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Paradigm Shift!

Posted in church, Transformation with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

There is a shift that’s taking place in the Church I lead. The Spirit of God is inspiring it and I am very, very excited about what will unfold in the coming 9 months. Why 9 months?

Well in 9 months time our church will be 5 years old. Statistically, the culture and formation of a church is basically solidified around the 5 year mark. Church culture does change after that but a lot of the foundation has been laid as a platform to build upon.

Just as a mum to be, has a gestation period of 9 months before a beautiful baby is born, so too our church will be going through a spiritual gestation period over the next 9 months getting ready to give birth to the church God has called us to build.

I thought when we launched the church that we had given birth to it but in a lot of ways the last 5 years has been a warm up period before the true raw church that God desires is revealed. Planting and leading a church to maturity and uniqueness takes time. Thank God for what he has taught us a long the way and the victories that have been secured in Christ. The elders of our church will be working very hard over the next 9 months to lead, teach and set an example of the church God has called us to be.

Whenever a church goes through a shift, it’s because God has taken the leaders through a season of shifting, refinement and preparation. I have a book cooking in me about the several shifts that I have had to embrace over the last 4 and a bit years to be positioned for what God is about to do. I have a website cooking in my heart that equips emerging leaders & pastors to plant and lead Gospel centered churches. I have sermons cooking in my heart that I know will impact people with the person of Jesus Christ.

A PARADIGM is a way of thinking. When our lives come into alignment with Romans 12:2, our way of thinking gets re-aligned with God’s thoughts and ideals. I have gone through an intense 4 year process of paradigm shifting that has been apart of God’s great cosmic plan for my life and ministry.

God desires the same for all of us. What about your journey right now is shifting? Things you used to think, people you used to connect with but now don’t, places you used to visit and beliefs you used to embrace but now question are all part of the shifting process. Opportunity beckons for you and I to embrace the shifts that Christ is calling us all too. Every shift that God leads us into will be grounded in the Scriptures and call us to a more biblical life. You can never go wrong when you prayerfully and humbly shift towards God through the Scriptures.

Embrace the paradigm shifts God is leading you into and watch what God unfolds in you and through you.

Lead the Change!

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The Leadership Challenge!

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Leadership is challenging!

Over the last 48hrs some extreme measures have been taken in the Australian Federal Government, particularly, the Australian Labour Party. As many Aussies would know by now, Kevin Rudd has been ousted by his own party and we now have the first female Prime Minister of Australia, Miss Julia Gillard!

I saw, via media, every speech given ‘live’ and it was an interesting and tense process to watch unfold. There is no doubt that politics has once again confirmed it’s reputation as being absolutely cutthroat. Even though Rudd’s parting speech was honourable of his party (yet painful & awkward to watch), he must be feeling a sense of betrayal and emotional wounding from some of his colleagues who under-minded his leadership, regardless of the issues at hand.

Leadership at any level is a tough gig but especially at a Federal Political level. It appears, from comments given by political commentators, that Kevin Rudd left his transparent humanity and accomplishments presentation too late. This tells me that apart from other issues, which we will never fully be aware of, leaders everywhere need to live and lead from the heart, collaborate thoroughly with their team members and never stop talking about the great things being accomplished…if that is the case.

Leading people is bound to get you tons of criticism and place tons of pressure upon you as expectations fly at you from all directions. One of the challenges of leadership is the potential for misunderstanding and the ensuing small windows a leader gets to clarify what they actually intended to say.

Leadership involves making hard decisions but making those decisions with as much information as possible and then with everything in hand, making a call. As much as we’d like to have a win-win outcome every time, the reality is, someone or something loses out more often than not.

Leadership is about inspiring people to move from where they are to where they need to be. Be it in a nation, business, church or family. Leadership that relies on titles and intimidation alone is poorly lacking. Leadership that serves people out of a love for them, collaborates through seeking to understand then to be understood, ready and willing to make a decision even if it’s unpopular, and able to communicate clearly and with integrity the BIG Idea is leadership worth following.

Is Julia Gillard this type of leader? We will wait and see. She has stepped into leadership under bad circumstances and her first speech as PM designate indicates she has strength to her character but is this enough for national leadership? I’m not aware of her ethics or theological position (I’ve heard rumors) but time will tell what she contributes to the health and future of Australia.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 says “First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our saviour.”

