The Top 10 Christian Leaders You Should Be Following On Twitter

Recently I wrote a post entitled The Top 10 Christian Leadership Blogs You Should Be Reading.  Because of the incredible response it received, I am writing the follow-up, The Top 10 Christian Leaders You Should Be Following On Twitter.   The challenge of this post is I could have literally composed a list of 50+ individuals.  Therefore, I narrowed my criteria […]

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The Top 10 Characteristics Of A Generous Church

Tomorrow I will have the privilege of speaking to over 200 church leaders about the role generosity plays in allowing local bases of ministry to impact, serve, and change their communities.  The Take Out Conference is an event put on by INJOY Stewardship Solutions (where I work) and is designed to help churches “take ministry out” of their […]

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10 Leadership Quotes And Principles From Soul Surfer

Normal is overrated.  That is the main principle I took from the inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, played by AnnaSophia Robb, in the movie Soul Surfer.  Hamilton was a teenage surfing champion who lost her left arm in a shark attack but worked her way back to champion status once again.  It is a great movie that I […]

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Please Visit My New Site

If you are visiting this site, let me begin by saying “Thank You!”.  You will notice it has not been updated in awhile.

That is because we relaunched the site at www.BrianDoddOnLeadership.com.  Please click on the link and enjoy the new updated posts.

What Churches Need To Know About What Women Want

Thank you for visiting BrianDoddOnLeadership.com.  This site has moved to a self-hosted one.  Therefore, if you have not re-subscribed to the new site as of yet, please take the journey with me by clicking here.  Now on with my latest post that has become a personal favorite of mine.

Leaders love learning.  They have an insatiable quest for knowledge.  With that as a backdrop, earlier this week I read an article on the behavioral patterns of women and I needed to more.

Erica Eden wrote an article on FastCompany.com entitled Smart Design: Why Girly Designs Directed At Women Often Backfire.  Her premise, developed from the development of a Nike women’s timepiece, is women don’t always enjoy being isolated or told they are “different”.  Sometimes they wish to remain gender-neutral.

Here are some statements from the article regarding the roles of a woman in a given day:

“She feels differently about her femininity whether she’s getting ready for a dinner party, at kickboxing class, or paying household bills.  While everyone has different moods and modes in their lives, a woman’s range is by and large more expansive.  In one day, she might go from wearing hiking boots to high heels, from breastfeeding to home improvement.” 

Eden adds, “Things go wrong when we presume that all women want to express their femaleness at all times of their lives…By understanding her gender mindset, in the moment she’s using a product, it may be the best choice to create a gender neutral or even masculine mindset.”

Finally, she states, “These women want a watch that expresses femininity in a bold way…able to strike the right balance between performance and fashion.”

I don’t claim to know what women want.  Just ask my wife.  But Eden’s article fascinated me.  I never knew so much was involved in the design and purchase of a watch.  If it is that complex, what is involved in why a woman likes a church.  We think we know but we could be very wrong.  So I set out to find some answers.

I spoke with four women – a grandmother 60+ years old, a middle-aged mother, a single professional, and a United Methodist female pastor.  I told each four about the article and asked two simple questions – What do you like in a church?  What are you looking for?

Their answers fascinated me.  Here are some responses:

  • Grandmother - “I don’t like the question.  You can’t add a spiritual truth to a wordly survey.”  She did add though that she likes, “a warm, inviting atmosphere.  Bible based music, no secular music, something that draws you to God, not dry and dead.  I like a pastor who does expository preaching, makes you bring your Bible, and is not afraid of issues.”
  • Middle-aged mom – She likes, “a church that is fun.  Exciting worship music, a place you can clap.  Needs good bible teaching.  Good hospitality.”
  • Methodist pastor - She didn’t like the premise as she feels women are not expansive.  She did reveal that she likes, “a Godly pastor with character.”  It was interesting that she added nothing else.  She just wants a Godly man in the pulpit.
  • Single professional – She likes, “a worship service with substance, that draws you and is uplifting.  Not old hymns and organ music.  I want affinity group relationships of about 5-10 women.  The message needs to connect and tell me what is happening in the Bible in a modern context.”

