Archive for August, 2010

Why Glory Hog Leadership Fails

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I can’t wait until Football Season. The mornings are feeling cooler, the air is crisp, and school has started. It’s getting close! And this year, I am counting on my boys! What boys? The Big Red Boys. I am a die-hard Nebraska Cornhusker’s fan!

All this thought about football, the players, the upcoming team line ups, and the anticipation of an exciting year has reminded me of the leadership game a bit. Specifically the coaches and the players.

Recently, I witnessed a few players fall away from their game. Not a football game mind you, but a real life situation where a few talented up and coming individuals with great talents and passions threw in the towel. They gave up. They decided it was time to move on. They weren’t needed, they weren’t growing, and they were rightly frustrated. And in not knowing how to do get around the obstacle, they left the field. They were truly discouraged and knew that as long as their leader continually overshadowed them and remained an obstacle in copycat fashion, they didn’t stand a snowball’s chance to use their gifts.

I could clearly see why. Their leader was failing as a coach. It wasn’t from a lack of leading. He was leading alright. But he was leading himself. He was not only coaching, but he decided to start playing without realizing that his involvement immediately overshadowed what his team was capable of doing. And in that, he failed to realize that with his support and encouragement, his team players could have truly reached a whole-nutha-level.  But instead, he suddenly became the team: Leader/coach, and player. This “leader” was growing fruit and consuming it.

What’s my expertise about this matter? Two words: Glory Hog.

As leaders it is important to remember: Just because you CAN do it all, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it all. Other people need their time to shine. It’s how you as a leader coach and grow others.

It’s a trap that any leader can fall into. A leadership model I constantly strive to live by is to always coach other people to use their skills, talents, and works to further the entire team, Kingdom, business objectives or whatever the goal of the organization is. It doesn’t matter whether or not it us a sport, church, business, non-profit or other agency. The leader’s job is to grow the team members to produce fruit with their own gifts, talents, and passions. And when a team player is in the midst of that growth, it is the leader’s job to discern whether or their involvement or activities could overshadow people on their own team. And in the case I watched unfold with someone I know, I could clearly see how devastating that effect could be. The outcome? This player sought a new team without Glory Hog leadership.

When the leadership hogs all the glory and continually grows him or herself, they kill others instead of helping them grow. The team slowly dies. The coach/leader wears himself out. And soon, the only thing left is an empty playing field where no one feels valued and everyone chooses not to play.

A leader’s job is to see where the talent exists and to encourage and help promote it’s use instead of jumping in to do it while forcing everyone else to the bench.

Leadership is not about inadvertently creating bench warmers.

Leadership is growing and developing those around you to create a team of winners. It’s not clearing the field so they can all watch you. If you want your stands to fill, help those around you do great things. And stop hogging all the glory.


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Grow and Go, Your Volunteers Depend On It

I lead a ministry meeting tonight for the Hospitality tables and Welcome Centers at two of our campus’ and promised my volunteers that we’d be done in 30 minutes. We ended at 35 minutes…ooops! As a ministry leader, I want to honor and value my volunteer’s time. They are just as busy as I am with just as many life demands and needs, and I feel it is a responsibility to dip into that as little as necessary with maximum efficiency.

The last thing we need in our lives is another meeting. I know that for the majority of us,  we are asked to sit through meetings to plan every move, every decision, every issue from what to eat to the brand of toilet paper people like best. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but it certainly does feel that way. I prefer to be organized and efficient. We need to get down to business, so we can get on with our business.

In our meeting we opened with a few minutes of simple conversation and laughter, a prayer, and we moved and stuck to the agenda at hand. I had broken our meeting down into three parts that required our attention this time around. 1. Commitment, 2. Security measures for our equipment, and 3. Leadership/mentor opportunities. And all of this in 30 minutes.

I specifically want to focus on one for this post. We spoke about commitment, which for me as a life management nut, was just as important as the security issues. It’s important to me to secure my volunteers. They are priceless. With all that we covered in that short time frame, I wanted to blog specifically about one part.