One of the most important things we can do for our leaders is pray for them. This includes pastors, dads, single mums, principles, CEO’s and politicians, amongst others. This nation has a warped view of authority (it must be a convict thing) but we need to pray for God’s wisdom and intervention in all leadership endeavors whether they be in the Church, Education, Business or Political arenas.

Be also praying for Kevin Rudd and his family. He will be shattered and his family will now be cleaning up the pieces of his emotional processing. Humanity can be very harsh and we all need to be a little more respectful and gracious with our leaders who are doing their best in often difficult situations.

Leadership is a hot topic right now and it’s so important that we keep our eyes on the greatest leader of all time – Jesus Christ! He is the author and perfecter of our faith and when contemporary culture shifts and changes, Jesus Christ’s character and teaching stays the same. Stay close to him, keep your eyes on His Word and follow him, for he is a leader worth following.

Lead the Change!

Strategic Shifts you MUST make!

Posted in Leadership, ministry with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

2820025245_76ba9c384b_tShift

The word shift means to change from one position to another. Another way of saying this is to move from where you are to where you need to be. The very nature of life and leadership requires shifts of all kinds because a leader is someone who moves themselves and people from where they are to where they need to be. Leadership flows from the inside out, it emanates from what is going on in the condition of our hearts. External shifts in the environment around us are a result of internal shifts in our own hearts.

Recent Shifts

Over the last ten years of ministry I have faced seasons of testing that have required me to make shifts both in my thinking and my approach to life and leadership. Let me share with you some of the shifts I have had to make in recent times:

A PRESSURE shift from comfortable to chaotic – The first thing that signals a transition into growing pains is increased pressure in your life. Pressure is the amount of force applied to your schedule, relationships, capacity and finances. When faced with increasing pressure the temptation will be to either push harder or sideline yourself. Either option isn’t going to help you grow. Go contrary to what you think you should do, work less and spend more time with God.

A DEPENDANCY shift from self to God – You are inadequate for the task you are facing and recognizing this requires an attitude of humility. You have got to loosen your grip on what you can control and entrust everything to God’s sovereignty in your life. Refocus yourself on God;s grace and His sufficiency.

A CAPACITY shift from coping to conquering – Your capacity as a leader is the measure of your ability to lead others and if you are going to lead more people, you are going to need to increase your capacity. Increasing your capacity is a holistic process that requires you to respond positively to being thrown into the deep end of life.

A ROLE shift from working in the ministry to working on the ministry – Growing pains require you to look at your role through a different lens than what you have looked through in the past. You must stop doing everything and start delegating tasks and projects to others so you can work on the future growth and direction of the ministry rather than getting stuck in the everyday challenges of the ministry.

A THEOLOGICAL shift from law to grace – Growing pains reveal what areas of your theology needs to be refined and sharpened. Growing pains reveal that its more about what Christ has already done for you than it is about what you are doing. Living by the law produces a works mentality where you are constantly thinking about what you must do but living by God’s grace makes you Christ-Conscious where it’s all about what Christ had already done.

A HEART shift from barrenness to fruitfulness – Growth is less about what you do and more about what you allow Christ to do in you. When Christ is forming in us we position ourselves for fruitfulness and only an abiding and healthy relationship with Jesus can transform our hearts from barrenness to fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is a heart thing primarily.

Lead the Change!

Who is supposed to LEAD a Church?

Posted in activate church, church, Ecclesiology, Leadership, Manhood, ministry, Theology with tags , , on June 28, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

This is an important question and I preach on this very issue in our Ekklesia Series (June 09). In summarising my answer the following things need to be kept in mind.

Firstly, Jesus Christ is the Senior Pastor of every Christian Church.

Every church is built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:20). Jesus is the head of the church and in all things Christ is to be preeminent (Eph 5:23; Col 1:17-18). Jesus is the Apostle who plants a church and builds a church and the Chief Shepherd who rules over the church (Heb 3:1; Mt 16:18; 1 Pt 5:4). Jesus is to be consulted as central to the church and not peripheral to what the church is doing (Col 3:16). Serving under Jesus authority are elders, deacons and members.

Elders are qualified Christians leading the church under Jesus authority.

Elders are not some special forces unit that is better than everyone else but they have been appointed by God to perform certain functions and carry out specific responsibilities on behalf of Christ and for the church. Elders are biblically qualified, theologically informed and spiritually mature Christians.  1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 inform us of the qualifications of an elder.

