Why Patience is Hard & Crucial to Great Leadership

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Let’s be honest.

Patience is hard. 

We want things now. We are an instant culture. We want fast food. We want to post pictures instantly. It’s even called Instagram. 

Patience is hard when it comes to leadership as well, not only because of the reasons just mentioned and the way we are wired and how our culture operates but because of how long things take in leadership.

Let me explain.

Leaders are future oriented people. One of the things that separates leaders from followers is the ability of leaders to see a desired future and move people towards it. Because of this, by the time things become a reality, leaders have lived with them for months, sometimes years.

When a church launches a new initiative, ministry, program, a building campaign, buys land or hires a new staff member. The leaders have anticipated this moment for months or years.

Patience is hard. And crucial. 

For leaders, because change feels like an eternity to them, it is easy to forget how whiplashed our followers can feel when a change happens. For a leader, they have read books, prayed, talked to mentors and others leaders, listened, and waited for months to launch something. When their followers give pushback, they think the problem is with the followers (and it may be), but often they are not giving their followers the time to process the change as they had to think about the change.

If you are in a spot as a leader who is about to make a change or launch something, here are some ways to handle it:

  1. Be patient. Yes, you may need to wait a little longer. The time may not be right, the funds may not be there, the momentum may not be in your corner. You may need to have a little more patience.
  2. Give people time. If you took weeks or months to research and process this decision, give your followers at least some time to sit with it. Let them ask questions. Just because someone has questions or gives pushback does not mean they are being divisive or are not on board. They are processing.
  3. Be honest about the loss, not just the excitement of the future. When discussing a change, talk about the loss. With every change their are gains and losses. Leaders see the gains, followers see the losses. Leader, look at the losses and talk about them, let your followers know you hear them. But, help them see the gains.
  4. Be excited and decisive. At some point, the time for patience and waiting is over and it is time to be decisive and move forward. When is that time? It depends on the situation, but you are the leader, so you’ll know.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • This weekend was the moment our family has been waiting for for the last 4 years
  • Katie left on a plane yesterday to go to Ethiopia to bring Judah Mamush home
  • Here’s an update
  • I’m so excited for him to join our family
  • And for Katie to come back home
  • I had a guy today who said, “Must be excited about a break from your wife”
  • As nicely as I could I said, “If I was excited I wouldn’t have gotten married”
  • Because of coming back from San Diego on our family vacation on Wednesday and getting Katie ready to leave, I felt out of sync when it came to preaching today
  • When my week isn’t normal it makes preaching hard
  • Ironically, I got more comments about today than most recent sermons
  • Go figure
  • If you missed it, you can listen here
  • Had a great week in San Diego
  • I love family vacations and the change of pace they bring
  • So many fun memories
  • Can’t believe we are almost done with the book of John at Revolution
  • I’ve loved preaching through a gospel
  • Can’t wait to start 1 Corinthians in January
  • Going to cover topics like divorce, spiritual growth, dating, sex before and outside of marriage, homosexuality, spiritual gifts, healing, speaking in tongues, heaving, hell and the afterlife
  • Should be fun
  • Say a prayer for our family as Katie is traveling
  • She will be exhausted and need supernatural strength as she travels home with Judah
  • Pray for the transition of him joining our family and all that will mean

How we Spent our Time in Ethiopia with our Son

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Many of you have asked what our time with our son was like while we were in Ethiopia. In 2 words: too short, but in actuality we spent everyday with him at the transition home, usually twice a day for … Continue reading

My Arms are Too Short

Last week we got an email that our sweet Mamush had conjunctivitis, so he got eye ointment, it cleared up. This week we got another email saying that he is on a round of antibiotics for pharyngitis, which according to the internet is a sore-throat. I know that it is a small thing, but can you imagine your child not feeling well and you can do NOTHING. I wish I could have brought him home last week so that my arms could hold him while he isn’t feeling well… but my arms are too short.

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In actuality, my arms are too short even for the kids under my roof. Even if I can hold them and kiss their boo-boos and tell them how much I love them, my arms are too short to save their little souls. So I do, for all of my children, the only thing that I can- I cry out to God. I don’t always pray like I want to, like my heart says I should, but that is changing and I know that a prayer can be answered if it is asked in the chaos that is my life, or in those serious times of fasting and solitude. Right now the prayers made while over my kitchen sink with the kids’ noise in the background will have to do. And I feel like God is pleased. Image

(A woman waiting to be healed at the church on top of EntotoMountain; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

I pray that He is pleased to heal Mamush of the discomfort that he is in, that his little heart does not lose hope as he waits for us to return, and that at our return he does not scorn us because he has felt abandoned by us. I pray that Nehemiah continues to meet developmental milestones and we are not burdened by the relationship with his Birth-mom and Birth-dad, but are able to extend grace and know our role.  My prayer for Ashton, is that He will continue to develop into a man of character and substance. For Gavin, I pray that his spirit for adventure and attention does not distract from the calling that you have on his life, that he is able to submit that to You for Your Glory. Ava’s heart is so sweet and helpful, I pray that You would protect it from the arrows of the evil one, and that she is able to grow into a strong women, who’s confidence is not in herself, but in You. Image

(Walking into the church on top of EntotoMountain; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

This is a great place to start praying daily for your children: http://www.inspiredtoaction.com/wp-content/uploads/kat/I2A_Prayer_Calendar.pdf

If you would like to help us complete our adoption and bring Mamush home as we travel back to Ethiopia in 5-10 weeks, you can donate here. At last count, we still need to raise $5,000.

