One of the key elements to being a good leader is being a good dreamer. In fact, I’ve heard it said that leadership is dead if it’s void of vision. I absolutely believe that’s true. Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people perish. Make no mistake about it, vision and dreaming is essential to leadership.

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Strategy is essential in leading any organization, family, or individual. We can have vision, but without a strategy to act on that vision, it is essentially nothing more than a daydream. As leaders, we have to have great people around us that help us put the vision God’s given us in place. Churches and organizations spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on gaining a good strategy to reach their target audience. Strategy is a given. It’s a must to leadership.

Vision is great.

Strategy is essential.

Neither matter!

Unless you move. You see, I’ve come to realize that what separates good dreamers from good leaders, the ability to move with it. Some of history’s greatest ideas are still lying in a moleskin journal or on a white board. They were never put into action.

Sometimes, you just have to move.

Dream? Yes. Strategize? Absolutely.

But move!

That idea you’ve been kicking around for your family… move.

That plan you’ve had for changing your workplace… move.

That idea you had to reach your community with your local church… move.

Strategy doesn’t matter where movement doesn’t exist.

Move!

Jonathan Pearson is the Orangeburg Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and Assistant Director of The Sticks Network.He also serves the co-creator of MillennialLeader.com, an online community for young leaders. Find out more about Jonathan here.

One of the greatest enemies of vision is fear. You know fear, that feeling of discomfort that shows up every time you are getting ready to make a major move in your life. It is an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. This emotion can make or break you. It has the power to fuel your dreams or destroy them.

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I believe fear was never designed to completely stop us from chasing new opportunities. It was created as a tool to help us move into new opportunities with caution. Counting up all of the cost, before making the big steps. In most cases, we allow fear to hinder us from moving forward by becoming overly cautious and afraid.

Most people will tell you that the first step is always the hardest step to take. I honestly believe it’s the hardest step because we spend time overly calculating every situation. The first step is really what counts.  Look at what Andy Stanley says about fear:

Fear, not the lack of good ideas, “keeps a person standing on the sideline.” (Andy Stanley)

If you are tired of being on the sidelines and you are ready to take, then you are in the right place. The fear of moving forward can be destroyed by taking several steps. The first step is the most difficult to take. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to fight the fear of moving forward:

  1. Take The First Step! Vision is initiated by taking calculable first steps. Dreams die because the dreamer is afraid of taking this first step of deciding to pursue it. There’s nothing to it but to do it.
  2. Don’t Allow Fear To Overpower Your Faith. Your dreams must be more powerful than your fears. Faith and fear are incompatible. They cannot exist in the same mental or physical context. You have to believe that this can happen more than you doubt.
  3. Ignore The Voice Of Negativity. You faith comes by what you hear. What you hear will always determine what you can accomplish. Ultimately, who you hear controls your future. Surround your life with faith-filled people who speak positively into your future. Their words will help you accomplish anything.
  4. Fight Fear with Courage. Courage is the weapon that is needed in order to fight fear. Courage is essential to the success of your dream. It takes courage to accomplish vision. This means to have the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulties. It is having the mental stability needed to complete your assigned task.
  5. Celebrate Failures As Learning Experiences. No matter how well you plan or dream, you will encounter failure at several points in your journey. Nobody starts our perfect. Every attempt takes closer and closer to perfection. Don’t become defeated in moments of failure, learn from them.
    As you are on your journey to accomplishing greatness, learn how to use fear as a navigational tool. Let it help you make the fight decisions and instead of hindering you from accomplishing good success.

When you are faced with new opportunities, what tools do you use to help you fight the fear of taking the first step?

This is a guest post by Erin Almond. Erin is an educator, speaker, blogger, and copywriter. You can read her blog and follow him on Twitter.

Whether we admit it or not, we are all desiring a real love. We smile and feel joy in our hearts at the stories of couples of have been married for 50, 60, and even 70 years; and we often wonder if it’s possible for us to have that same kind of love and marriage. The truth is that it is ABSOLUTELY possible, but you have to go about it in the right way.

