From the Managing Editor – Ron Kuest

I trust you’ve had a great and hopefully relaxing Summer.  On May 15 we went live with the alpha or beta version of the web site. 

Two New Parts  In the past2 ½ months since then my focus has been on completing the next Part in Unit 2, Empowering Leaders.  I just sent off to my book editor the first draft of Embracing Conflict.  Sounds like an oxymoron.  How do you embrace conflict?  Here’s the overview paragraph that sets the stage for the article.

It’s easy to be a leader when all is going well.  But it is in times of interpersonal tension when the core qualities of leadership are plumbed.  It is important for leaders to build trust, to find their measure of power and influence; to communicate vision and guide a group of people through a change process.  However, when times of tension, disagreement, difference in needs and ideas surface, the differentiating image distinguishing a good leader and a truly effective leader begins to appear.  What do we see?  It is the spiritual leader who is able not only to tolerate tension but to actually embrace it is the one who will take people of common purposes and accomplish uncommon results.

It takes about two months for my book editor and my editing team to review and help me bring the best readability and clarity to the article so I hope to have it up by November 1.

The next article behind that is also in Unit 2, Empowering Leaders and is Trust3 – Trusting God, Trusting Others and Becoming a Trustworthy Person.  It is about 75% done and should be ready for the web by the end of the year.

In Unit 2, Empowering Leaders, I discuss what I feel are the five most significant tasks or things a leader must that will contribute to effective leadership.  They are servant power, building trust, embracing conflict, preparing for change, and communicating vision. 

Writing has taken over a huge part of my life and, for the most part, is a tremendously rewarding experience.  For those other times….several years ago I came across a great statement about writing. 

Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead - Gene Fowler

Enhancing Tools for SpiritualLead.com  A core vision for the website is to create an interactive environment for learning, not just a static collection of words.  I want SpiritualLead.com to be a place where pastors can use the materials and resources to do their own spiritual leadership training.  I want SpiritualLead.com to be a place where we have anticipated the needs of the learner and have helped them make learning easier and more meaningful.  I want SpiritualLead.com to be a place where anyone wanting to gain skills and insights for leadership can make it happen.

To work towards those goals in the next several months we’ll be working with our web designers to add the following tools to the web:

·        A bookmark  Since the Handbook for Spiritual Leaders is an e-book if a member of the web leaves the web site before completing a Part they will be asked if they would like leave a bookmark where they left off. The next time they log back on to the web a message will ask them if they would like to return to where they left off.  If the answer is “yes” they will be taken to the page where they were at their last visit.

·        Notes  As a member of the site reads an article they may have thoughts, ideas, comments about the topic.  A tool will allow them them to bring up a box to jot down notes.  The note box will be attached to the section/page they are reading.

·        Charting Progress  When a member of the site completes a Part they will be asked if they want to record their progress.  If they do they just click a button.  Later, they can access a chart showing progress including Parts read and dates of completion.  Members will also be able add additional reading and seminars attended in their spiritual leadership training process.  When a member completes a Unit they will also receive a certificate of completion by email.

Our other task this fall will be to build more training modules to go with sections of the articles and stopping points in the material for reflection and processing.  Studies show the brain requires meaning every nine minutes.  Miss that window and boredom sets in.  So creating meaning will be our focus.

As we get closer to our full launch as we come out of our beta stage I’ll be sending out more frequent newsletters letting you know of completed articles, new tools and progress.

Feedback  One of the ways you could help me most during the development phase is to give me your feedback.  Let me know what you really like, suggest ways to improve the site, tell me what you want that is not there, let me know how I can best design the articles for maximum readability and sustaining interest.  Your rants and your raves are truly needed.  Please take a little time and let me know.

 


Check Out SpiritualLead.com

2006 will be a building year yet I wanted to get the material and site out to a limited audience for feedback. Here are the main elements of SpiritualLead.com

Handbook for Spiritual Leaders – This source book/e-book will eventually encompass three volumes addressing first the functions of leadership (Volume I), the spiritual foundation for leadership (Volume II) and finally what makes leaders effective (Volume III). Each Volume is broken into Units and within the Units are Parts describing some discreet aspect of leadership.

Training Resources – Each Part will be further broken into Sections. These sections are just the right size to grab a hold of a major leadership concept, to do staff training or to be combined together into a seminar package. Each section has a Trainer/Leader overview, a handout master and Power Points to emphasize the teaching elements.

Community Forum – Do you feel like you are you the only person interested in spiritual leadership issues or looking for advice on a spiritual leadership topic? Of course not. Join with other like-minded persons to discuss a common topic. Those topics will be moderated by a person experienced in the spiritual leadership issue to offer insight and guidance.  There will be a "thread" or topic line of discussion for each article as well as spiritual leadership topics of a general nature.  Each topic will have a moderator who will oversee and add to the conversation of each topic.  If you would like to be a moderator, or to find out more about being a moderator, please email me. RonKuest@SpiritualLead.com.

Contact - One of the navigation buttons at SpiritualLead.com is a comment/contact page.  Your thoughts, impressions, discovery of broken links, typos, bad English, raves, encouragement and an "Ah-ha" or two are desperately needed.  Please take the time to let me know you thoughts.  We are in the beta release phase so join the team by your comments and help make SpiritualLead.com an excellent environment to experience spiritual leadership trainging.


