31 Tips for 2016!

Unknown-1Here is Tip #24 for leaders (especially my pastor friends out there!)… Finish What You Started. Which is why I’m including #25-31 practical tips in this post as well…

It’s so easy to get sidetracked, especially for most visionary type leaders. While we may have done a good job planning, prepping, promoting, praying, and more… we are often too quick to move on to what’s next and forget to follow-through and follow-up on what’s already going. Take a deep breath, gather your team and do your due diligence to see that what gets going, gets done.

#25 – Put down that sticky bun and pick up some clean eating habits. Every day (or meal!) can’t be a “cheat day.” Check out the lifestyle options Advocare has to offer. Yes, I use it. No, I’m not a distributor. I am much healthier than I was last year before I started being a steward of this aging body God has loaned me. Cut way down on the carbs (bread, potatoes and “country fried” anything) and load up on the lean meats, fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts.

#26 – Create a standing work station. I use a cafe table that is adjusted high enough to do the trick. You might check out some actual standing desks such as those at Ready Desk. However you do it, don’t just sit there. Stand up, walk around, stay as mobile as possible throughout the day.

#27 – Pray about it. We miss this one constantly. Stop worrying, waiting, planning and plotting and pray for them, it or whatever you are facing. Find some trusted partners to step up, kneel down and pray with and for you. Worry is a waste. Don’t. Do pray vocally, specifically, passionately and constantly.

#28 – Drink half your weight (in ounces) of water every day… or give it a shot, anyway! AND STOP DRINKING THE EMBALMING FLUID KNOWN AS SODA. Take it from a recovering Diet Mountain Dew addict… it’s not doing you any favors. H2O is a large part of the stuff God made us of. Fill your body with it morning, noon and night.

#29 – Stop focusing (obsessing) on those who are against you and your vision. It’s pride masquerading as “concerned” leadership. Pray for them, whoever “they” are, (“Lord, move them up or move them out.”), deal with them in a redemptive but firm way if needed, and then focus on Jesus. Invest in those who are with you and if you must obsess, obsess on getting it done for God’s glory and the good of others.

#30 – Lighten up. Some of the very best advice my dad has given me is this… “Tommy, the world was doing just fine before the two Tom Pelts came along and will do just fine when we are gone.” Ouch… thanks, dad. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Live, laugh, love and lead light.

#31 – Invest in your family! Date your spouse. Put in overtime with your kids. Make family memories and make no apologies for it. In all of the deathbed conversations I have been privileged to take part in, not one person has lamented not making more money, gaining more position and power, or spending more hours at work. I have, however, heard many wish they could have done more for Christ and with their families.

Take nothing for granted and lead with a grounded sense of gratitude to the Lord for the privilege to learn from and lead with others! There you have it… 31 Tips for Leaders in 2016. Got your own tips? Add them to the discussion thread below!



31 Tips for 2016 – #12

Unknown-1Here is Tip #12 for Ministry Leaders in 2016…

Be you. This tip is especially for those just getting started in their leadership journey.

My dad’s preaching style has always been didactic, the teacher, and that’s the style I knew was for me. My father-in-law has always been more the evangelist. Hard-driving sermons that plead people to the altar. After a few years under his ministry, I found my style moving more in this direction. Then came leaders like Bill Hybels, then Andy Stanley, then… you get the picture. With each style of speaker and leader I would find myself more than gleaning from the substance of their message, I was “borrowing” a little from their style.  While there is much to be learned from the message and methods of leaders like these, you simply aren’t called to be them. 

Find your voice. Develop your own style. Yes, by all means, listen and learn from some of the best. However, be who God has made you to be. Sure, we should always keep our audience in mind… how they learn, the language they speak. But never let any of this keep you from being, leading and speaking just like you. Why?

Authenticity. My son has been big on this as he has found himself now also in a long line of Christian leaders in his own right. He has taught me (among many things) that his generation can smell a “poser” from a mile away. Hint: If you can remember when Star Wars came out the first time, skinny jeans are not for you… anywhere, anytime. Just don’t. What resonates with people on a deeper level is being genuine about who you and whose you are in Christ, and leading from that simple place of security in Him.

Be you. Not sure who that is yet? Take the time to pray about it. Get alone and get away to discover it. Ask others who will have the guts to hold you accountable and tell you when you trying too hard to be anything or anyone else other than who God made you to be.

The Lord and this world doesn’t need another Francis Chan or Steven Furtick. It needs you.


3 Practices of Change Agents

images-3Need to make some changes in your ministry or organization? Leading change begins with living change. Let’s start by taking a long look in the mirror to make sure we are practicing the change we are preaching as leaders. Here are 3 Practices of Change Agents…

1) Personal character. If we want our reach to extend wider, then we’ve got to go deeper. Only the trees with strong roots last when winds of change blow. Could it be that God isn’t granting greater influence because we can’t handle it just yet? Possibly. Regardless of the scope of influence He grants, it is always good to go deeper still.

Jesus had just finished teaching a large crowd by the shore when He gave His disciples a fishing lesson… “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:4-7, NIV) 

Seek to go deeper in your study and teaching of God’s Word, in your listening skills that fuel relationships with family, friends and team members. And, go deeper in an often overlooked area that makes all the difference…

2) Private habits. Our private habits mold our personal character. GK Chesterson both reminds and warns us, “Customs are generally unselfish. Habits are nearly always selfish.” What are my personal habits? What are yours? Have they carved out a rut going in the wrong direction for ourselves and those under our influence? Seek to establish habits that promote spiritual, relational, emotional and physical health (i.e. reading, fasting, etc). Be on the lookout for an upcoming post titled, “Holy Habit!” 4 Habits that Shape Solid Leaders.

3) Public challenge. Effective agents of change aren’t afraid to challenge themselves, their team and their organizations in a way that requires sacrificial living and giving. They understand that people will rise to the challenge when the vision is clear and the cause is worthy. Sure, they may fear falling short of their stated goals, but this doesn’t paralyze them into complacency. They take up the challenge for themselves and promote it with a sense of excitement and expectation, painting pictures and sharing examples of how, together, everyone’s investments are changing lives through Christ!

Leading change begins with living change. Let’s begin with a renewed commitment to consistently living as changing, deepening followers of Jesus Christ.

What practices or qualities of change agents would you suggest? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below as part of our ongoing “Small Church, BIG Change” series…