Church Challenges, Leadership

How do you respond when people ask questions you do not want to visit?

Healthy leaders understand that when people show up filled with questions, even if the questions are delivered with some anger, they need to receive them.

If there is an attacking manner in the approach of the person it provides a character development teaching moment.

It will help the leader to respond properly to begin by giving thanks that a person feel strongly about something.  One of my pastoral mentors, Ron Barker, has often said, “It is easier to tame the demoniac than to raise the dead!”

Strong emotion may not always be justified but it does indicate passion and life and perhaps even a deep desire for the organization to be effective.

Let your first response be to listen by asking a non-defensive question to make sure you are clear on the concern or issue.

Healthy Leaders, Leadership

12 Lessons I Learned from Robertson McQuilkin by Roy King

I entered seminary in the fall of 1977 and Robertson taught a required course on the Christian Life.  Not only was the course life changing but it started a relationship that has blossomed into an enduring friendship.

Robertson does not like to be called a “mentor”, he prefers just being my friend  And when I ask for advice he often says, “I have no advice but I will share an opinion if you want it.”  But in spite of his disclaimers he has poured much wisdom into me over the past 37+ years.  I often scribble notes in my journal or personal prayer list after our lunches or visits.  So here goes! — My first public sharing of some of the “gifts” of Robertson’s thinking over the years.  I told him recently I did not want to wait for his funeral to say nice things about him.  I wanted him to hear them!

  1. JUST DO THE NEXT THING GOD SHOWS YOU.  In looking back over his life he never had a plan or goals to do anything great or big — he just followed what seemed to be the next step God showed him.
  2. LOOK FOR RISING STARS AND LEVERAGE THEM.  This was an aspect of his presidential duty. He would look for “rising stars” in the student body, CIU faculty and staff, and the larger Christian world and do whatever he could to contribute to their journey.
  3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS.  DON’T TRY TO DIE ON EVERY HILL.  He would admit that that he may not have always made the correct choices but he sought to identify the ethical concerns in the society or the critical practices of the school that needed his presidential influence and he limited how many he would address at a time.
  4. JUST DO WHAT YOU CAN DO.  I have often heard him pray a paraphrase from Psalm 131 “Lord, all of “this” (usually weighty concerns we had been discussing) is too much for me….but not for You.”
  5. TO LIVE IN TENSION IS GOOD.  Robertson has very few simple answers on biblical or theological concerns.  He often speaks of seeking to find the “center of biblical tension”.  Living in the center of tension will be more uncomfortable than going to a consistent extreme.  Often you will be shot at by Christians on each end if you try to hold a balanced biblical tension.  Robertson’s experience in seeking to apply this principle with others had been disappointing at times.  Because of the tendency for blind spots in our self-awareness many of us (even if we are viewed by others as being at one end of an extreme), see ourselves as being in the place of balance and the problem is THOSE other people.
  6. BALANCE IS NOT THE GOAL FOR YOUR LIFE.  If you mean giving all aspects of life an equal share you will be in trouble. He views the balanced life as one aligned with God’s priorities — which is building his church among all peoples.  Once your passion is aligned with God’s passion and priority — then be content to offer YOUR contribution; whatever God has entrusted to you to offer to God’s cause
  7. WRITING HAS POTENTIAL FOR BROADER IMPACT.  Verbal communication influences the current and maybe the next generation.  Written communication has potential to transcend your life.
  8. SEE THE BIG PICTURE AND DISCERN CRITICAL POINTS — Get alone with God in retreats and spend some time clarifying your perspective  Many of his books, courses he created at CIU in the core curriculum, and personnel hires came out of these vision clarifying times.
  9. WHEN FACING A PROBLEM SEEK SOLUTIONS NOT VICTORIES.  If you make others the enemy to conquer you lose in the long term.
  10. LUST IS MURMURING AND DISCONTENTMENT. This is the opposite of God’s will of contentment and thanksgiving.
  12. IN TERMS OF OUR SANCTIFICATION GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN JUST VICTORY OVER DAILY SIN.  God made us in his image to be in an experience of a LOVE relationship with him.  Yes, personal holiness is a goal but it is just the means to an end — not the objective.  Evaluate your life often by evaluating your love life with God and others.  Are you growing in love?
Book Reviews, Healthy Leaders, Leadership

A Must Read Biography — Ron Dunn —

One preacher who has dramatically impacted the way I preach, teach and view my walk with Jesus is Ron Dunn.  His biography is a powerful story of how God is glorified in the weakness and struggles of his servants.  Don’s miss this book!

