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Gentle Leadership

In Lead more gently

A Prayer For The Men In Our Lives

It is my daily habit to read a passage of scripture. This day it was Romans, chapter 13.

As I read, a particular phrase struck me.

“And do this, knowing the time …” – Romans 13:11

I asked myself whether I know the time? Do I know the time in which I live? Do I understand the implications of the time that God chose for me to live and breathe?

As is my daily habit, I took the scripture to prayer. I started praying that God would help me understand the time but my heart kept going on another path. My prayer kept moving away from me understanding to praying for the men in my family. I have a husband, a son, a son-in-law and three grandsons. These then are the men foremost in my family. My prayer then moved toward other men I know – my extended family, those with whom I work, my friends, my pastor.

I followed my heart and here is what it led me to pray for these men. I offer this prayer to you, my readers, my friends – a prayer for your men, a prayer for all our men. A prayer for a time such as this.

 

A PRAYER FOR THE MEN IN OUR LIFE

Our Father,

I pray that the men in our life will know the time …

That they will understand the time you chose for them to live;  the time that you chose for them to be children and the time you chose for them to be adults, to be husbands and to be fathers.

I pray that they will understand the time in which they are men.

 

You chose for them to live at this, their time.

 

They are uniquely shaped, carefully molded and perfectly equipped for a time such as this. It is time for them to fill a void, to take a place, to stand in the gap and to build the thing that you, at the very foundation of time, designed for them to build. You have a blueprint, a plan of this thing you want each one to build. I pray that the men in our life recognize this holy thing you have for them to build and that they build with all their might.

 

I pray that each man in our life will know that the time is always now.

 

Now is the time to awake out of sleep.

Now is the time to walk and to run and to build up and not to break down.

 

“And do this, knowing the time …” – Romans 13:11

 

I pray that the men in our life will understand the “and do this” as they walk in their time:

  • To be submissive to those who lead them because it makes their own leadership pure.
  • To pay their taxes and be honest in their finances.
  • To not run up debt and be enslaved to others. Rather, may they be givers, generous and kind.
  • To give honor to who honor is due, never being so proud that they cannot see the good in others.
  • To always chose purity and walk away from lust and lewdness.
  • To choose peace and not embrace strife.
  • To celebrate God’s blessing of others and not be envious of their neighbor.
  • To plan their life around their purpose; not around their ego and their flesh.

In knowing the time, may the men in our life continue on the path that you have set before them. This path leads them to lay their life down.

May their lives come second and third and fourth place.

May their wives and children and siblings and parents be put before them, so that they may protect from behind as they follow you in the front.

 

For this is your way – the way of the cross – to lay your life down so that your family may be saved.

 

May the men in our life know the time.

That now is the time.

That now is always the time.

 

“And do this, knowing the time,

that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:

for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand.

Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,

and let us put on the armor of light.

Let us walk properly, as in the day,

not in revelry and drunkenness,

not in lewdness and lust,

not in strife and envy.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” – Romans 13:11-14

Note: The verses before this speaks about submission and leadership, money and taxes and love that is pure. [Romans 13:1-10]

 

In Lead more gently/ Purpose

What two leaders learnt from a toilet

He beamed as he told me about the toilets.  It is not a subject I typically discuss with others, let alone an African man.  Yet, there I was listening intently and beaming along with him, as proud as I’ve ever been.

DSC_0104 (2)

The toilets were needed in Madutle, a rural village straddling the border of South Africa and Botswana.   It would have been easy for us to instruct a professional builder to move into the village, build the toilet facilities in a week and be out of there.  Instead, two pastors from the village church took up the challenge to get this building done.  They became the foreman-builders and the villagers became their co-laborers.  Together they built the much needed toilet facilities. A professional builder would have been embarrassed at how long it took for this small building to be erected, but with this project, time was not the point.

What was the point? Continue Reading →

In Lead more gently/ Purpose

Here’s a way to draw out gentleness in harsh people

The biker dude scowled at me as I sat next to him.  He seemed life-beaten and harsh.  To be honest, I felt pretty intimidated by him.  Yet, within ten minutes together, something triggered his gentle side.  This trigger is available to all of us.

