Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 7 of 7

The integration of personal spirituality and management technique is critical if pastors are to minister with biblical authenticity. Personal spirituality, more than theology and religion is a ‘lived experience,’ inward disciplines privately pursued but publicly outworked, through exegesis, spiritual guidance and the implementation of effective management techniques birthed in prayer. Though at times seemingly overwhelming, a commitment to spirituality as a core ministry and life value, any Christian minister can successfully integrate management technique and personal spirituality. In order for integration to take place a pastor must make priority adjustments in ministry, the journey must become the focus, rather than simply ministry goals and achievements. Prayer, biblical study and accurate spiritual guiding must be primary objectives as a minister. Paradigm shifts in thinking must also occur in order to see successful integration. Pastors must see the possibility of integration, the peace found in humility and the purpose found in following God’s lead in their church. The fast paced life of a busy pastor must slow down through planned use of a diary and day scheduler. Finally the pastor, with the help and encouragement of his staff and team must activate personal discipline in ministry and commit to ongoing spiritual development. The successful integration of personal spirituality and effective management technique will enable pastors to be the leaders they are called to be, biblically functioning leaders connected to God, passionate for people and effective in ministry.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 6 of 7

Finally there must be a determined commitment as a pastor to integrating personal spirituality and management technique, a commitment outworked through a life style of personal discipline and a commitment to learn, understanding that ‘the moment you stop learning you stop leading.’ In any endeavour ‘an individual’s character is the principle determinant of personal effectiveness.’ Sadly though, in pastoral ministry character is often missing. Leaders can often be found impersonating a pastor without being a pastor, impersonating through the simple act of ceremonial attention to public prayer and exegesis. Pastors must be prepared to confront themselves, asking questions like how could I have done this better? Personal spirituality and management technique must be integrated by pastors disciplined enough to take up a life style of spiritual discipline. Pastors must be committed to creating new definitions of normality in lives. Daily prayer must be pursued until it becomes second nature, a habitual way of living life. While at first it creates feelings of unease and unrest, quiet contemplation, pauses for reflection, extra hours of biblical study and the like must be practiced until to not do so would be foreign. Unless there is a commitment to renewed personal spirituality, the pressures of pastoral work, old habits and common practice will drive pastors back to humanistic leadership, rather than a rest and purpose that can only be found in Christ. Pastors must seek the aid of the Holy Spirit as they integrate personal spirituality with management technique. As well as talking with the Holy Spirit though, open dialogue must also take place between a pastor and his elders, board and staff regarding the practice of a pastor.

As a pastor seeks to merge spirituality and management together in the context of Christian leadership it is essential that he has the support of his fellow staff, key team members, board and elders. A pastor’s support network needs to understand the heart of biblically based pastoral ministry, and see along with the pastor the need for personal spirituality to be coupled with effective management technique. Understanding must be established that in the best interests of the church, and in a pursuit of authentic pastoral ministry, not all working hours should be taken up with strategic meetings, planning processes and work that has a tangible outcome or result. As important as these are, the pastor must firstly be employed to pray, seek God, study scripture and thus offer sound, contemplative and revelatory spiritual guidance to his congregation, a major source being a pastors ‘intellectual energy and curiosity,’ A pastor with a team around him committed to his personal development and journey as a leader will have confidence in taking time out of his day to remain centred and connected with the Holy Spirit. Random walks around the church grounds, moments of quiet reflection in the church sanctuary, a late start at the office by a pastor who leads with integrity will be a source of encouragement to his team. Staff and team confidence will grow as the connectedness of the leader to the heart beat of God for the church becomes evident. Staff and team players will flourish in their respective rolls in the team finding significance in the ‘meaningfulness of the experience.’ In turn a pastor will be able to release his staff to take moments aside throughout the day to wash themselves in the reality of Christ and his mercy and grace, thus extending the integration of personal spirituality and management technique beyond the confines of one man.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 5 of 7