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That’s where this book comes in. In “Real Love: How to Avoid Romantic Chaos and Find the Path to Lasting Love”, Andy Thompson provides wisdom to those who are seeking to find a lasting love relationship. The book provides simple explanations for how to know if you’re ready to be in a relationship (and reasons why you may not be ready), as well as other valuable tidbits such as “The Three S’s” that men need from their wives and “The Three S’s” that women need from their husbands–and an extra “S” that both husbands and wives need to prove in their marriage.

While the book provides lots of practical wisdom for those who are married, there is also a wealth of knowledge available for those who are in dating relationships. Thompson explains items that should be considered when making “the list” oreal lovef qualities that one desires in a spouse, the limits and boundaries couples should abide by while they are in the dating phase, and the things that one really needs to know about a person (“The Seven P’s”).

I would recommend this book to people who are hoping to be married so that they can approach their dating relationships with a sense of wisdom instead of being led by their emotions and how they may feel about a person at the time.  I would also recommend this book to people who are married, as it provides tangible knowledge that can be useful in helping their marriage be the best that it can be.

Being in a successful, long-lasting relationship is not magic.  It requires work from each person involved, but it’s also helpful to begin the relationship with a solid understanding of what lasting relationships require.  While this book doesn’t provide all the answers, it does give you an excellent foundation on which to begin the search for a REAL lasting love.

I’m giving away 10 free copies of Real Love by Andy Thompson. a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are a leader, I want you to know about a brand new book that is Hot off the press. Many of you are familiar with Catalyst, the innovative and experiential leadership movement that has been going on for now almost 14 years, and now one of America’s most influential leadership organizations, with conferences and leadership gatherings all around the US.

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Today is a big day because of the release of the book The Catalyst Leader. My good friend Brad Lomenick authors this game changing leadership book, based on his 20 years of leadership experience, as well as the last 10 years experience as the president and lead visionary of Catalyst. In it Brad identifies and captures what he calls the 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker. Ultimately identifying the essentials of a Catalyst Leader needed for leading well, and leading now.

You can purchase the book wherever books are sold. Go to the book site at http://catalystleader.com to purchase today. I can’t recommend this book enough, whether you are a young leader or seasoned sage. It’s filled with practical leadership advice and application.

And, as a special bonus::: anyone who purchases the book this week, from April 22-26, scan and send your receipt to catalystleaderbook@gmail.com and you’ll receive over $300 of leadership resources for FREE, all for simply purchasing the book during this week from any outlet, including the Catalyst store as well as other retail outlets. Purchase here.

If you are familiar with Catalyst at all, you’ll know that leadership development is at the core of their organization, and so this book in many ways serves as a leadership manifesto based on stories, Brad’s personal leadership, interaction with the amazing thought leaders who have been part of Catalyst over the years, and interaction with everyday leaders on the front lines.

Reality is that all of us want to be a great leader, but many times we’re not sure how to build in the essentials in a way that will deliver the most impact in our own leadership, and in the teams and organizations we lead. This book will help you do just that.

You may be recognized as a leader, but that doesn’t mean you are influencing well and truly making a difference. The Catalyst Leader is a valuable new resource designed to help you in your leadership journey. Purchase it now.<br /

You were not created to think inside the proverbial “box;” you were designed to create new boxes from which others will think. What you are about to accomplish cannot be measured. There is no measuring system that can predict your next accomplishment.

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People will try to “label” you so that they can “limit” you. You cannot allow yourself to be arbitrarily “labeled.” Your vision is connected to the Creative Mind of God. The Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form or void. As God spoke in Creation, things began to happen – changing form, and becoming.

You have been given the power to speak vision; watch it manifest. Realize that life and death are in the power of your tongue. If you speak life over your vision, it will manifest. If you speak death over your vision, it will never come to pass.

In psychology, there is a term called “negative self-talk.” We are more inclined to speak negatively over our lives and visions than to speak positively. We have to watch our words because we will have what we say.

What are you saying about your future? What reality are you trying to manifest in life?

One of the challenges of today’s church is that lack of leadership integrity. After reading that statement, most people automatically perceived that this blog was about the recent scandals of the church.  You know, blogs about pastors sleeping with members or leaders stealing the church money to buy new houses. Well that’s not the case today.

