Leading From Both Kingdoms

Bob HampBob Hamp is a pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX, he’s also a speaker and author of several titles, including Think Differently Live Differently. Visit his site, and follow him on Twitter.

One of the greatest challenges faced by all believers is understanding and operating in the Kingdom of God while simultaneously living our earthly existence. This challenge is multiplied when we begin to engage the issues of organizing and leading from the place of dual citizenship.

Christianity is a belief system based on a worldview that most westerners do not naturally embrace. The entire Biblical narrative clearly unfolds against the backdrop of a visible, natural world and an invisible, supernatural world.

We see this interaction in the story of Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6:15-18. Elisha’s servant reports to the CEO that they are entirely surrounded by enemy armies. With a Jedi hand swipe, the servant’s eyes are opened to the greater, invisible reality, and he realizes that a larger angelic army surrounds the human army he sees.

An organizational or leadership decision, based on the first view of the battlefield, might be completely contrary to a decision based on the second view. As a result, to be an effective spiritual leader we must learn to lead in both realms simultaneously.

Secular leadership models can be helpful as long as we know when they do and do not apply to the context of Kingdom leadership. A leader who has developed their expertise in the natural realm only will not be able to recognize, much less operate in, the spiritual realm. Here are some of the dynamics that are critical to effective spiritual leadership:

  • The Presence of God: Throughout the history of Israel, it became clear that if God was with them they could not be defeated— regardless of logic or odds. No city or army could withstand a human army that followed God’s Presence. As a leader, Moses learned the simple, yet crucial prayer: “If you will not go with me, I will not go.” Similarly, no spiritual leader today should ever consider an initiative, no matter how logical or statistically sound, until they know that God is with them.
  • Prayer: Prayer is the tool by which we remain connected to the presence of God, and it is the primary strategy of any spiritual leader. Lead people to their knees. Be the first to listen for the Voice of God. Without meaningful conversation with God, it is impossible to lead in the Spiritual world. It would be like trying to lead people through the jungle while wearing a blindfold.
  • Fasting: We should never forget fasting, the powerful cousin to prayer. The denial of our flesh, though never pleasant, is designed to make us more sensitive to the Spirit. However, a leader who only leads in the physical realm does not recognize the wisdom and power in fasting. In John 3:10, Jesus emphasized the importance of spiritual leaders knowing the difference between Spirit and flesh.
  • Spiritual Warfare: Not all opposition faced by leaders and organizations can be handled through simple, rational problem solving. In fact, Paul lets us know that flesh and blood is never the real opposition we face. Without being spooky, we must recognize that if we operate in both realms, we will also face opposition in both realms.

I am convinced that it is possible to make decisions that are effective in one realm, yet destructive in another. To be truly effective spiritual leaders we must learn to lead with a foot in both kingdoms.

Can you think of a time when your best understanding of God’s direction didn’t make sense at first, yet produced surprising results?

Lead Differently

Mark Miller is a business leader, best-selling author and communicator. Mark began his Chick-fil-A career in 1977 and today serves as the Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness. In addition to bringing us the world’s best chicken sandwiches, Mark is also passionate about helping church leaders. You can read more from Mark at his blog Great Leaders Serve and follow him on Twitter at @LeadersServe

Lead Differently ManifestoI’m excited that Change This has published my first manifesto entitled, Lead Differently. If you’re not familiar with Change This, their mission is to support and spread great ideas. They’ve published work by Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and Chris Anderson to name only a few of the authors they’ve featured in the past. I’m thankful they chose to share my ideas with the world!

My manifesto is a FREE 18 page downloadable PDF in which I summarize the key principles from The Secret, The Secret of Teams, and Great Leaders Grow. I hope it will help you Lead Differently!

Take some time to read Mark’s manifesto and let us know how you’re planning to lead differently.

Thoughts from Craig Groeschel

Groeschel, Soul DetoxCraig Groeschel is Senior Pastor at LifeChurch.tv, a multi-campus church known for innovation and creative technology. He’s also the author of several books. You can follow him on Twitter and enjoy this preview of Soul Detox, Craig’s newest title releasing next week.

