Saturday, December 15, 2012

How to be a good wingman II

I loved being on another man's team. When I came to faith back in the 70's, I was on Carl's elders team as a college student. Then when we planted back in 1983, I joined Dudley's transl-local team for around 20 years. Even when we moved to America 16 years ago, I valued the opportunity to wear both hands - leading and following. It was always so helpful because I both led a team as well as was on another man's team. This kept my feet on the ground, as I was constantly being reminded of the "agony and ecstasy" of collaborating on a vision that I hadn't initiated.

One of my favorite quotes in this regard comes from Colin Powell when he was leader of the American Armed Forces. When he gathered all these top generals together he would remind them with words to this effect: "When we gather to discuss and debate this matter, you are obligated to express your opinion and give your perspective. You owe that to the team. When we reach a decision, you are obligated to own it as if it were yours."

Being a good wingman, demands your honesty and integrity. The moment a team can no longer express their opinion freely and easily, it has lost it true trinitarian model. It is in fact dying and will ultimately fragment. It may take a few years, but it will implode. The very nature of true team in includes:

1.   Every team player is valuable for their value as people, with their integrity, faithfulness and gifting;

2.   Every player is valued for their eyes, lenses on each conversation. Their voice in dialogue is essential to the health and maturity of the team. Silence or worse a sense of being patronized is a sure sense that the team is losing her way, and surrendering to the dominant voice of a single leader. That then leads to a form of dictatorship even if it a is a pleasant or benevolent one;

3.   Every player is drawn out to be engage in the conversation - it is not dominated by the alpha personalities in the group. That will always lead to imbalance and bias. A true wingman is valued by the leader, when they know that their perspective is essential and necessary. They are to honor this value by doing their homework, research and coming into the discussion, ready, studied and prayed up.

4.   Every player leaves the room with the decision reached after prayer-filled discussion, owning it as if it was theirs. There is a conviction that we will all carry when the decision is made by "It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit". It is so important that the private conversation never drifts towards "... well I never really agreed but..." This does so much damage and opens the door for the enemy to divide the team. Ownership is imperative to being a string and steadfast wingman.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to be a good wingman I

Over all these years of empowering and releasing church planters, there is one thing that I do hear with some frequency -  "if I had known what I know now, I would have been a much better team player..."

I would like to have some fun, with a touch of honesty and a splash of reflection, and share some of the ways in which we can all be better wingmen in this journey of leadership.

The more I study the Trinity, the more collaborative my leadership approach becomes. Of course there is captaincy in any leadership arrangement... It is is the trinity. It is in the home. It is in the church. But  there is far too much alpha male thinking in lead pastor models in the modern church. We act as if that is the biggest piece of ecclesiology evidenced in the scriptures. Unfortunately, it is not even in the text - but that is for another conversation.

How do you choose whose team you you will play on?

Simple peep over his shoulder - what do you see?

1.   With a new leader, you would not have had time to see him as a seasoned campaigner. Therefore, you can look and see what he was like as a wingman. Did he love, serve, care, sacrifice or was he self preoccupied, promotion driven, only fussed by how he would benefit by the moment [what is in it for me? Danger, danger, danger]

2.   If married, how does he treat his wife, publicly and privately? How he treats her is how he will actually and ultimately treat the bride.

3.   How does he speak of those who were once his leaders? Is there honor, respect and appreciation? Where there has been human weakness, is it treated with love but honesty in a redemptive way?

4.   How has he handled others? Does he treat his team with authentic collaboration and partnership or are they there to fulfill his vision [where on earth is that in the text?] Are their giftings recognized, given air time, applauded or silenced and forgotten? Are staff joked about behind their backs and patronized? Danger, danger, danger. How do they handle staff no longer with them? Are they forgotten, spoke of poorly, disrespected?

These and others are certainly reasons to avoid these kind of leaders. If they have done it to others, they will just as easily do it to you.

More to come....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tyler and Houston

We arrived in Houston this afternoon. It was a remarkable few days with Dave, Lea and the community in Tyler Texas. It is such a privilege to work with these churches - one at a time, personal, intimate and intentional.

Apostolic ministry is in part about being a father - what do father's do?

For one, fathers are life givers. Through love they they give others life, rich authentic and substantial.

They also empower others to live without them. They raise up their kids to leave home not create eternal dependency. I love working with these churches, helping them find their story, empowering them to that end. Then one day they may leave home - as happened with Jesus on that farewell moment.

This weekend we are here with another remarkable community with Brian and Rachel, and One Life here in Houston. In both of these plants we have been involved since the initial possibility talks. These folks have poured themselves out to establish themselves in new cities - parachuting into new cities to bring an expression of kingdom advancing, gospel preaching to their respective communities.

It is such an honor to partner with these churches

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Living Legacy

Delighted my new ebook entitled "A Living Legacy" has been published by Exponential...

Todd Wilson asked me to write this book. When we were together in Miami a while back, he listened to our story and was intrigued by the raw radical nature of discipleship with the view to church planting.

As with all of us, we have enjoyed our journey, but never felt like it was particularly amazing or that different. M and I have simply loved journeying with mates, believing that we could change the world through church planting.

Thanks to Dudley Daniel, this audacious notion was seeded in our hearts, changed the way we did life, giving us a pretty wild ride.

Enjoy the book as much as I had fun and tender moments, thinking of the dear friends and their remarkable acts of obedience.