Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cultivate Love

“The Extreme Leader consciously and intentionally cultivates love in order to generate boundless energy and inspire courageous audacity. And he or she must provide the proof that it’s all been worthwhile: proof through the alignment between word and action; proof through the standing for what’s right; proof through measurable, tangible signs of progress; and proof through the experience of phenomenal success as well as glorious failure.”

-Steve Farber, “The Radical Leap,” page 51.

“Love is the ultimate motivation for the extreme Leader: love of something or someone; love of a cause; love of a principle; love of the people you work with and the customers you serve; love of the future you and yours can create together; love of the business you conduct together every day. Think about it…”

-Steve Farber, “The Radical Leap,” page 165.

Imagine… a business leader talking about love! Not the bottom line. Not about the price of the company stock. An Extreme Leader has to love what they do, where they work, the people they work with, where the company is going, and how together they can improve/change the world—beginning with their small corner of the world.

Now imagine… pastors, denominational leaders, presbytery leaders and leaders in individual congregations talking about love. Wait a minute… we talk about it all the time. Now is the time to stop talking about it—and do something about it. For those in the church, we are referring to our love for God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am not talking about love for an institution (the church). I am not talking about a love for a “style” of church or worship. I am not talking about love for what I am comfortable with. I am talking about a love for God and his desire to transform this world. Not a political transformation—though some political change may be needed. God desires that none should perish. We need to Go… to Tell. To earn the right to be heard we may need to address human needs. But, do we love God and his calling enough to be willing to pay the price for that love?

Too often, we confuse love for God with love for the Church/church (a “C” designates the entire Church and a “c” designates an individual church or denomination). Should we love the Church/church? You bet. Should we love the Church/church when it is doing things that displease God? Yes, we should. However, that same love means that we should work tirelessly to move the church from what it is currently doing (displeasing God) to what it should be doing (pleasing God and changing the world). Our love for the Church/church means we give our all to it, and then we give some more! Finally, our love for the Church may mean that we leave a church because it has strayed too far from God’s plan and that it refuses to change. Remember, individual churches come and go—the Church is the “bride of Christ” and will remain until he returns in glory.

Do I love God and the people where I pastor enough to be willing to lose my safety and security? Do the people see, smell, touch, hear and taste my love for God and for them? Do they really know how much I love the task that God has put before us?

Farber challenges the reader to answer several questions. He wants us to answer the questions out loud. “Why do I love this business, this company?” “Why do I love this project, this idea, this system, this procedure, this policy?” “Why do I love my customers?” “How will I show that love in the way I work with, serve, and lead the people around me?”

As church leaders, we need to slightly rework these questions (after all, they need to be in “church speak!). Why do I love God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) and the mission he has before his followers? Why do I love serving a church as a pastor/leader? Why do I love the people in my church and the people in our area who do not have a church? How will I show that love to the people in my church and the people in our area who do not have a church.

How can I/we cultivate love? Farber suggests:

At least once a day, write a ‘Professional Love Note,’ a personal, handwritten note of appreciation, thanks, or recognition:

  1. Think about a specific person at work.
  2. List that person’s finest qualities and/or greatest achievements.
  3. Reflect on why you appreciate those qualities and achievements.
  4. Write the note.
  5. Give the note.

Make it a habit, not an assignment. In other words, always write from your heart, and express your sincere appreciation. The note bridges words with action; you’re demonstrating love through the act of writing and delivering it.”

-Steve Farber, “The Radical Leap,” page 166.

I am committing to this tangible, REAL way of cultivating love within the church. I am also committing to try and find ways to cultivate love within the Church. I desire to be an Extreme Leader that “cultivates love.”

Will you join me on this quest to become an Extreme Leader? How are you going to cultivate love?


At 11:23 PM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

Steve Farber, author of, "The Radical Leap," e-mailed me and asked me to post his comment to the blog.

"Hi Lance,
I tried to post this on your blog, but I'm not registered on
blogger...please post this for me:

I'm inspired by what you're doing here, Pastor Lance. Keep up the great
questions...your community is very lucky to have you. I invited
href="">my blog readers
to visit you over the
course of the week. Aloha!

Steve Farber"

Steve, Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. Your book has been very helpful/challenging for me.



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