I let them all know that they will be serving for a term of six months, and at the end of this year, they will have the option to stay or go. And here’s why: Our schedules change. We may need to adjust our availability. We may find that this isn’t where we are using our spiritual gifts. Maybe we are not serving effectively. Maybe we aren’t growing. Maybe we are being called to a different area of ministry. Maybe we need a season of rest. Maybe we need to grow into another area of ministry. Maybe we are burned out.

Say what?

Sometimes things happen. Sometimes we only want or need to serve in an area for a season. Sometimes we need to grow up and take on more challenging roles or move into leadership roles. Maybe we are feeling stagnant and know that we should be serving in different area of ministry, but we don’t ever move out of the area that we’re in. And year after year we stay. We feel stuck and don’t ever rock the boat.

Rock the boat? People worry about leaving ministry and backing out sometimes. They are thinking, “If I quit this ministry, who will take my place? This leader is already so busy, and if I leave it will only cause them stress.”

And with this type of thinking, the volunteers never get an opportunity to move on. With a limited commitment, it allows an out. It allows volunteers the flexibility and no guilt opportunity to move into another area of service, take a much needed break, or move into a leadership role. By giving a limited time of commitment our volunteers have the opportunity to stay, serve, grow, and go.

And when they choose to go, it won’t be because they are leaving all areas of ministry because they are burned out. They will likely go to give somewhere more appropriate for them in the season they are in. And not only that, it opens up vacancies to allow other individuals the opportunity to step in and start serving. And as they too grow, and complete their commitments to various areas,  they too will go. They likely will keep going because they are growing for all the right reasons, in all the right seasons. It’s when people feel stuck, stagnant, pressured, undervalued, ineffective, and drained that they will leave areas of service permanently. We can prevent burnout with commitments that are honorable to both ministries and volunteers.

And it was just as important to stress why I felt this was important. At the end of six months, it will be up to each volunteer to determine whether or not they want to continue in their position or move on to a different area of service.

The important part of  ministry is not just reaching out to others. It’s equally important to commit ourselves to raise volunteers who can grow and go as their lives and seasons change. After all, your volunteers and ministries both depend on it.

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Planning The Unpredictable

My favorite part of life is everything that happens without rhyme or reason. And most often it’s those things that when you try and explain it to someone else, they just don’t “get it”. Most often I find myself saying, “Oh, you just had to be there!”

Tonight was the perfect example of planning to spend a little time with my sixteen year old daughter. She starts her Junior year tomorrow and needed to make a last minute beauty run to the mall. So, we planned to run to the salon for a drop in visit, stop by Starbucks, and be home in time for her to be in bed at a decent hour. And everything that happened while we were gone, we could have never predicted, planned, or hoped for.

Perhaps you know what I’m talking about already. You know those moments that just happen. The one’s that make you double over in laughter, because you never could have created the conversation, the laughter, the hilarity, the perfect delivery of the jokes or comebacks, the silly moment, the faux pas, the embarrassing situation, the simple moments that just unfold effortlessly and make a memory or laughable moment that will last forever? Oh, yes we all have had moments like that.

See, we can’t plan those unpredictable moments. We can’t plan to capture those funny or precious memories. But we can plan to allow them to happen. What I mean is, while it’s impossible to plan on the spontaneous things that bring us so much joy, humor, or loving memories into our lives, it IS possible to plan to allow them to happen. And we simply plan to allow them to happen by spending time with those we love. If we never took the time out of our mundane schedules and task-filled, chore-ridden, obligation overloaded lives, we’d miss the possibility of all spontaneity ever having the chance to be a part of our lives.

So while we can’t plan the unpredictable, we can plan to spend time with those who mean something to us. And as we live out those moments in time that we set aside, the unpredictable will happen and you’ll be right there to enjoy it, capture it, and treasure it. Sometimes we need to realize that we don’t need to control every aspect of our lives. After all, if we controlled everything, we’d never know the joy that can be found in what we simply could never plan! Life is so much more creative than we are. And we should focus on living to enjoy more out of life.