Soul Detox

I was raised in a house filled with smoke. Both my parents smoked, and I was never bothered by the smell. I found it strangely comforting because it was what made home smell like home. While the health risks of smoking were well known, it was a few years before the American Medical Association came out with its findings on the dangers of secondhand smoke, especially for children. No one’s parents were trying to poison their family and cause health problems. Nonetheless, they unknowingly put all the people they loved—including themselves—at risk.

It seems funny to me now in a sad, ironic kind of way. Parents lovingly warned their children: “Look both ways before you cross the street.” “Put on your coat so you don’t catch a cold.” “Wash your hands so you don’t get sick.” “Don’t get in the water until thirty minutes after you’ve eaten.” (I still don’t get that one.) Though they did everything within their power to keep us safe, many parents were unknowingly poisoning their kids with secondhand smoke.

For the first eighteen years of my life, I lived in a cloud of secondhand smoke. I didn’t blame my parents; they didn’t know secondhand smoke is practically as dangerous as inhaling it firsthand. But their ignorance didn’t change the reality of the situation.
I’m convinced many of us are living in this same kind of dangerous trap with our spiritual health. We know something doesn’t feel quite right, that we’re not growing closer to God and following Christ the way we would like, but we can’t put our finger on it. Even though we believe in God and want to please Him, we find it hard to serve him passionately and consistently. We want to move forward spiritually but we feel like we’re running against the wind. We want more—we know there’s more—but we just can’t seem to find it.

Why do so many well-meaning Christians take one spiritual step forward, then slide back two? Why do we long for more of God in our lives and yet feel farther and farther away from him? What’s holding us back from growing in this relationship that we claim is our main priority?

While many factors go into answering these questions, ultimately I believe our spiritual enemy blinds us with a smoke screen of poisonous distractions. Just like I lived unaware of the smoke in my home, many people aren’t fully aware of the forces stunting their spiritual growth. Without realizing the impact of their faith, people embrace harmful relationships, consume toxic media, live with addictive habits, and remain oblivious to the long-term effects. We think the way we live is perfectly fine, normal, harmless, or even positive. Some people don’t want to take an honest look at the way they live, claiming, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.”

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Many who inhaled secondhand smoke—not to mention all the millions of smokers—have suffered permanent and painful physical effects. The truth is this. What many people don’t know is not just hurting them but killing them spiritually.

Everything we allow into our minds, hearts, and lives—everything we spend our time and money on—has an impact on how we grow, or don’t grow, spiritually. As the old computer adage reminds us: garbage in, garbage out. Just as we are what we eat physically, we are also what we consume spiritually. If we don’t monitor and adjust our diet accordingly, our souls are in danger of absorbing more and more lethal poison.

The Bible consistently reminds us to check our spiritual diet for toxins. Proverbs 25:26 says, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.” How muddy is your water right now? Is your well polluted by all the cultural toxins seeping in? Or does your spiritual well draw on Living Water as its pure, thirst-quenching source? Maybe you’re a Christian—you’ve been made righteous by Christ—yet you’ve become a muddied spring or a polluted well, and you don’t even know it.

You might believe, “My thoughts don’t matter. As long as they stay tucked away inside my head, they’re not hurting anyone. We all think about things that we’d never do, right?” All the while your negative thoughts are silently poisoning your soul, pouring lies into your spiritual water supply. Unfortunately, our thoughts don’t just stay in our head, disconnected from our words and our actions. Unhealthy thoughts often lead to unhealthy words. Without even knowing it, you might be talking yourself, and others, out of God’s best.

If you’re tired of the stain of sinful habits discoloring your life, if you long to breathe the fresh, clean, life-giving air of God’s holiness, if you would love to detoxify your soul from guilt, fear, regret, and all the impurities that pollute your relationship with God, it’s time to come clean.

