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I posted some thoughts from Richard Swenson’s book Margin last week. Here’s another simple statement that has ruminated from that book: “Only a body that is well rested, properly exercised, and correctly fed will be able to maintain its energy reserves in the face of serious stress” (Swenson, 125).
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Simple statement, right? Sounds so easy, right? Yet, it seems to be an elusive goal for me. I find these simple steps to be the most challenging assignments at this point in my life. Swenson provides some practical suggestions that I see as a need. The question remains, how do I get them off this page and into my life?

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If writing these steps on this blog will make me more accountable, here goes. In order to improve my physical health I will:
1) Exercise for sounder sleep
2) Decrease intake of fat
3) Decrease intake of sugars
4) Replace processed snacks with fruit
5) Eat a balanced diet
6) Drink a lot of water

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Swenson’s proposed outcome from making such changes is appealing: “If we perform our assignment well, we will find energy we never knew we had. We will work better, run better, feel better, heal better, and live better” (Swenson,142). May it indeed get off this page and into my life!
Am I the only one who finds this challenging? How do you make important things like this a part of your life?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
I read a couple of books recently that were recommended by my friend Becky.  Thanks Becky for pointing me to these books that will become resources for me to share with others—beginning today!

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Leading Women Who Wound by Sue Edwards and Kelley Matthews is a book I will heartily recommend to those involved in women’s ministry. Both Edwards and Matthews teach at Dallas Theological Seminary, but in the writing of this book they draw greatly from their personal experience of leading women’s ministry in the local church. The result is a practical book that addresses conflict from experience, research and solid biblical teaching.
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The author’s state that conflict is a fact of life.  “We can’t avoid it—but instead of openly discussing the disagreement, women tend to go underground with their conflict.” One statement from the book that I cannot forget and succinctly states the need for such a book is: “hurt women hurt women.”

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In vernacular that any woman can understand Edwards and Matthews provide a tool that challenges women to respond to conflict in an emotionally healthy and biblical manner. The discussion questions that follow each chapter make this not only a helpful resource for individuals, but also for leadership teams to work through together. There is even a chapter written to men who are involved in overseeing or working with women in leadership.
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Verdict: Recommend this book highly!
One of the genres I regularly read in the non-fiction department are books on leadership. We are all leaders in some sphere of influence. I also have a desire to continually become aware of resources that might be helpful to others.
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Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges is the latest leadership book to be added to my shelf. The book was given to me as part of the resources for a leadership team on which I currently serve. I have to admit I did not read the book until someone else commented on how much they got out of it.  (Hanging head in shame.) I had read a Ken Blanchard book before and even though he is a best selling author and business leadership guru, I wasn’t sure how it would translate into Christian leadership. If I were honest I would have to say I looked at the book with some suspicion, (i.e., business guru trying to break into the Christian leadership market).
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Heart?Head?Hands?Habits
I was very wrong, and I am very grateful to have been influenced to read this book. Blanchard and Hodges challenge to Lead Like Jesus comes out of a genuine desire to live as a Christ follower. They provide a convincing argument that leading like Jesus is the most relevant leadership style for today. I found Blanchard & Hodges description of servant leadership to be well defined. They say the journey of a servant leader starts with the heart (motive and intent). [BTW—The discussion on pride and ego are worth the price of the book. EGO is described as Edging God Out as opposed to Exalting God Only.] Then it travels through the head (belief system and perspective). To have hands of a servant leader is to be a leader who puts into practice  internal skills and values (investing in and caring for followers). Finally, all of these things will translate into the servant leader exhibiting habits like Jesus (solitude, prayer, study and application of scripture, accepting and responding to God’s unconditional love, and involvement in supportive relationships).
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Verdict: Recommend this book highly to anyone whether or not they are in a formal leadership position.
Long flights mean (hopefully) a good flick to pass some time. My thoughts on a few recent viewings:

LAX to ATL-How does one person—one male person—have so much sensitivity, (I’m sorry, but sometimes translated schmaltz)?  Southern author Nicholas Sparks keeps cranking them out and as with any author, I like some of his offerings above others. All have a tug at your heart turning point with my all time fave continuing to be The Notebook. As sappy as it is, it should be a requirement for every married couple to view together. I digress…my airplane selection for a recent flight from LAX to ATL was Sparks’ Dear John. The connection with Dear John for me was of course the military story line. My heart went out to John with his dysfunctional family background. I rejoiced as he found purpose and  a place in the military. I rooted for him as he opened his heart and learned how to love. I understood, but was disappointed as a young woman weighed the cost of military life and decided to go another direction–not sure about the commitments it would require. I was surprised as, hmmm…there was more to her and this story than I thought! Okay film.

