Leadership Lessons from the Bible

The Law of Process

This post is part of a series of posts designed for interaction following a teaching series I did for a small group at my home church, Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in York, PA.  Please feel free to join the comments below as I am encouraging discussion on this topic…

The Law of Process states that “Leaders develop daily, not in a day.”  This is one of Dr. John Maxwell’s laws found in his book entitled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  The basic concept of the law is that we grow in our leadership capacity through a process that takes time.  We cannot simply wake up one day, attend a seminar, and begin leading at a different level.  Rather, leadership development is a day-by-day, life-long process.

As a part of the conversation surrounding our spiritual growth, I also introduced the concept of Kaizen, a Japanese term for continual improvement.  We each need to focus on daily, incremental, continuous improvements in our businesses, our families, and our personal lives.

As we apply the law of process and the principal of Kaizen to our spiritual growth, we discover that Peter has already given us instructions in 2 Peter 1:5-11 on how to grow spiritually that is very similar to those two concepts.  Beginning with “faith” as the foundation, Peter lists 8 items that we are encouraged to develop in our lives in ever increasing measure.  As we apply those things to our lives, we find ourselves growing deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Below is the list of 8 Characteristics found in 2 Peter 1:5-11.

Discussion:  To get our discussion on this topic started, please share with us one or two things that you are implementing in your life to live out the law of process.  Your comments can focus on your spiritual relationship with God, or some other aspect of your life.  So, let’s get the discussion started…

February and March have been very busy months preparing for and attending the March 2017 IMC Event in Orlando, FL.  I had the opportunity to learn from some of the very best teachers in the areas of speaking, coaching, and training.

Look for my regular posts to begin again next week!  I look forward to sharing some of the great leadership truths that I’ve learned.

What Are You Committed To?

19 Men Who Changed YOUR Life Forever

911 Highjackers

On September 11, 2001, a group of 19 terrorists forever changed our lives in America.  In just two days, we remember the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy that was inflicted upon our nation.  Countless lives were lost as a nation was stunned by the terrorist attacks on American soil.  This coming Sunday, we look back and remember!

This past Sunday I attended a church service in St. Louis, MO, while on vacation meeting our new grandson.  The pastor posted a picture, similar to the one above, of the 19 men who attacked our nation on 911.  Then, he made a statement that has challenged me all week…”19 men, committed to their cause, changed the course of our lives forever!”

As I’ve thought about that, I’ve wondered, what could the Christian church do if we truly were committed to the mission of Jesus Christ?  What could the millions of so-called “Christians” around the world do if we would decide to no longer play games with our faith, but, rather, commit our lives to the cause of Jesus Christ?  Could we change the course of not just America, but the entire world?  Could we change the course of this once-great nation of America?  Could we change the course of the millions of people headed for a Christ-less eternity in Hell?  (And, yes, there is a real place called Hell and real people are going there!)

What could we do if the church really committed to the message and mission of Jesus Christ?  The answer to these questions?  TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN FOR JESUS!  It’s time to ask “what are you committed to?”

As you head into your weekend worship experience, think about this…

Are we really committed to the mission of Jesus?  If not, what needs to change – the mission…or ME?


4 Things the Church Can Learn From Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go photo

In July 2016, a new mobile game took the gaming community by storm.  Pokémon Go launched, and quickly became a huge hit.  Those who invested in Nintendo stock saw an immediate and significant increase in the value of their shares.  Communities were invaded by Pokémon with names like Eevee, Squirtle, Snorlax, and Pikachu.  People all across the country began chasing Pokémon in an effort to “catch ’em all.”

As I’ve watched the game evolve over the past weeks and as I’ve spoken to quite a few of the players of the game, I have discovered a significant parallel between the aspects of the game and a biblical view of what the church SHOULD be.  Here are just four things that the church can learn from Pokémon Go.

1.  INTENTIONALITY – Pokémon Go is very intentional in what it is creating.  From the beginning of the game, you see the goals very clearly:  capture Pokémon, get items from Poké stops, and control gyms by defeating opponents from rival teams.

The church could benefit from clear goals and direction.  Too often, we find ourselves totally involved in the busy-ness of the church, keeping up the existing programs and ministries.  What could happen in our churches if we began to intentionally put a design and structure behind everything that we do?  What could happen if our people would have a clear path to discipleship that they can follow, step-by-step, instead of just leaving it to attending a Sunday School class, small group, or church service?

2.  COMMUNITY – Pokémon Go has developed in own community.  In speaking with the players of the game, it becomes clear that the game has created its own community of players.  People who have never met before are spending time getting together playing the game, walking from place to place in search of Pokémon, and even setting up parties for groups to meet and get to know each other.  Strangers are becoming friends by simply playing a game.

God created the church to be a community of believers gathering together to change this world.  Community is a significant part of God’s design for the church.  Is it possible that a game is creating a secular community on a level that the Christian church has not been able to accomplish.  Perhaps, we need to think long and hard about what we can do to create this type of community withing the church.

3.  TEAM WORK – Pokémon Go has highly developed team work.  Players must choose one of three teams to which they belong.  As teams, your goal is to control a gym filled with your Pokémon and hold it against attack from the other teams.  By design, one person cannot hold a gym since you cannot place more than one of your Pokémon on the gym.  To have a stronger gym, you must work together with other teammates.

In the church, we recognize that team work is a part of God’s design.  As individuals, we are given specific spiritual gifts to be used alongside other Christians for the purpose of accomplishing God’s mission for the church.  Do we intentionally create avenues for people to discover their gifts and serve in ministry?  Is there a clear path for training and opportunities to try different ministries based upon our gift mix?