The commonalities were each wanted great leadership, great music, and friendly people.  This supports Eden’s article as this is also what men want.  It would appear though that if you have these three, your church may be positioned to have major impact in the lives of women.

What I also found fascinating is what was not said.  None of the four stated children’s programming when selecting a church.  For the record, something for children would have been my #1 answer.

This was a quest for learning for me.  I’m dying to hear what other women have to say.  What do you like in a church?  What are you looking for?

Thanks for your responses and don’t forget to take advantage of the many ways to subscribe to this site.

7 Habits Of Highly Successful Churches Who Develop Young Leaders

Thank you for visiting BrianDoddOnLeadership.com.  This site has moved to a self-hosted one.  Therefore, if you have not re-subscribed to the new site, please take the journey with me by clicking here.  Now on with my latest post that has become a personal favorite of mine.

This week my 12-year-old daughter participated in Fellowship Bible Church’s annual Celebrate Summer event as a Teacher’s Assistant for 1st and 2nd graders.  To understand what Celebrate Summer is, just think of a week for children that incorporates the foundational elements of Vacation Bible School with all the fun of summer camp.  Each day consists of bible stories, swimming, games, activities, movies, etc…

At Fellowship, we do a phenomenal job of leadership development for Middle High students.  This week was no exception as my daughter learned lessons and developed skills that will last the remainder of her life.

To give everyone a picture of how we create a next-generation leadership culture,  please make note of the following principles:

  1. Preparation – Cynthia was the teacher our daughter would be assisting.  She is high-energy, very pleasant, fun, and full of life.  I knew that my daughter and the class were going to have a fun week.  Cynthia took my daughter to lunch to get to know her.  The two then spent about three hours decorating the room and going over the week’s lessons.  My daughter was prepared.  To develop young leaders, there must be excellent preparation.
  2. Feedback – My wife arrived at the church on Tuesday afternoon to pick up our daughter.  Upon entering the classroom, Cynthia was there alone.  Our daughter had gone to another part of the church stating the other youth workers said she had “permission” to leave the classroom.  She was escorted back to her classroom and reminded that she is a Teacher’s Assistant.  She is to not leave Cynthia’s side the entire week unless given permission by her specifically.  The coaching was given with love and received well.  There were no additional issues in this area.  To develop young leaders, you must provide the gift of feedback.
  3. Relationships – On Wednesday afternoon, our daughter joined some of the workers who were going swimming.  They had a great time and she deepened many of her existing friendships.  To develop young leaders, you must create environments that are relational. 
  4. Trust – Cynthia advised my daughter that she would be presenting the Bible story to the class on Thursday.  This was a challenge to my 12-year-old but she stepped up and prepared well.  To develop young leaders, you must trust them and challenge them with responsibility.
  5. Results – The highlight of the week was Thursday.  Cynthia was explaining to the class of 12 the amazing love that God has for them and what Jesus did on the cross.  After leading them in a prayer, she asked if anyone has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  An amazing 7 of the 12 kids had become freshly redeemed children of God that morning.  Amazing!  To develop young leaders, they must see the fruit of their efforts.
  6. The Extraordinary – Totally unprompted, my daughter wrote personal notes to each girl in the class telling them she was praying for them in specific areas of their life.  As a father, I was completely blown away as I know very few adults who would have done something like that.  To develop young leaders, simply teach them to do what is ordinary…and then a little extra.
  7. Gratitude – On the final day of the week, my daughter received a Thank You card from a mother whose daughter was one of the recipients of her personal notes.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as proud as she was when showing me that card.  Also, Cynthia wrote her a wonderful card as well.  The life lessons that my daughter learned this week were cemented in her heart by these expressions of gratitude.  To develop young leaders, you must demonstrate gratitude for their contributions if you wish to see lasting impact.

