Potential vs Product

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Having served as a pastor for the last 20+ years I’ve realized that more than anything else, church is about people. Yes there is theology, organization, worship, etc etc – but this is really a “people” endeavor. While I am no expert (far from it) on people, I have noticed two different approaches that can be taken when it comes to people. You can look for a “product” or look for “potential”.

I have seen too many really good people be written off because someone was expecting a “product”. They make comments like, “he is so annoying, she is so high maintenance, he is so set in his ways, she is so inconsiderate” etc etc. Those things may be true about that person in that moment in time, and to be fair there are some who don’t desire to grow, change or mature. However, I’ve found in more cases than not that it’s either a case of poor self awareness (meaning they DON’T KNOW they’re annoying, high-maintenance etc) or a case of not knowing how to grow. Both of these issues can be addressed and people can be helped.

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“My” Brooklyn Nets & processing teams

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Ok ok, I’m not sure why I am writing this blog post since I am living in Minnesota and it’s very likely that no one really cares about my east coast NBA team. First of all the NBA is not at all popular here and secondly we are far from Brooklyn! But since this is my blog, humor me, won’t you?

In the last few weeks the team has managed to draft a promising center from Duke, trade for two of the greatest players active (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) and convince a 10 million a year player to take 3 million for a chance to play with them (Andrei Kirelenko). This all is after they signed the guy who first got me watching and rooting for them (religiously) (Jason Kidd) to be the new head coach. Needless to say, I am excited about the potential we have as a team next year. So let’s talk a little about “team”, shall we?

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Behind the Scenes: Leadership in a Organism or Organization?

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This blog continues our series where we take you behind the scenes in church life to discuss the why and how of it all. In part 1 I reviewed my process of sermon prep ( http://jasonstonehouse.com/?p=1682 ) in this post we’ll talk a little about leadership in a church with many diverse people and ministries.

Here’s the thing: most people think of church, as well, “church” — and while there is lots of biblical backing for church as a body, an organism — it is also very much an organization as well. And so there is this unique balance between honoring the family/ organism aspects of the church and the structural/ organization aspects as well. I’ve seen churches that refused to look at the organization aspect and seriously hindered their growth, bumped up against multiple leadership “lids” and naively ignored human resources, direction, and organization of any kind. I’ve also seen churches that operated as a business with little heart, little relationship and leaned too heavily on strategy and structure and very little on the Holy Spirit and people of faith. So this is really a tension to be managed not a problem to be solved. A church needs Spirit-led, relationally intelligent and organizationally insightful leadership. In too many churches leadership is granted to someone gifted as a communicator regardless of his giftedness in leadership or organization. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe every lead pastor needs to have leadership gifts, but if he doesn’t, he needs to know that about himself and be willing to do what he does best and bring others to do what he is not gifted to do (and empower them to do it). But I digress… My main point in this paragraph is to ground us with an understanding that church is BOTH an organism and organization and we do serious harm to the church if we refuse to embrace this tension or try to “solve it” by going to one side or the other.

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