In his biker-dude outfit;  leather jacket, tough-soled shoes and messy helmet-hair,  he watched me play with my one-year-old grandson.   I sat on the sofa keeping an eye on the baby as he practiced his newly found skill of walking – he would venture as far as his courage would take him then turn around and run back into my arms.  All the while the biker-dude watched out of the corner of his eye.  At one point he got up, fetched himself some coffee and went and stood a few feet away.  My grandson followed and stared up at him as only young children can.  Then, for no apparent reason, the little one cracked a huge smile.   Biker-dude caved.  “Darn cute kid,” he said, bent down and cooed, “Hello, buddy.”

baby & biker

There’s something about the tenderness of babies that we all understand and, no matter how tough we become, we intuitively respond with gentleness.  We touch them softly, we speak in kind tones and we are protective toward them, eager to look out for their good.  We see their immeasurable value and treat them carefully.

Why does this change?

When does this change?  Why does it change? Continue Reading →

In Lead more gently/ Purpose

3 Reasons why small can actually be bigger

I attended a CEO conference this week.  Only 25 people attended.  Only 25 were invited.  It was a “closed door” conference in the form of a series of dialogues around issues that are pertinent to the CEO’s of Christian ministries. The smallness of this conference was immensely beneficial and turned out to be much bigger in impact than most large conferences I have attended.  Here are reasons why you should consider peer input in a small group setting.

Attending large conferences with hundreds or thousands of delegates has a certain buzz about it.  Large conferences attract well-known speakers so you get to hear good communicators impart great messages – most of the time.

As good as large conferences can be, the immense value of small conferences should not be under-estimated.  Here are 3 reasons why: Continue Reading →

In Live more simply/ Purpose

3 actions that lead to healthy relationships

Yesterday at gym, I watched as a middle-aged woman went through the paces with her personal trainer.  I had earphones firmly plugged into my ears listening to some of my favorite songs in an attempt to distract me from the treadmill I was on, so I could not hear what they were saying to each other.  I just watched their actions and I was impressed.

The trainer stood beside her through each set of exercises.  He never left her side, moved along with her when she started on a new machine, nodded his head regularly and then patted her on the back when she finished.  She left smiling.  The next client was a man I estimate to be in his early twenties.  The trainer changed his tactics somewhat.  He again never left the man’s side, but his demeanor was different.  He clapped his hands a lot, never scowled or shouted but seemed to push this client harder and demanded more. My workout finished before they were done but by all accounts, they were getting along famously.  Continue Reading →

In Live more simply

It all went down in about 30 seconds

The other day I went to the movies.  I told the teenage guy behind the window which movie I wanted and he asked, “Do you want an adult ticket?” The movie was not a kid’s movie so I was a little bewildered why he would ask me that question.

“What other ticket would I want?” was my reply.  Only when I saw the stricken look on his face did I realize the predicament I had put the poor fella in.  He had no idea how to ask me if I wanted a “senior” ticket.  I guess, from his vantage point of all of 17 years, I look old.  From my vantage point, I’m nowhere near “senior”.  I let him stew a little, fully intending to help the poor guy out, but then he did an extraordinary thing. Continue Reading →

In Lead more gently

Making private decisions in a public arena

For the last 30 years of my life I have been in ministry and non-profit leadership.  This is “public arena” leadership.  Sometimes (not always) it feels like I am in a circus act with a ringmaster cracking the whip.  This is not a healthy place to be.

Let me give you an example.  Perfectly rational choices by others are seen in a different light for those of us in public leadership.  Just going on vacation can be a minefield – when others go off to rest people celebrate with them.  When those of us in ministry go off on vacation sometimes people want us to explain and justify all the reasons why and some people judge our choices.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog, these judgments are hard for me.   On the one hand I always try to be respectful of other’s opinions, but on the other hand, like everybody else I crave the right to make choices for my life.

If, like me, you find yourself having to make private decisions in a public arena maybe you will find this helpful. Continue Reading →

In Lead more gently/ Purpose

When others judge

Being in leadership has its challenges.  One that I have always struggled with is the judgment of other people.

Let me explain.

A parent, for example, is a leader.  You have to make decisions for your family and lead them the best way you know how.  When my children were teenagers I decided on a curfew time for them and … they judged me.  “My friends parents let them stay out 2 hours later than that!  You don’t trust me.  What kind of parent are you?” Continue Reading →