By Reniel Joel A. Nebab, DMin.
A Seminar/Workshop for the AWF Convocation
May 15-19, 2012
Early this year, my vice-president and I started a series of meetings beginning in Luzon then to the Visayas and Mindanao with the district ministry supervisors in their respective regions. Two of the meetings lasted until early morning at about 2:00 o’clock. In between the meetings, we also had a meeting of the Steering Committee of the General Assembly for 2013 in Davao City. Immediatelyafter the series of meetings, we went back to Manila from Zamboanga City for the Executive Committee meeting of the National Board of Trustees. After a day I travelled to India via Singapore and arrived at midnight. I was in India for 2 weeks as a facilitator for the Leadership Matters Course. I travelled at midnight back to Manila. Again after a day, we had an administrative meeting in Manila in preparation for the series of regional fora. After the meetings, we went to Cauayan City in the northern part of Luzon to begin the first series of the regional fora. The trip took around 10 hours. In one of the regional meetings, a Church Ministry Team from a certain local church met with us and our meeting lasted until dawn the next day.Then after a few days of rest, my wife and I went into the hinterland- up the mountains of Bulawan, Katipunan, Zamboangadel Sur to participate in the launching of the New Testament in the Northern Subanen language. After the event we went back to Dipolog City for the thanksgiving celebration, but the next day went back to Bulawan to speak in the local church there. After a week, I took a trip to Tacloban City in the Visayas and met with a stakeholder there and the next day spoke at a new church, which was barely one year old. Then I went back to Manila, but an emergency situation took me to another place to deal with some issues affecting a pastor and a local church. Our meeting began at 7:30 in the evening and lasted until 3:00 o’clock a.m. When I got back to Manila, I began having colds and then I was coughing. I went to the doctor for medication and he gave me antibiotics for my cough. I could not take a rest and had to travel again for the next series of regional fora in Mindanao. I had a stubborn cough that lasted for about 2 weeks. The travels and the meetings took a toll in my body and my body just gave up. I was physically drained, stressed and sick.
The series of meetings and events I gave you above definitely shows thechallenges that has affected my leadership. I know that some of you, in some way or the other, have experienced similar situations that I went through. Below are some challenges that we face as leaders. Thesis not an exhaustive list of challenges and someof the challenges are common to leaders. Feel free to add some of the challenges you think have really affected or are affecting you today.
Table of Content (Click title to jump)
- The challenge to accomplish the vision and mission of the organization.
One task of the leader is to see to it that the vision and mission of the organization is accomplished. The vision and mission of an organization can be intimidating for a certain leader and there is the expectation from the board and the constituents that the leader must achieve the vision and mission of the organization. Early this year, during the regional fora in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, I spoke about the vision of the CAMACOP and I feel that we are still way, way behind our vision to bring transformation to the whole nation. This to me is still a great challenge, which needs to be communicated frequently to the constituents.
- The challenge to rally the constituents to support the vision and mission of the organization.
In view of the vision and mission of the organization, the leader is also expected to rally the whole constituency to come on board the organization and support its vision and mission. Many leaders believe that when they lay down the vision and mission of the organization and communicate it to the people, no doubt the people will support that vision and mission. This becomes an awesome task for leaders and this will demand time and effort on their part in order to influence the constituents to support the vision and mission of the organization.
- The challenge to unite the constituents and communicate a sense of teamwork.
Another expectation for a leader is to be able to bring unity within the organization and that the spirit of teamwork is communicated to all stakeholders. It is said that “One of the greatest challenges of leadership in modern society is finding ways to create a unified front among team members.” Finding ways to have the spirit of teamwork is a huge challenge for leaders when you have a big constituent. On June to November last year, our National Director for Church Growth along with the Vice-President and sometimes I get to tag along, went around our districts to communicate CAMACOP’s program of church planting, that is, to plant 1,500 churches from 2011 to 2015. Our purpose was to bring the constituents and the local churches to come on board the program of CAMACOP to plant churches and we hoped that we were able to communicate the said program to the constituents. When leaders are able to rally the constituents around a vision and mission then it will not be difficult to have a sense of teamwork in the organization.
- The challenge to empower current leaders.
One role of the leader is to empower current or incumbent leaders to excel and achieve. This is a very important role for leaders to possess. I have been a trainer with Leadership Matters Course for 3 courses now and I have learned under the management track that “the role of a leaderor manager is to achieve desired results through people by building them and making them successful.” You have leaders under your care and one of the greatest benefits you can give them is to set them up for success. I find that one of the greatest satisfactions I find in my practice of leadership is to give the current leaders under my care the opportunity to get more training and education in leadership. My goal at this point in time is to be able to facilitate the granting of a graduate certificate for many of our current leaders under the Alliance Graduate School in Quezon City, Philippines. Hopefully, this will be completed in April of 2013.
- The challenge to train and empower emerging leaders in the organization.
