Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

History In The Making

thumbLast night was a historic night.

Regardless of who you voted for you can’t help but appreciate the significance of the events that unfolded.

There were people who voted yesterday who have lived long enough to remember when women and blacks were both denied the right to have a voice in the electoral process. 40 years ago there were still schools that wouldn’t accept African American students. Within one generation our country has come out of the civil rights movement of the 60s to see our first African American President Elect. History was made last night.

You can also say what you want about John McCain but he gave one hell of a concession speech last night (transcript). I only wish his supporters in the crowd at the Biltmore in Arizona shared his gracious attitude and maturity.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from his speech.

McCain-085218In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

Regardless of where your political affiliations lie there are some very important leadership lessons to be learned from this election. Obama’s brilliant speech last night was the culmination of probably one of the best political campaigns ever.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was Obama’s ability to inspire such a response in his followers. Was it his charismatic personality or his well-laid campaign strategies? Those elements certainly come into play but I don’t think that’s completely it.

Even if you don’t agree with Obama’s policies or political views you can’t help but admire his ability to rally followers to his cause. To borrow Seth Godin’s marketing concept, he built a very strong and loyal tribe.

What drew millions of Americans in was his ability to tell a better story. A story of change.

But most importantly, it wasn’t a story about Barak Obama. It was a story about you and me. A story about how together we can bring change. Yes we can.

The very essence of leadership can be summed up in this quote from Obama’s web site:

believe-083304

You see, a leader doesn’t stand up and say, “I’m going to do something amazing. Come follow me!”.

They say, “Let’s do something extraordinary together.” And that’s something every leader needs to remember.

By this point you may have drawn your own conclusions about who I voted for.

Incidentally, I voted for the other guy.

But you’re not going to hear me whine and complain about how terrible the next four years will be. I refuse to live out of the fear of what could be and choose to remember where my trust really lies. I will also choose to surround President Elect Obama and his cabinet with the same prayer that I would have given to John McCain if he had won.

Here’s something to think about for those who voted for the “other guy.”

What if it’s not really as bad as you think?
What if, instead of our nation falling apart like some of you think, it actually does ok during the next 4 years?
What if Obama becomes one of our best Presidents yet?

Can you be ok with that?

I’ll leave you with this extraordinary quote:

Confirm it in your heart and soul that the day after the election, God is still on His throne, and Jesus is still at His right hand. Certain things are not on the ballot, and the sovereignty of God is not.

When Christians react to elections with despair and panic, they are demonstrating that their faith is in the wrong place. If the election goes badly, do not soak your hair with lighter fluid, set it off, and then run in tight, little circles. Be a Christian. If the election goes well, do not act like you have just been saved. Salvation is not something that Caesar holds in his hand, whether to give or withhold.

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Pay Attention To The Rule-Breakers

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photo by Scott Fillmer

Many of the people in my group said the most impactful session at Catalyst for them was the one by Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church. Regardless of what you may think about Steven’s leadership style or church philosophy, there’s no denying that God’s hand is on him in a powerful way.

In the very last session Andy Stanley shared some thoughts on a handful of quotes that have helped shape his ministry. One of those quotes was from Joel Barker from his book Future Edge,

“What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?”

There are paradigm shifts taking place every day as companies, organizations, and churches are having to re-adjust their definition for what is and isn’t possible. Just because we think something is impossible or highly unlikely doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. It could just mean that we haven’t discovered the way to get around that obstacle.

Andy’s takeaway from that quote was this:

Pay attention to people who are breaking the rules!

I think of people like Steven Furtick when I hear quotes like that. I just recently read about the Dream Sex series that Elevation is doing. They’re not only encouraging healthy relationships from the stage on Sunday, they’re actually providing an opportunity to kick-start it by giving out $30 gift-cards to local restaurants and 3 hours of childcare!

There is a new generation of churches and church leaders that are fundamentally redefining how church is done and people are reached.

Allow Room for Changing Paradigms

onlinechurch-124125We’re used to the idea of an Internet Campus like LifeChurch and Seacoast are doing but it was only within the last 5 years that those models were pioneered. What new ideas and tools will be available to us in 5 years that haven’t even been thought of yet?

Let’s take that question off the whiteboard and bring it home.
Perhaps you’ve had to adjust your ministry model to incorporate social media. Maybe you’re figuring out ways to utilize current technology tools like text messaging to make your service interactive (check out Jarbyco). Or maybe you’re letting God stretch you in the area of music or methods.

What are the paradigm shifts you’re dealing with in your ministry or organization right now?…

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