Feature Article

In The End It’s About Reconciliation 
(From Unit 2, Part 5 - Embracing Conflict)

Ron Kuest

What’s the point of creation and the fall of Adam without reconciliation?  It is incomprehensible to think that God would create man in his image, give Adam and Eve and their seed free will choice, allow them/us to experience the consequence of rebellion and conflict without the opportunity for reconciliation.

Looking through the Old Testament lens we see how futile reconciliation efforts are by our own works.  Paul in explaining the radical difference between the two states of sin and righteousness uses three words with similar root and meaning when he talks of a new kind of reconciliation.  Those words are katallag, apokatallássō and metallássō.  Packed into the root of the meaning of these words we have first an understanding of exchange and then of reconciliation. [i]  What an incredible depth of meaning is wrapped up in those Greek words that our English fails to capture.  Exchange and reconciliation.  What a completely appropriate concept to fuse into a single word meaning to be reconciled from conflict. 

God’s Exchange  In order to accomplish reconciliation with God there first must be an exchange; His son for me, His blood for my sins, His body for my punishment.  Second is the exchange of our old sinful nature for a new one.  But wait a minute.  Who started this conflict, God or me?  Shouldn’t God, the Father, expect me to take the first step of reconciliation?  After all, I’m the one who failed Him, not the other way around.  If we are talking Old Covenant standards, yes.  An eye for eye, tooth for tooth and life for life.  Whoever was at fault must make an atonement for the sin.  But in the New Covenant there first must be something for me to exchange for and so Grace was poured out through Jesus and his sacrificed life so I could have something to exchange with and for.  Wow!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.   

Romans 5:11

…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:20

At a spiritual level our believing in the Lord, Jesus Christ accomplishes two similar but distinctive states.  First I am justified.  That takes care of my “legal” state.  I am no longer guilty for my sins.  Second is that I am reconciled and that takes care of my “relationship” state.  My justification is a static status.  My reconciliation is a dynamic change or exchange.  Because Christ exchanged his place with me for punishment my relationship with God the Father is restored and I then exchange an old Adam body for a new one. (Col. 1:22; Eph. 2:16)

One other connection of reconciliation made so real is contained in the experience of Communion.  If we take Paul’s point in Colossians 1:20 and put it up next to Hebrews 10:10,  …we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, we now experience the complete understanding consisting first of exchange, His body, His blood for my life and then reconciliation and relationship with the Father just as if I had never sinned.  Communion, reunion, reconciliation.

So how does that apply in a human conflict situations?  In order to have reconciliation with another there has to be an exchange as well.  I have to exchange my way, my control and my ideas for a bigger need, opportunity and vision. No matter the level of hostility I have a choice.  I can exchange my self justifying human nature of gratification, preservation and control of my environment for something different.  For what thing might I make an exchange?  I have the choice to exchange my selfish nature to become an advocate for the best outcome for the person with whom I’m in conflict.  In essence, because of the exchange it is now useless to fight with me because now I have chosen to fight for you.  Reconciliation is now available.


 

[i]Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995, c1985). Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (41). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.

 


Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

Uncommon Leadership – Servant Leadership in a Power-Based World

Robert D. Kuest

 

About five years ago while Googleizing my last name I came across another Kuest, Robert D. Kuest.  He had been pastoring a church in Anaheim, CA and was now on the mission field.  I had never met him and as it has turned out, any family connection goes back at least 200 years to Southern Germany.  Long story short, Bob has a Doctorate in Spiritual Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and he and his wife Peggy do spiritual leadership training for foreign nationals in Miramar (Burma), Thailand and several countries in Africa.  He has since moved to Arlington, WA and we have become like blood brothers.

His recently published book, Uncommon Leadership looks at eight models of Uncommon Leadership – Thinking, Measurements, Purpose, Paradigm, Strategy, Testing, Authority and Courage.

Bob wrote the book primarily for his mission ministry to train national pastors at Bible schools and training conferences throughout the world.  As a result the presentation of the book is simple but full of rich depth.  The book is packed with a thoughtful grounding in Scripture and the clear understandings revealed in the original Greek words describing various dimensions of spiritual leadership.

This is an excellent book to give to a new Board member, a developing leader or as background reading for leadership discipling.  Here is a quote from the back cover of Bob’s excellent book.

In a world where power and position are the symbols of success, Uncommon Leadership: Servant Leadership in a Power Hungry World challenges Christian leaders to rethink the common teaching in most leadership “how-to? books.  Presenting a refreshing change, Dr. Kuest encourages us to return to the biblical principles of God’s higher way of thinking and acting (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Leaders are urged to use position and authority to serve rather than control.  It will also be uncommon when Christian leaders apply these principles to family relationships.  They will have the peace of knowing that they are making lasting difference.

Uncommon Leadership traces biblical principles from the Garden of Eden to the ministry of the Apostles.  God’s principles are consistent; they have not changed since the beginning.  This book discusses the “why’s behind the “how-to’s” of leadership.  You will learn how “The Shepherd’s Paradigm” uses covenant thinking and incarnational relationships, and how God’s purpose for authority is to care for and strengthen people, so that they might effectively serve others.

I will be using Uncommon Leadership as a reading resource for my spiritual leadership training and mentoring.