Examine the various pollutants that often corrupt your spiritual desire to know and serve God. Some can be avoided as you become more discerning and remove them from your surroundings. Deep down, you know there’s truer way to live, a deeper, purer way to love, and a larger impact to make on the world around you. Open your eyes, your heart, and your mind to the cleansing power of God’s truth.

His Word is filled with stories of men and women who needed to come clean, who longed for more. One of my favorites is David, who’s described as “a man after God’s own heart” but, as you may know, was far from perfect. Shortly after he committed adultery and murder, David experienced a soul sickness that affected him on every level—physical, emotional, and spiritual. He knew his sins of lust, entitlement, and deception were killing his heart. He knew the only way to be restored and experience a joyful, fulfilling life again was to come clean before God. In his prayer of repentance, he wrote:

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

–Psalm 51: 2,7,10,12

Wouldn’t you like to come clean? To feel your Father’s love wash over you like the cool, crystal waters of a spring-fed stream? To leave the smoke-filled room where you’ve been hiding and come into his life-giving light? To breathe in fresh spiritual air?

It’s not too late.

Adapted from Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel, founding and senior pastor of Lifechurch.tv. Soul Detox, published by Zondervan, releases May 1, 2012.

A voice for the voiceless

Pranitha TimothyPranitha Timothy is changing history. The International Justice Mission’s (IJM) director of “After Care” in Chennai, India has the courage to lead teams into life-threatening situations and the perseverance to free victims of modern-day slavery—no matter what the cost. Visit the IJM site to to stay up-to-date on their work in India.

“There are 27 million slaves in our world today,” she says. Even though a brain tumor left her with what she calls a “strange” voice, she is proud to be a voice for the voiceless—including the millions who toil under burden of harsh manual labor. Working in bondage to Brahmin slave masters, millions struggle from dawn to dark in places like rock quarries and brick mills, even though bonded labor was made illegal in India more than 30 years ago.

IJM is on a mission to free slaves and restore them to a life of dignity and wholeness.
In April, 2011, government officials, IJM staff, and police entered a brick kiln to liberate laborers held by force. They estimated it would amount to 200 people. They were wrong. More than 500 workers assembled to hear freedom was at hand. Facing the throngs of slaves, Pranitha Timothy shouted, “Who wants to come out?” Hundreds of hands shot up.

The owner of the brick kiln was arrested and four trucks were arranged to transport the laborers to a nearby school where their releases could be processed. Four trucks weren’t enough, so a truck belonging to the former slave master was confiscated.

More than 500 men, women, and children are now living in freedom thanks to the largest anti-slavery operation in IJM’s history.

Read the full story in this article in the Times of India.

Does Pranitha’s story touch your heart? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (use the hash tag #wcagls). Sign up for the Summit to hear Pranitha speak in August.

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curiosity + conversation + action = change

In the spirit of keeping the conversation going, we want to share Blake Mycoskie’s 2010 GLS interview. Here he talks about the heart of Toms and challenges each of us to a more giving lifestyle. Shortly after this video was made Toms announced they surpassed the 1,000,000 mark. All from one guy’s idea to get shoes on the feet of kids around the world.

Blake reminded us of the simplicity of Toms and One Day Without Shoes. The beauty is that it doesn’t cost anything to take your shoes off but the difference it will make in countless lives is truly transformative. By sparking conversations in 50 countries, on 500 campuses, in offices of all types and on countless street corners action will be inspired and change will happen.

Enjoy Blake’s story and let us know how you might take steps to live a more giving life.

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April Webcast: Charles Jenkins

In case you missed this month’s webcast, or in case you need to watch it again, we’re glad to post it here for you. In this webcast, Charles Jenkins, senior pastor at the historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, talks with Jim Mellado about thriving in change. You can read more on the topic in Pastor Jenkins’ book Thriving in Change.

Here are a few of our notes. We’d love to see your favorite quotes in the comments below or on Twitter (use the hash tag #wcawebcast to see the whole stream).

