The School Leader as “Communicator-in-Chief”

The School Leader as “Communicator-in-Chief”

As school leaders we have many responsibilities but none is more important than our role as “Communicator in Chief.” It is our responsibility to persuasively communicate our school’s mission and values. We communicate biblical truth and how it applies to people, programs, and policies. We communicate in groups and one-to-one with parents, staff, and students. We are the media and marketing voice for our school. And, we speak into conflict and controversy. Even our non-verbals speak volumes—the stickers on our vehicles, signs in our yards, what we write on social media, and how we respond to emails—all reflect upon our school. Whenever and wherever we speak, we represent our schools. We are never just Mr. or Mrs. private citizen. In his excellent book, Conviction to Lead , Albert Mohler writes:

To be a leader is to communicate constantly, skillfully, intentionally, and strategically. The effective leader communicates so pervasively that it seems second nature, and so intentionally that no strategic opportunity is ever surrendered. Many people try to contrast communication with action, as if the two are at odds. But communication is action, and the leader will spend more time communicating than in any other activity. 2

The Five Golden Rules of Communication

Beth Fagan, who has led communications and marketing for several large St. Louis area companies and who currently works as a media trainer and communications counselor, writes that “for some 40 years, I’ve studied – and helped shape – the communications of leaders, continually studying the ‘best,’ to learn what they have in common ... [Based on 40 years of experience], here are my five simple, time-tested thoughts about words and messages for leaders ...”

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Teaching our Boys to Act Like Men and Gentlemen

Teaching our Boys to Act Like Men and Gentlemen

Teaching our Boys to Act Like Men and Gentlemen

We are raising our boys in a sexually and gender confused world. Men and women are confused about their roles and now even about gender identity. In fact, some parents are raising “gender-neutral” children.

They referred to their child as "The Infant" and only allowed him to play with "gender-neutral toys. For the first five years of his life Sasha (a gender neutral term) alternated between girls' and boys' outfits … Sasha wears a ruffled-sleeved" girl's shirt as part of his school uniform, and has been banned from wearing combat trousers … [but] the youngster is also encouraged to wear flowery tops at weekends. 1

False Stereotypes 

There is specific confusion today about what it means to be a man. Hollywood and our culture promote several false stereotypes of manhood …

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Habits of Heart, Health, and Work

Habits of Heart, Health, and Work

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions but the beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on our lives, our goals, and to make adjustments that will make us better stewards of ourselves, those for whom we are responsible, and our vocational callings. 

While the following are not novel insights, they are useful reminders in the spirit of Peter’s declaration to the church:

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder ... (2 Peter 1:12-13)

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Are You Really Clear? 3 Components of Strategy

Are You Really Clear? 3 Components of Strategy

Do you really have clarity on your strategy?

Strategy is a word that gets thrown around and can be made much more complicated than it needs to be. Often, leaders will come up with a long and detailed written plan that they will refer to as their “strategy.” While it’s very important to have a written plan, you still may lack a clearly defined strategy for moving your ministry forward. 

I’m going to share with you 3 Core Components that really comprise strategy for a ministry.

First, I need to give you a bit of a heads up. Some of the terms that I’m going to use here may sound like “business” terms, and one of the things that we run into a lot with ministries is they’ll say, “Woah, hang on! This is ministry! This is not a business!” 

True. Yours is a ministry, not a business. But what we have to share with you here isn’t about introducing more “business thinking” into ministries. Instead, we are all about bringing effective thinking into ministry. If it works in business, it’s because it’s effective. If it works in ministry, it’s because it’s effective and based on Truth.

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The Danger of Baby Steps to Drift and Decline

The Danger of Baby Steps to Drift and Decline

“Not Here!”

How many times have you listened to a tragic news story and heard someone proclaim, “I thought such a thing could never happen here” or “I never thought he could do such a thing, he seemed like such a nice person” or some variation of shattered expectations? Shattered expectations arise from naiveté regarding the nature of sin and complacency about people and the world around us. The uncomfortable truth is that violence and tragedy can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime, including in our Christian schools.

While violence is a real threat to our schools, we face a far more lethal, subtle, and pernicious danger. This danger arises not from the government, not from violent prone individuals or even from disgruntled employees or parents. This danger arises from within. The biggest threat we face is one that is mostly hidden until it is too late. I am referring to the threat of the small compromises made for good reasons

The First Steps of Drift and Decline are Small …

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Successfully Leading a School in a Culture of Change

Successfully Leading a School in a Culture of Change

I have had the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of Christian school administrators this year at conferences and on their campuses. Our conversations often lead to a discussion of their biggest challenges, and I sometimes share the following advice on how to make positive changes. 

We live in an era of exponential change, and with every change comes an element of friction. