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These two books are providing an interest contrast in leadership ideas as I read through them.  Of course they are from two vastly different eras which can make my brain feel like it’s spinning in circles, but I am learning nuggets of wisdom from both.

From Courageous Leadership – Every staff member holds a stake in and carries a responsibility for the overall goals of the mission.  We talk about our Four Pillars – abide, align, steward, and develop.  I am responsible for those Pillars in my own life, but also in the areas of ministry in which I serve.  It can be easy for people to identify more strongly with the ministry in which they serve instead of in the overall ministry to which we all belong.  We are all part of the same body, so we are all called to abide, align, steward, and develop in each and every part of our contribution and service.  Those Pillars aren’t something someone else does somewhere else.  It’s what I do right here, right now, wherever I go.  Hybles shares that “a federation of sub-ministries was neither biblical nor sustainable.”  He also uses the solar system as an example of what not to do in regards to vision casting.  An organization can not be like a bunch of planets in their own orbit, circling the same thing but all on their own schedules and agendas.  I’ve seen that tendency pop up sometimes, where people will start to treat the organization as an electrical outlet – a place to plug in and get what they need to power up whatever their big idea is and come running back when their battery starts to run out.  How am I abiding, aligning, stewarding, and developing my family, my marriage, my role with Mom’s Small Group and the Leadership Team?  Instead of viewing those Four Pillars as something that happens way out “there” somewhere and some of the magic dust falls on my while I’m doing my own thing, how can I re-align my daily habits, thoughts, and efforts to fit within the grid of align, abide, steward, and develop?

From St. Benedict – The word abbot comes from abba, which means father.  The abbot’s role was to be a father to the monks he led.  While the abbot carried a some what disproportionate responsibility for the obedience of the monks (he was taught that their disobedience meant he was an inadequate leader), it’s true that a leader is accountable for those she or he is leading.  As Benedict writes, “…let him [the abbot] realize that on judgment day he will sure have to submit a reckoning to the Lord for all their souls – and indeed for his own as well.”  I am responsible for my own development, not only for the development of those around me.  I like that this warning was given to the abbots because it seems like leading a monastery and all the power and influence that comes along with it could go to an abbot’s head.  He could become the leader in name only and not in spirit (I’ve read Ken Follett’s books enough times to have a colorful picture of monasteries gone bad).  How concerned am I about my own growth, my own development, my own alignment?  Leadership starts with me, and not in the sense of “I’m the leader, do what I say!”, but in the “Watch how I live my life if you are wondering if any of this stuff really makes a difference.”  He sums it up by saying, “In this way, while always fearful of the future examination of the shepherd about the sheep entrusted to him [i.e. – one day giving account of his leadership to God]…he becomes concerned also about his own, and while helping other to amend by his warnings, he achieves the amendment of his own faults.”  Apply my advice for others to myself and be willing to grow and change in the same way I’ve challenged others to do.

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