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When we talk about integrity, we rarely deal with the silent codes of leadership. One of the greatest principles I have ever learned in leadership was the code of silence. It was a principle of trust that is valuable to every area of life. Being sworn to secrecy when someone confides in you. Growing up, we were so serious about this code that we couldn’t even share private information with our family members. It really wasn’t about keeping people out of the loop. It was about earning and maintaining the trust of others.

Trust is the currency of ministry. If people don’t trust you , you are not able to effectively minister to them. It is the very foundation of our walk with Christ. We trust Jesus because we know his agenda is to bring good to our lives. Unfortunately, most leaders can not be trusted because their agenda is manipulation and control. I honestly believe that some leaders create strife in their churches so people will solely confide in them.

In recent years, there has been a shift in leadership standards. The codes that we once lived by seem to no longer exist. It appears that we only hold people accountable when they have a sex, money, or drug problem. What about the leader who consistently break the trust of others. Leaders who use the private downfalls of others as the topic of their dinner conversations. It really takes me back to my recent blog “Are you a judgmental Christian?”

The rise of social media has really destroyed the culture of today’s church. Instead of using this venue as a soul winning tool, we use social media as an avenue to expose others. While collecting data for this blog, I discovered a Socialcam video created to expose everything this pastor knew.  I wonder what Jesus would do in this situation.

Would Jesus share someone else’s business or would he cover them with love? What are you thoughts?

 

It’s not easy being a visionary. It really looks simple. Come up with an idea and just make it happen. The reality is that the process of vision is extremely complicated and filled with disappointments. As a matter of fact, I believe you experience more disappointments than moments of victory.

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In spite of all the challenges we face, we never stop dreaming because we understand that what we see is bigger than our reality. We realize that our vision is a gift to the world. It is something that will not only make a difference, but it will ultimately make history.

When you are experiencing difficult moments here are a few things I think you should consider:

  1. Just Keep Swimming. When things become difficult you have to remember that you are charting the course. There’s a major difference in swimming in an ocean from swimming in your neighborhood pool. Going out into the deep requires you to keep swimming until you reach your destination. The only thing that you have to hold on to is your goal. When you are in deep waters, if you stop before reaching your destination, you  will drown.
  2. Focus On Your Why. You started this journey for a reason. Something ignited a passion in you and caused you to embrace the journey. When you find yourself wanting to give up, always remember your why. Why did you take the first step? Why did you accept the challenge? Focusing on your why will refuel your passion and give you the strength to stay your course.
  3. Remember Whose Counting On You.  Your dream is not only for you, but it is your contribution to the world. If you stop now, who will carry out your purpose. What would the world be like if Martin Luther King would have given up on his dream. The world is counting on you. Don’t stop until you finish what you started. We need your contribution.
  4. Failure Is A Part Of The Process . Every great invention had a not-so-great start. Failing is a major part of success. Don’t stop because something isn’t working successfully now. Learn how to turn private moments of failure into empowering tools that fuel your public moments of success.
  5. You Were Chosen To Make History. Anybody can make a difference in their community or city, but it takes a determined person to make history. It’s more than a dream, it’s your purpose. Your purpose is too powerful to prevent. You are not an ordinary person, you are extraordinary. Make more than a difference, MAKE HISTORY!

This is a guest post by George Fultz, a millennial leader and speaker. You can check him out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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So often in a world full of disarray and disorder we often times forget one of the most powerful kingdom principles that in many ways centers you, settles you, and saves you, from the harsh realities and circumstances that this life brings us. It is in our forgetting of this kingdom principle that the peace of our soul slips and falls into a bottomless pit in which we are ever seeking a way to get out. Yet the answer that bridges this gap and creates a floor in our bottomless pit is the kingdom principle called forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the place upon which we place our broken hearts, our flawed panoplies of flesh, and our burdened souls on the altar and attempt to find a way back to the peace in which they have left. Forgiveness is the place where Christ and man through ours and His stripes ultimately become one. Forgiveness is the place where God knocks on the door of mans heart and if you let him, he proceeds to walk in. Forgiveness is the place where God sits at the table of mans heart and together they begin the process of putting the pieces of your heart back together again.

