Tony Morgan

Learning From Other Leaders – Questions For Church Leaders

One of the things that voracious learners do, is to find and follow closely trusted and proven leaders who are both older and younger, than themselves. (At this point, the second part is easy for me!)

It also helps when you find other leaders who have similar values, priorities and goals as you do. At times, I don’t mind reading things from folks that see the Kingdom differently, but when you get too much of that, you rarely move your own vision ahead.

Here’s a recent post from Tony Morgan, a younger leader who is ‘down to earth’; but creative and hungry to do the will of God. I found these questions were thoughtful, if not profound.

Top 10 Qualities For A Great Leader

What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 2)

There are many bases for leadership: positional, relational, knowledge/information, performance, etc. But real, lasting leadership tends to be based upon influential relationships. Previously, I listed 5 common misunderstandings about leadership. If those misunderstandings are examples of what leadership is not, then what personal qualities do make a great leader?

I started answering that question last week in What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 1). Here now are the final 4 of my “Top 10” personal qualities for a leader:…


Don't Run On Fumes

What's In Your Leadership Tank?

If you have been following the Passavant Leadership Group Blog, you’ve read that Leadership is Influence. You’ve learned that Great Leaders are constantly learning, and have to be bold. Sometimes you have to stand up against adversity, and other times you have to be patient while people align with new vision. Leaders must have followers and great leaders develop more leaders within their followers.

The general concept of a leader implies movement in a specific direction. If a leader is not moving, they are just standing in a crowd of people. Leaders have to move forward, but they can easily run out of gas and burn out if they are not prepared. Just like a car or airplane needs fuel to keep going, leaders cannot lead very far if they are running on fumes. You’ve got to keep your tank full in order to lead well for any extended amount of time.


Succession Planning

Succession is Easier Said Than Done

“Succession planning is a critical task for any effective chief executive. You owe it to yourself, and more important, to the people in your (company) to do it right.” That brief quote from David Novak, CEO of YUM! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, etc.) has been widely accepted by corporate boards across America.

However, churches have not been as open to the recognition of the rather severe implications of not approaching succession as the very intensive process that it is. In fact, my research shows that most churches feel like they’ve done a good job when they send off their pastor with appropriate appreciation and then begin to look for a new pastor with little or no involvement of the congregation.

The facts reveal that 75-80% of all “church successions” fail because the people have not been adequately prepared or involved in the process of helping to make this critical leadership decision.

One of our primary objectives in establishing the Passavant Leadership Group was to help churches discover a process whereby they might engage their congregation, access appropriate resources, find the right fit for their needs and appropriately integrate the incoming pastor into the church’s mission and vision….


Top 10 Qualities For A Great Leader

What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 1)

This is a complex question. I have been a student of leadership for many years and there is a plethora of theories and models concerning what good leadership looks like. As I have blogged before, Leadership is Influence. There are many bases for leadership: positional, relational, knowledge/information, performance, etc. But real, lasting leadership tends to be based upon influential relationships.

In my last blog post, I listed 5 Common Misunderstandings About Leadership. If those misunderstandings are examples of what leadership is not, then what personal qualities do make a great leader? Here are the first 6 of my “Top 10” personal qualities for a great leader:…


Fear Affects Leadership Decisions

An Amazing Act Of The Imagination

In a recent TED talk, best-selling author Karen Thompson Walker gave an insightful presentation on fear. What stuck in my mind was a simple comparison that she made. She encouraged the audience to think of fear in a new way. She asked them to think of fear as an “amazing act of the imagination.” She asked them to think of fear as nothing more than a story of one potential outcome among many.

I love this! All of us find ourselves in situations where fear rises up within us. But what would happen if you re-imagined the storyline that your fear is trying to convince you of and adopted a different posture? How many outcomes would be changed if you approached each situation from a different starting stance?…


Proverbs 18 Learning

Leaders Must Be Voracious Learners

The word voracious has been defined as “devouring in great quantities.” We have all met voracious eaters—people who devour food in great quantities. You may have one living in your house. A voracious learner is one who devours knowledge and wisdom in great quantities.

