An electronic newsletter written for leadership in the Church of God in Virginia. Resources, Recommendations, and Reminders...
January 2014


The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow

A position or title does not make someone a leader.  The test of leadership is simply this, "Is anyone following?"
  • Leadership Principle: Real leaders have followers.
As we begin a New Year, I want to share with you seven guidelines from John Maxwell on how to be the kind of leader people want to follow.
  1. Let go of your ego - Great leaders are not in a leadership position for personal gain.  They lead in order to serve other people.
  2. Become a good follower first - Rare is the effective leader who didn't become a good follower first.
  3. Build positive relationships - Leadership is influence. That means it is by nature relational.
  4. Work with excellence - No one respects and follows mediocrity.
  5. Rely on discipline, not emotion - Leadership is often easy during the good times. It is when everything seems against you that you earn the right to lead.
  6. Make adding value your goal - When you look at the leaders who are revered long after they have finished leading, you find they helped other people reach their potential.
  7. Give your power away - One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have.
Great leaders make personal growth a priority. Great leaders want to be better leaders. I have confidence in you and in your leadership.

Bishop Corder

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"Get Better" Doesn't Work   by Tullian Tchividjian

Article Excerpt:

In a New York Times Op-Ed the other day, Oliver Burkeman suggests something counter-intuitive, but obvious: the more you force someone to have fun, the less fun they’ll have. His piece is called “Who Goes to Work to Have Fun,” and the money quote is this one:
           Psychologists have shown that positive-thinking affirmations make people with low self-esteem feel worse; that patients with panic disorders can become more anxious when they try to relax; and that an ability to experience negative emotions, rather than struggling to exclude them, is crucial for mental health.
This couldn’t be simpler, and yet more misunderstood, especially by churches. Think about it: what’s the worst thing you can say to someone who’s in a bad mood? Something like, “Lighten up!” or “Get over it!” right? And to someone who’s suffering? “Tomorrow will be a better day!”

Yet people (and, by extension, churches) do this kind of thing to themselves and others. We tell each other to “buck up” rather than be honest about our pain. We tell ourselves to relax rather than confront the causes of our anxiety.

The Bible couldn’t be clearer about this mechanism: Paul says that the Law (the expectation, the requirement, the exhortation) came in to increase the trespass (Romans 5:20). In other words, the law makes the problem shine; it does not (cannot) solve it. It reveals the issue, it does not remove it.

People who are hurting would, overwhelmingly, rather not be hurting. Don’t you think they would choose a life free of pain if they could?  That they don’t implies a deeper problem.

We need an intervention, and I don’t just mean in a “We’re all here because we care about you” sense. We need someone to come into our pain, into our depression, and into our panic. Christianity, alone amongst the world’s religions, philosophies, and systems of thought, posits a God who doesn’t wait (or ask) for the hurt to heal, for the depressed to cheer up, or for the panicked to chill out. Our God crosses the chasm to us, rather than waiting for us to build a bridge out of our pain and into his glory.

Everyone knows that telling someone in a bad mood to cheer up is a losing proposition…but we can’t stop ourselves. We don’t know any other way to be.

Better then, to be upfront about our problems. Churches, especially, ought to be places where brutal honesty is possible. Too often, though, they are places where the truth is hidden: we want people to think that we’re on the spiritual path to glory, not hurting, depressed, angry, and panicked.

God’s first word — the Law — comes into our lives, not to give us the road map out of our struggles, but to magnify them to the point where they become impossible to handle on our own. We need God’s second word — the Gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ — to break through the impossibility of our human problem. We don’t need to be encouraged to get out of our depression, we need to be given joy. We don’t need to be cajoled out of our anxieties, we need to be given peace.

The Good News of the gospel is that, in Christ, we have been.


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5 Breakout Practices to Uncage Your Ministry Vision  By Will Mancini

Article Excerpt:

How do you discover, develop and deliver the unique vision God has for you? How can you know you won’t die a carbon copy when God has made you an original?

#1. Uncaging vision begins with the vision of God. Finding your unique vision starts by worshiping and listening to the Chief Visionary. Remember no “better future” than you can imagine was not already imagined in the heart of God... When was the last time you prayed to God as the ultimate source of vision?

#2. Uncaging vision demands ruthless self-examination. One definition of genius is the ability to scrutinize the obvious. Most leaders are so close to their community both inside and outside of the church, they miss the contextual and cultural cues that are essential to guide the vision discovery process. The win is to answer the question, “What can our church do better than 10,000 others?” I call this your Kingdom Concept.

#3. Uncaging vision requires robust team dialogue. Vision has been a lone-ranger sport for way too long. Missional leaders are opting for a higher standard of team leadership that is practiced in community. It’s only through brutally honest conversation and the blood, sweat and tears of God-honoring transparency that a team can forge a clear vision. As the leader, are you allowing others to come to the vision table?

#4. Uncaging vision involves meticulous articulation. Words create worlds. Every single word, metaphor or story that drives your vision must be carefully created if you want to have a stunning impact. In my work with leaders, we hold up a five-fold standard. Is every aspect of your vision clear, concise, compelling, catalytic and contextual?

#5. Uncaging vision extracts significant time commitment. The death blow to discovering unique vision usually boils down to time. Most leaders are unwilling to practice the above points because they are running so fast on a ministry treadmill.

