Are you examining what you are doing?

I just saw a quote on Facebook today from a pastor friend of mine, Chris Hodges, as RT’d by my friend Layne Schranz, “If you don’t get better at what you do, you will criticize those who are.”   

Socrates at his trial for heresy as found in Apology 38a said, “The unexamined life is not worth living as a human being.”

The first quote set me on a course to think about how humans work symbiotically either for growth and healing or desecration and decay.  It is easy to be critical just for the sake of criticism.  After all it is our right as Americans, I think some call it ‘free-speech.’  It is harder to be critical for the sake of wanting things to be better.  Judgmentalism to damage another takes no character, honoring each other enough to look for ways to grow and improve takes wisdom and love.

As we go through life, are we cruising aimlessly or are we finding out our purpose and explioting it to the fullest?  Are we looking at the ways we do things and asking if it is Father’s will or something for our own glory?  Are we asking if what we are saying passes the “Who Cares Test?”  Are we looking in God’s Word to see if we are continually working at conforming ourselves into the image of the Son?  Are we honest and courageous enough to receive information, no matter how difficult it may be to hear, in order for us to grow?

Nearly all of us are leaders in one way or another.  We lead families, churches, small groups, work crews, scouts, or even friendships.  How is that leading going for you?  Is there anywhere you need to examine and improve?

I am always looking out for resources to help me in asking tough questions about my personal life, friendship, leadership skills, pastoring, preaching skills, marriage, parenting, etc.  Just a bit ago I came across a series of questions that pertain to a local church.  I found them simultaneously encouraging and disconcerting.  In reading through them, I tried to not only look at them from a local church, corporate level, but also from a personal angle.  Again I say, some of my answers are not as good as I would like them to be. 

Tony Morgan wrote an article for Catalyst Space, a website you can access on the Marble Roll. 

So I submit this list to you for your introspective pleasure~~

11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking

 A friend in ministry recently asked me what questions church leaders should be asking. I thought about the types of questions I try to help answer when I’m working with them in the church consulting or coaching relationships. Here are the first questions and some bonus thoughts that came to mind:

1. When was the last time I heard from God? Am I doing what he called me to do? This is the “Acts 6″ question. Acts 6 is a great reminder that it’s possible to be doing the ministry of God without doing the ministry God has called us to do.

2. What should our church be known for in this community? For a moment, ignore anyone who attends your church. What does the rest of the community know about your church? That’s a better reflection of whether or not you’re really accomplishing your vision.

3. Are we really focusing our time, money, leadership, prayer behind the things that will produce life change and community impact? If not, there’s a good chance that “fairness” is driving these decisions. Fairness never produces revolution.

4. Is our church growing both spiritually and in numbers? Churches that are stuck and not bearing fruit hate this question. As I’ve shared before, I don’t believe healthy churches are necessarily big churches, but healthy churches are growing churches.

5. Is there a clear path to help people take steps in their faith with the ultimate goal of them becoming fully-devoted followers of Christ? Having a vibrant Sunday worship experience is only one component of that. I’m amazed at how many churches haven’t really established a discipleship strategy beyond Sunday morning.

6. Have you taken the time to identify what a fully-devoted follower of Christ looks like? Most churches haven’t done this, so they end up just “doing church” without any intentionality of purpose or process.

7. Are you empowering the people of God to do God’s work? This is the “Ephesians 4:12-13″ question. Declining churches pay people to do all the ministry. Growing churches challenge people to use their gifts.

8. Are you developing leaders? This includes both spiritual discipleship and leadership mentoring, and I think it’s what’s going to distinguish the churches that last longer than one generation.

9. Is my community any different because of my ministry? We may need a whole new set of measures to confirm whether or not our churches are really making an impact.

10. Do believers see their ministry happening only at the church or have they become missionaries to their families, their neighborhoods, their workplaces, their schools, etc.? Honestly, I’m really tired of Christians thinking God saved them to go church on Sunday and then eventually experience Heaven. Our purpose is much bigger than that.

11. Do I have the right leaders around me to accomplish the vision? Read Exodus 18:18-23. This isn’t some new business leadership principle. This is biblical advice that’s been around for thousands of years and still applies today.

Those are the first questions that popped to my mind. What are the questions you are asking as a leader in the church?

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