Greetings in the name of Jesus the Christ. As much as I attempt to turn from the topic of leadership to the gospel or being a neighbor to a friend, the more narrowly my path becomes focused on the leadership trail. I think I know the reason. What one person can do in the gospel or as a neighbor, even a highly gifted, strongly motivated worker, does not compare to what many workers who are well trained and equipped can do. Today’s focus is on the Birds and the Bees of Leadership. So, every attempt will be made to make it enjoyable to read. But capture the principles of “Birds of a Feather” and “Learning a lesson from the Bees” or “Managing Bees”. Understanding these two principles and incorporating them into your Ministry and Leadership will have a dynamically positive impact on your service to King Jesus in whose Kingdom you serve.
Because the principle in “Managing Bees” applies to how one manages the “Birds of a Feather”, it will be addressed first. Management of bringing different people together requires an uncommon skill that embraces all without losing the distinction of any. The lesson can be easily understood by learning a lesson of the bees.
This lesson was learned from Roy Keim, now deceased, of the Conroe, Texas English Church. One day following church services in Conroe, Brother Roy Keim and I were discussing the diversity of people and his vast knowledge as an apiarist. He asked me if I knew what happened when two hives of bees were put together? Of course, I did not. He shared with me that if you take two hives of bees, collect them, and put them into one hive, they will fight and kill each other. So, the next question was mine. I inquired, “I would think there are times when a hive needs more workers, or a queen has died and one doesn’t want to loose the bees, or other management concerns would cause someone to want to put two hives of bees together, or to add bees to the colony. How can it be done without destroying the integrity of the community?” He smiled and said, “Of course, there is. When you set one hive of bees, after removing the floor, on top of another hive of bees, you simply separate it with newspaper. The bees can hear each other, smell each other, feel the vibrations from each other’s movements, and they begin to eat through the newspaper to get to the other bees. Fortunately, while they are eating towards each other, they are also acclimating towards each other’s noises and identity. It is so much so that by the time they have eaten through the newspaper they are content to dwell together as one community.”
The lesson for us in managing the diversities of people being put together as Ministry Partners is to realize time and conditions must be provided for acclimation outside of actual conflict. Also, during that time one needs to build common purpose, vision, and mission explaining why the specific goals are chosen. Finally, the combined community unites as one to fulfill the common purpose, vision, mission, and goals.
The next principle I am calling “Birds of a Feather” addresses the community of the leader. Within the activities of a Christian Worker, a Ministry Provider, a Leader, there are arenas wherein time is spent. Usually it is a variety of environments. But one environment that is essential for the growth of the Christian Worker, the Ministry Provider, the Leader is to be in the presence of others like themselves with common goals of becoming better at what they do.
At this point, I want to point out something that is often an error committed by somewhat successful Christian Workers, Ministry Providers, and Leaders. Knowing God is calling us to growth and improved ministry, we consume self-help books and training videos to learn better ways to do what we do. In so doing we avoid becoming “Birds of a Feather” and become an accomplished worker and leader that meets our expectation of our abilities and self-justifies that all is being done that can be done to be better. What is missing is allowing the proverb of Solomon to be effective in their ministry and leadership. What is sacrificed is the repetitive cycle of information and practice that allows something to be perfected in the life and function of the Christian Worker, Ministry Provider, and Leader.
Proverbs 27:17, NIV
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Taking a slight round-about on this topic, please consider the following. The Greeks have worry beads. The Jews have prayer shawls with specific numbers of knots tied in them. The Catholics have rosaries.
The point is people need reminders of specific things. Leadership is no different. That one has heard of a leadership concept is not sufficient reason to not mention it at every opportunity. While a few will practice their leadership, most require reminders to practice, practice, practice. The masses believe knowing equates to doing, which just is not true. I know many things in music, I can execute only a few on a limited number of instruments and none as a virtuoso on any instrument.
Learn a lesson from those who are the virtuosos of their craft. Watching cliff divers, gymnasts, and musicians performing seemingly impossible feats, one will occasionally see the outward expression of what is happening in their minds as they rehearse the moves they are about to make. Knowing what they do as well as they do, why to do they rehearse in their mind what they are about to do? They certainly know exactly what they are going to do. They learned it well. And still, they think it is beneficial to rehearse it again and again in their mind. They visit with their coaches about ways they can improve what they do. But why? To become better at what they do.