In the end, if you are trying to lead with someone else’s vision, who is going to fulfill yours? The American dream does not apply to the church: Your church can’t be anything you want it to be. But it can be everything God wants it to be.


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Dear Discouraged Leader (Read This Before You Implode) By Carey Nieuwhof

Article Excerpt:

Being a leader (especially a church leader) is not the easiest thing in the world. But it isn’t the hardest thing in the world either.

You’re not alone. Leadership is hard at times. In fact, if you’re really leading, there’s rarely a season that isn’t filled with challenges.

After seeing leader after leader struggle with discouragement and even quit before their calling ran out, I wanted to write this note.
’ve adapted this note from a post my good friend Casey Graham wrote to discouraged business owners. Seems church leaders and business owners might have a lot in common. It resonated so much I wanted to ensure that every discouraged church leader I know read it. - See more at:

I’ve adapted this note from a post my good friend Casey Graham wrote to discouraged business owners. Seems church leaders and business owners might have a lot in common. It resonated so much I wanted to ensure that every discouraged church leader I know read it. -

None of us really feel like the most successful person on earth. I don’t. You don’t. And even though our church is doing well at the moment and I have so much to be thankful for, I spend too many days wondering whether I’m missing something or feeling like we should be making more progress than we should.

You know what it’s like… The weight of:
  • Budget and expenses
  • People who promise the moon but never even deliver the earth
  • New people who say they’re in and then walk away
  • Your leadership feeling like it’s always under a microscope
  • Not being where you thought you would be at this point in your leadership or life
  • Uncertainty. Constant uncertainty.
  • Team members you’re struggling with and just don’t know how to deal with
  • Knowing your organization isn’t perfect and wishing it would be but knowing it won’t ever be
  • Lack of gratitude; in others and in you
This is the side of church leadership they never teach you in seminary.

What do you do with that?

Here are four questions every discouraged church leader would benefit from asking themselves:

1. What do I expect my organization to give me?

2. Who am I trying to please?

3. How honest am I being with myself & others?

4. What lie am I believing?

Your discouragement isn’t just discouragement.  It’s a symptom of something deeper going on.  If you want to create a healthy culture in your church, you can’t live mad all the time.  You can’t be frustrated 24/7.  Take a step today & answer these questions honestly.

I believe it will help you beat your discouragement & get back on the growth track.

So tell me, have you ever been discouraged as a leader or (or are Casey and I the only ones?).

See more at:


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Intercession and the Cross By P. Douglas Small


That Jesus was destined for the cross is rarely disputed by Bible believing Christians. He was ‘the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ He came to the earth to gather up our sins and take them to the grave, so that death, by sin, could not lay a charge against us.

But Jesus’ role on the cross was not simply to die – but to die by praying, to die in prayer. To intercede for mankind while mankind was executing him. Extraordinary. On the cross, he split humanity down the middle with belief on one side and unbelief on the other. He carried his own cross to Golgotha to pray from Calvary, to pray at the place where so many lives were ended in hopeless despair. His whole life moved toward this crowning moment of prayer. This is why he came to the earth – to pray!

Intercession is often pressed into crucible-like moments. Simultaneously, it unites and divides. It tastes death and gives birth to life. It cries in the midst of the darkness and the shaking and remains simultaneously unmoved by either. It gathers us up and draws a protective line against the enemy. It makes peace and war at the same time. It is priestly and prophetic. It satisfies the past and finishes our unfinished business with God, then opens to a certain future. Intercession is made for the cross. It is costly. It is sometimes bloody. It is often painful. Its power is limited only by human openness or the hardness of hearts – but it opens to all a means of grace, a kind of highway to heaven’s throne. It is the essential act of pre-salvation. I am increasingly convinced that no one is saved unless someone is praying for them – and of course, the ultimate intercessor is Christ himself. My call, and yours, is to join him as intercessor for those we love, intercession at the cross, intercession that draws others to the same timeless cross.

In the middle of violence and rejection, intercession is to be offered. Prayer is not only for cathedrals packed with believers. It is for gamblers and thieves, mockers and dissidents, for the disruptive and slow to believe, for the never to believe. In the middle of divisive acts and ridicule, intercession is to be offered. Intercession steps into a war zone fraught with blindness and reaction, a bloody place in which innocent people are sacrificed – and it forgives, pleads for heaven’s forgiveness, and calls for a truce. It offers the ground of reconciliation in a hostile war zone. It offers the gift of forgiveness in the face of angry vengeance.

Intercession is not to be positioned sweetly in a chapel or used as a prayer aid only for brothers and sisters under fire. Intercession is also to be taken to the streets, offered in the face of demons, like a torch of light in the darkness. It is offered to those who decline the offer. It is peace standing in the middle of the battle, acting and not reacting. It is grace with open arms to its enemies. It is empathy and compassion given to the one engaged in hatred.

Jesus came to the earth to pray. He went to the cross to pray. We are not merely saved by the dying of Jesus. We are saved by the fact that he died praying, “Father, forgive them … they do not know what they are doing!” O, to be able to pray like Jesus...

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This month's resource is a free eBook: 50 Lessons from 14 of the Top Communicators  from Preaching Rocket  (Source: . 


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