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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Putting The Longview Into Practice - Part Two

Q & A with Dr. Roger Parrott,
Author of The Longview
Part 2

America is paying the price of short-term decision making (i.e., sub-prime mortgages, Bernie Madoff, health care costs, General Motors bankruptcy, et al). As more ministries adopt the prevailing short-term pattern, they move closer to the same outcome—the quick payoff—at the cost of a future crisis. In The Longview, Roger Parrott calls for a seismic shift in the leadership attitudes and actions of readers. Parrott is a seasoned, practical leader who is not afraid to challenge younger leaders to lead for lasting impact, not fleeting bragging rights. The book offers practical insights from both scripture and his own experience. Both young and seasoned leaders will uncover a solid foundation for success for any ministry, organization, or business.

How does the Longview approach get lived out in the every-day demands of ministry leadership?

I suggest that leaders begin by leading as if you’ll be there forever. The heart of the Longview does not begin with actions as much as attitude. Imagine that the organization and position you are in right now is what God wants you to do for the rest of your professional life. For many, it might be discouraging to truly feel “locked in” to your job. But contrary to the mantras of popular career gurus, this is one of the best things that could ever happen to you and your ministry, because to lead as if you must remain in that same position forever—and live with the long-term consequences of every decision—will shift your perspective, align your priorities, and build lasting strength in your organization, rather than allowing you to settle for the comfort and accolades of immediate results.

When a leader is thinking, living, and acting in terms of only the short-range, everyone around him suffers and may be handicapped for years to come because the decisions of today will narrow subsequent options and opportunities. The compounding weight of each shortsighted decision speeds the deterioration of the ministry’s foundation, while a long-term perspective strengthens that substructure for a higher reach in the future. Whether new on the job, nearing retirement, or eyeing a climb up the career ladder, leading as if you’ll be in your current position forever will revolutionize the way you lead.

Give us some examples of leadership principles made with the long term in mind.

This book challenges leaders to think very differently about leadership, so some of the section headings can be a bit jarring because we need to radically break free from conventional leadership models if we hope to return to a biblical pattern of leaderships. So I’m suggesting to leaders ideas such as:

· Planning Will Drain the Life from Your Ministry
· Deflate Your Ego to Expand Your Influence
· Policies are for Cowards
· Learn to Work with the “Untouchables” Of Leadership
· Understand the Diagnostic Triggers to Preempt Conflicts of Interest
· Treasure the Four Gifts Found in Your Rearview Mirror
· Learn to Shepherding A Vision Without Scaring Away the Flock

We live in a quick-fix, immediate-impact, short-view world. But we serve a Longview God. To bridge this gap, Jesus became the ultimate example of Longview leadership amid the clamor for expedient results. Of course His sights were always aimed toward eternity (the ultimate Longview), and He lived and thought in that realm. But even in the practical everyday demands of leadership, Jesus showed us the value of investing in Longview solutions as we serve those in our care. And that’s what I wanted to address in the book – how Jesus lived our Longview leadership in the practical challenges of everyday leadership.

If you could summarize the Longview approach in one rule, what would it be?

To boil it down to one rule, it would be this: be prepared to catch the wind of God.

I am convinced one of the core problems of evangelical leaders is that too often we’ve stopped trying to catch the wind of God in our sails because we’ve become fairly effective at creating our own independent power to get God’s work done.

Would we rather set out to achieve a set of sharply defined goals by revving up the engines to create the best programs, the best ministry concepts, and the best future our well-trained minds could imagine? - OR - Would we rather go wherever the wind of God might take us? While the second choice is clearly our desire, too often we live, plan, and work as if our direction is totally dependent on the power we can generate and the best course we can envision.

There is a world of difference between powerboats and sailboats. And those differences are critical benchmarks for each of us in ministry leadership. (I lay out six of them in the book.) Leaders need to be willing to turn off the power of their organization’s agenda and the best ideas that drive them. We may feel proud when powerboats of ministry are big, well built, and polished, even a small, poorly crafted, and worn sailboat will outdistance a powerboat every time—because only the sailboat is able to catch the wind of God.

About the author: At age thirty-four Roger Parrott became one of America’s youngest college presidents. Parrott is currently the president of Belhaven University, an innovative liberal arts institution recognized as the leading evangelical college in the Arts. He earned a PhD in higher education administration from the University of Maryland. Parrott serves in leadership of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, Mission America Coalition, and Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He has advised a wide variety of ministries in the US and internationally.

The Longview by Roger Parrott, Ph.D.
David C Cook/October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6749-3/hardcover/255 pages/$16.99

1 comment:

~Cindy~ said...

Hey I gave you an award at my tips and hints blog...thanks for having a great attitude in life!!