Likewise, in leadership, it is essential to high performance leadership to be reminded of specific leadership principles on a regular basis. Staying in community with other leaders is one way of keeping the focus on one’s best ministry in leadership and service. Being in community builds into one’s ministry both knowledge and execution of finer points of ministry and leadership.
I am calling this principle “Birds of a Feather.” It is staying in community with other workers, ministry providers, and leaders to exchange learned skills, rehearse, and practice to become a better version of the current ministry one is performing.
Something being known does not equate to something being performed unless it is practiced and rehearsed regularly. Stumbling through something is not the same as executing it precisely. On a guitar, a half-muted strummed “C” chord does not equate to a C-Power Chord executed at the precise moment in the composition.
In an exchange with one of my Pastors, I received the following useful information. I want you to review what was provided to me in drawing your conclusion and challenge for the advancement of your ministry, work, and leadership. In this blog I have been using all three terms because some have expressed a concern in seeing themselves as leaders and were simply workers. Let me assure you of something. If anyone is taking note of what you are doing, if anyone is being impacted in making a decision based upon what you are doing, if anyone is collaborating with you so they can do better, you are a leader. One more thing, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a leader. The only question remaining is, “What kind of leader will you be?”
From my Pastor:
While reading your remarks I was reminded of two things… (At the time this was shared with my Pastor, it was not the entire blog you have just read but only some of the illustrations.)
- In 1979, 80 or 81, I attended a day of lectures by Franky Schaeffer, son of Francis Schaeffer. While speaking about his family’s practices, he mentioned that they never watched a movie without making time to thoroughly discuss it afterward. I’ve thought of that deliberate effort to digest and analyze many times since then, usually in the context of leadership books that I’ve read without taking time to make their good leadership teachings my own habitual practices. It’s too easy to read a book, put it on my shelf, and start reading the next book.
- Sometime during my youth, I read a story that stuck in my mind. (It’s funny how some things stick, and others don’t.) A fresh out of college ag agent, eager to share his newly learned knowledge, met with a group of farmers to encourage them to adopt modern farming methods. An old farmer listened to the pitch but wasn’t impressed. “Why should I listen to you?” he asked. “I’ve been farming longer than you’ve been alive.” The young ag agent replied, “That may be true, but I can teach you how to farm twice as successfully as you’re currently farming.” “Well,” said the old farmer, “what you need to understand is that I already know how to farm twice as successfully as I’m currently farming.”
Becoming “Birds of a Feather”:
- Please do continue to read the leadership books and watch the training videos. But more than that, identify similarly minded leaders who are willing to share with you what you are consuming and to digest it together for your specific application. Be like the Schaeffers in my Pastor’s illustration. If it is worth the time to consume the material, then it is also worth the time to share and digest the material so all can become better at doing what they do.
- We often function at the level which is comfortable to us. Is the way we are doing what we are doing pleasing to our Master? No? Then stop doing it. Yes? Is our Master expecting more? Can it be done better? Are others doing it better and if we only understood and implemented what they are doing, we would be better also? In most cases there is room for improvement. Never be so content as to not seek to improve. In watching Olympian level competitors, even knowing one would get the gold, another the silver and another the bronze, they almost all cheered each other to greater success because they wanted to see each one do the best they could do. In most cases that encouragement translates to improved performance. By wonderful gifting, thanks be to God, a person can do something. But when one uses that gift, especially in collaboration with others, what can be done is so much more.
- Determine to be gracious to others and allow space and time for others to become part of the team. Build strong Ministry Partners.
- Teach them everything you know and expect them to excel far beyond anything you have ever done or seen.
Those of you who are part of the General Conference Church of God (Seventh Day), GC COG7, Southwest District, SWD Team of Ministry Partners know you are my Leadership Legacy. If you fail, I have failed. Likely I have failed you, also. Praise God we are forgiven. If you succeed you are a blessing to God and all of us, and we rejoice together. If you excel beyond all expectations you glorify God exceedingly, edify the Church unbelievably, and bear much fruit through the sharing of the gospel by everyone with whom you are associated. At your greatest moment, you cannot exceed the cumulative effect of many. Multiply yourself and your ministry through others. Allow them to own it for the glory of God.
Be strong and courageous beloved Ministry Partners. If you are reading this and are not already a Ministry Partner and would like to become one, please do contact me at email@example.com. Better yet, contact SWD Media Ministry, one of the SWD Area Directors, SWD Ministerial Representative, one of the SWD Ministry Directors, or your Local Pastor and join their team.