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Leadership
Tony Myles writes:  I once worked in a job where I feared for my job… everyday. And I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t because of the economy, and it wasn’t because we were all bad employees. It was because our boss was insecure and came across like a lion to everyone. He was someone who only cared about the idea of success than in creating the environment for it. I’ve been in the exact opposite situation, though. I’ve served in church staff teams where we were so inspired by the character and direction of our main leader that we climbed over ourselves to be a part of what he was up to. It’s the difference between transactional relationships versus transformational relationships:
  • Transactional relationships:
    • You focus on what needs to happen.
    • You’re concerned with the appearance of non-failure.
    • You spend your time one-upping each other.
  • Transformational relationships:
    • You focus on who each person is becoming.
    • You’re concerned with the health of people.
    • You spend your time sacrificing for each other.
Every relationship, organization, classroom and work environment tends to run with one of these two models dominating. You can influence that, whether you’re at the top or bottom of the totem pole.
  • T: Take the initiative in your own life first – become the person you want others to be.
  • R: Raise your eyes – set your focus on things above versus things of the earth (Col 3:1-4)
  • A: Ask others questions – find out who they are and what they’re most concerned about in life.
  • N: Nurture conversation – set up regular lunch times where everyone gets together to chat.
  • S: Say the mission – don’t just nod your head at what’s on the wall, but use it in conversation.
  • F: Face people – don’t multitask during conversations (close the laptop and turn off your phone).
  • O: Own mistakes – if you know you did something wrong, apologize right away.
  • R: Raise standards – stop using the phrase “That was good enough.”
  • M: Mind your mind – introduce people to new thoughts and ideas that can lead to change.
In the end, you will influence others either out of your:
  • Title: Parent, spouse, employer, employee, customer, teacher, student, pastor, tither, guest, regular, etc
  • Influence: Your integrity, your passion, your relationship with God, etc
So… what is your next step to create healthy people instead of yet another power play?
The most important [commandment], answered Jesus, is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
By: Tony Myles
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Fortunately, the judge disagreed, and decided NOT to dismiss the case.  Here’s the story: A judge has refused to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses a Tulsa megachurch of trying to cover up the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a worker on the church’s campus. The Victory Christian Center had argued that the girl’s mother, who filed the suit, was not entitled to any relief under the law. A judge on Monday rejected the church’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. Ex-janitor Chris Denman was sentenced to 55 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple sex-related charges. Denman admitted raping the teenage girl in a stairwell on church property. The lawsuit accuses employees of not reporting the August rape to the authorities while the church conducted an in-house investigation. The mother is seeking more than $75,000 in damages. Only $75,000 in damages? Wow… that seems more than fair to me. My 13 year old girl is raped by a church employee on the church property, and the church leaders try to cover it up… not telling law enforcement for days? My question to the mother is… why are you only asking for $75,000? My question to the church is… what are you stinkin’ smokin’? // Read more here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
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Those are the words of a Jacksonville, FL pastor to his congregation after the church’s youth pastor was arrested last week for sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl. Truth is… I’ve heard these words way too many times. “These allegations come as a complete shock.” Should they, really? Should there not have been some warning signs?  Could there not have been a way to protect the church (and this 15 year-old from this youth pastor?) Well… yes, and no. First, you can never truly stop someone from doing something like this.  Even with the best safeguards, the attraction of sin is so strong that they will find a way around the safeguards put in place. That said… most churches do NOT have adequate safeguards in place. In some ways it’s hard to believe that these things come as a ‘complete shock’. No body gets up in the morning and accidentally (or in the spur of the moment) has sex with a 15 year old girl.  That just doesn’t happen. Something was happening long before that in the heart of the youth pastor. And we have to constantly be looking for the signs. We have to care about our employees, not just about their work, but about their family and their lives. Are they happy, balanced, unstressed? Are they accountable to anyone? Do we notice anything different about them? These types of behavior are nearly always the acting out of some area of unhealthiness in a person. And we need to be sure that we are never in complete shock. I wonder… have you ever had an instance where you had a friend or staff member fall like this?  If so, was it a complete shock?  In retrospect, should you have seen in coming in some way, shape or form?  Or did they totally hide things and completely fool you? I’d love to hear your perspective… // Read more here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