Another worthwhile role is to equip emerging leaders in the organization. A leader should not only have an outlook within his term of office, but must go beyond his term of office and look to the future in terms of the stability of the organization. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Leadership is crucial and if the next generation of leaders have not been developed and equipped to take on leadership positions in the organization, the organization may stagnate and eventually crumble. I am a firm believer of developing leaders and I have committed myself to do that through our leadership development program in the C&MA Churches of the Philippines and also through the Leadership Matters Course.
- The challenge to step down when it is time to step down.
One of the most difficult things to do as a leader is to accept the fact that you only have a certain time when you have been afforded the privilege and opportunity to lead an organization. When the constituents feel that there is a need for the “changing of the guards” in an organization, then the older leaders, with all humility and sobriety, must gracefully step down and allow younger leaders to take on leadership positions. Hanging on to positions of leadership when leaders are no longer effective and efficient will only derail the vision and mission of the organization.One of the things that older leaders will need to do is to pray that the younger leaders will succeed in their practice of leadership under the guidance and direction of the Lord. The leader must be ready to relinquish his position to younger leaders when the time comes for him to step down.
- The challenge to spend quality time with the family.
Most leaders, if not all, love their families. For families though love is spelled t-i-m-e. The problem with this is that the organization and the “ministry” demands much of the leaders’ time. Leaders travel here and there, meetings here and there, so much so that time with the family has come to a point of marginalization. I am guilty of this. For most of the time I have made our home a hotel. I come home only for a few nights and then leave again for an appointment. This is where quality time is needed. One night, not long ago, I came home from a leadership training to bring some clothes to be washed and then get some new clothes for another week of training. Prior to my arrival, our granddaughter was at home and was asking my wife my whereabouts. My wife, Ana, told her that I was teaching. So when I was at home, my granddaughter told me not to teach anymore. The message I got from my granddaughter was, “Grandpa, stay home and spend time with me.” Spending time with family has always been a tremendous challenge.
- The challenge to be a model family.
Leaders of churches and Christian organizations are expected to have a family that others will look up to, i.e., a model family that other families will have to emulate. When I was growing up as a young boy in Zamboanga City as a Pastor’s kid, I was expected, together with my brothers and sisters, to be always good. Growing up in an environment that demanded a lifestyle that seemingly placed our family on a pedestal has weighed heavily on me because I felt that I was not growing up as a normal person. How many of us have been in such a similar situation? As a leader, my family has also been in the spotlight. My children are also expected to be good and this may also weigh heavily on them. Now, as a family, we are expected to be an example before the constituents. What a challenge!
- The challenge to be faithful to your spouse.
The challenge to be faithful as husbands and wives has always been one of those great concerns affecting leaders. Sexual temptations always lurk in the dark and it may attack a leader unexpectedly. Leaders have sexual needs and the situation wherein a leader is always out of the home and traveling from city to another may place him in the most vulnerable position. The enemy is so shrewd that sometimes a leader finds himself almost at the brink of giving up his fidelity. How many high profile leaders have succumbed to sexual temptations? I know many of you have known, heard, and read stories of leaders who have not been faithful to their spouses. Many years ago, I sat down with a committee in an office to deal with an erring working. We probed and asked the question, “How did it happen?” The erring worker replied and said, “it all started in the mind.” When a leader begins to entertain thoughts of evil, then he begins to feed on it, he would well be on the road to succumbing to temptation. As Leaders we should always be aware of this pitfall and not plummet into it. The challenge to be faithful to our spouse is indeed a demanding challenge.
- The challenge to be a leader of integrity.
When Maria Gamb was asked whichwas one great challenge a leader faces today, she said that it was a lack of trust between leaders and their teams, between team members, and between stakeholders and the senior management of organizations. The lack of trust in leadership is actually an issue of integrity, i.e., a leader is no longer trustworthy. When a leader is no longer trusted by his team members and the constituents then it is detrimental to the health of the organization. In my booklet, In Pursuit of Integrity, published sometime in 2009, I gave 5 characteristics in which a leader will be a man of integrity, namely, the leader must be characterized by honesty, then transparency, word of honour, upright in finances and faithful to his responsibilities and spouse. I believe, with these character traits in mind, the leader who pursues and practices them will end up as a leader of integrity.
- The challenge to have time for relaxation.
Leaders are always busy people. They run here and there attending several meetings and usually end up exhausted at the end of the day. Ruth Haley Barton writes, “Buried deep in the psyche of many leaders is a Superman mentality- that somehow there are a few of us who can function beyond normal human limitations and save the world.” Another great challenge for busy leaders is to find time for relaxation.I have been asked many times by some people, with my busy schedule, do I still have time for relaxation and if I did, what would it be? I reply and say that at times my wife and I would just go to the shopping mall and stroll, eat out together and also view filmsa few times.Then when I am home, I would spend a few hours after dinner viewing basketball games. As leaders, we should always find time for relaxation. I am convinced that our relaxation will help us keep our sanity.
- The challenge to have physical well-being.