RON DUNN: HIS LIFE AND MISSION BY RON OWENS (buy from Amazon in paperback or Kindle)

The book would be worth reading just for the sermons that are included at the end of each section.

Once you read the book go over to and download podcasts of his messages.  I just finished my second listen of a four part study on Colossians.


A Leader Needs To Listen to God

Isaiah 66:2 (ESV)
2  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

“When was the last time you were physically affected by the reality that almighty God just spoke directly to you?…If Jesus could speak and raise the dead, calm a storm, cast out demons, and heal the incurable then what effect might a word from Him have upon your life?”  Henry & Richard Blackaby EXPERIENCING GOD DAY BY DAY (pg 4).

Lord, Speak to me, I want to be in a listening mode all day.  Teach me.  Inspire me.  Help me see.  Encourage me.  Cause me to tremble with the reality of your presence.  May this house, my body, be your holy habitation.

Your Child wants to be a better listener

Healthy Leaders, Leadership

Your Most Powerful Leadership Tool — Your Tongue!!!

Isaiah 6:5 (ESV)
5  And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

When Isaiah sees the holy God in a dramatic vision he equates his sin with his lips.  How often are my words — both the outer words we hear and the inner ones i speak in my heart — one of my weakest places of failure and sin.

James 3:5-8 makes it very clear — anything that is powerful can be a great source of giving life or an explosive way of destroying life.  I can sing out in worship of God but then contaminate myself and others when I use my same tongue to tear down a person bearing the image of God.  I think that is why if you speak in an attacking way to one of my children you are likely to get me in your face… they are my image bearers — to attack them is to attack me.  God takes the words we use about people he has created very seriously.

In James and Isaiah fire shows up — the tongue can be like a small fire that sets loose a destructive forest fire — but God can also touch and cleanse the unclean lips with his merciful fire.

When God is maturing a leader — he will never leave out the tongue.

Healthy Leaders, Leadership, Uncategorized

THE Most Important Aspect of Your Leadership

John 21:15 (ESV)
15  When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

My first base every day is LOVING JESUS more than I love anything he lets me do or be a part of accomplishing.

In verse 22 Peter wants Jesus to tell him what will happen to John and Jesus assures him it is NOT to be his focus.  I can tell when Jesus is not my first love because I am looking around comparing myself to others.  A leader is wasting precious energy when we are caught up in measuring so we can compare, compete or judge.  Focus on loving Jesus and walking our your journey with Him.

To examine my focus and my love will take me to uncomfortable exposing places, like it did with Peter.  If you hear Jesus say to you  “What is that to you?” — relax — he is speaking in love.

Leadership, Questions Coaches Hear

What do you think about house church?

Globally the majority of  churches meet in homes or other facilities not built to be primarily a church facility. In the developed West we tend to see church as something we go to do at a place.

There are challenges to any form of church organization ranging from 20 gathered in a home to thousands attending a church campus.  

The challenges of the house church include:

Isolation or clique.

Corrupt powerful leader or family dominating

Being shaped by an unbiblical motivation for being a church — defining yourself by what you are against instead of what you are for…OR protecting yourself from the polluted world.

Advantages include

Being able to multiply easily and at a low cost,

Deep community,

An attractive web of relationships for bringing in non-Christians as friends.

Questions to clarify in leading a house church:

What is our motive?

What is our mission?

How will we live a kingdom life of being IN the world but not of the world?

What are your thoughts?


Healthy Leaders, Leadership

An ESSENTIAL to Effective Change

Teaching (my profession) is about change.  Leadership (my passion) is about change.  Reconciliation with God and people through Jesus Christ (God’s ministry given to me) is about change.

CHANGE — deep life transforming personal change

What is a key ingredient and essential element that must be offered by the “change agent” that creates a safe place for the “learner” to embrace change?

Here is a 25 minute message I gave in the Chapel of Columbia International University on one of the ESSENTIALS to see change occur. It is based on an idea presented in a book by James Hatch



Here is the message! (click to listen)  

I welcome your comments or questions