Making the best of your job the most of your job!

Making the best of your job the most of your job is a thought from Marcus Buckingham.

Marcus has written two books that have been immensely helpful to lots of people and you will find “Book Notes” on my blog for them:

1.  “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”

2.  “The Truth About You”

If having a job you actually look forward to doing is an issue for you, I recommend that you check out these two books by Marcus Buckingham.

From the study and research I have done over the years on job fit (and people really liking their jobs), the conclusion I have come to is that most people don’t like their jobs. They live for the weekend and dread “blue Monday” when they have to return to work.

It’s so sad to spend a good chunk of your life doing something you are perhaps not very good at and don’t enjoy. I have always enjoyed the truth of Ecclesiastes 5:19: “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift from God” (NIV).

Work is not punishment for the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Work was assigned to them before the fall. Work is a privilege in order to live out how God has created you and use the gifts he has bestowed on you.

It seems many people never seem to find the best fit. They spend a lot of their time at work on things that weaken rather than strengthen them. My dad was a locksmith most of his life. He confessed on numerous occasions that he was good at it and made a good living for his family, but he never really liked it.

He was not a happy camper most of his working life, but was willing to continue as a locksmith with the hope that he could retire early and do something else. He died at 52 and never got to that something else. I learned a great lesson through observation.

I’d rather do what I am good at and enjoy while making less money than making a lot of money doing what I’d rather not be doing. Since work occupies such a large portion of many people’s lives, it makes sense to get a good handle on who you are and where your greatest and most helpful contribution would be.

The key is to be gift/strength based; not need/money based in my job/career/leadership position choices...

Here are a few practical suggestions:

  1. Begin the process of crafting a purpose statement for yourself. If you email - I will send you a document to get you started in this. This will provide a roadmap/blueprint to help you in making good career choices.
  2. Talk to some people who know you well and solicit a list of activities that they feel you are good at.
  3. Read the “Book Notes” for the two Buckingham books mentioned above.
  4. Volunteer in some areas that incorporate the activities you are good at.
  5. Initiate a conversation with your boss on spending more time on the things you are best at and less time on the things you are not. It will be a win for your employer and for you personally.
  6. Pray asking the Lord for his guidance and leadership in this area of your life
  7. If you know you are in the wrong job slot that has little to do with who God made you, don’t be afraid to consider another line of work. Life is too short to be miserable.

7 Characteristic of cowardly leadership

I have said in the past that most leaders are devout cowards. At times I get pushback on this. I hold my ground. The only thing that has changed is the number of leaders who may be cowards. I’m not sure if it is some, many or most. Suffice it to say I have been a part of a lot of cowardly leadership in my almost 50 years of vocational Christian ministry.

Ron Edmonds share with us 7 characteristics of cowardly leadership. Let’s see what you think.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

You remember the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz, don’t you? He was supposed to be the king of the jungle, but he had no courage.

I’ve known some leaders like the cowardly lion. If I’m completely transparent — at times it’s been me.

Let’s face it. Leading others is hard. There is often loneliness to leadership. Leadership takes great courage.

You have no doubt encountered cowardly leaders. Perhaps would even admit you’ve been one too.

Here are 7 characteristics of cowardly leadership:

1.  Say what people want to hear. 

The might say, for example, “I’ll think about it” rather than “No” – even no is already the decided answer. I get it. It’s easier. But the ease is only temporary. These leaders are notorious for saying one thing to one person and another to someone else. They want everyone to like them.

2.  Avoids conflict. 

In every relationship there will be conflict. It is necessary for the strength of relationships and the organization. When the leader avoids conflict the entire organization avoids it. Hidden or ignored problems are never addressed.

3.  Never willing to make the hard decisions. 

This is what leaders do. Leaders don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. They don’t even have to be the one with the most experience. Leaders make the decisions no one else is willing to make.

4.  Pretends everything is okay – even when they are not. 

When everything is amazing nothing really is. Cowardly leaders the loss over the real problems in the organization. They refuse to address them either because they fear don’t know how or their pride gets in the way.

