The Habit of Listening

The Habit of Listening

Excerpt from Kingdom Culture: Uncovering the Heart of What Empowers Teams by Bruce Lengeman, Copyright 2017

Ruthie and I continue to be stunned by how many leaders we meet or chat with who are into their own agendas, their own opinions and ideas, and give testimony of themselves—even if it seems to be in the name of God—and don’t even think to show value, care or interest in our hearts and lives. Behind this I sense two things: one, that some of them are overconfident and actually think they deserve to talk more than others because what they say is more valuable than what others say. Two is that they feel inadequate, and their self-promotion is a cover for their own inadequacy.

Dave Wiedis on Lebanon, International Trips, and the Ripple Effect of Ministry

Dave Wiedis on Lebanon, International Trips, and the Ripple Effect of Ministry

It’s hard to underestimate the impact of traveling around the world to spend time with people. From my perspective, I feel rather insignificant and ask myself, “Who am I?” From their perspective it’s “Oh my gosh. You have spent money to be here, you have taken your time to be with us, and you care about us.” Ministering to 30 people sounds so insignificant, but on the other level it’s not. Some of them will go on for the next 50 or 60 years to share the gospel, minister to people and make a tremendous impact in the lives of tens of thousands of people! It is such a privilege to serve them. 

Phil Carnuccio on Sabbatical...And Why You Need One

Phil Carnuccio on Sabbatical...And Why You Need One

The ministry of a pastor in many ways is 24/7. You’re always on: Preaching inspiring sermons, leading with a compelling vision, managing effective strategic planning, building a healthy staff team, raising money, performing funerals, making hospital visits, counseling, confronting critical issues, absorbing criticism and engaging in ongoing learning. The demand is relentless.

And in our culture we idolize hard work. Many people in ministry are burning out or flaming out [moral failure]. It’s an epidemic. Over time people [in ministry] keep doing what is right, but they don’t have passion anymore. They are working out of fear. They feel stuck and wonder, What else am I going to do? I never want to just go through the motions. I want to have passion!

Five Principles for Creating a Healthy Team Culture

Five Principles for Creating a Healthy Team Culture

An assistant pastor described the ministry culture he used to work in by telling me, “My former senior pastor isolated the staff from each other and kept each of us dependent on him.”

Have you ever worked in an environment like that? How about one where the team leader was prickly and unapproachable? Or one where people used what they knew of you to control you. Or one where a staff divided into warring factions?

There are lots of ways to describe unhealthy team cultures—toxic, crushing, dysfunctional, draining, demoralizing—cultures that drive people away from you and pit them against each other. But how do you build the opposite?

Wellness: More Than Just in Your Head

Wellness: More Than Just in Your Head

When you sit back and think of your well-being…what comes to mind? Your mental wellness? Emotional wellness? Spiritual wellness? Physical wellness? There are so many versions of “well-being” that we could focus on, but what if I told you that they are actually all connected? The latest research shows us that what we do with our physical bodies affects our mental state, and our mental state is deeply connected to our emotional state. Think of the feeling of mental sharpness you get after a good night’s sleep. It isn’t a coincidence!

Teaching Dignity in a Culture of Social Oppression

Teaching Dignity in a Culture of Social Oppression

In January my wife Miho and I had the opportunity to travel to India for the second time to teach at Life Theological Seminary in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha. Known for its tribal traditions and Hindu temples, Odisha can be a dangerous place for missionaries.  It is where missionary Dr. Graham Staines and his sons were murdered by Hindu Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in 1999.

Twenty years later, Odisha remains both a fertile ground for evangelism and a hostile environment toward Christians. According to state law: “No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means nor shall any person abet any such conversion” (The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967).