“Slow the pace and increase the prayerfulness.”
When you first wake up.
“Lord, Thanks for the sleep. By your indwelling Spirit open my eyes and ears to see and hear answers to prayer as I go through my day. A phone call, email, mail or conversation may reveal an answer to one of my prayers. Or, perhaps one of these moments contains the gift of answering someone else’s prayer! Please help me to be present and alert to your touch on my life. Amen.”
What is your first morning thought prayer?
A common challenge for the Ministry Leaders and Business Executives I coach is how they can learn from their daily encounters and experiences. The art of reflection is often neglected in the push to add another meeting or another appointment to the day.
Yet I am often reminded of the words of my mentor Dr. Bobbie Clinton, “The number one reason leaders fail to finish well is they plateau.” They stop growing.
Here is a simple way to stay in a learning mode which will allow you to make better decisions and relate to the challenges and relationships in your life with wisdom and discernment. You must create the space by hitting the pause button and reflecting on a short period of time. Once a week will not work. Too much is forgotten and goes stale before you can gain from it. Instead install a “startup” and “shut down” rhythm to your day. Here is a suggested pattern I use. It has been refined over the years as I borrow ideas from other leaders.
A PRACTICAL TOOL TO HELP REFINE, STRETCH, and CORRECT YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
The shutdown ritual should be they last commitment in your work day. Set the appointment with yourself in a quiet area. The same technique is very helpful as a recovery and buffer pause to capture key learnings after a messy challenging encounter.
SHUT DOWN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF:
(10 to 30 minutes) at the end of each work day or right after a strategic meeting.
Use a consistent tool to capture your thoughts as you examine your day. Consistent capture tools may be 3×5 cards, a written journal or private document online.
QUESTIONS TO ASSIST YOU IN REFLECTION:
What did I see today about individuals with whom I had interaction?
What did I see today about our culture? (NOTE PLUSES AND MINUSES)
What di I see about myself today?
What do I offer up in thanks to God?
What do I lay before God in confident faith he will provide the way forward?
How do we want people work together differently?
Based on what happened today what 3 things do I need to do tomorrow and what do I change in my daily plan for tomorrow to create space for these actions?
PART OF THE SHUT DOWN RITUAL IS TO RETURN THE GIFT OF THE DAY BACK TO THE ONE WHO GAVE IT TO YOU.
LAST ACTION BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR WORK DAY…
HANDS — PALMS DOWN ON DESK.
THANK GOD FOR LETTING YOU STEWARD THE DAY.
TRUST HIM FOR GRACE AND STRENGTH TO BRING FRUIT AND GROWTH FROM TODAY’S WORK FOR HIS GLORY. GIVE THE DAY BACK TO HIM.
Once you have the shutdown routine in your rhythm add a “start up” routine
When you first wake up in the morning turn on to your back and look up. Raise both arms with hands palm up to God.
A sample prayer could be: “Father thank you for the rest during the night and now you are offering me a new day to manage. Today is a (work day, play day, rest day, family day, etc., define the major purpose for this day). You have gifted me with this day. Help me to be a good steward and invest it for eternal reward.”
Caution yourself to not pollute the day. If it is a work day don’t lose focus and waste time tracking your teams online. If it is a rest day do not pollute it with work. You get the idea.
Now begin a “perspective” and “getting current” mini-retreat
Read David Allen’s GTD – Getting Things Done book for an excellent overview of a weekly check in. To his words I would add these ideas. In a period of a storm of major changes you need this mini-retreat once a week. Let me suggest you set aside 1/2 of a day to fast, pray, rest, and look back over the recent days by reviewing your daily shut down notes and review your commitments to see if you have not drifted off course.
If you are not in a storm of change you may be able to do the mini-retreat every 4 to 6 weeks.
The most important person you lead is yourself . Poor decisions are made in a reactive rather than reflective mode. It requires discipline to engage in a time of pausing and reflecting which creates space for your thinking and feeling to get to an inner quiet and hear from God. Those who seek him and his wisdom do grow and develop confidence and contentment in their leadership.
Several times in the past two years I have been deeply convicted that my prayers are too small for the God I worship. I do not mean God doesn’t care or we should not pray for individuals or small concerns. BUT — is that all I am praying? Do I primarily pray out of the small circle of concerns touching my life?