With adjusted priorities and fresh paradigms, it is essential that in the integration of personal spirituality with management technique, that the pastor monitors the pace of his life and scheduling of his time. He must slow down the pace of his life, the busyness of his schedule. Holiness is not found in busyness. Peterson explains, ‘how can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule consistently to make everything fit in place?’ Personal spirituality requires a slowing down of time, a concerted effort to relax and step into awareness of the great mystery. The reality is that fast paced contemplation is not a term one would often associate with spirituality. It is important that pastors have the ability to think quick on their feet but it is also essential that they slow down the pace of life in order to remain centered and connected to the Holy Spirit. One cannot be busy and pray at the same time. One cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted or dispersed. The reality is that pastors are as Hybels coined it, ‘too busy not to pray.’

Prayer is an essential discipline in personal spirituality; a discipline not outworked on the run but with patience and with quiet reflection. Jesus instructed us regarding prayer to, ‘go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.’ We are instructed to pray in an environment of privacy, stillness and quietness, an environment where unhurried leisure, a quality of spirit can be developed. Prayer has much to do with listening not just speaking. It is a discipline that lies at the very heart of the pastoral vocation. It is a discipline that demands the pastoral pace of life be intentionally slowed, a task not impossible as pastors take dominion over their diaries rather than allowing their diaries to take dominion over them.

Pastors must use their diary to create times for prayer, reflection, contemplation and stillness; they must create margins in their day. A pastor must use his diary, a book that nobody will argue with, to slot in times during the day and between meetings to connect with God and remain centered on the Holy Spirit throughout the day. As long as the pastor gets to his calendar before anyone else, time for prayer, reading, leisure, silence, solitude and creative work can be found, and the rest of life worked around spirituality that leads to a connectedness with God. A well used diary will allow for opportunity to connect with God throughout the day and refresh oneself in his presence.

To be continued…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 4 of 7

While there needs to be a paradigm shift in how pastors see spirituality in relation to management, there needs also to be a paradigm shift in how pastors see themselves personally. The apostle Paul when writing to the Church of Rome, warns against pride, instructing believers not to think of themselves more highly than they ought. Most pastors do not battle pride in the sense of declaring themselves to be that which they are not or in blowing their own trumpet. Pride cripples pastors as it subtley rises in their private world. Pride rises in pastors with attitudes like, ‘if you want it done right then do it yourself.’ ‘The spiritual leadership approach finds the solution in contemplation, to approach situations with an attitude of discernment rather than one of intervention, acceptance rather than control; letting go rather than holding on; in humility rather than in competence.’ Every time a pastor puts his trust in his own abilities rather than in God’s grace and favour, the seeds of pride are planted. Whenever a pastor carries the burden of church or ministry on his own shoulders, rather than laying it at the cross, pride sneaks in. Jesus describes his yoke as easy and his burden as light and encourages people to go to him for rest. For pastors, pride sneaks in when they put faith in themselves and their abilities rather than Christ, when they try with human effort to grow or expand the church. Psalms warns us though that unless the Lord builds the house it is labour in vain. Carl Green describes senior pastors as needing to take the role of ‘super leaders’ in their ministry and leadership context, yet this concept only adds great expectations to a pastor who likely sets high standards for himself, and realises his congregation and community will be as well. Pastors need to understand that they are not ‘God’s gift to the church,’ God’s gift to the church was the Holy Spirit poured out in the book on the Day of Pentecost. Pastors need to understand that the church is a gift that has been entrusted into their stewardship as a divine responsibility, but at the end of the day Christ has promised that he will build his church if we could but partner with him effectively through personal spirituality. There must be a sense of humility and an awareness of ones own personal shortcomings and sinful nature, with any success being attributed to grace and goodness of God working in their life.