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Here’s an interesting commentary… what do you think?  Great idea, or horrible one? Many church staff in congregations perform several ministry functions even though they are not officially a “pastor”. Special attention to church staff (youth directors, associate ministers, musicians, office assistants, interns, educators, etc…) and their work wellness. Appreciating their work is not enough (a raise wouldn’t hurt). Pastors and church leadership need give more time off in a world where church staff have to do “more with less”. Micromanaging, low pay, unreasonable expectations, many evening commitments, and poorly managed church conflict all lead to staff burnout. Giving the standard “two weeks” vacation is another sure-fire way to burnout staff. Years ago, Google allowed their employees to spend up to 20% of their work time on side projects. What if churches let church staff blog, create, dream, build, write, or encourage creativity through side projects? Allowing church staff to express themselves through under utilized skills or talents may help a church find a new ministry. In addition, it allows the church staff to explore and create – something that is innate within humanity. Suppressing creativity only leads to frustration. Churches would be well advised to use a Google-like project to guard against burnout. // Read more here… What do YOU think? How do you help reduce burnout on your staff? Todd  
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I have heard many times, “we never thought it would happen to us”. Of course, the only people that ever say that are people that it happened to. 🙂 Jared Wilson has some great ideas of what YOUR church should do to protect yourself from abuse and charges of abuse in your church.  These are great suggestions.  You really need to act on these before you find yourself as ‘one of those people’ who didn’t think it would ever happen to them: 1. All employees and all childcare and youth volunteers, or anyone else who has regular contact with children in the church or as a representative of the church, ought to undergo a criminal background check as thoroughly as possible. 2. A church should have a membership structure and a church should exercise church discipline. 3. Churches ought to have a “safe sanctuary” policy in place. Get consultation with an outside firm if necessary, but have a thorough, thoughtful plan in place that “intentionalizes” safety for children and others at risk. 4. Every officer in the church should have real accountability. To elders, to the congregation, to real people with real authority in the church body, and to a network or denominational board outside the local body if the church is part of one. And this must be real accountability, real authority, not figureheads or “yes men.” 5. It must be taught to pastors and counselors that confidentiality is a matter of discernment. Pastors are not priests or lawyers or doctors. They are not bound to confidentiality, nor should they be if someone is in danger. In matters of abuse, it must be taught that confidentiality should be employed only if it genuinely protects a victim, not simply because it will protect a church’s reputation or alternately out of some spiritualized fear of hurting an abuser. 6. On that note, we must educate our church what grace is, what repentance is, what forgiveness is, and what reconciliation is. What do they look like? We must understand that the gospel is often a severe mercy to abusers, even genuinely repentant ones, and so it means consequences — disciplinary in the church, legal outside — and accountability. 7. A church must be honest about what it can and can’t do. Too many churches assume help found outside the church body is by definition “worldly” or that all problems must be handled totally in-house. This is foolishness. 8. The discipleship culture of a church needs transparency and the welcome of grace. It must be a safe place to not be okay. This must be initiated and modeled by those in leadership. Jared share a couple more points and expounds on the ones above more here. Put this on your board agenda.  It’s THAT important! Todd
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From The Inquisitr: A former janitor at a Tulsa megachurch was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in the church’s stairwell. Chris Denman was sentenced to an additional five years of probation and a $12,000 fine.
 In October, Denman pleaded guilty to first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy of a child, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. There was no plea agreement in place, and Denman faced a life sentence.