Simply plan to spend time with someone special.

And let life happen.


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A Life That SCREAMS!

It seems that just about daily the noise around me just increases. There is so much competition that the level of nuisances is beyond what we can consider sane. And the noise we deal with in this day and age is not just in the form of verbal noise. I’m talking about screaming. And it has little to do with what we envision. For most of us, when we think of screaming, we quickly think of a person’s voice beyond yelling stage coming at us with a rush of emotion behind it. That’s not what I’m referring to here.

I’m talking about a life that screams. And as you know from my life management workshops and trainings, there are NINE different life areas. So we have nine different areas of our lives just screaming at us:

Spirituality-we are screaming internally to spend time with God and our Savior to navigate through this insanity called life and all the “obligations” we haven’t filtered through our priorities. We KNOW we need God more than ever, yet we have less time and energy than ever to spend that time with Him.

Career-we have deadlines, trainings, meetings, more and more work being demanded in the same amount of time, and more products/techniques/and tools that are supposed to help us adding to the demands of our day jobs.

Relationships-we have families, spouses, aging parents, children, our grand children, pets (yes, we have relationships with pets…I keep referring to my kiddos as monkeys, lol) 😉 all which require our time and attention as they should. And each one of these relationships adds obligations and other things that we’d like to acknowledge as an important part of our lives (such as our kids sports and other family members special events or activities). Yet, can we realistically do ALL that and not give up our time for our true priorities without feeling guilty for doing so? Hint: Yes, it’s possible with the right skills!

Health-we have a grocery list of things in our lives that are screaming for attention such as blood pressure, exercise, doctor’s advice, check ups, insurance, and on and on. Every morning when I dress I have britches that start SCREAMING to remind me how I still need to lose that 15 lbs. of stop smoking weight! Thankfully, I can sedate those voices with a piece of chocolate cake.

Community: there are so many things that we can be part of in our communities and churches. Yet, most times we feel guilty if someone else is involved in project X, but we’re not. We think something MUST be wrong or we are just not giving enough if we aren’t involved in that too, so we start doing project X out of guilt and confusion, add project Y out of the same, and we try to continue to stay involved in Project Z, because if we quit, there will be no replacement. (I think we’re leaning on co-dependency here and it’s easy to get caught in this trap! The good news is…it’s just as easy to learn the skills to get out!)

Now, these are just five of the NINE life areas. We still haven’t even touched Self Improvement, Entertainment, Rest and Relaxation, and Finances. And those are some big areas left that scream at us about all kinds of things! So factor those in on top of everything else!

Last but not least-don’t forget the world.

Just in public we have to listen to the deafening roar of: Text messages, TV, radio, cable, magazines, news, media, advertisers, internet, internet advertising, sales junk, mail, email, coupons, newsletters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, mobile web, the latest social media crazes, money saving deals and offers in print and online, on demand services, books, music, podcasts, and ipods/mp3 players, reality shows, and supposedly “wholesome” family television trying to tell us how to be parents who let our kids control us, because they are filling our kids heads with this distorted perception of reality today.

The truth is, we live with this much unnecessary noise every day! While life takes place around us, we are completely inundated with constant noise that refuses to shut off. Some of it we want. But the majority of it we’d rather not contend with. Most of it we don’t even want and can’t figure out how it made it’s way in! Think back to when noise used to be considered just the actual sound of hustle and bustle.  We still have it. But now we have to factor in the other noise. The constant screaming of everything vying for our time and attention. The latest product, gadget, movie, or thing that will improve our life. The must haves just to keep up with society. So you ask what’s the problem?

With a life that screams, it’s hard to hear anything! Finally we reach a point where we can’t take it anymore. We have difficulty leading. We have difficulty figuring out our next steps. We have difficulty raising and leading our families as parents. We simply find we can’t function effectively. We find ourselves so far from where we really wanted to be. And we find we need to take an important time out to eliminate the noise to listen to what we really need to hear: The sound of our priorities as they call us.