This paradigm shift to Godly humility releases a pastor from trying in his own strength to work the miracle of church growth that only God can do. While using wisdom to apply appropriate church growth principles and practice, a pastor can be released from carrying a burden that they were never meant to carry. This allows freedom to pursue God rather than human success. This leads to a whole shift in the questions that a pastor finds himself asking on a daily basis. Rather than asking questions like; ‘how can I grow the church bigger?’ ‘How do we get more unsaved people through the door?’ ‘How do we improve our systems and take the band up a level, and get more youth and young adults on board with the vision of the church?’ Questions start addressing issues such as, what is God doing in the church at the moment and how do we best respond to that? What is God saying to us? What is God teaching our congregation at the moment? Personal spirituality will lead a pastor to look for the hand of God in the church and congregation with a desire to apply appropriate management technique as a response of faith to what God is doing in the church. Pastors move from initiating human thinking and wisdom to responding in faith to God’s leading and directing. This allows pastors to respond with compassionate attentiveness to the demands of the people around them and with reverent prayer to the demands of God for our attention. Paradigm shifts in thinking allow pastors to see spirituality and management as interdependent skills. It allows pastors to walk in humility free of expectations and the burdens of ministry, allowing them to pursue the hand of God in their church and respond accordingly.

To be continued…

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 3 of 7

Nearly every facet of modern-day pastoring will pull a pastor into church management activity such as problem solving, systems implementation, team building and church branding, pastors must ‘learn to set aside urgent problems and concentrate on long-term, important issues in order to achieve better results.’ Pastors must be willing to commit to a redefined bottom line in Christian ministry. What makes one a successful minister in the eyes of peers or modern-day Christian culture can no longer be the bench mark, but rather what makes one successful in the eyes of God; firstly an intimacy of relationship with the Holy Spirit, birthed through personal prayer and study, and secondly the pastoral guiding of people through contemplative exegesis. Even in the corporate world MBA graduates and CEOs are beginning to discover bottom lines that drift away from a sole focus on profit and the marketability of products. With an increased spiritual awareness comments such as, ‘we often spend time worrying about trivial matters,’ are common as understanding of important issues such as integrity of heart, family values and community outreach come to light.

The integration of personal spirituality and management technique will first require a priority adjustment in the heart of pastors. Spiritual discipline and personal spirituality must take precedence over ‘running a church.’ However the reality of pastoral ministry is that much of what a pastor does is ‘running a church.’ The goal must be successful integration of these two concepts. Great management technique is an essential quality all pastors must possess, thus following a priority adjustment to pastoral ministry, a paradigm shift in thinking must take place that allows a pastor too see how management and spirituality can walk hand in hand.

The paradigm shift required in pastoral thought is an understanding that spirituality and management must work together in what could be termed ‘spirit led leadership,’ a leadership style where decisions and strategy are birthed in prayer and in the determined study of scripture, and outworked with professional application. Contemplative study is used to discover truth and biblical pattern for leadership, problem solving, and personal management; that can be applied in pastoral praxis. This concept of spirit led leadership is already understood in the corporate world with many ‘recent books emphasizing the dramatic interest in incorporating spirituality into management theory, management development and management practice.’ Corporate leaders who have experimented with spirituality have found that where they have included God in their leadership they have ‘made better decisions’ and are more ‘sure of decisions.’

Too often pastors swing from one extreme to another, ignoring conventional wisdom running off the ‘word’ of the Lord or in their own strength steering the ship with complete neglect to the leading of the spirit. God gives wisdom freely to those that ask and out of the gift of wisdom a leader can with intuition and understanding lead and make decisions that will stand him and the church in good stead. The gift of wisdom however does give scope to cut corners in seeking God for spiritual direction in your life and in the lives of your congregation. ‘A common obstacle for success is the desire to cut corners.’ Jesus, the greatest pastoral leader the world has known, continually sought the will of God in his life that he would be careful to do that which his father would have him do. Vice-versa this does not eliminate the need to use simple wisdom in pastoral leadership. Jesus grew in wisdom, not to neglect it, but to apply it to his life and ministry. Separating personal spirituality and management technique is a negative result of individualism, privatization and compartmentalization which leads us to think of them as an ‘either-or’ rather than a ‘both-and.’ They must be seen as a ‘both-and,’ one cannot truly be effective without the other.

