Monday, January 18, 2016

Everyone Needs a Corby

I will get to what a Corby is in a second. But first think about those times in your life when you conquered a new challenge. Perhaps it was learning to ride a bicycle or applying and interviewing for a new job or getting off the bunny slope or applying for a doctorate. In all of those types of situations who was there with you? Most of the time you probably had someone there cheering you on. For me, my dad ran next to me when the training wheels finally came off. Susan told me I needed to use my gifts in a more challenging place. Nicole and Hans sat with me on the ski lift and let me fall on top of them. And Rick said “The time is now.” Not all of these instances were huge successes but the process of taking a risk and the connections with these people were priceless.

All of the cheerleaders in my life have made me who I am. I could have gotten here without them but the journey would have been much more slow and much less fun. Recently God has placed a new cheerleader in my life. Her name is Corby. Corby is a smart, sassy, petite, fierce, beauty queen, high heel designer shoe wearing, woman of God encourager. I probably left off a few key adjectives but I want you to keep reading. She is new on our staff and works with the children, women, and hospitality teams -and exudes the Holy Spirit. Oh and she's also a certified life coach and chaplain for the Miss Oklahoma pagent. Her husband has written several books, one of which is “Everyone Needs a Sam.” It is about mentors and encouragers in our lives.

After reading it I realized that Corby has become my Sam (Frodo’s friend who carried him when he needed it the most). Corby has helped me to truly believe that with God all things are possible. She sends me texts often to let me know that I'm on the right track. She hears negativity and turns it into something positive. She is a prayer warrior who will fast and pray for any need small or large because she knows it is important to you.

When you are in leadership, people can often seem to be against you as they live in the tension of change. I'm honored that God  sent me Corby just when I needed her most. Look for the Corbys or Sams in your life and stay connected to them as you make transitions in your life. No one does things alone and honoring your encouragers enables you to be all you can be and helps you encourage others in the future.

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Spirituality in Transformative Leadership


Transformational Leadership

Transformative leadership connects people with God and each other so that they may grow to be the people they were created to be. I believe that every person can grow in intelligence, relationships, and spirituality. The Means of Grace help us achieve this growth. The Wesleyan Means of Grace are spiritual practices that enables us to live out our faith. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, taught that God’s grace is unearned and that we are not to be idle waiting to experience it. The Means of Grace are ways God works in the interiority of a person that overflows into the church or a group of people. This means that spiritual practices can be both individual and communal. Individual practices include reading, meditating on and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending corporate worship, healthy living, sharing our faith with others, doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others. Communal practices include regularly sharing in the sacraments, Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), Bible study, seeking justice, working to end oppression and discrimination, and addressing the needs of the poor.When people do this together the church can grow as well. My vision is to help others to improve and grow in their knowledge, spirit, relationship, and leadership skills so that they can fulfill the mission of the church. The Means of Grace offer me a toolbox of practices to lead others in the interconnectedness of all of these skills.


At times we practice spirituality so that we may be transformed and at other times we practice spirituality and embody the message of Jesus because we have been transformed. These practices are not only transformational but are also connectional. They connect us to God, to each other, and to the world. A spiritual practice is an action, experience, or discipline that connects someone to God, to others, and/or to the world as they live out their faith with the hope that they will encounter the grace of God and be transformed in the process.

“Spiritual practices are not about mindless repetition, but a deepening of what is already happening.” (Perrin) God is already at work in the world and invites us to join in the missio Dei. As I connect the church with the world, these practices give me a system for connecting people apart from one-time events but also in the day to day lives of those seeking to connect to the transcendent love of God.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Leadership with a Growth Mindset

When disciples have a growth mindset, they understand that leadership can be developed. Leaders with this mindset will focus on improvement and transformation instead of worrying about checking off their todo list. They work hard to learn more and reach more people. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Education Department, we know that people who learn this mindset show greater motivation and unlock their potential.

I used to think that one day I'd become a leader. I felt like it was a linear progression in my career path. But unlocking the discovery of a growth mindset, made me realize that my potential for greater intelligence, leadership skills, and holistic improvement was within my own ability to cultivate. 

Think about your house plants. You may feel as if you either have a green thumb or that anything green that crosses your doorway will wither instantaneously. Yet with a bit of repotting, pruning, fertilizer, watering, sunshine, and seasonal placements most plants with thrive and grow.

Your leadership abilities are the same way. In the right location and with the right fuel and nurturing, your ability to create a synergistic environment can thrive and grow.  Never doubt that Ina world of constant change that you cannot change as well. Stretch yourself to learn something new. Love challenges that cause your to grow. Cultivate your resilience in the face of setbacks and you will see your efforts pay off!

Until Everyone Hears,

Storytelling in Leadership

Time for confession: I buy into Disney's propaganda. I believe that one day people in lands far away will tell stories of my journey and paint pictures of me in pretty dresses and tiaras. Of course I also believe that they will cheer for me as they remember how I save a prince in distress from his own ineptitude. He in turn will treat me like royalty; others will come for miles around to listen to my sage advice and I will live where cute animals do all the dirty work and we will live happily ever after.

Perspectives of stories matter. I see myself in the hero role but at times I'm both the protagonist and antagonist and often I'm my own worst enemy. But when I'm telling the story I often forget my power to shape the outcome. The power of words allows us to tell stories and have othe people see their role in the journey.

My leadership vision encompasses the core values of growth through learning, loving, and laughing. All creation enters this world with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily and learn to walk and to talk, but at a certain point the desire to learn wanes in certain areas. By revisiting this intense drive for learning, one can be led to not only improve but to inspire others to change as well. Loving others is key to Christian faith and the greatest commandment (Luke 10:27). This radical love and respect for others builds trust and integrity as a foundation for leadership. When seeking to answer the primary questions for leaders involved in social transformation: “What are you trying to do with your life? What kind of person are you trying to become?” there is a tendency to take life seriously verses living life seriously. Living life seriously involves laughter and fun through the joy of abundant life.

As I continue to articulate and cast this vision, the story will unfold. I've searched for years for the six steps, three ideals, four workshops, and ten books that will be the answer in all situations. Yet they aren't out there. They aren't out there because this is my story. I need to see where God is working and do my part to help it unfold. Along the way I will learn, love, and laugh and this adaptive style will enable me to be who God created me to be.

How to tell your story

Once upon a time... Everyone has a story. Some people know how to tell it. Others don’t. Sometimes the story gets spun in a new direction an...