    “There is applied change and basic change – basic change is just change for change’s sake. Applied change is change with a needed necessary end result.”
    “I knew I needed to start at the concept…what’s the destination? I couldn’t get people there if the destination wasn’t clear.”
    “Honor people with one-on-one conversations. It’s critical to help resistant people process the changes. The goal with early adopters is to create advocates, but with the resisters your goal is to help them find neutrality.”
    “When it comes to change, often leaders make change to problems only they see. You’ve got to make everybody see the problem so they know why the change is necessary.”
    “For a senior leader, it’s like Shakespeare. Play your part and then exit the stage. For a successor, be comfortable in your own skin – David can’t wear Saul’s armor.”

More on Marc Kielburger

One Million Children Helping Children
Marc KielburgerAt the age of 12, Marc Kielburger’s brother, Craig, read about a 12-year-old boy who was murdered while working as an enslaved laborer in a carpet factory. The boy, a Pakistani, had been a child laborer since the age of four.

Craig began researching child labor and wrote a school paper on the topic, which inspired the founding of “Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds,” made up of his school friends. The group eventually became “Free the Children,” an international organization that has built 500 schools in Latin America, Africa, and Asia—schools that provide education to more than 50,000 children. Working with more than one million kids each year, Free the Children is the world’s largest network of children helping children through education.

Craig’s brother, Marc Kielburger, 35, is chief executive director of the organization. Together the brothers founded Me to We, an organization committed to the cause of ethical living by providing socially responsible lifestyle products. Marc, director of Me to We has co-authored the New York Times bestseller Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World, The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care And Contribute, and a syndicated column carried by The Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, and Huffington Post. The World Economic Forum selected Marc as one of the 250 Young Global Leaders.

Watch this clip of Steven Colbet interviewing Marc (at 3 min 45 sec). Sign your team up for the Summit to hear more from Marc!

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On Landing Planes

Blaine Hogan is a creative director at Willow Creek Community Church and author of Untitled. Visit his blog, BlaineHogan.com and follow him on twitter @BlaineHogan.

Plane LandingThe thing about big projects is they tend to be less like one, giant to-do list, and more like landing planes—lots of planes. Jet liners. Twin prop Cessnas. Helicopters. They just keep coming. With large projects there are always things flying through the air that you must carefully get on the ground.

Some planes need to be coordinated one at time, and others come at you all at once.
Some come down nice and easy, and others have turbulent landings.

The thing about landing planes is that you never really feel “finished” in the same way you do after checking everything off your to-do list, because you know that there is always another plane on the horizon.

Airports don’t shut down and neither do big projects. The planes just keep coming.

In my area of ministry, big projects look like Christmas programs and Easter programs, and Anniversary programs, creative videos, and…well, you get the idea. Once we’ve settled on content, there are auditions. After auditions, there’s wardrobe. Once the wardrobe is finished, everyone needs to be walked through their paces. Once we’re on set, everyone needs to be directed. And then once we start shooting, there are dozens and dozens of changes that must be made to bring it all together.

Plane after plane after plane.

For a long time I felt defeated by the onslaught of planes. It seemed like nothing was ever really getting done. If by some off chance I was beginning to feel like I could breathe again, or like we were actually getting somewhere, inevitably another problem would occur. And then I thought,

This is the creative process. Stop complaining! It’s messy! It’s rarely mappable! It is always dynamic and ever-changing!

Obviously you make plans, but factors outside of your control change all the time. Locations fall through. People don’t deliver. Life happens. So instead of holding my breath until “things are done,” I’m starting to breathe while I’m “doing the things.”

I do my stretches and I turn into an air traffic controller. And I do it with joy and excitement because, I get to land planes!

As Seth Godin says, we should be grateful we get to solve interesting problems.

Landing planes means we’re not on the sideline of ideation but we’re executing, which means we’re getting closer to making our visions come to life.

It will always be hard, but it should also be fun.