To be continued…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NRL Top Eight

Well we are 5 rounds into the NRL now. Enough time to see what the teams for 2008 look like and thus make predictions regarding who will make the top eight. Here are my predictions for the 2008 season.

My Top Eight NRL 2008

Sydney Roosters
Melbourne Storm
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Brisbane Broncos
Gold Coast Titans
Cronulla Sharks
New Zealand Warriors

It'll be a tough battle for the last 3 spots with the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys just missing out, they'll be close but no cigar.

Sorry to the Canberra Raiders, Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers, St George Illawarra Dragons, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers; this just isn't going to be your year.

Hope you are loving each round as much as I am and 'go the mighty Vodafone Warriors!'

What Does That Mean?

Having trouble keeping up with a whole lot of words that are now words but never used to be words? Here are a few new terms with their meanings.

Geeking - Overly excited about a simple thing; excited about something that most people would not find exciting. I’m totally geeking that I got that bean grinder off trademe.

January Joiner - Someone who joins the gym in January as part of a New Year's resolution and by February is back to being a couch potato. I can't get a treadmill until February because the January Joiners are all using them.

Subwoofing - sitting in your car playing your stereo with your mates in a parking lot but not driving. You just sit there and act cool with the windows rolled down. You want everyone to know how awesome your sound system is. Hey guys, did you see Mike and Nathan subwoofing in the parking lot? They have a mad sound system.

Digital Native - A person who grew up in a world with computers, mobile phones, and other digital devices. Young Tommy is a digital native, he’d be lost without his iPod.

Peaknik - A person who believes that the world's oil reserves will soon peak and that subsequent oil shortages will devastate civilisation. Johnny is a real Peaknik, he’s so scared that an oil shortage will end the world.

Pastoral Leadership – Part 2 of 7

Integration of personal spirituality and management technique begins with priority adjustments in the ethos of the leader. We live in a world where having the largest church in the city, speaking at major conferences, and hosting fast paced multimedia services so easily become the goal and the benchmark of successful ministry. Pastoral leadership committed to personal spirituality though, marches to the beat of a different drum and lives a lifestyle that may not be as popular today as it once was. A lifestyle of humility and trust in God. A lifestyle where the instructions of Paul to the church of Philippi, that nothing be done out of selfish ambition or conceit, but rather in lowliness of mind each esteems others better than himself, would be outworked in graciousness and love.

There is nothing wrong with the goal of packed services and expansive building projects or the dream of leading a church known throughout the city for its positive impact on the community. To one day have speaking invitations sitting in your in-tray from various churches around the nation would be a huge compliment. These things though, should only ever be the by-product of a far simpler and quite unglamorous private world of devotion to God. The journey of a long obedience in the right direction must be the major driving force in pastoral ministry, with commitment to walking that journey with integrity of heart and faith in God.

Priority adjustments must be made that see pastors re-committing themselves to the venture of faith that lies at the heart of Christian ministry. The adventure of ‘connecting and co-ordinating’ people with God and his mercy and grace. This simple and basic devotion as a pastor to be a physician of souls must take priority over ‘running a church’ and ‘building your ministry.’ Making disciples must take preference over building a crowd. A heart for worship must be the foundation for a desire for great music. Listening for the guidance of God must come before any strategic implementations one can conjure up in ones own strength.

To be continued…

More From LarkNews.Com

Remember these are just for fun; its good for Christians to laugh at themselves from time to time.