Denman was accused of the August rape of a 13-year-old girl on the campus of Victory Christian Center, a megachurch in Tulsa that has 17,000 members. He was also charged with making a lewd proposal to a 12-year-old girl and molesting a 15-year-old girl. Denman quoted Bible verses at his Wednesday sentencing and said he wanted to go to prison. Prosecutors said at the hearing that Denman was arrogant and used religion and the safety of the church to prey on young girls. A second former employee, Israel Castillo, awaits trial on a charge of making a lewd or indecent proposal to a child. Prosecutors said Castillo sent explicit Facebook Messages to a 14-year-old girl he had known for at least two years. Five church employees accused of waiting two weeks to report the alleged rape are facing misdemeanor charges. They include the son and daughter-in-law of the head pastor, Sharon Daugherty. All five have pleaded not guilty. The 13-year-old victim’s mother sued the church and accused employees of trying to cover up the rape. She said the church was more interested in damage control and making her daughter feel as if she were to blame for the rape. // Read more of this story here… What a black eye on: The church community in Tulsa The megachurch movement (all the headlines mention MEGACHURCH in the headline) All those that serve God faithfully. I hate that. Todd
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DJ Chuang writes: All too often I hear people complain about how distracting social media is. That’s not a fair comment, because there are far greater distractions like interruptions of a phone call or a person that stops by your desk (office, or cubicle), and wouldn’t you know it, that happens right when you’re getting traction on your work. What social media might be doing is adding and compounding the issue of distractions and interruptions that derail us from productive work. The biggest time-waster at work is inefficient meetings (only 8% say that meetings are 100% productive). And depending on who you ask (or survey), the numbers may differ. This different survey puts more blame of time-wasting on the digital rather than the physical: … at companies with more than 1,000 employees, these kinds of digital distractions can waste more than $10 million each year. And in this social media-obsessed age, typical water cooler banter and pointless meetings are no longer the greatest time-wasters at work. Almost 60% of workplace distractions involve social networks, text messaging, IMs or email. In fact, navigating between multiple tabs and windows to keep an eye on a wide variety of apps is a huge distraction in itself. In the end, almost half of the employees in this study said they worked just 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted or distracted. More than half said they wasted at least one hour every day day due to distraction. That’s the data. Data doesn’t motivate nor inspire you to action, the kind of behavior modification and change in lifestyle you need to eliminate the distraction of social media. Social media doesn’t have to control you. You have to choose and decide to be in control of your time and your social media usage. Want some suggestions as to how to keep distractions at bay?  Read more from DJ here:  How to keep social media from being a distraction
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Yeah, that’s quite a headline from the UK’s Independent.ie website. But it seems that it’s true. At issue is whether church staff (organists, primarily) are watching this verdict.  Here’s why: A lap dancer who wants to make an unfair dismissal claim is waiting to hear whether she has won a legal fight with a firm that runs “gentlemen’s clubs”. Solicitors say employment lawyers and strippers across England and Wales will be monitoring 30-year-old Nadine Quashie’s battle with Stringfellow Restaurants. They say church organists could also be interested. The Court of Appeal was asked to decide whether Ms Quashie was an employee or was self-employed when she worked at the Stringfellows and Angels clubs in London. Three appeal judges reserved their decision after a hearing in London. Ms Quashie, (pictured) who lives in London, says she was employed and can therefore make a claim for unfair dismissal after being sacked for gross misconduct. Stringfellows says she was self-employed and cannot make a claim. “Strippers and church organists do not generally have a great deal in common, but this case brings the two together,” said employment law specialist David von Hagen. “There have been a number of recent cases where church organists have brought similar actions, claiming unfair dismissal. There is a clear trend in that tribunals have tended to agree with the arguments of church organists, finding them to be employees.” // read more here… Employment laws are getting more difficult everywhere.  How do you decide between the employee, independent contractor thing?  Do you have both at your church?  Does it make a difference? Todd
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Current Events
In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference. It was a unanimous decision.  The ruling means that churches and religious organizations are exempt from employee discrimination laws when hiring or firing their own employees and leaders. Many are heralding this decision as key in reinforcing the separation between church and state, while others worry that this will allow these organizations far too much power. The initial complaint that motivated Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stemmed from a teacher at an elementary school who felt she was being fired for pursuing a disability claim. SOURCE SOURCE Seems like a pretty stinkin’ important ruling that I had no idea was even before the court. How about you?
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