Whether your planes are Christmas programs, weekend messages, team building, or strategic planning for a ministry year, know this: Every landed plane deserves some kind of celebration. Even if it’s just a high five, you absolutely must celebrate along the way.

One last thought on landing planes.
As you put those puppies on the ground, know that you have a choice.
Landing planes can be exhausting and defeating, OR it can be exciting and hopeful.

Each new plane coming your way can feel like it’s driving you deeper into the ground of despair as you cry out, “No, not another one!”


You can see these planes as yet another amazing chance for you to be better, to grow, to try, and to get you one step closer to making your dream a reality.

Breathe. Do your stretches. Don’t freak out. Land those planes. Celebrate each one that hits the tarmac.
Then repeat, repeat, repeat.

3 lessons from great leaders

Bret NicholsonThe following post is written by Bret Nicholson, the Lead Pastor at One Life Church, a GLS site in Henderson, KY. One Life is a young church started in October of 2010 and preparing to launch their second site this coming summer. Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, One Life Leaders Blog.

As a part of our hosting The Global Leadership Summit sponsored by the Willow Creek Association, I have the privilege of gathering with other pastors to talk about our leadership challenges. Bill Hybels leads the time and I’m convinced that the leaders in the room are some of the most high impact Christian leaders of our generation.

Here are 3 things that struck me as I spent time with them recently:

1. The Best Leaders: Reflect
Reflection simply means to stop and think about what you’re doing and ask why. If I could characterize Bill Hybels’ leadership style and strength I would call it: the ability to reflect on life, leadership, patterns, principles and behaviors and then boil things down to meaningful ideas he can articulate and act on. My personal nickname for him is, “The Philosopher King”. What that means is he is an observer and student of leadership (including his own) and then a brilliant teacher of those observations.

I come away determined to think and observe more.

2. The Best Leaders: Experiment
One of the most freeing and encouraging observations about people who lead successfully at very high levels is they are willing to try…and fail. I’ve been to a lot of Willow Creek conferences and training sessions and I know they are constantly trying to improve. They tweak, re-org, pursue ideas and take risks almost constantly. It’s part of their DNA. By this I don’t mean they don’t know where they want to go. They are vividly clear about their vision. They just stay fluid on HOW to get there.

I come away determined to take more risks.

3. The Best Leaders — Listen
This is what strikes me most. World-class, highly accomplished and experienced leaders are amazing listeners. I lead a church of a thousand that has been around a year and a half. Hybels has a church that has been around for 36 years with weekend attendance of several thousand. The Global Leadership Summit is a juggernaut impacting nations around the world. And the team behind it all asks me questions and lets me participate in the process of how to improve what they do. Me? Why would they bother? They bother because they are humble and gracious, insatiable learners.

It’s interesting to me that a theme of the book of Proverbs is that wise people are marked by their listening and learning ability. That was true 3000 years ago. It’s true today. Being around some of the best leaders on the planet reinforced that simple but profound lesson.
I come away determined to ask good questions and listen more intently.

Have you ever been around a great leader? What did you learn?

Jim Collins’ Ten Greatest CEOs of All Time

Jim CollinsJim Collins has authored or co-authored six books that have sold in total more than ten million copies worldwide, including Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. A faculty member of the 2012 Global Leadership Summit, Collins spent years studying corporations and separating the great from the mediocre. Out of his research, he compiled his list of the ten greatest CEOs of all time, which was published in Fortune Magazine.

Using four criteria: legacy, impact, resilience, and financial performance, Collins examined more than 400 CEOs to come up with his list. Many of those who made the list never thought of themselves as CEO material. That includes one woman and one powerful leader who was told he would never be a leader. All ten shared something in common—a deep sense of connectedness to the organizations they ran.

10. David Packard, Hewlett-Packard
He rejected the CEO club and belonged to the Hewlett-Packard Club. Practicing what would become known as “management by walking around,” he shared equity and profits with all employees.

