Our team has been challenged, recently, to evaluate our online efforts, particularly in the area of social media. Is it a worthwhile way to spend our time (it’s not known as The Great Time Suck for nothing, afterall)? Is it possible to do real ministry online? Or is it all just a trend that is destined to fade? Is there a measurable return on our effort? Is it important or is it too risky? Does it really help us in our mission to help churches thrive? Is this web-social media-online thing really worth it?
We don’t have all the answers. Much like you, we’re still figuring out a lot of this as we go. But here’s what we know today:
Bill Hybels gives a sneak peek of what he will be talking about at The Global Leadership Summit, August 9-10, 2012.
Leaders are always in a ‘season’. Over 200+ partner churches around the United States are at the height of Summit season. As you prepare your heart for what you’ll experience at the Summit this year, we encourage you take time to know what season you’re in. In this expert from Leadership Axioms Bill challenges our personal and organizational awareness.
What season are you in?
I’m in and out of local churches nearly every week, and I love to test leaders’ organizational awareness by asking a straightforward question: “What season are you in as a church?” The most perceptive leaders I know fire back an answer to that question without batting an eye: “We’re in a growth season right now,” or “We’ve been on a plateau for far too long, and people are getting frustrated,” or “We’ve run our volunteers ragged and probably need to slow the pace and let people catch their breath,” or “We’ve gone through more change cycles in the past ninety days than should be legal, but things are finally starting to settle out a bit.” A key responsibility of the leader is to know what season the organization is in, to name it, and then to communicate the implications of that season to his or her followers.
This leadership-seasons idea traces back to Ecclesiastes 3:1, which says that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Most leaders nod consent at that line of thinking but simultaneously neglect to tell their followers what season they’re in! And based on my experience, people sitting in your organization will have no clue what season they’re in unless you tell them. Do yourself and those you lead the favor of learning to spot the changing of the seasons in your environment. When you see growth bloom or transition hit or feel the icy days of malaise descend, draw attention to the shift. Give voice to the realities of that season. Assign appropriate language to it, designate helpful parameters to succeeding within it, and confidently offer solutions for moving through it. You’re always in a season, leader. It’s your role to know which it is and what to do about it.
What tools do you use to stay in tune with the seasons of your organization? What about your personal seasons – how do you build the muscle of self-assessment?
Thanks to Bill Hybels for sharing his words from the book Leadership Axioms. To read more and to find Bill’s other titles check out our resources at willowcreek.com.
This is an excerpt from an article titled, “Vision and Strategy for a Bible-Centered Community,” featured in the July–Aug ’12 issue of Bible Study Magazine, a publication that gives readers tools and methods for studying the Bible. To read the article in full, subscribe at BibleStudyMagazine.com/Hybels. Subscribe before July 31st with the coupon code BSMHYBELS to get $5.00 of the subscription price..
Bill Hybels pushes to develop leaders in the Christian community. Toward this end, The Willow Creek Association created The Global Leadership Summit, a two-day event that draws thousands of attendees to the Chicago area and tens of thousands to satellite and videocast events all over the world. “There aren’t very many places church leaders can turn that convene a world-class faculty to sharpen the leadership gifts. They need a regular investment—they need an infusion of vision, skill and training.”
“I sat down with a couple of my friends and said, ‘What if we try to raise up the value and the competence of pastors and Christian influencers all around the world in the area of leadership?’ I didn’t care if 15 people came or if 2,500 people came. My commitment was to find the best faculty that knew a lot about leadership to improve people’s ability to lead Christian organizations, local churches and businesses.”
“That was 15 or 16 or so years ago, and it is now simulcast all over North America; 85 other countries will translate it into 35 foreign languages. We are dumbfounded at the response. … We’re watching God do this amazing thing, and we’re very grateful and humbled to be a part of it.”
“I work with thousands of pastors around the country whose churches are flourishing and they have a white-hot vision for what God has for their future. They teach the Scriptures unapologetically, they have fantastic worship, they’re baptizing hundreds of people a year, young and old are coming, rich and poor are coming, and black and white are coming. … I stay pretty enthusiastic because I see these kinds of churches rising up. They are the ones Jesus said that the gates of hell could not prevail against.”