Thursday, October 18, 2012

Foolishness Gets People Killed in Benghazi

Let me see if I understand this...

According to internal State Department emails obtained by the LA Times on April 6, 2012 Libyan security guards assigned to protect the US compound in Benghazi attempted to detonate a bomb in said compound.

The ambassador requested US security forces and was denied by Washington who said that they were to rely on Libyan security forces for protection...the same type that attempted to blow up the compound? Those who attempted the bombing were released within a week by law "enforcement" officials, but the security guard that fired a warning round in the air to stop them was prosecuted. All this happened before the September 11 attack that killed 4 Americans.

My question: What on earth would lead the administration to believe that we could trust Libyan security forces to protect our people over there after all this information?

On September 11th a military strike by Libyans was launched against our compound there killing four Americans including our ambassador J Christopher Stevens.

We have photographic evidence of who led the attack against the US Benghazi compound but we are prevented from doing anything about it and the Libyan officials have not issued any sort of arrest warrant or anything close. Our own investigators were not allowed to enter the compound until three weeks after the attack well after all evidence has gone cold.

I repeat: what on earth would lead the administration to believe that we could trust Libyan security forces to protect our people? This is foolishness and in this case it got people killed.

Source: "Libya IDs leader of attack" LA Times Thur October 18, 2012 p. A9

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A New Name & Logo Isn't Enough, The Church Needs a Transfusion

Five men sat around a table talking late into the night about the name of our church. Would we remain Grace Brethren Church or become Grace Fellowship? It isn’t that big of a difference now as I look back, but in the moment it seemed so important. 

This was in the mid-1990s in a suburb outside the Los Angeles area. The five consisted of three young men in their early thirties, including myself, and two middle-aged men that were actually fathers of the other two younger guys. I remember we had heated discussions on our elder board. I was the pastor of this more established congregational church, and I wanted to bring change. We were thinking that if we changed our name, got a fresh logo, and cast a bigger vision, the church would become healthier and more attractive and would grow. We wanted a new identity in the community. One elder opposed this thought, but we wouldn’t let him stop us. We pushed this new vision through, and the elder later excused himself from our leadership team and the church, but we got what we wanted. We changed the name, the logo, the vision—but not the church.

Years later, I have a different view of what brings change to a church. My new view is born from much more experience and admittedly many mistakes. I don’t think an established church needs a transition to be healthy and vital. What is truly needed is more than a transition; it needs a transfusion of healthy DNA found in the blood of Jesus and nothing less. 

Someone once described changing a church’s name, structure, or programs to fix the problems it faces as much like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic—futile and meaning- less in altering the outcome. 

Church is not an organization or an institution but an organism, a living body. An organization can transition. An organism grows, matures, reproduces, and dies. The thought that we can fix a church by hiring a new staff member or plugging in a new program is ridiculous. Simply changing direction with clever goals and a capital giving campaign is not going to transform a congregation but merely send the same ailing church down a new path. 

To learn how an established church can receive a transfuion of organic life check out our latest book Church Transfusion

Friday, October 5, 2012

Old vs New Leadership: A Study in Contrast

Someone wisely pointed out that our organizations are perfectly designed for the results that we are currently seeing. More of the same will only produce more of the same.

Today there is something new happening. With the advance of technology making the world flatter and mass communication easier we are rediscovering movements. Bestselling authors are pointing us to a more movemental paradigm of how to lead. The Tipping Point (Gladwell), The Starfish and the Spider (Brafman/Beckstrom) and Tribes (Godin) point us toward a new way of leading as well as organizational principles that defy the status quo and break open new ways that are actually quite ancient. Jesus and Paul both catalyzed this sort of movemental influence in the first century. My own books Organic Church (Jesus) and Journeys (Paul) describe how these masterful leaders ignited movements. I address many the specifics of movements by answering the most common questions I get asked in my book Church 3.0

In our new book Church Transfusion, Phil Helfer and I go to great lengths to adjust the leadership paradigm in order to release healthy movemental influence within an established church context. 

A few things are obvious. You cannot lead the way you have always done so in the past and expect different results. What brought success in the old form of influence will actually bring failure in the new. Drawing a crowd and dispersing a people movement are exactly the opposite sort of task. You can suck water in a straw or you can blow air out, but you can't do both at the same time. You cannot continue pursuing what once made you a success in the old way of influence and expect to be successful in the new.

The way you attract people, train them and organize them all must change. The old standard of what is success must be replaced.

In this spirit I have compiled a chart contrasting the old and the new ways of influence: