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Friday, January 16, 2015

Stuff I Used This Week 1-16-15

Even though it's already halfway through January, for some reason this felt like my first full week where I was really stepping into 2015. Up to this point, I've been scrambling to catch up from the time off between Christmas and New Year's, digging myself out of email, returning phone calls, set up new calendars and schedules, etc. But this week, several new projects kicked in. So here are three articles that spoke into those projects and processes in helpful ways.

The Mistake Most Managers Make in Cross-Cultural Training. This applies in so many settings, I don't know where to begin. But for my denomination in Southern California, we are finding so much of our efforts revolve around empowering and equipping our churches being led by Majority World leaders. For example, this week in one of courses we require for ordination, we had 24 leaders, only 9 of whom were Caucasian. In fact, 10 of the 24 were born outside of the US! As this article states, and as we keep experiencing, learning about cross-cultural differences is not just about information, but also about understanding

We Still Don't Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation. Again, I could apply this in multiple ways. But one of my main leadership roles is serving as the Director of Recruiting and Leadership Development for the Center for Transformational Leadership for the Free Methodist Church in Southern CA. And while as Wesleyans we deeply believe theologically and spiritually in the process of personal transformation, we also want the leaders we identify, train and release to be people who shape culture in the process of change and transformation organizationally and strategically. This article speaks to that and how we guide both change and transformation on a larger scale.

Toward a Theology of Leadership. This one is a bit more wonky, but SO GOOD. At Westmont College I usually teach RS190, the elective on internships for Religious Studies major, but through a lovely intersection of various things, I've been invited to co-teach the Religious Studies Senior Seminar capstone course this semester! Even better, my colleague and co-instructor was up for the challenge of setting the theme of the course as a study in the "theology of leadership." The link here defines more expansively what that phrase means, but if I only have 10 seconds with someone who asks me in passing what I am teaching, I tell them that this is focusing far more on the WHY of leadership and not the HOW. Everything I'm reading, from Gregory the Great's Book of Pastoral Care to Dallas Willard and Gary Black's The Divine Conspiracy Continued, are really sparking me to dig even deeper into how leadership has evolved and been defined and determined in church history, where it is today, and where we need to go. If you are a leader, take the time to read this article. It will challenge some of your assumptions.

Finally, I can't end without a thoughtful quote. I never tire of hearing from Henri Nouwen:

Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

May 2015 be a year of HOPE for you!

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