Calvin Grads Dominate 2008 Pastors Draft

COLORADO SPRINGS — Big names and big surprises converged before a nationwide audience at the 2008 Pastors Draft on April 15.
"I've been waiting a long time for this," said Alvin DeWalt, 26, of Fuller Seminary, pacing his apartment in Pasadena and watching the draft on the Daystar network. His wife had made guacamole, and thirty friends were on hand to see which church picked DeWalt, one of this year's top ranked prospects.
In the first round, Geoff Parsons and Rick Benson, of Westminster and Calvin seminaries respectively, went first, as scouts had predicted they would. Parsons heads to a struggling mid-sized Methodist church in Memphis, Tenn., which had the top pick this year. Benson was drafted by a mega-church in Casper, Wyo., which had traded two mid-career pastors for a higher pick. Both draftees say they are ready to "help their teams."
Calvin Seminary overall showed surprising strength, placing two dozen graduates at leading churches around the country, plus sending many more to minor league ministries. Of the Big 10 schools, last year's leaders, Dallas and Asbury, showed less strength. Both call this a "building year" and say their classes of 2008 will be much stronger. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Westminster say they were "pleased" with how many grads they placed in respectable positions.
The mammoth North Shore Christian Church of Reston, Va., selected wildcard rookie Pat Jameson, who has struggled with morality issues, but is still considered a major league talent. Jameson, speaking at a press conference wearing a North Shore polo shirt and cap, told reporters he was "ready to make a clean start."
Church on the Rock (Houston, Texas), known for scooping up mid- and late-career pastors at low salaries and getting impressive results, traded a first-round pick for two associate pastors with "executive pastor potential" according to a widely respected scouting report.
A number of pastors near retirement entered the free agent market, having been traded for early-career pastors.
"They'll miss my experience in the pulpit," says one elderly pastor who was traded for two rookies and a youth pastor.
One highly watched rookie, David Humphreys of Luther Seminary, went lower than expected, due to what many consider unreasonable demands including an outsized automobile budget and eight weeks of "sabbatical" per year.
DeWalt of Fuller Seminary was picked even higher than he expected by a Florida church which is "transitioning to a purpose-driven model" after years of stagnation. He slumped on the couch, smiling as friends congratulated him.
"I'm just happy it's over," he said.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pastoral Leadership – Part 1 of 7

Spirituality, a long-neglected dimension of leadership in the corporate setting, has been experiencing a renaissance over the last ten years. Meanwhile leadership practice in the Christian Church has been moving away from its biblical foundation of spirituality. Christian leaders are embracing secular practice with open arms, and seemingly little thought to the spiritual side of their work; yet as a 21st century Christian minister neither personal spirituality nor professional management technique can be neglected. It is critical that one successfully integrates these two skills into effective pastoral leadership. Pastoral leaders must seek a continued development of their management technique and praxis without laying aside traditional spiritual values of intimacy with God through spiritual discipline.

Pastor and author Eugene Peterson, offers many valuable insights into the need for ministers to hold firmly to the biblical foundation stones of pastoral leadership through a commitment to personal spirituality, (defining personal spirituality as a leader’s prayer life, their study of scripture and the process of spiritual directing). Christian leaders must understand that there is no need for there to be a schism between these traditional ministerial values and modern management techniques. Skills such as corporate vision casting, team building, branding, marketing, accounting and forecast projection, must be worked and applied to Christian leadership. Understanding that ‘leadership involves inspiration, passion and higher moral purposes,’ pastors must develop a deep commitment to Christian spirituality. Spirituality must be integrated into everyday life as a ‘lived experience’ rather than simply theology.

Successful Christian leadership requires a pastor to integrate personal spirituality into all areas of church management. Though a seemingly daunting task at times, with a commitment to spirituality as a core ministry and life value, any Christian minister can move from what seems to be a juggling act of differing priorities, to a seamless parity of melded tasks. This integration of management technique and personal spirituality will require a pastor to make priority adjustments in ministry and paradigm shifts in thinking, while monitoring pace-setting in scheduling and personal discipline in devotions. There are four distinct responses to an understanding of the need to bring biblical shape and pattern into their role as a leader. The apostle Paul instructs Christian leaders to lead with Godly edification, from a pure heart, with good conscience and sincere faith. These are qualities found in a leader committed to deep spirituality and an alert awareness of God’s initiating action at work in our lives, churches and communities.

To be continued…

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New Seven Deadly Sins

For 1500 years the 7 deadly sins, (pride, gluttony, sloth, lust, greed, envy and anger), have stood the test of time as the foundational sins to all other sins. Ever since Pope Gregory the Great, with the help of Thomas Aquinas and Dante, formalised the list they have been the bad boys of all sin.