5.  Bails on the team when things become difficult.

I’ll have to admit this has been me. I’ve written about it before, but when I was in business, and things were difficult, it was easier to disappear than face the issues. The learning experience was once I checked-out or when I was disappearing so was my team. Great leaders are on the frontline during the most difficult days, leading everyone through the storm.

6.  Refuses to back up team members.

No one wants to serve someone who will not protect them or have their back. People need to know if they make mistakes there is a leader who still support them and can help them do better the next time.

7.  Caves in to criticism.

Make any decision and a leader will receive criticism. Even if it is unfounded cowardly leaders fall apart when people complain. They take it personal and refused to see any value in it. These leaders see every criticism as a threat against their leadership rather then another way to learn and grow.


A three-fold process for leadership maturity

Though the years I have often wondered why some Christians, in general, and leaders, in particular, seem to continue to grow and mature and others stagnate or plateau.

I have come to the conclusion that part (not all) of the answer lies in what they do with the truth they know.

The end goal of course is maturity as His disciples and leaders.

“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”   Colossians 1:28 (ESV. Emphasis added)

 “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,…” Ephesians 4:12,13 (ESV, Emphasis added)

For this to happen, I believe that three things are essential:


God’s people need good teaching, good doctrine, the right information. We live in information overload mode today.  With the advent of the internet, there is no end to the amount of teaching, pod and vodcasts, books, magazines and blogs with good teaching. We need wisdom to not just focus on gathering more and more information but the right information, and then taking it to the next level. We need to be selective in what we read, listen to and watch. Everything available out there is not essential to our continued growth and personal development with Christ.


 Given the teaching and knowledge I receive, I want to take time to prayerfully consider it, think about it and drill deeper to understand what it means. I personally believe that too much time is taken by lots of Christians and Christian leaders in  information gathering, but not enough time in thoughtfully and prayerfully considering and thinking about what they have received.

I think Paul had this in mind when he said to Timothy, referring to some people: “…always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”  2 Timothy 3:7 (ESV).  Always gathering information and learning new things, but not able to truly deeply   grasp and understand what they have received. Too much receiving and not enough reflecting marks the lives of many in the body of Christ.

When I conduct my seminars I always allow time after every presentation to have the participants take a few minutes to reflect, pray about and write some thoughts on what they just heard. In addition to thinking on my own, it is critical that I’m part of a community group which is discussing truth to help me better understand what scripture is saying. Some of the best insights we receive is through regular dialogue with other believers.

Again, in my seminars, I allow around 30 minutes for group discussion following presentations. I firmly believe that thinking and discussion are keys to deeper understanding of everything, but especially God’s Word.


 So, first we receive doctrine, teaching, information; then we intentionally take time to think and reflect over what we have heard and learned (both in solitude and in dialogue with other believers). The next step is to ask what it can mean to me personally and what I will do with what I have received and understood, through prayerful reflection and dialogue.

What we learn and understand will not change us unless it is applied through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciple in John 13:17 ESV, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Scripture clearly teaches us (James 1:22-25) that it is not what we know but what we do with what we know that changes/transforms/matures us.

“When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.” Psalm 119:59, 60 (ESV)

It has been my observation that the reason many Christians and Christian leaders don’t continue to grow and mature is that there is an over-emphasis on getting more teaching and a lack of emphasis on taking time to think, dialogue and personally apply the teaching to my own life. What we need is not more knowing but more going!

Ezra 7:10 (ESV) is very instructive on this for leaders and teachers of God’s Word, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach statutes and rules in Israel.” Notice the flow; set his heart, study, apply and then teach. It is very tempting to go from study to teaching with out applying it first.

Many leaders are information junkies and spend hours gathering, but precious little time in thinking, dialoguing and applying.

For you, is something missing in the maturing process?


