it.”
His whole speech is worth absorbing. Click here for a link to read in full.
Then get alone and think about it!

 

Leighton Ford

Was Jesus A Visionary? (Leighton)

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Some visionaries are entrepreneurs. Some years ago my friend Tom Cousins, one of the major developers in the city of Atlanta bought the rights to develop above the hundreds of sprawling acres of railroad yards in downtown. He took me to see the place and described his plan for a huge complex of hotels, office buildings, parking decks and a great stadium which would rise in that empty space. In the transformation of that great city, his vision became a reality.

Yet we never read of Jesus having grand schemes and designs like that. Vision is not used in the Bible in our sense of an entrepreneurial “visionary”. In the Scriptures, the word vision is commonly used of an ecstatic experience in which people deeply aware of God’s presence receive a special word from him.

These visions come to people waking and sleeping, at night and during the day, in dreams, through angels. People from all walks of life – kings, farmers and housewives – all had visions.

Visions abounded during times of spiritual revival in Israel but in periods of spiritual decline there was a marked absence of vision. And this decline extended from God’s people through the whole society. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 – “perish” here refers to casting off moral restraint. The blindness of society reflect religion without reality, the loss of spiritual vision.

As far as the biblical record shows us, Jesus was not a visionary in the ecstatic sense.

Yet Jesus has inspired more visions – in artists, composers, architects, leaders – than anyone who has ever lived. Without entrepreneurial plans or ecstatic experiences, Jesus stands all by himself as the transformational leader.

He was able to create, articulate, and communicate a compelling vision which changed what people thought and talked about and dreamed of. Today, Jesus’ vision leads his followers to transcend self-interest and enables us to see ourselves and our world in whole new ways, ways that penetrate to the heart of things and bring about the highest order of change.

 

Adapted from Transforming Leadership (1991, InterVarsity Press)

What Are ‘Friends On The Journey’?

By | Leadership, Mentoring, Reflections/Essays | No Comments
Canada Island
Barry Whatley of Quebec was part of the team we sent to meet with senior Indian leaders about the value of mentoring communities.
I asked him what gifts God has blessed him with in working with leaders, and like how he responded:
I can offer
a listening ear
a timely word
an expansive imagination
What a concise and excellent way to describe what we do as friends on the journey!
Leighton Ford
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