Preparation, Feedback, Relationships, Trust, Results, The Extraordinary, and Gratitude.  If you are looking to develop young leaders in your church or organization, practice these seven principles and you will get the results you desire.

The Most Important Thing That A Leader Can Give To Others

AnxietyMatters.com states 13% of the population suffer from an anxiety disorder at any given time. People have a difficult time sleeping at night. They toss and turn worrying about their jobs, homes, marriages, economy, aging parents, the future, their eternities, etc… We live in a frightened world.

When I walk down the street or through an airport, I would estimate over 90% of the people I see look despondent and have their shoulders slumped. People have a lifelessness in their eyes rather than a sparkle. We live in a hopeless world.

Marriages feel like prison sentences rather than having deep intimacy. People are more comfortable in dysfunctional environments. They often self-eject or blow-up relationships or situations that are healthy. We live in a broken world.

People come from work and have the garage door close behind them so not to be seen for the remainder of the day. We think a relationship is posting a Facebook update or Twitter feed. The greatest sound for many people is the ping of receiving a text. We don’t talk or listen to people anymore. We live in an isolated world.

These are the people we are called to lead. Perhaps you’re one of these people.

We don’t need more information. We are bombarded and overwhelmed with data and stimuli. Rather than information,the best thing we as leaders can give our families, churches, teams, and friends is inspiration.

Inspiration does the following:

  1. Gives people hope.
  2. Points towards a brighter tomorrow.
  3. Reminds people that all storms pass.
  4. Makes people smile.
  5. Opens the door to solutions.
  6. Builds relationships.
  7. Puts failure in its proper context.
  8. Celebrates even the smallest of victories.
  9. Creates platforms for future success.
  10. Reminds people they are significant and what they do matters.
  11. Strengthens community.

Are you an inspirational leader? Here’s a few questions that will help answer that question:

  1. Does the room “lighten up” when you enter it?
  2. Are your people afraid of failure?
  3. Is creativity celebrated?
  4. Do people welcome and look forward to your coaching or simply survive it?
  5. Does your team look forward to company meetings?
  6. Are you a load-lifter?

Please know your team desperately wants you to inspire them! Many receive it nowhere else in their lives. Inspire your team and you will receive more loyalty and a higher level of performance than you ever dreamed possible. And an interesting bi-product is that you will actually enjoy leading more yourself.

How To Know A Good Opportunity When You See One

As leaders, one of the things we all hope to have is options. Options provide the following:

  1. The sense of not being boxed in.
  2. The ability to do what is best for your family.
  3. The ability to say “No”.
  4. Leverage during negotiations.
  5. A growth track.
  6. Perks.
  7. Creative freedom.
  8. Financial opportunity.

But how do you know how to select the best option when opportunity presents itself?

In the July 4th edition of Sporting News, Reid Spencer takes a look at three of NASCAR’s hottest free agents. How these top performers are weighing their options provides a good template for all leaders who need to choose between good opportunities.

Carl Edwards

  • Potential For Success – Edwards wants to win a championship. Therefore, he will likely choose to work for either his current owner, Jack Roush, or Joe Gibbs. Leaders are driven by accomplishment.
  • With Discretion – Be a professional. Treat your perspective suitors with dignity and respect. Edwards says, “The thing I’m going to do is keep working on it and working on it privately. I think that’s the best way for me.”

Clint Bowyer

  • A Growing Organization – Bowyer would likely fit best with Roush Fenway which is sponsored by UPS which wants to challenge the FedEx sponsored vehicles. Leaders should consider organizations poised for significant growth.

Juan Pablo Montoya

  • Relationships – Montoya will likely remain with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing because of his long-lasting relationship with owner Chip Ganassi. Leaders are most effective when they trust and enjoy the people they are around.

Success, Discretion, Growing Organizations, and Relationships. Leaders, when you have options and are given the privilege of having to select the best opportunity, practice these four principles and you will likely make the best choice.

As a gift for all racing fans and people who love great crashes, check out Edwards’s 2009 wreck at Talladega.

