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My vision

That the next generation will be inspired and prepared to live God's call and meet the challenges of their season.




Daniel Allen 

Resourcing Leadership and Faith Formation 


Developing Team Health

Stellar insights from Patrick Lencioni on developing healthy teams, especially teams "at the top."

“I have yet to meet members of a leadership team who I thought lacked the intelligence or the domain expertise required to be successful. I’ve met many, however, who failed to foster organizational health. Their organizations were riddled with politics, various forms of dysfunction, and general confustion about their direction and mission.

"How do you foster that kind of health in your company? First, focus on the members of your top team. Make sure they are absolutely clear about the identity and direction of the company, and that they act in ways that indicate they are aligned.

"Next, be brutally intolerant of cultural or behavioral violations, especially among your most senior teams. Too often, companies focus on systems and structures that facilitate cultural change at the mid-management level, overlooking problems closer to the top. Be quick to address behaviors such as passive-aggressiveness during meetings or back-channel second guessing.

"Finally, reinforce this through hiring. Although most executives pay lip service to the idea of hiring for cultural fit, few have the courage or discipline to make it the primary criteria for bringing someone into the company.” (INC Magazine, Oct 2014, p. 128)"

Where do you see health in your team? Where do you see it lacking?


Getting Traction for Leading

Leadership experts agree: leadership is primarily about influence. Ken Blanchard puts it like this in Lead Like Jesus, coauthored with Phil Hodges: If you’re seeking to shape the development, thinking, or behavior of another person or group of people, you’re seeking to lead. You have in mind a better future for the person or group, and you want to influence (lead) them into that future.

Many of you reading this blog post are leaders – people who influence opinion and practice on a micro (few people), mezzo (organizational) or macro (national/global) level.

Like most leaders you desire to get more from your leadership efforts. Why not try what ministry and leadership coach Steve Ogne calls 4-wheel drive influence? According to Ogne, it will help you get better traction with those you lead.

Ogne observes that followers grant leaders the right to lead based on four main sources of influence: positional, expert, relational, and ethical authority (writing primarily to church leaders, he refers to this last category as spiritual authority). Positional authority is granted to those in charge – the parent, boss, or captain of the team. They lead because they're in charge, but positional authority tends to get the poorest traction, at least at the heart level.

Expert authority is granted to those who are especially proficient at what they do or in what they know about a given topic. Followers listen to the experts because of what the experts know or can do.

Relational authority comes from the time leaders spend connecting with, getting to know, and serving those they lead. Relational authority is especially helpful to leaders who desire to connect with followers at the heart level and influence them more deeply than positional or expert sources are able to do.

Finally, ethical authority grows out of a leader’s character. Followers grant leaders ethical authority when they observe honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness in leaders’ lives. Church leaders may also possess ethical authority, or, as Ogne notes, spiritual authority. Spiritual authority is granted when followers sense something different about the leader’s heart and character. Spiritual authority comes from experiences with God, knowledge of God, and gifted power (see the New Testament letters: Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12-14, 1 Peter 4).

Ogne says if we lead from a couple of these sources, we get 2-wheel drive leadership. Work toward all four, however, and we get 4-wheel drive. If we're leading from all four wheels, our traction increases and we see greater fruit from our efforts.

How much traction are you getting with those you lead? 1-wheel, 2-wheel, or more? Which wheel needs the most work right now?


I Can't, But...

How are you doing with living the Christian life? I struggle with parts of it. At times it seems impossible.

Love my enemies? Do good to those who mistreat me? Love God with my whole being? Crucify my sinful human nature? Forgive those who hurt me? I don't do those things very well.

In fact, I can't.


God can. The good news is that God the Holy Spirit has come to make his home with us. God the Spirit empowers us to follow Jesus, to live the Christ-centered life.

So I'm turning to the Spirit and praying with St. Josemaria Escriva:

“Come, O Holy Spirit:
Enlighten my understanding
To know your commands:
Strengthen my heart against the wiles of the enemy;
Inflame my will…
I have heard your voice
And I don’t want to harden
My heart to resisting,
By saying ‘later…tomorrow.’
Now I begin! Now!
Lest there be no tomorrow for me!
O Spirit of truth and wisdom,
Spirit of understanding and counsel,
Spirit of joy and peace!
I want what you want,
I want it because you want it,
I want it as you want it,
I want it when you want it.”

What in the Christian life are you facing that you can't do? What if you turned that over to the Spirit? 



The Dynamic Nature of Calling

If you're not careful you could get stuck in your calling.

God summons us throughout our lives. God’s call is dynamic and progressive, unfolding over time. With calling we always work with what my friend Terry Walling calls our best understanding to date.

While we may receive an initial summons toward a general objective (reach these people; start this company; work in this industry; alleviate suffering, etc.), the specifics unfold over time through our ongoing relationship with God.

For example, you might first sense a call to use your vocal and instrumental music gifts to help people in your local church worship God. After a few years you may understand it to include resourcing other worship leaders in similar settings. Then it may focus even more specifically to helping worship leaders in South America (for example) create revelatory art, including music, to engage emerging adults in Brazil’s urban centers.

Sometimes what God uses to move us on in our calling are extended seasons of restlessness with where we are, new doors that open unexpectedly before us, and/or the convergence of circumstances, events, and opportunities that point in a new direction.

How are you feeling about your call: settled, groovin' right along, sputtering, stuck? Who can help you process what you're feeling? 



What's the Big Deal With Calling?

The well-being of life on earth starts with God. The possibility of shalom where you live and work and play, starts with God. The extension of the kingdom of God, the restoration of all that has been ravaged by sin and evil, is God’s restoration project. It starts with God and extends to you, then through you. “Calling” is the word that describes this experience and process.

Where you live and serve and play needs you to live God's call. The cubicle, garage, classroom, and hospital. The athletic field, gym, restaurant, kitchen, and design studio. The library, forward operating base, counseling office, store, farm vineyard, campus, and church. The pub, body shop, tool shed, factory, dealership, courtroom, cannery, and studio. The Police Force. Capitol Hill. Wall Street.

You get the picture. Your place needs you to walk and work and lead with Jesus – for the life of that place. Those people. The Jesuit priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, penned in his poem, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”: Christ plays in ten thousand places. That includes your work place. It makes your work place sacred. Makes your work noble. 

We need you to live your call – for the life of the world.

What's the big deal with the calling you're living?