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Category Archives: Leadership

Mentoring pays dividends

Next month, Carol and I will be in Moscow, Russia, to help lead a conference on identifying and training next generation leaders for the church. We will focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of mentoring. As part of the conference, the communications team at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA, interviewed three of the men I mentored while I was on staff at the church and who are serving as staff or elders today. Daniel, Mark, and Tedd were all part of a Sunday School class I taught for young families. They are their wives went with Carol and me to Spain in 2000 on a short-term ministry trip. The fourth gentleman is Keith Krell, the new Senior Pastor at Crossroads. The video is dubbed in Russian and the transcript of their comments is below. (Keith’s comments were not transcribed.)

On the one hand, I believe the video will be a great addition to the conference and helps to give me credibility. On the other hand, I found it extremely encouraging and affirming to know that the investment I made years ago is still paying dividends today. It was a huge shot in the arm and encouragement to keep going and stay faithful.

Enjoy.

Mark video transcribed:

Daniel:

<Hello, my name is Daniel Adent. I was part of the class that Mark led at Crossroads, and now I’m currently serving as an elder here at Crossroads. Mark was influential in my life in growing as a leader>

<It started with just Mark inviting me and encouraging me to participate in things that would deepen my walk with Christ and give me experience at the same time. ‘Daniel, you should consider going on a short term mission to Spain, to Russia.’ ‘Daniel, you should consider teaching and taking this class on teaching that I’m giving.’ ‘Daniel, you should consider taking these classes on Bible and theology that will deepen your knowledge of Christ.’>

<Mark also modeled and taught me what it meant to be a servant leader and a shepherd to those that I serve>

<Mark also just made time for me. Morning coffees or breakfasts, either alone or with Mark Grotte where we would talk about anything and everything related to life, to leadership, to parenting, marriage, the church. Everything and anything, over the years, we would talk about it>

<When Mark was leaving Seattle, the Grotte’s, and Melanie and I, and Carol had dinner and Mark gave us two batons, each with 2 Timothy 2:2 on it, What you have heard from me, these entrust to faithful men who will also be able to teach others. And he charged us to take the investment that he had given in us and pay it forward and invest in others. I am happy to say that at this point in addition to investing in my four adult children, I’ve had numerous other future leaders, that I have had the pleasure to invest in as well. Much in the same way that Mark invested in me>

Mark:

<Hi, My name is Mark Grotte and I was part of the class that Mark led at Crossroads Bible Church. Today I am on staff here at Crossraods. Mark was very influential in me becoming a leader>

<In January of 2000 Mark led a ministry team, in which he invited 5 couples to travel to Spain as part of a mission trip. The purpose of the trip taught us the importance of serving and of outreach and of missions. Following that trip, Mark personally invited me and a few others including Daniel and Ted to teach us the importance of knowing biblical doctrine. Also he taught us topics such as learning how to teach, so we could learn to be teachers. Also, he taught us the importance of leadership so that we could lead from a biblical perspective in the church.>

<Following that, I was invited to become an elder at Crossroads Bible Church. This was all built on the foundation that Mark had built into me, as well as other leaders, but Mark was really leading in significant ways for me to become the leader I was becoming at that point. Being an elder wasn’t the end of my learning, but the principles that Mark taught me along the way helped me to continue to grow as I was an elder here at Crossroads Bible Church>

<Three years ago, God called me to leave my secular work place for an opportunity to work here at Crossroads Bible Church. I had no difficulty in accepting that call it was very clear to me that God placed that call on me and so much of that was thanks to the teaching, mentoring and discipleship that Mark instilled in me for those many years>

<Today, I am so thankful that I can look back and see that Mark was a very influential and instrumental person in my life to bring me to the place I am today>

Ted:

<Hi, my names is Ted Diedrikson and I was part of a class that Mark Wheeler led at Crossroads Bible Church. Today, I am an Elder at Sola church, a church plant of Crossroads Bible Church. Mark was very influential in me becoming the leader I am today>

<Mark was willing to spend the time to teach me. He taught me what it mean to serve, he taught me biblical theology and he taught me how to teach>

<He also provided me opportunities to put the things I was learning into practice. Almost 20 years ago he invited me to go on a short term missions trip to Spain, where we proved computer support to missionaries. Then he asked me to teach in a Sunday school class he was leading. Finally, he asked me to join the leadership team for that class. Each of these things were opportunities that Mark was giving me to put into practice the things he had been teaching me>

<I would not be the leader I am today, were it not for the time, training and opportunity that Mark provided me>

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2019 in Leadership, Mentors, Russia, Videos

 

Invest in your employees

Book Review: Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture that Wins the Hearts of Customers, by Dee Ann Turner

Dee Ann Turner spent 33 years working in the corporate office of Chick-fil-A. The last 17 years were spent as the Vice President of Talent, where she was a key leader in creating and sustaining the remarkable culture that is the guiding force of Chick-fil-A’s success. She has taken her years of experience and poured them into Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture that Wins the Hearts of Customers, where she explains the importance of “selecting and growing talent and creating a healthy, compelling, even remarkable culture in an organization.”