 

The Comforting Words Of A Daughter

“You won’t hurt me.  You love me.”  Those seven words make up two of my favorite all-time sentences.  The reason is because several years ago when my daughter was three years old, I asked her to trust me and do something.  As only little girls can, she looked up at me, smiled, and gently said those precious words.  I have to admit that I still get a little teary-eyed a decade later thinking about that conversation.

This morning I was ambushed by emotion driving to work as that conversation, for some unexpected reason, popped into my mind.  Maybe it’s because I know so many people who are hurting.  Maybe it’s the difficult and uncertain economic times we are in.  Maybe it’s the level of suffering I see globally.  Maybe it’s the increase in natural disasters.  Maybe it’s all the above. 

We live in a broken and fallen world because of sin.  As a result, no one is immune from pain and suffering.  Unfortunately, bad things do happen to good people.  But God loves us and would never hurt us.  On the contrary, He is the anchor we hold onto during those unfortunate times.

You won’t hurt me.  You love you me.” teaches me the following leadership lessons:

  1. The responsibility that comes with the unbelievable level of trust my daughter places in me.  I cannot let her down.
  2. Fathers should strive to create environments of trust, security, and safety for their families.
  3. As parents we set precedent each day because we are sending our children off to time we cannot see.
  4. The importance of investment.  My daughter and I are still have wonderfully close relationship a decade later.  It began when she was a baby.
  5. Is anything more important than family?
  6. Leaders should always prioritize serving others rather than being self-serving.
  7. We are all fragile.
  8. All storms are temporary.  When bad things happen, we can make it through because God wants the best for us.
  9. When bad things happen, our natural default mode should be to turn to the One who loves us more than anything.
  10. Personal inventory.  Do I trust my Heavenly Father like my daughter trusts me when He asks me to do something?

If you are a leader or just an average person (if there is such a thing) who is scared today, who is facing uncertainty, who is experiencing pain, I ask you to let my daughter’s words from a decade ago comfort you.  Just say “God, you won’t hurt me.  You love me.”

Than let me know what happens next.

For more inspirational thoughts on dealing with difficult circumstances, click the following:

The Incredible Power And Potential Of An Imbalanced Life

I am looking at many aspects of leadership differently today.  One of things I am viewing through a different lens if the difference between a balanced, broad-based skill set vs. an imbalanced approach of focusing all your efforts in only doing a few things well.  If I were forced to choose, I am advising young leaders to take the imbalanced approach.

An imbalanced life allows a person to do the following:

  1. Become great.  While it is impressive for a person to be great at many things, that is quite uncommon.  However, anybody can become very, very good, if not great, at a few things.
  2. Find your “sweet spot”.
  3. Become an expert at your craft or area of discipline.
  4. To focus and be free from distractions.
  5. To see unique intricacies that only experts see.  This is the difference between a painter and an artist.
  6. Become an expert on others in your field.
  7. Avoid being blind-sided.  There are fewer surprises.
  8. Develop an insatiable thirst for knowledge on your area of expertise.
  9. Inspire others by your knowledge on a subject.
  10. Have options as to where best to apply your craft.
  11. Identify creative ways to apply your knowledge and insights.
  12. Recognize peak performance.  Imbalanced leaders are comfortable with having different sets of rules for different people.  They realize people do not have an equal level of performance.
  13. Imbalanced teams perform better.

John Maxwell often says, “I only do three things well.  I speak.  I write.  I lead.  I am the product of an imbalanced life.”  As I look at most great leaders, they are like John.  They only do a few things well.  These leaders just do them with incredible excellence, passion, and impact.

Some final thoughts:

  1. This should be a great encouragement to many reading this post.  Stop trying to be all things to all people.  This leads to average performance.  Take that pressure off of yourself.
  2. Discover the two or three things you do very well and focus all your energies into becoming the best you possibly can be in those specific areas.
  3. And finally, people never pay for average.  But they will line up at your door when you are doing great things.

Anyone disagree?

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