Recently though Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican released an additional list of 7 deadly sins, this list being the sins of society that separate one from another, the deadly sins of the 21st Century.

1. Genetic Modification
2. Human Experimentation; cloning
3. Polluting the Environment
4. Causing Social Injustice
5. Causing Poverty
6. Becoming Obscenely Wealthy
7. Taking Drugs

My take…

While the bible doesn’t talk about a list of 7 deadly sins, I think the original list is still the list that we should be working on. The original sins are foundational or at the core of all other sin and have given rise to much of the violence, crime, hurt and devastation that we have in our world today. In fact; if the original 7 deadly sins were still regarded as sins and if society shunned those characteristics and behaviours the second list would likely not be necessary.

Perhaps today is a good opportunity to reflect on the 7 deadly sins and whether or not there are issues you need to deal with in your life. We would hate to think there would be, but perhaps some of what we regard as smaller issues we are working on stem from the foundation that is one of the 7. Thank God for His grace and mercy and ask for forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit to help you face that which may need adjustment in your life.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Knee Update

On Sunday afternoon I was meant to do another 32km run in preparation for the Fletcher Marathon I am running on the 3rd of May. Got 6km into the run though and my knee packed it in again. I kept going for another 15km though, finished off a half marathon, before it got too painful. Its a real pain as aside from the pain in my knee when running I feel good and strong everywhere else. If my knee is still giving me trouble come the marathon then I will have to take a few pain killers and just push on. Will get there in the end, just maybe not in style.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sir Edmund – Grandest of Knights

The Queen recently held a memorial service to commemorate the life of Sir Edmund Hillary a Knight of the Garter, the most prestigious of Knighthoods available.

It seems that not all Knighthoods are created equal with Sir Edmunds being one of the grandest.

It all gets a big complicated for me to follow without putting in a few hours of research, which I don’t have time for at the moment. But to the best of my understanding…

…within the UK honours system there are ten different orders of chivalry. Each of these orders gives recognition (“honours”) for exceptional service and/or achievement. Honours are split into classes ("orders") and are graded to distinguish different degrees of achievement or service. There are minimal criteria to determine these levels; various honours committees meet to discuss the candidates and decide which ones deserve which type of award and at what level. Since their decisions are inevitably subjective, the twice-yearly honours lists often provoke criticism from those who feel strongly about particular cases. The six most notable orders and those that can grant a Knighthood as an honour are as follows.

The Most Noble Order of the Garter
• Motto: Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame on him who thinks this evil)
• Date created: 1348
• Level: Knight/Lady of the Garter
• Post nominal letters: KG/LG
• Remarks: Limited to 25 Knights
The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most prestigious of the meritorious orders. The Order was founded by Edward III in the 14th century. The origins of its name and motto are obscure. The chapel of the order is St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Thistle
• Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (No one provokes me with impunity)
• Date created: 1687
• Level: Knight/Lady of the Thistle
• Post nominal letters: KT/LT
The Order of the Thistle has ancient roots, but was only established on a statutory basis by James II in 1687. It is limited to 16 Knights (women were admitted in 1987), all of whom must be Scottish.

The Royal Victorian Order
• Date created: 1896
• Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GCVO) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KCVO/DCVO) Commander (Post Nominal Letters: CVO) Lieutenant (Post Nominal Letters: LVO) Member (Post Nominal Letters: MVO)
Given for services to The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. There is also a medal, the Royal Victorian Medal, with three grades, gold, silver and bronze. The chapel of the order is The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath
• Motto: Tria Juncta in uno (Three joined in one)
• Date Created: 1725
• Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GCB) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KCB/DCB) Companion (Post Nominal Letters: CB)
The Order of the Bath is another order with ancient roots. It takes it name from the ceremonial bathing that preceded investiture in medieval times. The order was formally established in 1725 and is awarded to state servants (including members of the Armed Forces). It has a military division and a civil division. The chapel of the Order is in Westminster Abbey.