ATL to FRA-One of my favorite young actresses of the day is Amy Adams. Her character in Enchanted continues to make me smile.  Her portrayal of Julie in Julie and Julia was enjoyable as well. Leap Year was the perfect airplane movie for me since it comes under the ‘chick flick’ genre. Lighthearted, charming and fun even with its predictability.

FRA to ATL-The favored movie of this month’s air travel has to be Invictus with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. This is a LEADERSHIP movie!  The storyline centers on the South African rugby team and their quest for the World Cup. But, the story goes so much deeper  as it explores how some leaders are able to inspire people to go beyond what they think they are capable of being and doing. This is a movie about transformational leadership at its finest.  The genius of Mandela to use a struggling rugby team in the process of reconciliation of a country that could have gone the way of its violent neighbors leaves me shaking my head in wonder.  He is portrayed as a leader who built relationships as he learned about people (to include their names), and  listened and reflected before taking action.  This movie illustrates his  use of something all the people of his country loved (rugby) to build a common vision for a better future. Mandela and Francois Pienaar (rugby captain) are depicted, as men who led by example and were true to their values—something we desperately need today! Terrific film!
The Principles of Shepherding for Servant Leaders
Last week I posted some thoughts on servant leadership and thought I would continue the theme today…
The shepherd does not expect the sheep to provide for him and the servant leader doesn’t lead for the purpose of the followers meeting his needs The mission of a servant leader who shepherds is to make life better for those who follow. The shepherd’s purpose in life is to care for the sheep. Sheep are helpless to find their own food and water and to care for themselves. Shepherding in leadership requires considering and identifying the needs of others. The effective servant leader will develop strategies that will insure needs are being met. For this leader there is no room for discrimination, rather all are served equally regardless of preferences or feelings. The servant leader who shepherds like Jesus will be more interested in loving people than in reaching objectives or implementing programs. They are willing to accept the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their followers and they are willing to make significant sacrifices on behalf of those they lead.
Gentle and Gracious
One who leads as a shepherd does not use coercion or manipulation, but leads with a gentle and gracious spirit. This gentleness is borne out of strength of character. The strong shepherd will be willing to display gentleness in carrying, feeding and leading the sheep. This is especially important when dealing with followers who experience failure and demonstrate frustrating behavior. These weak followers require patient and persistent guidance and mentoring from the shepherding leader. This leader does not depend on position to inflate ego or produce authority. This humble attitude of service will be recognized by others which will result in acceptance and respect from followers. This leader reveals the extent of their love for others by their selfless service.
In addition to a caring attitude, the shepherding leader must also display competence to gain the respect and confidence of followers. Followers must know their shepherd and leader is not only compassionate, but also capable. This builds trust between follower and leader.
Servant leadership, a style or a motivation?
Leaders are often given more power over others than they want or need. The act of leadership is accompanied by subtle temptations of power and position that are often abused. Jesus modeled a way to lead that focuses on demonstrating sincere concern for the needs of others. Scripture provides a picture of a servant leader who acts as a loving shepherd—one who protects and nurtures those in their care. Peter encourages those who would serve others by saying, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but beings examples to the flock; And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
The servant leader first serves God and then seeks to serve others out of the overflow of relationship with God. I am of the opinion that servant leadership cannot be described as a style of leadership, but rather it is a motivation that directs one to serve others. Do you agree?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Seminary professor and author Elmer Towns describes a servant leader as: “one who recognizes the real secret of leadership is found in identifying the needs of others and ministering to them.” He goes on to explain, “This leader believes people will follow if their needs are being met by their leader” (Towns, 2003, 139). There’s no better example of this than the leadership of Jesus. Jesus displayed characteristics of both the servant and the leader. He taught and modeled the principle of servant leadership throughout his life and ministry.
Jesus, the Model of Servant Leadership
Even as a child Jesus modeled leadership. Scripture provides a glimpse of him at age twelve in the temple speaking to the adult leaders as he was about his Father’s business (Luke 2:47). His leadership skills are evident as he called his disciples to leave what they were doing and follow him on a three-year adventure that would change their lives, and change the world. Of course Jesus led because of his divine nature. He is leadership personified. He led by example and he led by action when he confronted things that were wrong (the money changers in the temple), or harmful (the storms on the sea).
Downward Submission
The model of a servant is the role of Jesus that takes us by surprise. Scripture describes this role in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” and Philippians 2:7-8, “He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave. He humbled Himself by being obedient, even to death.” Jesus did not have title while he was on this earth. He did not build a formal organization. He did not recruit his disciples to lucrative paid positions. He went about doing good—teaching, healing, and modeling the love, grace and mercy of God the Father. Jesus modeled a downward submission. He served people because he understood their value.
Risky Business
A servant leader is willing to assume the risk of his own well being for the good of those he leads. He certainly must associate himself with his followers to the point that any risk he is asking of them he is willing to accept for himself. Jesus required his disciples to stand up and make a public profession of their faith in God even if serving God resulted in the loss of their physical life. Christ in his willingness to go to the cross, in addition to fulfilling his mission on earth as the Savior, was also showing he was willing to take the same risk of public testimony that he required of his disciples.
I have to ask myself what risks am I willing to take in order to lead with the heart of a servant? What about you?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
One of my favorite places to stop on a road trip is Zaxby’s. There’s nothing better than a Zaxby’s fountain drink: 3/4 Diet Coke, 1/4 Fanta Cherry and a squeeze of fresh lemon all poured over crushed ice perfection. It’s worth a try!  In my opinion it is obvious  Zaxby’s cares about the details.