It’s hard to FOCUS on our priorities when we are that lost. It’s hard to turn it ALL off and focus on the ONE thing we need to fix it. And it’s nothing that will scream at us. It’s the one thing that doesn’t have to compete with everything to help us. And it simply whispers if we can just get away from the noise to hear it. In life management, you need to break away, take a time out, and stop living a life that screams, so you can turn to the gentle whisper of sanity and truth. And that truth is found in the Word of God. Make THAT your first priority.

Stop living a life that SCREAMS for your attention and find your focus. Quietly focus your life on God. And remember, even Jesus retreated to find peace.

Mark 1:35-36
35Very early in the morning, while it was still
dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off
to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and
his companions went to look for him,

(A side note: This is why I believe that much can be restored to the believers and our churches! The world IS heavy competition, but we can fight back through the skills learned in life management where the teaching empowers and equips people to win the war on their time and priorities! If you have questions or would like to inquire about trainings, please comment below! And if you can relate to any of this, I especially hope you’ll share your experiences here!)

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Christian Fruits With Blank Pages

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves more than we are caught up in God. While I know I am not the only person this happens to from time to time, it is very disheartening to know that this form of self-pride and the occasional desire for worldly approval can enter my life. I don’t like it, and it can allow me to start doubting a whole lot of things if I start seeking approval from anyone other than God. The good part is that I recognize it quickly, deal with swiftly, and find myself humbled and relying on God more than ever! Every time I feel I’m slipping, it’s an opportunity to look upon my Father and be lifted up to glorify Him. And that will happen IF I can get my focus off my self-centered little self and back on Him. Do I need approval? Only from God! Now, that’s focus!

The more I live and encounter everything the world promises, what “should” be considered normal in my life, or viewed as the latest must haves that take over and control more of our time and energy, the more I know I need the very life management skills I teach. And as I sat this morning distraught after reading a few very impressive bio’s of other people who are writing, teaching, and producing fruit for the Kingdom, I sat and started to doubt my fruit. I started comparing fruit: Did mine measure up? Is mine too small? Should I do more? Should I make mine bigger or try to grow more fruit flavored options? Should I offer more? Or less?

After looking at my bookshelf of other Christian authors and teachers, I even began to wonder how my workbooks compared.  My workbooks are just that. Workbooks. They have instructions, guidelines, coaching questions, life change application, and blank lines to be filled in by the user. I wondered why I hadn’t written any books with fantastic stories or cover to cover how to advice or write about life changing Christian testimony. I believe that time will come, but it’s just not now. So, I decided that it was time to stop questioning myself and leave it in the hands of the Lord to answer some of the questions and doubts I had. I grabbed my Bible and just opened it. In front of me was Romans 9.

Romans 9:20-21

20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “[h]21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Well, that was a smack in the face! Was I talking back to God in questioning my work? Was I questioning the potter about my purpose and His use of His tools? I began to quickly realize that my doubt was causing me to doubt God and His purpose, plan, and even His power to work in my life through the tools I create to be useful tools reaching  into the lives of others. Some of his work is for noble purposes. And some of his work for common purposes. Which am I?

I quickly realized it simply didn’t matter! As fast as all of this started it began to subside. How?

First, I reached for the Word of God. The answer was right there in black and white as I read my Bible. No gray areas are found in His truth.

Secondly, I grabbed my latest workbook, The 7 Day Sermon to answer the question for my assignment related to last week’s sermon challenge. Our last church sermon was about glorifying God in everything we do. I decided I wanted to challenge myself to live this. So every day this week I asked myself  “Who do I live to please?” and responded as I prayed, “Lord, take the lead!” And at the end of each day, I wrote about my daily experiences on each day’s blank lines in my workbook.  Today was no different. I grabbed my workbook and wrote about my doubt and comparisons, giving it to God, and asking Him to take the lead, because it’s Him I serve. He is the potter, and I am the clay to submit to His plans for me. I prayed as I read in my workbook where I had written, “Lord, take the lead!” and suddenly it hit me so clearly.