As she explains in the introduction,

This book is full of both principles and stories. Remarkable cultures are created and nurtured through the power of stories. This book will describe to you how to conduct an effective behavioral interview, and it will explain the steps to giving feedback and being an influential mentor. It will also educate you on the essential elements of a remarkable culture and how to inspire your organization to be willing to do the hard work to attain one. Remarkable cultures are based on timeless principles, and those principles, like ancient truths, are conveyed through the power of stories that contain them.

The book explains the importance of servant leadership and how leaders must model the qualities that want to develop in their employees. It stresses not only the importance of hiring the right people and making sure their gift mix fits the need within the organization, but also training employees to be effective and giving them feedback. Rather than putting the customer first, the author stresses putting your employees first. If you have the right people and trained them in the right values and methods, they will meet the needs of the customers.

The bulk of the author’s examples come from her years of experience working for Chick-fil-A. She also includes examples from other organizations and industries. She also weaves in biblical principles along with her stories and examples. While the concepts and principles are transferable, I kept having to think about how I would implement them in my setting since I don’t work in the fast food, quick service industry.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2019 in Books, Leadership, Mentors, Quotes

 

Moscow Conference 2019 – September update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Carol and I leave in six weeks on October 16.

As on previous trips, we will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. Here’s an outline of the lessons I’ll be teaching during the conference. We will be combining lecture, small group discussion, and some other creative learning activities.

  1. Session one – Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring.
  2. Session two – Case studies; biblical examples of training and mentoring.
  3. Session three – Who? What do you look for in a trainee?
  4. Session four – What? What should you develop in a young leader?
  5. Session five – How? How do you train them?
  6. Session six – Failures. Not everyone you invest in will follow through.
  7. Sessions seven – Panel discussion; Q & A.

Thanks to your generosity and God’s provision, the trip is fully funded. Enough funds came in that allowed us to do something special for the attendees. We purchased a quantity of relay batons and we added a label that says, 2 Timothy 2:2, in Russian. At the end of the seminar, we’ll give each participant two batons, one to keep as a reminder of the lessons and one to give to someone that they train.

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God for his generous provision.
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.
  • Pray for Carol and me as we head to California in two weeks for a short visit with our kids and Carol’s parents and sister. When we return, we will finish preparations for the Moscow conference.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.

 
 

Moscow Conference 2019 – July update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Because of your prayers and generosity, the trip is now fully funded. We’ve purchased our tickets and made our hotel reservations.

As on previous trips, Carol and I will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. I am starting to work on the lessons for the conference. The sessions will include: (1) Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring; (2) Who? What do you look for in a trainee? (3) What? What should you develop in this person? and (4) How? How do you go about doing it? I want to combine biblical teaching with creative activities and small group discussions so as to make the conference practical and helpful.

This past week, I sent in the preseminar assignments. If the participants complete the work, they receive a discount on their registration fee. To get them thinking about the topic, they are to answer the following questions:

  1. Read Exodus 18. What was Moses’ challenge? What was Jethro’s recommendation? What type of people was Moses to look for? What was the result?
  2. Read Exodus 17:8-16; 24:9-18; 33:7-11; Numbers 11:24-29; Numbers 13:1-14:45; Numbers 27:12-23; Deuteronomy 34:1-12. What kind of experiences did God and Moses use to prepare Joshua to lead Israel? What lessons did Joshua learn? What skills did he gain through those experiences?
  3. Read 1 Timothy 2:2. What did Paul instruct Timothy to do? What kind of character qualities was Timothy to look for in the people he was to invest in?
  4. Read Ephesians 4:11-16. What gifts and/or gifted people are given to the church? What is their role? What happens when they do their job well? What happens if they don’t carry out their responsibility?

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God that Carol and I have our visas, airline tickets, and hotel reservations. We praise God for his provision.
  • Praise God that the trip is fully funded!
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.