I not only like the fountain drinks at Zaxby’s, but I like  the philosophy that guides the business. Christian businessman and founder of Zaxby’s Chicken Restaurants, Zach McLeroy believes in caring about people. He states that leading people “starts with sincerity.” McLeroy says, “You really have to care about people, and I know it sounds cliché. It has to be about more than the almighty dollar, about growing a business and selling it at some point and trying to see exactly what the bottom line is and how much you can make. You have to care about the people who work for you. You care about them not just by saying you care about them, but you care about them by actually doing things, by reinvesting in people. When people feel that you care about them, they care about you. In turn, they try to do what’s good for you and your organization and the people they work around … If you make them feel good about what they do, they’re going to do a much better job, and they’ll be more loyal in the long run” (O’hara 2008). McLeroy’s values concerning people coincide with the axiom,  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Good fountain drinks or not, that’s a pretty good leadership philosophy!
©Brenda Pace, 2010

Proud to be part of this amazing leadership team!

April is my birthday month and it always brings with it some reflection. I’m really working on embracing the titles and descriptions of “seasoned”, “older”, “Titus II“, and “mentor.” I have a dear young person in my life that told me when he was 3 years of age that I would never be old because I was too short! Short or not, the age scale is moving upward and I want to embrace these roles and live them to their truest fulfillment.
This spring and summer I have an opportunity to take a further step in that journey as I have the privilege to be part of a dynamic leadership training team. The team is a great mix of women from a variety of stages in life, denominational backgrounds and leadership experience. I’m considering my role on the team at my age and stage in life and have thought about what it means to serve in the capacity of a mentoring leader. As I “grow up” I want to be a leader who:
  • Is enthusiastic and interested–Enthusiasm cannot be taught, but it can be caught. A mentor who is enthusiastic about her relationship with God and her ministry calling will communicate that attitude through her words and actions. A mentor who exhorts will take the time to get to know what is going on in the lives of those she is influencing. Asking good open-ended questions is a great way to make this happen and it  cannot be undervalued.  A fundamental principle of teaching  modeled by Jesus is meeting people where they are in order to guide them where they need to be. Discovering areas where motivation is needed can come through the asking of good questions.
  • Depends on prayer–The mentor who depends on prayer will be strengthened both personally and relationally. One author wrote that mentoring is not an “assembly line process.” For the Christian, mentoring is spiritual labor and requires spiritual warfare. The enemy of our soul does not want to see more faithful followers of Jesus. A wise mentor will recognize that it is only the power of the Holy Spirit who can bring transformation in the life of another. No greater model for this can be found than Jesus laboring in prayer on behalf of his disciples and those who would come after in John 17. A life that is characterized and strengthened by prayer will overflow into the lives of those we mentor.
  • Is intentional about understanding a younger generation–Personally, I think  the church in general has created an environment that is not conducive to mentoring. Mentoring is something that happened naturally in cultures/society of past generations. Churches need to be more intentional to teach about the importance of mentoring. There needs to be a challenge put forth for older people to seek out those who are younger, and vice versa. I would love to see churches provide opportunities (SS classes, sermons, leadership requirements that younger/newer must be paired with older leader, etc.) for this type of relationship to develop. Too often churches are segregated according to age; as a result there are few opportunities to build cross-generational relationships. It is important to remember that mentoring is not a program, but rather it is a relationship. It’s not about match-making, but in the church it is about creating a culture that is conducive to the development of relationships that provide opportunities for biblical mentoring to take place.
  • Is willing to be vulnerable—In a mentoring relationship, there is danger to project the best of one’s self. Leadership trainees need to see authenticity. They need to see that there are struggles even in those they consider “mature.” The need to see how a mature Christian deals with those struggles—mistakes and all. C. S. Lewis said it this way: “Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give some advice.”
What’s your view of being (or having) a mentor leader?
©Brenda Pace, 2010