My eyes began to see the importance of what I am doing even though it seemed so menial for a short time as I compared my fruit to the fruit of others. Why doesn’t my fruit look like theirs? I began to see that I am the author of Christian workbooks with very different and journal type pages. I pray, design, teach, and live a life so that through my experiences and His wisdom and direction, I can write simple, but life changing guides in the forms of these workbooks to coach and teach others HOW to manage life chaos or put Biblical truths learned every Sunday into practice. My workbooks are merely a guide to encourage people to take action and change their lives as they walk with the Lord.

I don’t write from cover to cover. I don’t tell people what will exactly will change their lives. I don’t tell people what their God-given purpose is. I don’t have all the answers. And while I could write books that someone could pick up and read to find some inspiration, I write blank spaces and lines in a guided format that will be filled with life change as the users record their life experiences, prayers, and questions and answers with the Lord. I don’t write what will change a life or how to change it. Instead my workbooks allow people to draw near God and write their own story, day by day, experience by experience, and priority by priority.

I simply write Christian workbooks  to coach and guide people as they plan and prepare for their life change.

And each person meets with God to fill in the rest. Each workbook when completed is custom tailored from cover to cover by the potter himself. And if you ask me what your life is to become? I will show you my workbooks with blank pages.

Because what goes in to fill in those pages is between you and God.’

And I realize that the fruit belongs to each individual holding a workbook. It’s their fruit. It’s the fruit produced in lives changed between each of them and The Living God.

Suddenly I am humbled beyond words, and I realize there is no need to compare fruit. Because it never was my fruit to compare.  😉

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Want to change the world? Want to change

Want to change the world? Want to change your community? Change by Example

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The Language of Passion and It’s Purpose

I was thinking earlier today about a specific set of circumstances that led to a bout of frustration on my part. There was so much that I wanted to say regarding the entire situation, but I was in fact so far beyond frustrated that I couldn’t even find words that would have done the job. That gives a whole new meaning to biting one’s tongue, believe me! The more I coudn’t say what I was feeling internally, the most frustrated I became!

I honestly knew that if the words would have been there at that time, they wouldn’t have been very positive. I would have said what I wanted to, but I don’t believe they would have done any good to anyone.

So……I sat in an unproductive stupor and stewed. Try to say that five times quickly!

After a few minutes of sitting in silence in this frustrated frame of mind, I got up and grabbed my Bible. I just felt that the answer was there and that God would guide me right to it. I am studying Exodus in my personal study, but that wasn’t what I flipped to. I frustratedly just opened it up and landed in Isaiah.

And I got the answer to what I posted about a language of frustration on Facebook:

Christine Pechstein is wishing she could speak a language called “extremely frustrated”, lol. No cussing, nothing bad, just a fast and intense language that vents quickly-and no it’s not yelling or anything. A language of INTENSE passion, to let go of FRUSTRATION! Hmmmmmmm…this may be a future blog brewing if I can figure out how to say it, lol! Where do I come up with this stuff?!

Isaiah 55:8-13 (New International Version)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.”

Had I been able to say what I wanted, it would have done absolutely no good other than just blowing off steam on my part. But, because the words weren’t even there for me to do that, I had no choice but to wait on God to put some purpose behind the frustration and give me something valuable to say from the occurrences. As soon as I read, My thoughts are not your thoughts, I had to stop and reread the entire passage. How true!

And when I read: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”, I just about fell over. How empty my words would have been to accomplish nothing! God’s desire is not my desire. My desire was to vent about what I felt so passionately about. But without God’s purpose, it would mean nothing! It would have been a lost language. In having to wait to vocalize my frustration, find meaning and a teaching point in it, it became something to accomplish a purpose other than just my selfish need to vent (and probably say something REALLY stupid!).

The passion to say what I needed to say was there. It just had human emotion behind it, instead of a Godly purpose behind it.

Glad I learned this new language.

I’m calling it speaking Isaiah. The next time I need to vent passionately, I will remind myself to speak these verses from Isaiah and wait for the proper purpose to use with the language of passion.

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