4.  MISSION – Pokémon Go has given people a mission to accomplish – work together to make your team the best it can be by leveling up, catching more Pokémon and controlling the local gyms.

The church has been given the greatest mission on earth – to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  If a game can provide a sense of mission to its players, cannot the church learn to work together to accomplish the greatest mission for which you and I were created?

A simple game has provided the church an opportunity to look closely at what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we are doing it.  Take a moment to look at your church:  Are you, as a leader, providing an environment of intentionality, community, teamwork, and mission?  If not, what are you going to do about changing that today?

30 Days of Intentional Living

Day 3: Become An Intentional Listener

How can you become the kind of person that really understands what people want and need? How can you understand how best to add value to those around you? The answer is quite simple: LISTEN to them!

Is it possible that we get so focused on promoting our own agenda that we fail to listen to those who are working with us? This has many implications for the church and the work environments.

  • Do I attend our board meeting (or other meeting) with my personal list of things that I feel are important and that I want to get accomplished, but, then, fail to listen to others when they speak to the leader’s agenda for the meeting?
  • Or, do I as the pastor or leader of the meeting, become so focused on the agenda that I fail to hear the discussion about the agenda items from other members of the board?

I have found that many of the best ideas are birthed in discussion at meetings if we will only LISTEN to what others are saying with an open mind to hear the value that they can bring to the subject.  The leader of the meeting may have the idea or vision on the table for discussion.  But, it is the strength of the group, as they listen to each other, that adds value and depth to an idea that can only come about when the group works together.  The old statement is true…we really do work better together.

In our personal interactions with others at work or at home, do we really take the time to listen? Or, are we simply hearing their words while still focusing on our tasks that need accomplished? It is so easy to work so hard to get through our to-do list that we fail to really listen to what others are saying around us. It is very possible that the most important thing we need to be doing at the moment is LISTEN and not DO.

We truly do overvalue talking and undervalue listening.

Change a Life in Haiti Today

Haiti Well Project


The church that I pastor, Gentle Shepherd Church of the Nazarene, is raising funds to build a well in Banane, Haiti.  The well will be located on the property of the Banane Church of the Nazarene and will provide life-changing fresh water to the community of Banane, Haiti.  Please consider making a year-end contribution to this worthy cause.  Your donation is tax-deductible and 100% of what you give goes directly to paying the costs to build the well.  To find out more about this project or to make a donation, CLICK HERE.

Join Me on a 30-Day Journey of Intentional Living with John Maxwell

On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, I began a 30-Day Journey through John Maxwell’s course Intentional Living.  Follow my journey on my Facebook page, Hand-2-Hand.  I will be posting once each day for 30 days.  During this journey, I will not be posting as frequently to this blog site.  After the 30 days, I will resume regular weekly postings on my blog.  In the meantime, enjoy the journey on Facebook and feel free to comment or ask questions on each post.  I will respond to those questions on my Facebook page.  BTW, don’t forget to LIKE my Facebook page so you will get the regular post feed to your timeline, and, if you are reading this post on my Facebook page, click here to subscribe to my blog at www.rayastark.com.

Leading Like Left Shark

Left Shark

This year, Super Bowl XLIX featured a Katy Perry half-time show that has become famous – not necessarily for her great singing or amazing choreography, but for one of her dancers now known as Left Shark.  The Left Shark phenomenon has overshadowed the half-time show and even the football game itself.  A recent Google search for Left Shark returned approximately 122,000,000 results.  The question remains, “was Left Shark a dancing mistake, or the design of a marketing genius?”  Whatever the answer, Left Shark has much to teach us about leadership in the Church.

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There Are “It’s” In Your Church!

Grammar Error

Finally, someone noticed the grammatical error in my website header.  Congrats to Amy Cooper Heckman!  Was it a mistake?  Or, was it intentional?  I may never tell!

The point is that your churches and mine are filled with “it’s” – those little mistakes that make a big difference in keeping people from coming back to your church or even attending in the first place.  It could be anything from the lack of signs directing people where to park to the greeters talking with each other and ignoring the guests walking in the door to the worn out and outdated carpet that just screams “we’re not relevant.”  It’s the little things that make a big difference – and its the little things that keep people away.

So, how do we discover the “it’s” in our churches?  It’s really simple (no pun intended)…we have to notice them and do something about them.  In this first of a two-part series, I want to talk about the Three Groups of People in Your Church.  In the next post, I will discuss what we need to do about the “it’s” in your church.

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Where Have I Been?

Over the past two weeks, I haven’t posted regularly due to some changes in my life.  I have spent a large part of my time preparing to share some information with our church family and friends and this has taken my time away from my blog.  Here’s the information…

This past Sunday, I resigned as Lead Pastor of FaithPointe Church of the Nazarene.  On March 1, I will become the pastor of Gentle Shepherd Church of the Nazarene in Hermitage, PA.  My family and I are leaving a church family full of close friends that are dear to our hearts, to pastor a new church family and make new friends that we are already learning to love.

Now that I’ve shared this information I will once again begin posting regularly.  Keep a look out for the final post on my Strategic Church Leadership Process and posts about productivity in ministry.  Then, I’ll start drilling down more details about the SCLP and begin releasing hands-on, practical products that you can purchase for use in your local church.  Finally, I’ll begin sharing book recommendations for your continued learning.  It’s going to be a great year in 2015.  Please share this site with your friends and don’t forget to post comments so that we can dialogue and learn from each other.

I’m looking forward to 2015!