Monday, 31 December 2012

Honest Leadership

Honest Leadership – i.e. in the family
For UCB 3 min script

For many years I lead large youth camps both in the north and south of England.  I often feel I have spent almost as much time camping as Abraham!

What has camping to do with leadership? Which of course is the subject we are discussing; well on those camp sites, with almost 400 teenagers thrown together in close proximity, there were many human problems.  One of the camps regularly had young people who were referred from various departments within Social Services, so you can imagine there were lots of pastoral issues and much time spent just talking, answering questions and dealing with issues.

It may surprise you to know that the group of young people I probably spent the most time with, due to their unruly behaviour, usually after midnight sitting on a hill around a fire (well it was a summer camp) was the church leader’s kids.

My conversations with many leaders’ kids over the years became very repetitive, it went something like this. ‘I know your father and mother, they lead that large church in Anyshire, now why is it that amongst all these young people you are giving me the biggest problems?’  And their response was invariably, ‘Huh,’ they would say with a teenage shrug, ‘you might think you know my Mum and Dad, but you only see them when they are at a church meeting, you don’t live with them. You don’t see you how my Dad treats my Mum, and you don’t see how my Mum speaks to my Dad, you have no idea what they are really like!’   And of course they were right.

Out of the hundreds of disciples who followed Jesus, he chose twelve of them, then he lived with them, this was the basis of his teaching.  He didn’t give them a lecture now and then for a couple of hours, he was with them 24/7.  It’s a well known saying that you don’t really know someone until you have lived with them.  When I was at college sharing a room with 5 other students, one of the guys had a very appropriate rhyme which was, ‘to live with the saints in heaven above I’m sure that will be glory, but to live with the saints down here on earth beneath boy that’s another story.’

When we’re at a church meeting and someone asks, ‘how are you doing?’ it’s so easy for us to put a smile on our face, be very spiritual and say, ‘I’m fine.’  But when you get home, the fa├žade drops and the real you appears. That’s a rather hypocritical lifestyle. At home it’s much harder to be a Christian, a true follower of the way, a leader who maintains consistency in words and actions.

Does that mean it can’t be done?  I don’t think that’s true, but we do need, however, to change out thinking, we need to put on the mind of Christ, we need to have a servant attitude in our heart and we certainly need to loose the ‘lording it over you’ approach that so many of us pick up so easily.  Its funny isn’t it how quickly we learn to boss people around and take the high ground and I’m not just referring to leaders.
Next time you are at a Christian function, take a look around at the people who have been given some responsibility, they may be sporting a badge, or a walkie-talkie; notice how quickly they begin bossing people around, putting others down and making small rules seem like mountains to climb or an instrument with which to whack others.  This bossiness is in us all and we need to be on our guard when it rears its ugly head.

If we desire to be a Jesus-style of leader, we need to be honest with ourselves, we need a heart make-over, and we need to say to Jesus, ‘help me to be a servant-style leader that effects real change in your world.’  We need to consistently seek to maintain that attitude in the most important place, our home.

Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 min script
W. 702
Editor: A Brookes

Monday, 10 December 2012

Leadership of Self

Leadership of Self
Script for UCB

The most important person we need to learn to lead is our self.  In other words, we need to be in charge of ourselves. The thing is if we cannot govern, control and lead our self, how would it be possible or even thinkable to lead others?
It is obvious from scripture that Jesus thought of himself as under authority, that is, under the authority of his father and was doing, saying and being all that his father wanted him to be and do.
In servant leadership, the style of leadership that is required by God, the phrase ‘do as I say not as do’ just does not hold water!  Self discipline is a must, but what does that mean.  Well it includes things like controlling our tempers, or should I say temperament.  The excuse that I often hear from people who loose their temper is, ‘well that’s just how I am’, that excuse will just not do.  It might be how you were before, but now that you are a new person in Christ, as it says in 1 Corinthians 5 verse 17,  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’.
Many times I hear people say, ‘accept me for who I am, God does!’  Well of course, in some senses, that is true, God does not wait for us to change before we come to him, so in that sense he does accept us for who we are and just how we are,  as the old hymn says, ‘Just as I am, I come’.    But hang on, it doesn’t stop there, the scripture is very plain about this, God’s plan for us is to change us.  There are many references similar to the one I quoted from Corinthians, here is another example, Colossians chapter 3 verse 10, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.’  So it’s obvious that God does not plan to leave us as he found us in that ‘just as I am’ state.  The plan is to change us and to make us like his son Jesus.
So how does he do that, or how do you or I do that, that is, how do we change to be more like Christ?  It’s not as complicated as you might imagine, though it does take some action on our part, but God is alongside us helping us, encouraging us, strengthening us, being with us every step of the way.  I often ask people what it is that God or we use to change and I get  a variety of answers including: praying, going to church, reading the bible, the Holy Spirit. They are all good answers, but not the right one methinks.  The right answer is ‘think’.  The battle ground from God’s perspective and from a biblical perspective is our thinking, our minds, and it is the changing of our thinking and our minds that makes us into good leaders, in control of ourselves, able to lead ourselves and therefore others.
The bible has lots to say on this subject, about ‘putting on the mind of Christ’, there are so many references in the New Testament about having the mind of Christ that I decided to encourage you to get hold of a concordance and have a look for yourself.  You could start with Philippians 4 verse 8, ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.
 And you could also take a look at Romans chapter 12 verse 2 which tells us we need to renew our minds. ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If you do that it changes everything.  Computer geeks say that if you put rubbish into your computer, then you will get rubbish out, they call it GIGO, Garbage in, Garbage out.  It’s the same with our minds, what we need is right thinking; that will change us so that we can lead ourselves and then lead others.

Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 Min Script
W. 768
Editor A Brookes