UNLEASHING POTENTIAL IN STORYCENTRIC COMMUNITIES

Blog

The Sleepy Invasion

The Sleepy Invasion The Stage was set. God was about to make His move, to enter time. Would He come with mighty wonders and signs? Would He light the skies as far as one could see? Would angels shout His arrival with trumpets and drums? Would the whole earth rock from the impact of his landing? The Great Sustainer, by whom and through whom and for whom are all things. The Almighty who is more powerful than any army. The One who holds in His hand all life. The moment came for His invasion. And the only sound we hear is the gentle breathing of a sleeping baby. While most everyone’s attention was on Governor Quirinius’ census, few noticed the birth of all births lying in a cattle trough behind a hotel in Bethlehem. In the words of Martin Luther, “He whom the world could not enwrap / yonder lies in

Read more

Savoring New Stories that are Old Stories

Savoring New Stories that are Old Stories

Before Luke launches into Christmas, he issues a call to remember. Luke starts with a new story that is really a familiar story. It’s a story about a childless, old couple. Luke called them “righteous.” They were careful to follow all God’s commandments. They were good people, models of piety. But now they are old and childless. One day God sent his messenger, the angel Gabriel, to Zechariah, and scared the old man half to death. Gabriel’s message: Your prayers have been answered. Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will call him John. Zechariah had understandable doubts. Would his wife really celebrate in the tradition of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Hannah? Luke is telling a new story while allowing us to savor an old one. He invites his reader to remember God’s kept covenant. Zechariah knew the old stories. Maybe this is why Zechariah didn’t laugh – like

Read more

Will You Give Us a Seat at the Table?

Will You Give Us a Seat at the Table?

As we approach the Christmas holidays, we can’t help thinking back to our Thanksgiving. Uncle Ed likes white meat; cousin Megan dark meat. Oh yes, can’t forget the onion casserole. And we must remember to get a highchair for little Chrissy. Let’s not forget that Aunt Beth needs someone to pick her up. And we need to make the dining room table bigger. Where did we put those extension slats? It’s all so busy but so exciting – great food, familiar conversation. Catching up with those we haven’t seen in a while. And, at the center of all of it, thanking the Lord for all He has provided. Could I ask you, in this season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as you gather with family and friends this year, to “give FTL a seat at the table?” To remember Freedom to Lead International in your prayer as you sit down to eat? I don’t know

Read more

Thanksgiving Looks A Little Different This Year

Thanksgiving Looks A Little Different This Year

Thanksgiving looks a little different this year. Today I am exchanging turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin for ugali, chapatti, and mandazi. Instead of watching schoolchildren perform plays about pilgrims and Indians I am watching a host of nationalities and tribal groups as they role play stories of old. But one thing remains the same: I am deeply grateful. This week Freedom to Lead is in Kenya. Next week we will go on to Zambia. In these weeks I am rubbing shoulders with men and women leaders from many nations who are deeply committed to the work of Christ and to leading well in their spaces. And I am deeply grateful. My large extended family in Florida is gathering potluck-style on folded tables outside. And while I miss being with them this year, I have a different kind of family right across the table from me here. My Family Across the Table

Read more

Investing In My Twelve Year Old Self

Investing In My Twelve Year Old Self

As I approach Thanksgiving this year in the context of being a member of a ministry that seeks to raise up Christ-centered leaders, I think of a man who poured character and principles of leadership into my own life. Mr. Rhodes Bob Rhodes was my scoutmaster in the little town where I grew up. I can still see him in my mind’s eye, standing in front of the small group of us rowdy twelve- and thirteen-year olds. I can still picture him speaking of the importance of being men of excellence, doing acts of kindness, and putting others before ourselves. Every Monday night he would meet us in the basement of the Lutheran church and help us work on how to be better citizens. He would teach us how to address our elders or someone on the phone. Every year he took us to camp and spent a week hiking

Read more

The Impact of Images

The Impact of Images

Freedom to Lead International® (FTL) uses culture-specific images, objects, and sketches that reinforce learning about Christ-centered leadership. In this post, one of the participants shares with FTL the impact of these images in his own life and ministry. Video Transcript (English translation) Rice Field Well, of all the modules we have gone through – I remember the one that spoke of the field from which I learned patience. And often as-as I said from the beginning, I’m very sanguine, I like to rush things and get results as soon as possible. But with this module I learned how to prepare people like a field – to sow the seed, to maintain and nurture it until the harvest. It can be a long process. — Often when someone comes to church or has just accepted the Lord, I have learned that I should be patient and work alongside the person until

Read more

Season of Prayer

Season of Prayer

Will you join us for a season of prayer throughout the month of October? Listen to more about this here:   You can download an electronic copy of the entire October calendar by clicking here.