As Pandora and I have traveled to the Middle East and North Africa Region God is enlarging our hearts. I was one of those Christians who heard of the annual day of prayer for the persecuted church and I might offer a two minute prayer. But now I see faces, I know names, I have heard their testimonies and God is showing me how precious these suffering brothers and sisters are to him.
I found these prayers in some reading materials and have adapted them for me to use on a regular basis to “prime” my thinking and stir me to pray. Would you join me? CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD.
Let me know what you think.
The life as a Jesus follower is a journey from being declared with right standing before God to experiencing the reality of our new identity in Christ. Anxiety about the past failures, or the future unknowns, fear of the present challenges, a sense of weakness and uncertainty are all rooted in a lack of living in our identity in Christ.
Suggestion: CLICK HERE AND DOWNLOAD A PDF. This is a list of statements and Bible passages on Who We Are In Christ by John Stumbo. Take the first statement. Read the passage 3 times very slowly. Then, in your journal record your answer to this question. “If this truth was guiding my life today how would I see differently?”
Let me know your thoughts. Let’s live out of what we believe in 2018!
One of the joys of being a leadership coach is entering into the lives of those you serve. Right now I have 10 clients that I meet with 1 more times each month. Some live in the US but now I have some in Egypt and Dubai.
My Dubai friend is a young musician and loves to train others to lead God’s people in worship and also use songwriting as a platform to build redemptive relationships with those far from God. So, here is some of his music for you to enjoy when sitting by the fire or enjoying the lights on the tree.
Here is a letter I sent to a close friend after our discussion during a break time at a conference.
Thanks so much for listening to me share about our new assignment we have received from the Father. (I had shared how Pandora and I are called to plant a network of “micro-churches” starting in Market Common at Myrtle Beach. “Micro-churches” are churches of 12-20 people meeting in home, businesses and public places. They gather periodically into one gathering for praise and celebration. See a two page summary on the strategy by CLICKING HERE.)
As always your strength as a networker shone through and you began to look up some good contacts to share with me on your phone who you know would be keen on working and sharing with us.
I appreciated you also sharing how God was leading you to be part of leading a large church. I celebrate with you in God’s assignment! It is such a great gift of God’s grace and mercy to let us play a role in the great work he is doing.
Then you went on to describe being in a gathering of church leaders and how the missional community/house church guys were beating up on the large church leader in the room. You mentioned how they used the “rabbit” and “elephant” illustration found in the missional community literature as a stick to beat up on the large church leader. My heart joins you in grieving this needless fighting.
When will ministry leaders wake up and see that God’s Spirit is creative and loves to use many different ways to reach and make disciples of those far from God. He uses large churches, micro-churches, churches led by men and churches led by women, churches with loud music and churches with very quiet music, churches that use one language and churches with many languages. God loves those who remember the history of the church and those running into the future and building bridges for where they see the culture going.
Jeff, I believe those who engage in defending their format of practicing church are often feeling defensive and threatened deep inside. They lack a certainty they are simply servants carrying out the next assignment the Father has given them. They tear down or devalue the works of others in order to gain an assurance they are okay.
I want to cry out, “Look around — go visit the church in Egypt, Iran or China. Visit the urban poor and the affluent new neighborhood. Go to the islands and then go walk a mountain trail to an isolated village. Visit a refugee camp where new people are arriving daily and families living there are living out a cultural family pattern of a new child every year.” In this kind of world we should celebrate that God can organize disciples of Jesus to work like salt and light in any setting.
There are lost people who the Spirit will convict and draw as they sit among thousands. There will be lost people who will need a friend who comes and eats in their home, respectfully absorbs their life story, and helps them connect God’s good news to the bad news going on in their life.
Comparing, competing or tearing down the work of another of Christ’s servants is not new. See Paul’s attacks described in 2 Corinthians and Philippians to remember there is nothing new in Satan’s deceptive strategy of turning the church to devour one another.
Instead of using our energy and creativity to attack how someone else is doing church let us spend time in giving thanks for them and interceding for their fruitfulness.
Let us practice Roman 14 and 15.
“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. . . . Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
I look forward to taking a walk on the beach together and praying for one another!
A fellow servant, Roy