 

Avoiding the Absalom Syndrome

This article was originally published in the Winter 1999 edition of Leadership Journal. I wrote it while I was serving as an Associate Pastor at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. Since two people have brought it up recently and said how helpful it was, I decided it was time to repost it.

************

John was a man with a mission—to oust the pastor. He had a long-standing grudge and refused to let go of it.

John would sidle up to newcomers and say, “Does the pastor strike you as a little cold? Does it bother you that he votes on his own salary? Did you hear about the squabble last year? Let me fill you in on what really happened.”

John rehashed his complaints with each new staffer and board member. If the leader didn’t take his side, John accused him of covering up the issues.

My turn came one hot, summer evening. I had heard about John’s tactic. I refused to be part of any gossip. To each accusation, I said, “John, you need to deal with your bitterness. I won’t listen to any more until you do that.” John has yet to do that, and now he considers me part of the cover-up.

Church staff, board members, and leaders are natural lightning rods for complainers. Afraid of voicing objections publicly or confronting the pastor directly, the disgruntled often come to us. Serving in staff positions over the past 10 years, I’ve learned some hard lessons about loyalty and integrity.

1.               Step away from the gate.
If we are not careful, associates can easily become an Absalom at the gate, stealing away the hearts of Israel (2 Sam. 15:1- 6). Like King David’s son, we begin to think that things would be different if we were in charge, that we are the answer to the problem. We’re tempted to think we’re more “in touch” than the senior pastor. We discover there’s support for our way of thinking, and we can become the catalyst for a power struggle or church split.

2.               The shortest distance between two points does not go through me.
Rather than playing Absalom, we should follow the biblical pattern of confrontation (Matt. 18:15-17). Instead of listening to rumors, we need to ask the complainer, “Have you talked to the pastor yet?”

If he hasn’t, we should politely tell him to follow what Scripture says about confrontation without commenting on the concerns. If he has done that and the matter has not been resolved, we should encourage him to follow Christ’s instruction by taking another person along for a private meeting with the pastor. If there is no resolution, then take it to the official leadership of the church.

3.               “They” will get you into trouble.
At the church I serve, we have adopted the “they” rule. If a critic says “they say” or “several people are upset,” we ask the complainer to identify who “they” are. It’s hard to know how serious a situation is if you don’t know whether “they” are one person or 100.

If the individual bringing the criticism is unwilling to identify “them” or have them speak directly to the party that has offended them, we won’t listen to their accusations. After all, the end of Absalom’s life shows the danger of playing to the crowd.

4.               Loyal David is a better example.
Rather than Absalom’s rebellion, a much better example for us is David’s respect for his superior, Saul. Instead of manipulating the present for my own ends, I need to relax and trust God for my future.

To keep my heart pure and my perspective straight, I’ve had to discipline myself to do two things. One is to pray for my seniors on a daily basis. It’s hard to criticize someone when you are praying for him. Lifting him up before God tends to diffuse any frustration and helps me to see him as God does. And two, I remind myself that, ultimately, I am serving Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2019 in Church, Leadership, Scripture

 

Strive for Exceptional

Book Review: Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise, by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill

Horst Schulze knows what he is talking about when he describes how to build an exceptionally excellent brand. Schulze is the co-founder and former president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Capella Hotel Group. He is a well-known and well-respected leader whose hotel chains exemplify innovation, excellence, service, and competitive advantage.

His book, Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise, not only reveals his core values, but also explains how to develop and implement them in any industry. The book is divided into three sections. Part one focuses on serving your customers. Part two aims at engaging your employees. Part three is on building true leadership.

Part One: Serving Your Customers describes how to identify and surface what your customer is really looking for. Once you know their true needs, you can move everyone to focus on customer service. The author also explains how to keep customers, and how to handle their complaints.

Part Two: Engaging Your Employees starts by recognizing that your employees should be treated with respect and dignity. The motto of the Ritz-Carlton hotels was “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” He explains the importance of helping your employees understand the vision and purpose of the organization and then training and reminding them of that purpose.

Part Three: Building True Leadership highlights how each person can grow in their own leadership skills. He explains why vision statements are important and the importance of measuring your goals and objectives.

Throughout the book, the author includes stories from his varied background. He begins with his childhood in Germany and ends with where he is today. He sprinkles biblical principles throughout the book and shares his own personal testimony in the epilogue.

While the book can be read quickly, it would be helpful to slow down and ponder each of the principles he shares. It provides encouragement that developing and producing excellence is possible in today’s world.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2019 in Books, Leadership

 
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Training leaders in Russia