Friday, August 29, 2008

My Axioms and other stuff I've learned

Bill Hybels has a new book out called Axiom. He lays out some things he's learned in ministry from personal experience and from others. I highly recommend this book. It got me thinking what mine are. Then, this week, Tyler Braun, one of our band directors posted some things he's learned by being our admin for the summer. At the end of his post, he asked what people have learned from their job.... so, here you go

- Silence rarely means yes.
When you ask someone to do something and they don't answer, it's rarely because they're excited about the idea.

- Move toward conflict
I owe this one to our staff counselor who drew on a white board exactly how people behave when there is conflict... they move away from the person with the ability to affect a change and cloister and grumble and take others down. This pretty much changed my life. Hybels version is "if it feels funky, engage."

- Clarify Expectations and Track Results
Apparently people cannot really read my mind, nor do they live to please me. Seriously the best management lesson I may ever have learned. (Thank you Bryce Schroeder).

- Ask
When you wonder why someone did or didn't do something, it's likely that the answer you come up with isn't the whole answer, in fact, in my personal experience, I'm usually way off. Most people really don't get up in the morning just to make short sighted decisions. There's almost always something more going on.

- Spiritual Valleys are often avoidable
Nearly always is a result of not seeking God in His Word. Wish I'd remember this one more.

- Make a decision.
There's good and bad to everything (except God who is always good), two sides at least, to everything so sometimes you just have to make a decision. A hybels add... test drive a hard decision in your own mind and see if it brings you peace before going public with it.

- Call fouls. (stolen from Hybels)
Leaders have to know when to call a foul. The team needs to know that you will call a foul a foul when you are the offender or when someone else is the offender. It keeps the team safe and healthy. And, it goes without saying that it should extremely rarely be you.

- Bad news deserves a phone call.
If you wonder if someone will like what you have to tell them, pick up the phone. No email for iffy to bad news.

- Pull the Tooth (learned from Dr Henry Cloud).
One bad tooth can draw all your attention and energy and render you nearly useless.

- Make a new mistake.
Learn from past ones, don't repeat them, particularly at the expense of volunteers and team members. BUT don't be afraid to try something new even if it opens the door to the possibility of failure.

- It's all worship.
Not just the singing and the playing, but how we treat one another, prepare with excellence it all honors God.

- The Holy Spirit can work just as well weeks in advance as He can the day of (thank you Sara Phillips).
Sure... flexibility is great, but it shouldn't be an excuse for not preparing well, it should be a benefit of good planning.

- Heatlhy relationships require work and hard conversations (thank you Jay McKenney) I have never known anyone who so ruthlessly pursues healthy relationships. He's changed me and the culture of our ministry.

- Cows need time to graze (learned from Nancy Beach)
Artists, in particular, need time in the pasture in order to produce milk. It may not look like they're working... but they are. The artists on my team aren't fond of the visual imagery of this one, but I know it's true.

- Fight FOR something (thank you Julie Reid)
So often, too often people approach a challenge by fighting against something, Julie taught me to turn that around and really dive in when I'm struggling with something to discern what I'm fighting FOR.

- In staff prayer, sit by Ron.
The big idea is that most people don't move toward relationship with leaders because of their own stuff. That's not good for the leader or the follower.
Personal story- For most people it's intimidating to pray outloud. Add to that being partnered with the Senior Pastor to share prayer requests. Since one of my jobs is quite literally to sit by Ron in church I figured at some point I'd better begin sitting by him in other situations. I don't mean everytime... but I do mean occasionally. He's just a guy... and as a result of this tactic he knows me a little better, and I know him a little better and one day when I had a bad headache, he laid his hand on me and prayed for me and it went away. Pinky swear. Yeah, that makes it hard to remember he's just a guy. But it's true.

- Close the laptop. Can't say I've learned this one yet. In fact, I'm horrible at this. A total multi-tasker. It's really not cool and I do it ALL the time.

- Learn then Teach.
In every relationship you should seek to learn first then teach.

- Three keys of a great leader- Vision and Communication and Presence (learned from Wayne Cordeiro).
The first two seem easy, but the third, presence, it matters. Alot.

- Where is God in this? (thank you Laura Padur).
He's there... in the middle, with your growth and signficant impact for the Kingdom in mind. Don't overlook Him.

So, what are yours?


Tyler said...

wow i'm impressed. nice job janet.

Heasleye said...

Wow. That was a great list! So applicable to so many life situations. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Well "wow" would seem redundant. That is a great list. I would only add one thing. Above all else....Love! My mentor always says, "You must love the people more than the ministry." Hard to do sometimes, but worth it for sure.

Janet Fraser said...

Thanks for the add Jill- good advice.

I see love as the catalyst and woven through these, it's what drives the pursuit of challenging conversations, the necessity of being seeped in God's word, the reponsibility of leaders to stay vulnerable, present, to risk and to lead. Love for God, love for the Church, love for the people of God, love for those far from God.

Melinda said...

I don't know how I missed this post the first time around! Thanks for referencing it. Amen