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
Proverbs 1:5 (NIV)

It is so easy to get sidetracked and replace learning with entertainment. I’ve been watching a show on the Discovery Channel, called Gold Rush, about a bunch of guys who dig dirt in Alaska, run it through a “wash plant,” and hope to capture some gold from the dirt. Every episode is the same: “Let’s get some more dirt.”—“Good idea, but the wash plant is broken.”—“Let’s fix it and maybe we’ll find some gold.”—“Yeah that would be great.”

There are hundreds, if not thousands of shows like Gold Rush on TV. I don’t watch it to learn something; I am never going to move to Alaska to become a gold miner. I watch it just to be entertained. But a leader must ask, “What percentage of my available time is spent pursuing entertainment?” If that percentage is too high it will definitely sidetrack you from being a lifelong voracious learner….


Leadership Succession

Leadership Lift-Off

Though I don’t travel as frequently these days as I used to, I do find myself on enough flights to recognize that the laws of physics never change. The pilot of the plane knows exactly what speed he must attain before he reaches “rotation” (where he can pull back on the yoke and lift the plane off the ground). That speed is normally about 140 mph.

Now what I’ve learned is, the lighter the airplane—the less packed it is, the fewer number of passengers, etc.—the more quickly the airplane is able to lift-off. (Obviously, that is why commuter planes can take off and land on a much shorter runway.) On the other hand, if it’s a large airplane or if it’s loaded with passengers and luggage, it can take an extra mile of runway space to reach “rotation” speed.

The same is true when it comes to changes in leadership. Smaller changes may take place in a shorter period of time because the communication effort and amount of administrative and/or organizational needs are not too extensive.

In contrast, major changes such as leadership succession take a very long time to execute effectively. The reason is that these decisions affect everyone who is on the “plane” and have a great deal of “weight” attached to them….



Great Leaders Multiply

Leaders Influence People. Great leaders don’t just influence people to follow them; they create more leaders who influence others. When you are leading people, you can affect their ultimate path. They follow your leadership and accomplish goals or reach destinations they wouldn’t have achieved on their own. When those goals or destinations are reached, you can say that you’ve done a good job as a leader. The problem is that everyone has a limit to how many people they can lead effectively. However, when you stop creating followers under your leadership and start creating or developing leaders, the number of people you can influence will grow exponentially.

Every church leader wants to see his or her congregation grow. Spreading the Gospel to all people is what we are called to do. Jesus said to “go and make disciples”. If all a church leader does is make disciples, it won’t be long before he finds the limit of how many disciples he can care for on his own. At that point, there are only a couple of options. A leader can either hire someone to share the load or he can learn to make disciple-makers instead of just making disciples. Churches don’t grow because the Senior Pastor is a great preacher or the worship experience is phenomenal. Churches grow because they are actively making disciple-makers….


Southwest Airlines

Fight For Your Flight

Recently, my wife was on a business trip. When she returned home, she told me a story of what happened while waiting for the plane to taxi. I asked for her permission to share it, because I believe there is a significant truth in what she and the rest of the passengers experienced. Here is what she told me:

Finding our seats on Flight 551 from Houston to Chicago, our demeanor changed from ordinary to extraordinary. The Southwest employee (we’ll call him Fred) who was greeting as we entered his plane set the tone. When he was asked by one of the customers, “How are you tonight?”, his response was impressionable. “I’m fine as hair on a mouse, and how are you doing?” He continued these types of comments and responses during the loading of the plane. He engaged the passengers by asking trivia questions and telling one line jokes. The atmosphere on the plane was energetic. It was positive and promoted laughter. Fred made the experience enjoyable for all, except for one. This passenger raised his hand, Fred called on him, and what came next changed the climate as the disgruntled passenger asked this question, “Do I have to listen to you much longer?” Fred was stunned with the question as were the rest of the passengers within ear shot. He responded professionally by saying, “No, you don’t.” And with that the air inside of the cabin began to change. No more jokes were offered. No more laughs were heard. All because one person found it to be annoying….