Biblically qualified elders are supposed to lead the church.

Read 1 Tim 3:1-7 for a thorough understanding of the elders qualifications and role. Some models of eldership promote the idea of a separate board of lay people leading the church but this isn’t a biblical model. The church is not to be staff led and elder protected by a separate board of people who meet once a month to hold the pastor accountable. The church is to be elder led, elder fed, elder protected, elder disciplining, elder vision setting, elder shepherding and elder example setting. 1 Peter 5:1-3 gives a detailed description of how the elders are to lead.

What about women as elders?

There are 3 basic positions on women as elders. They are egalitarian (liberal), complementarian (moderate) and hierarchical (conservative). We take a mild complementarian (moderate) view on eldership which says that all church ministries are open to qualified men and women, with the singular exception of lead elder-pastor, which is only open to qualified men. Women can be associate elders, deacons, teach, lead worship, serve communion, oversee ministries and be in full time paid ministry. Scriptural texts supporting our position are: Gen 1:27; 2:18; 3:16-17; 1 Cor 11:3, 8-9; 1 Tim 2:11-3:13; Rom 16:1-2; 1 Cor 12:11.

Eldership is not to be taken lightly and should maintain the centrality of Christ as the chief shepherd, engage a plurality of elders providing leadership for the church and the lead elder-pastor should be a male in alignment with 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Keeping in mind Hebrews 13:7 & 12 as a church member.

Lead the Change!

What got you here won’t get you there!

Posted in Leadership with tags , , on June 3, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Rick Godwin once said,Everything I have learnt over the last 25 years to get me to this point is not enough to get me to the next point in another 25 years time. I have to learn a whole new set of things to get me there.”

A thought provoking comment. There is some truth to this. Often we can rely upon what we have learnt in the past to sustain us but this often leads to rut-set thinking and stagnant living.

To move forward in your growth and contribution to God’s kingdom you must commit yourself to a constant state of learning. One of the marks that distinguish a leader is that they are insatiable learners. 

Assume a posture of teachability and constant learning and you will always be moving forward in your personal growth and development. What got you to this point won’t get you there so you better re-skill, re-prepare and re-fire.

Lead the Change!

Strike the Shepherd and the sheep scatter!

Posted in Ecclesiology, Leadership, ministry with tags , , , on May 29, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

2260639712_b787a37af7_mZechariah 13:7 says, “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep scatter.” It’s a prophecy about what was going to happen to Jesus and his disciples and Jesus himself uses it in the context of Matthew 26:30-35 to describe what was about to unfold as he was arrested and crucified.

Ephesians 4:8, 11 tells us that when Christ ascended to heaven, he gave gifts to men. Christ has given to the church the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 gives us insight into the qualifications for elder-pastors of a local church. These qualifications are stringent and emphasize character above competency.

The devil targets church leaders because he knows that if he can destroy church leaders, he can destroy churches. Ten years ago when I was studying at Bible College we were informed of a stat that has increased since then but there were approximately 10,000 former pastors in Australia at the time, whom for various reasons had quit the ministry or were forced to step back because of extenuating circumstances.

The condition of the leader affects the condition of the church. Burnt out leaders fatigue a congregation and cause the sheep to weary. Immoral leaders weaken the purity and holiness of the church and bring the church into disrepute. When a leader is distant from Jesus the temptation is to live and minister in the flesh. When a leader is impurely motivated, the potential for corruption and compromise is heightened.

Protect your shepherd by praying for them, supporting them, serving Jesus with them and submitting to them (Hebrews 13:7, 17). This isn’t popular in Australia but it’s Bible. Don’t be conformed to the  pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).

Lead the Change!

Selecting leaders!

Posted in church, Leadership with tags , on April 28, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Selecting and appointing the right leaders in your team or ministry can be quite challenging at times. There are several things I think you should do as you approach this important task:

  1. Clarify your vision for the organisation 
  2. Identify your current and future needs
  3. Identify who you have to work with
  4. Look for people with call (evidenced by fruit)
  5. Look for people with character
  6. Look for people with competency
  7. Look for people with chemistry
  8. Pray over who God wants for the role
  9. Recruit with confidence
  10. Under-promise and over-deliver
  11. Don’t say somebody’s NO for them
  12. Communicate clear expectations
  13. Assign responsibilities 
  14. Observe the person in action
  15. Give ongoing feedback

Lead the Change!