Yet beloved I have to warn you forgiveness is not an overnight flight to wholeness and healing, but a long dark journey forcing you to deal with the pains of your past, the problems in your present, and if not utilized can be a prohibitor to your future. We must understand that forgiveness is costly, and that it is costly because it requires us to acknowledge and experience the painful truth.

Forgiveness is going to cost you something! It might cost you some tears, it might cost you some pain, it might cost you some discomfort, but know we can now forgive, because Christ bore the lashes and stripes, because he understood and took the costliness of forgiveness to the cross. So every time we find our selves walking down the street called forgiveness remember the pain and agony of forgiveness and forgiving is embodied through and in Christ sacrifice.

What strategies have you used to help you forgive others on your journey to forgiveness?

Recently, I received an email from one of our supporters asking for a few pointers on how to live a saved life. Me being me, I responded with a few unordinary answers. The stuff that we really don’t teach people about being saved. Giving tools that would not only enhance their spiritual life, but empower them to live life.

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Unfortunately, many of us are victims of lopsided Christianity. Living life from a spiritual perspective only, missing the key ingredients needed to live a successful life as a believer. Here are just a few nuggets that will help you bring balance to your life:

  1. Be the standard! We are not designed to live by the standards of others. Set your bar and set it high enough that people want to be on your level. Don’t set you bar so high that people don’t want to be around you.
  2. Live life as an example. People are always looking for other people to look up to. People who can give them hope for a better tomorrow. Allow God to make you an example before the world by living a healthy successful life. Show the world that the saved life is the good life.
  3. Don’t just live a holy life, live a happy life! Holiness doesn’t always mean happiness. 9/10 it really means depression. Why, because most people don’t know how to truly be themselves and be totally committed to God.  Holiness is really just separating yourself from the wrong things. Living life by a higher standard. Not everything is a sin, so enjoy life. Learn how to live a well-balanced life!  A balanced life is a happy life.
  4. Don’t compromise who you are in the name of Christianity .  The word Christian  is a code word for Zombie. After you become a believer, you are still an individual.  Don’t give up who you are to match the expectations of someone else. One of the greatest challenges of today’s church is that we lack individuality. People become Christians and totally lose their identity. Be you, don’t be me!
  5. Don’t allow yesterday’s failures to prevent tomorrow’s successes. In the words of Rafiki (The Lion King) “.. it doesn’t matter! It’s in the past….You can either run from it, or learn from it! ” Learn from yesterday’s failures and move on into tomorrow success. Don’t let them hold you back. You weren’t designed to live in a failing environment, you were born to win!

This is just a small list of my ideas. What are a few pointers that you believer we should share with young Christians?  Let me hear your stories.

THE LOST ART OF MINISTRY

February 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

This morning, I woke thinking about how we have changed the definition of the word “ministry.” It seems like this simple word is thrown around a lot in today’s society. A society where everyone wants to be recognized as a person in ministry. I’m stuck wondering if we understand the true definition of the word ministry.

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Most people don’t realize that ministry is not a title, it is an act of service. It’s not a badge of honor that you wear, it is an act of service. Service to your family, community, and ultimately your world.

When you look at the church today, it is a world full of people with great titles. From the Catholic Pope to the Archbishop of Canterbury,it seems like the majority of today’s Christian leaders have developed a culture of great titles and positions. A culture where people serve leaders instead of leaders ministering to the needs of people. Maybe I should break that down. People are getting in ministry to become celebrities instead of being the servants to their communities. Creating  a culture of service to leadership, rather than service to the world. What a horrible concept of ministry.

Ministry in it’s simplest form is described as the act of serving. As Minister’s of the gospel, our assignment is to offer relief to this world. Be a helping hand to someone in need. Be a voice of encouragement to the discouraged. Unfortunately, we have walked away from the true definition of ministry and have develop a spiritual, political, and social clubs. This is one of the major reason why the church is failing today. We have walked away from our true purpose.

How do we create this broken system? How will we realign with our original purpose? What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you.