Read more

Treasure in a Clay Jar

Treasure in a Clay Jar

Frequently I ask people to name the leader who has personally influenced them the most. People typically respond describing leaders who are neither famous nor incredibly successful. In fact, they often talk about leaders who would not even be considered leaders by conventional definitions. Yet these leaders left an indelible mark. They bring to mind the Apostle Paul’s image of “treasure in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Common on the outside, but the content is priceless.  My mother was one of them. Her Beginnings Nancy Jean Howe was born on January 27th, 1936 into a troubled home. Her father was a musician. Her mother gambled on horses at the race track. The marriage didn’t last, so Nancy was shuffled between sparring parents until her father died when she was twelve. Her mother then moved them to Hawaii where Nancy finished high school. Nancy met Richard – a Navy cook

Read more

Remember Your Story

Remember Your Story

The Discipline of Remembering Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you – Hebrews 13:7a Since childhood, the churches I’ve attended emphasize “holy habits” that should be part of a Christian’s routine; bible reading, prayer, and deeds of compassion are always high on the list. However, the practice of remembering never seems to make the cut. That’s a mistake. Remembering our story of God’s faithfulness is essential to our present faith and our future hope. Rooted in the History of God’s People The discipline of remembering is rooted in the history of God’s people. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel successfully crossed over the Jordan River on a dry riverbed. Before they moved on, God instructed Joshua to appoint twelve priests – one from each tribe – to return to the riverbed and take up twelve stones. God directed the priests to pile these stones

Read more

The Wow Factor

The Wow Factor

Telling the Story As a global team in a faith-based nonprofit, a big part of our job is to tell our story. Depending on the audience, we might craft the story a little differently or choose to hone in on a specific kind of story that resonates best. But our job is to tell the story. It is the story of Freedom to Lead International. They are the stories of men and women in Asia and Africa who are being developed as Christ-centered leaders in their areas of influence. We tell stories of people who are seeing communities impacted and churches coming together and peace being made. Yes, there are even stories of hardships and challenges with prayerful hopes that God will make his way in these situations. Telling the Story Well As storytellers, however, we want to be a good steward of that which has been entrusted to us. We strive

Read more

The Blind Men and the Elephant

The Blind Men and the Elephant

Effective Christ-centered Leadership Over the past five weeks we’ve examined what we mean when we refer to “leadership development” (specifically, that which is Christ-centered). This is a term that is widely used but not commonly defined among churches, ministries, and organizations. Rather than run the risk of becoming like the Wild West of the 19th century, we’ve tried to come to terms with what leadership development means and what it contains. Today we conclude this series. Last week examined the categories for effective Christ-centered leadership development that make up its components. An organization or ministry may focus on one or more of these categories. character formation biblical literacy context-specific skills ministry development By sizing up the task before us, knowing we are functioning in these categories, we think that all’s well that ends well, right? Yes, but here’s the caveat. Research shows that “while every emerging Christ-centered leader needs all four of

Read more

Sizing Up the Task of Leadership Development

Sizing Up the Task of Leadership Development

Leadership Development Over the past several weeks we have been looking at how the term “leadership development” means a lot of things to a lot of people and without a common understanding of terms we might get lost in the wild west of expansion. Last week we at Freedom to Lead defined Christ-centered “leadership development” as “adult-focused, intentional cultivation that seeks to establish and enhance effective Christ-centered leadership practices.” However, merely having a working definition of leadership development is not sufficient to make the way forward. We need to size up the task before us. Rick Sessoms in his book Leading with Story: Cultivating Christ-centered Leaders in a Storycentric Generation asks his readers to do this:   “Picture in your mind’s eye an emerging leader you know. As you think about him or her becoming all that God wants them to be, what will it take? What will be needed

Read more