Meeting our Son who we Didn’t Know Much About…

After 24+ hours of travel we were breathless with anticipation as we got off the plane in Ethiopia… trying to navigate buying a visa, getting through passport control, finding our luggage (almost), filing a claim for our lost bag, talking with a retired gentleman who moved from Ethiopia to the US (he was a God-send), and getting through customs with our 3 boxes of donations. We were finally there, after 3 and a half years of paperwork, phyicals and more paperwork, God was fulling his call on our life.

We stopped at the guest house (gh) to drop off our things and brush our teeth, then we were off to the transition home (th). We had 30 minutes to meet our son before we would be whisked away to an authentic Ethiopian meal with entertainment! Talk about pressure, 30 minutes to meet our son and convince him that we were cool enough to parent him for the rest of his life! Thankfully we packed balloons and bubbles, the love language of small children from 3rd world countries.

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Introducing Mamush, soon to be Judah! You may notice that he is not looking at us, he is looking a Champ, the man behind the camera. He was unsure of us and was looking to the only other person in the area that was vaguely familiar to him.

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After reading about other people’s adoption journeys; we decided that it would be a good idea to bring a backpack with goodies that we could use each day. That way Judah could associate it as his, and we can bring it back on our second trip, with more “goodies” for him as we travel the LONG way home. It was a great tool in connecting…

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I am not above bribing with balloons! Notice that his body is starting to relax and he is not as stiff. Mamush’s first language is a tribal language, his second language is Amharic, and he is working on his third language English. Needless to say, he is a little quiet, and has no clue what we are saying!

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Notice how he is copying my face while blowing up the balloon! Priceless!

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Playing bop-balloon with dad helped to warm him up.

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Finally, we got smiles! This is something that we had long waited to see. All of the pictures that we had received of him are very serious and unsure. We knew that his little heart was at least comfortable, if not warming, toward us. Oh, the joy of a mother’s heart.

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And finally, eye contact. It is very hard to express in words the feelings of our first few hours in Addis Ababa, meeting our son. He was loved by us the moment we started the adoption process, it has been a long journey here, but he will forever be well worth the wait.

We will return to Ethiopia in 5-10 weeks to bring him home with us. We still need to raise $5,000 for this trip. If you would like to be a part of bringing him home to our family, you can give (tax deductible) here.

Help us Bring our Son Home

We are incredibly close to going to Ethiopia. This week we were told to be ready to travel. Right now, Katie and I are waiting for the word to buy plane tickets and go and meet our son.

To help us get there and bring him home, we still need to raise $7,000 to complete our adoption. Our friends and family came together last month to bless a widow and raise money to help us bring him home. Now, you can be a part of helping us bring him home by giving so we can buy plane tickets and travel to Ethiopia.

Watch the video of our project and pray about giving to this incredible opportunity:

Go to http://bothhandsfoundation.org/josh-and-katie-reich and click on the donation button on the left side of the page to give.

The Irreducible Core of Leadership (An Interview with Tony Blair)

wca speakerThe closing session of the summit was an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

  • Many leaders appear to be brimming with confidence and always having the answer, yet many leaders aren’t that way
  • Leaders are able to make decisions, even if it is completely against the majority
  • The problem with conventional wisdom, it is often the comfortable thing to do, which is often the wrong thing to do
  • Most people like to be liked, this is problematic for leaders
  • The irreducible core of leadership is that thing that you will not go back on
  • A leader needs to be prepared to walk away, that means that sticking by your beliefs is more important than anything else
  • Leaders know when they are making a decision because it is the comfortable thing to do and when they are making a decision because it is the right thing to do
  • How do you handle doubt?
  • Doubt is best expressed as the a deep reflection about what you are doing and whether or not it is right
  • You must think through everything and doubt in that sense is positive and right
  • There comes a moment when you must put aside fear and strike out and make the jump
  • There always is doubt and worry, but in the end your ultimate duty is to decide because someone has to decide and that is what leaders do
  • A leader has to adjust in the midst of changing circumstances
  • What role has faith played in your leadership?
  • If you are of religious faith, it is the most important thing in your life
  • Your faith sustains you and impacts your decision
  • Faith and its role in the world is incredibly potent thing
  • Faith needs to play a role in the 21st century
  • What would your wife say is your best quality at being a negotiator?
  • There is no way that a negotiation works without compromise
  • There is a difference between tactics and strategy
  • What are the most important things a leader must do to lead his people through a crisis?
  • Decide if you will react as a country by pointing the finger or by making a statement by our unity
  • Define what brings you together, what unites you
  • Get the facts
  • Speak to the emotions of your followers
  • How do you as a leader process and deal with pain?
  • Count your blessings
  • Understand that you as a leader are lucky to do what you are doing, God chose you
  • What would you tell church leaders?
  • Leadership is a blessing, a gift that you’ve been given and a gift that you can use to help others
  • Leadership is something worth doing, no matter how hard it is
  • Without the leader, things don’t get done

To learn more about Tony Blair, check out his website and his foundation.