9. Katharine Graham, Washington Post
The Washington Post was a small regional newspaper when it passed from Katherine’s father to her husband. But when he committed suicide, she assumed the role of publisher. Against all advice, she published The Pentagon Papers despite threats from Nixon’s White House. Scared to death, she chose to act in the presence of her fear and ended up establishing a great newspaper…and a great company.

8. William McKnight, 3M
This accountant fused two opposing concepts: discipline and creativity. Because 3M entrepreneurs must survive all attempts to kill off their ideas, including their own, they persist against all odds and triumph or die.

7. David Maxwell, Fannie Mae
When Maxwell took over in the 1981, it was losing $1million a day. He turned to sound business principles to stop the bleeding, but his genius was in rebuilding Fannie Mae around a mission to strengthen America’s social fabric by democratizing home ownership.

6. James Burke, Johnson & Johnson
Burke challenged the corporation’s executives to recommit to its original credo—“a duty to mothers and all others who use our products.” In 1982, he made a decision to pull cyanide-laced Tylenol off the shelves. The courageous action cost J&J $100 million, but the decision was unquestioned because the commitment to customer safety outweighed short-term financial concerns.

5. Darwin Smith, Kimberly-Clark
When he became CEO of a mediocre company, Smith didn’t craft a vision statement or transition to a complicated business plan. Instead he asked questions. “What could Kimberly-Clark be passionate about?” “What could it be best at in the world?” In a gutsy move, he sold off their paper mills and focused on what Kimberly-Clark did best—create paper products like Kleenex that had such strong brand identity, the name implied all tissues. Convinced it is better to be right than to be impressive, Smith took the corporation to the top, and Kimberly-Clark became the world’s No. 1 paper-based consumer-products company. Not bad for a guy who was told, “You’ll never be a leader” by the Army’s officer-training school.

4. George Merck, Merck & Co.
Merck believed “medicine is for people, not for profits.” He believed the purpose of a corporation is to do something useful and do it very well. When the company followed that principle, it never failed to realize profits. Unlike CEOs fixated on Wall Street, Merck served the company’s shareholders because he served others first.

3. Sam Walton, Wal-Mart
Much like a church that falls into decline after losing its inspirational pastor, companies built around a charismatic personality with a cult following seldom survive. But Walton’s core message “to make things more affordable to people of lesser means” led to two moves that would outlast him. Before he died in 1992, he set a goal to grow annual sales from $30 billion to $125 billion by 2000 and he hand-picked his successor—a man who would not be thrown into a charisma competition. It worked. Wal-Mart’s sales hit $165 billion in 2000, and Walton proved that even a handicap like charisma can be overcome.

2. Bill Allen, Boeing
When WWII ended, the company that manufactured the bombers that carried the Allies to victory experienced a 90% drop in revenues. Who needed bombers when there’s no war? And everyone knew Boeing was all about bombers. Everyone but Bill Allen who thought Boeing was all about flying machines. Convinced Boeing could change the airline industry, he built a new commercial jet: the 707, and later the 727, 737, and 747. Ignoring those who thought small, he consistently thought bigger—big enough to change an industry and leave a legacy.

1. Charles Coffin, General Electric
When Charles Coffin stepped into the role of CEO, he had big shoes to fill. The former CEO, Thomas A. Edison held patents on the electric light, the phonograph, the motion picture, the alkaline battery, and the dissemination of electricity. Coffin knew his job wasn’t to be the next Edison. He oversaw America’s first research lab, the idea of systematic management development, and ultimately created a company (General Electric) compiled of geniuses who did not depend on him.

More than any other leader, Coffin made GE into a great company, creating the machine that created a succession of giants like Jack Welch. Coffin built the stage on which they all played.

For the person who wants to grow a leader, there are no better role models than those in Collins’ Top Ten. Collins will bring this expert analysis to the Summit and expand on the qualities and disciplines required by a leader to thrive in difficult and turbulent times. Register by May 22, 2012 for best pricing at over 200 satellite locations.

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