Preventing church conflicts from spiraling out of control

It is always painful to hear of churches in conflict among it’s leaders, members and attenders, and worse yet when churches split over such conflicts. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Chuck Lawless shares some insightful reasons why such conflicts occur and what can be done to prevent them from causing great harm and lots of being being burned by it.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Some years ago, I was a volunteer firefighter. It was amazing to see what could happen when a tiny spark ignited a small blaze that could quickly become a roaring fire. Given the right conditions, a spark could lead to absolute destruction. 

That happens in church conflict, too. Here are 10 “right conditions” for escalating conflict in a church. 

1.  The church is made up of sinners. That’s the case, of course, and that fact won’t change. Sinful people are naturally selfish and divisive. Sanctification sometimes takes a while to correct these tendencies.

2.  Members care about something. This “condition” might seem strange, so hear my point. Some conflict in the church heats up in direct proportion to how much people care about some issue in the church. Their care may be misdirected, and their sense of ownership may be problematic – but they fight for something precisely because they care about it that much. 

3.  The church has no “up front” relational expectations. The churches I know that deal well with conflict are usually those who teach how to deal with relational conflict as early as their membership class. The church that ignores these potential issues invites problems.

4.  Nobody’s praying for unity.  Jesus prayed this way in John 17:21 – “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.” If Jesus prayed that prayer for His followers, we, too, should be praying for this unity.

5.  Church leaders have not taught biblical principles for conflict resolution. Matthew 18:15-20 is a starting point. Putting others before self (Phil. 2:3) obviously matters. Believers who don’t know what the Bible teaches about reconciliation will follow the ways of the world – and the way of the world is often, “I want to win.” 

6.  Leaders do not address legitimate concerns.  At times, the concerns that church members raise are legitimate. When church leaders blatantly ignore those concerns, nonchalantly hear them, or superficially address them, the conflict is not resolved. Its resolution is only delayed.

7.  Conflict is not separated from emotion. I think, for example, of battles over worship styles. These preferences are so connected with emotions that it’s often difficult to separate the two. Conflict escalates because emotions heat up.

8.  People operate in secret. You know the scenarios. Anonymous complaints. Unsigned letters. Behind the scenes meetings. Opposition rallies cloaked as “prayer meetings.” It’s all secretive – and it’s often demonic.

9.  People listen to gossip. Once conflict begins, it’s often fueled by rumor and innuendo. Those who spread the rumors are acting in sin, but so are those folks who stoke the coals by listening. As long as anyone listens, the fire spreads.

10.  Nobody carries out church discipline. It would be ideal if all conflict were resolved before discipline became necessary. The Bible, though, assumes that churches will take necessary steps to deal with troublesome members. If the church doesn’t do so (or, if they do so, but in an unbiblical or uncharitable way), they prolong the conflict. 



Wisdom from Marcus Buckingham at the GLS!

Marcus Buckingham was another keynote speaker at this year’s Global Leadership Summit sponsored by Willow Creek Church in Chicago.

I relish and profit immensely from everything that Marcus has written and he has written a lot, most of which I have read.

He has popularized the concept of strength-based work--making the best of your work the most of your work. Focusing on your strengths, not on your weaknesses.

He stated that the whole purpose of work is to do what you love, with people you love, which is tied to a mission you love. That pretty well sums it all up. It’s a tall order, but not an impossible one for the God we serve.

Here are  seven excellent questions he suggested we ask ourselves as it relates to the work we do; whether it’s in the market place or in the church.

1)  Am I really enthusiastic about the mission of my organization?

2)  At work do I clearly understand what is expected of me?

3)  Am I surrounded by people on my team who share my values?

4)  Do I have the chance to use my strengths everyday at work?

5)  Do my teammates have my back?

6)  Do I believe I will be recognized for excellent work?

7)  Do I have great confidence in my company’s future?

Before you quickly leave this and move on to do something else, how about just pausing and praying for a few moments to answer these questions for yourself. Then ask yourself what you can do to change things a bit so there is more joy in Jesus with what you do day-to-day.