The Order of St Michael and St George
• Motto: Auspicium Melioris Aevi (Token of a better age)
• Date Created: 1818
• Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GCMG) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KCMG/DCMG) Companion (Post Nominal Letters: CMG)
This order was created in the early part of the 19th century to reward service in Malta and the Ionian islands. It has since evolved to encompass any members of the Diplomatic Service and those who render service to UK interests overseas. The chapel of the order is in St Paul's cathedral.

The Order of the British Empire
• Motto: For God and the Empire
• Date Created: 1917
• Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GBE) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KBE/DBE) Commander (Post Nominal Letters: CBE) Officer (Post Nominal Letters: OBE) Member (Post Nominal Letters: MBE)
This order was instituted by George V to recognise all levels of service to the country during the first 'total' war. It has evolved to embrace service and achievement in all fields. The Order has a military division and a civil division. The chapel of the order is in St Paul's Cathedral. The British Empire Medal has not been used in the United Kingdom since 1993.

Building God’s House 2008

It is so exciting to be following our legendary Senior Pastors, Alan and Elena Hood, into year number two of our church building program. Pastors Alan and Elena are an awesome couple and Building God’s House 2008 provides an exciting opportunity to get behind their vision for City Church Tauranga.

How awesome will it be to see our church facility upgraded to one of excellence in every area? A facility that is functional, attractive, inviting, and that honours God.

How awesome will it be to see more space for our every growing church and church ministries? More space for staff with new offices (and air-conditioning hallelujah); more space for City Church Kids and their amazing kids program (there are sooo many kids squashed into one hall at the moment); more space for our parents and new babies in our parents lounge (there are babies crawling all over babies all over the place); more space for our café (its chaos every Sunday); not to mention, new toilets, larger stage, air-conditioning, new lighting, upgraded foyer etc, etc.

How awesome will it be to see a facility built that will serve future generations of believers as we invest today for tomorrow?

It’s so exciting!

The challenge for all of us in 2008…

It was exciting in 2007 to step up to the mark and commit to giving and believing God for great things as we set about our building program. The challenge in 2008 is to step up to the mark again and get behind the project; to engage with the Holy Spirit and take a step of faith again this year in our pledges and support of the program. While it is still exciting, it is no longer a brand new project, and it’s not going to be all over and completed in 1 year. It’s going to take a number of years and a step of faith again and again. That’s all good though because the Christian life, the faith journey isn’t about a step of faith once upon a time, years ago. It is about walking in faith everyday, believing a fresh every day. Trusting God again and again and again, stepping up to the mark again and again.

It’s going to be awesome! Remember, God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Initiating and Implementing Planned Change - Part 4 of 4

4. Reinforcing Change

Once change has been implemented it is essential that those changes are reinforced. No matter how well change is explained and objectives communicated, change is messy, often resisted, and needs reinforcing. Change can be reinforced through the public praise of who are functioning in line with the new systems and standards; this public promotion gives other members on the team people to emulate. Retelling the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ reinforces change with the bigger picture again placed firmly in the minds of personnel. Success stories that result from the change should be communicated regularly, people like to know about the wins the team has had. It is also important to meet with key personnel affected by the changes and hear feedback from them. This will help you as the leader to discover areas of change that need adjusting or altering. It will also give you an opportunity to coach, encourage and answer any questions that key players have as they journey within the changes of the organisation. Key players are potentially either an asset or a liability to the change within the organisation and should be led through change.

32 KM and Still Felling Strong

On Sunday I completed my longest run ever in training for the Rotorua Marathon. 32km in a time of 3 hours and 18 minutes. My previous longest ever run was 25 km and I felt like I was going to die. 32 km was all good though and I felt strong. 2 big runs to go now and then it's time to taper off before the marathon on the 3rd of May.

Write Up In Paper

If you read the Bay of Plenty Times then have a look at today's (01/04/2008) sport section. My blog post on Southee was printed as a 'sports letter to the editor.' That'll be a cross between my brillance and the fact that the sports editor for the times is a friend of mine. My next goal is to write something on the NRL and get it printed as a freelance article. Will keep you posted.