We have heard it said again and again, “health is wealth.” This adage is true in leadership as well. Being and keeping ourselves healthy as leaders is an asset. In my proposal to having a leadership development program for current and potential leaders in CAMACOP, I have included what I call the “corporeal formation.” This has to do basically with two things the leaders need to take into account to be physically fit. First, the leader must have a time for exercise. With all the travels and meetings leaders will hardly be able to get the needed exercise. This is where I have a dilemma because when I begin to have my routine of exercise it is cut off by travels and meeting. And second, the leader must have a balanced diet. Today, it is no longer, “you are what you think you are,” but “you are what you eat.” As leaders we should know what food to eat. We should go for food that will keep us healthy and not the ones that will make us sick today and later in life. This is a real challenge for us who are fond of food.Remember a healthy leader is more effective and efficient than a leader who is sick and can no longer discharge his leadership responsibilities. Leaders stay fit.
- The challenge to have the attitude of life-long learning.
Leaders are learners. Many leaders today are highly educated and have obtained doctoral degrees that catapult them into leadership positions in an organization and then they serve various organizations because of their expertise. Some leaders, however, have adopted the attitude of no longer learning due to the high status and posture they have attained in life educationally and positionally. In 2009, I earned a doctoral degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. I could have said to myself, “Now you have a doctoral degree and there is no need to learn anymore.” I did not take this posture though because a few months after I earned a doctoral degree in preaching and church leadership, I found myself in leadership training for 2 weeks under the Leadership Matters Course. The course was very beneficial to me as a leader because I learned many skills that can make me more effective and efficient. Some of the skills learned were relationship skills, communication skills, management skills, public relations skills, training skills, motivational skills, etc. The reason I did this training was due to the fact that prior to obtaining a doctoral degree, I have settled in my heart that I will commit myself to life-long learning.
- The challenge to have a consistent quiet time with God.
A consistent devotional life is what the Lord desires of every leader and believer. Intimacy with God is the basic ingredient to becoming a successful leader and it comes through spending time with God in spiritual disciplines, namely, prayer, bible reading, solitude, etc. We have always been instructed to make prayer a habit. We should understand that “Communication with God- prayer-is a two-way conversation! It is not just the voicing of praise and petitions, but it is also communion, sitting in silence with God, listening for whatever He may want to say. Simply enjoy the fact that He is, and you are, and you have a relationship with Him. These special moments with God are when His fresh breezes can enter your heart and refresh you.” Then there is the word-intake that is definitely necessary in our relationship with God.Again, we have always been reminded to read and meditate on the Scripture. How many of us really spend time in the devotional reading of the Bible and really allow God to speak to us? Many times we read God’s Word only when we prepare sermons from Sunday to Sunday. I have been guilty of this when I was pastoring a local church. Now, I would like us to dwell on the discipline of solitude. In our pursuit of God, one of the ways to do it is through solitude. Ruth Haley Barton says that, “The discipline of solitude is a key discipline for all who seek after God. It is the primary place where the soul of the leader is strengthened.” The “tyranny of the urgent” has made leaders disregard the discipline of solitude, however, if leaders desire to truly have a balance lifethen they need to set aside a regular time of solitude. Having a consistent devotional life and that of solitude has really been a tremendous challenge due to the disruptions that happens in a leader’s life.
- The challenge to be a holy man or woman of God.
When leaders are invited to speak in churches or other functions, some are introduced as a “man of God.” The question is, “Are these leaders truly holy men or women of God?” Are not leaders capable of sinning? Leaders can still be referred to as holy men and women of God if they consistently lived a life that is like Christ, i.e., one whose life is unblemished with sin. On the other hand leaders are capable of sinning as well when they yield to its power. Some years ago in a certain city, a leader came to me to confess some wrongdoing. I could not believe that he can be guilty of sin because I look to him as a great leader, a man of God.We can never be men and women of God if do we not walk with Him. The question we need to ask ourselves as leaders is, “are we walking with God?” This question was recently impressed on me when God used a leader to speak to me in a conference I attended in Thailand. This is one gigantic challenge that a leader has to face before God and men and that is to live a life of holiness and righteousness.
- The challenge to affirm the Lordship of Christ
You may wonder why I have included this in seminar/workshop the subject of the lordship of Christ. Should not Christian leaders always affirm the lordship of Christ in their lives? Yes, but this is not always the case. Just a few weeks ago, I was in Thailand to attend a conference. The leader of the Christian organization sponsoring the conference spoke before the assembly and confessed that many times he was guilty of making his own decisions without consulting the Lord. From this confession, it is evident that some Christian leaders act on their own and do not let the Lord rule over their lives and the organization. Affirming the lordship of Christ in this instance is a crucial challenge for leaders like us.
I believe that there are several significant challenges that we may not have discussed in this presentation, however, hopefully the above leadership challenges have helped us see ourselves and hopefully come up with ways on how to cope with the challenges that are before us. Let me end with these words:
Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words, for your words become your deeds.
Be careful of your deeds, for your deeds become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.
Be careful of your leadership, for your leadership becomes your legacy.
Powered by Facebook Comments