Archive for leadership


Posted in Ministry, Teaching with tags , , , on August 30, 2009 by Walter

I came across this quote today:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn . . . “is to learn something.  That is the only thing that never fails . . . Learn why the world gas and what wags it.  That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.  Learning is the best thing for you.”

–White, The Once and Future King, p 183.

There is nothing like going through your day and Truth, deep Truth, finding you.  This passage illuminates one of the fundamentals of life–when you are learning, you are taken to something LARGER than yourself, something transcendent and suddenly, your own problems are put into perspective and one’s sadness is at least averted for the time being.

When one learns, they are taken to places lagers, more complex, more interesting, so different, so interesting, so thought provoking, so beautiful than one’s normal life.

One of the mantras that I have bought into comes from Rick Warren whenre he says, “Leaders are Learners.”  He says that when one ceases to learn, they lose their ability to lead others.  The task of learning is a life-long pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.  It is a journey whose nirvana is never realized, but its rewards are always noticed.

This is one of the biggest problems that I have witnesses is many churches.  They have lost their desire to LEARN.  Yes they have worship, yes they have sermons, yes they even have Bible Classes with inventive names; however, what they lack is the honest attempt to venture into the unknown and ask, “What if?”  To seek out beyond the barriers of our faith that we are so comfortable staying behind.  Much of what we pass off as learning in our places of worship is merely affirming that which we already believe and are comfortable with.

Look at what Jesus does with his followers:

“You have heard it said, BUT I tell you.”  He is pushing people beyond the familiar, beyond the Sunday School answers nad leads them into uncharted waters of faith.  I guarantee that those who put into practice those “But I tell you . . .” truths were taken on a wonderful and amazing journey in the Kingdom.

So pick up a book from a different section of Border’s then you normally shop at; turn to the History, Travel, or Discovery Channel and watch something you don’t know anything about; take a class at your local university (like Lipscomb); try a cuisine or restaurant that you haven’t ever tried; or go on at trip to an exotic locale, or maybe pick up the Bible and listen to it for the first time or read something you haven’t in it before.


.::Independence & Dependence

Posted in church, Life, Ministry, Teaching with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2009 by Walter

I attended a conference on Youth Ministry at Princeton a few weeks back, so for her 11th birthday, I took my daughter to Philadelphia for the weekend before the conference.  Naither of us had been there before, and I looked forward to going to the birthplace of our nation.  I did not expect what happened while I was there.

First, I had known this was the place where the Declaration and Constitution were signed.  But it wasn’t until I wan on the tour of Independence Hall that I was overwhelmed (to the point of tears) by significance of both of those events and what that meant to history.  Here is what I mean:

I didn’t realize that the men in that room who signed the Declaration had such a difficult task that they were called to.  These men had to essentially commit treason in order to follow their convictions.  How difficult it must have been for our founding fathers to agonize over what their signatures not only mean to the future of the colonies, by if they lost the war, what their signature might have meant to their family names and the shame that it may have brought upon them.

I didn’t realize how controversial Independence was as there were so many who still remained loyal to Britain.  How difficult it must have been to have to endure the criticism from the Loyalists in print, in person.  Perhaps by neighbors, family and friends.

Both of these illustrate the point that leadership is difficult and lonely. Just as it was for the founding fathers, leadership is difficult in that it inevitably brings one to have to make difficult, agonizing decisions that are unpopular by some segment of the population (congregation).  Very rarely can a church leader make a decision that is embraced by everyone in the body. Perhaps, this is why James warns one about becoming a teacher/leader, or why Paul details so many relational qualities associated with Elders and Deacons.

This brings me to the second point of what happened in that room in July 1776, leadership is lonely. When decisions that are revolutionary are made, that leaves the leader in an extremely lonely place.  Decisions like Independence leave one in a place that alienates them from someone usually until the benefits of such decision are evident by the majority.  Unfortunately, in the church, this usually this doesn’t happen until long after the benefits are seen.  And in the cases where there aren’t and benefits of such a decision, well, we all know that this isn’t pretty.


As history has shown since that hot July day in Philadelphia, something Transcendant happened in that room, with those men, and this nation.  That is what overwhelmed me.  Was that in this room where I was standing, something happened that changed history.  Ths history of the Western world was altered for who knows how long, because of the bravery and vision of the 56 men in that room.

This is just a sliver of what I hope to bring into the classroom with my students.  Vision, purpose, conviction, that alters the history of the church and the world. I hope to stir in my students what Bill Hybels calls a “Holy Discontent,” so that they can look at what is happening in the church and not settle for mediocrity, for the status quo; but to have a VISION for what God desires for the Kingdom and them mobilize for that change.

May they Declare:

Independence from Lukewarmness

Independence from Apathy

Independence from Materialism

Independence from Cheap Grace

Independence from Status Quo Faith.

And May they Declare:

Dependence on a Holy God

Dependence on The Grace of Jesus Christ

Dependence on the work of the Holy Spirit in their Hearts

Dependence on accountability and encouragement that comes from Life in the Communion of Faith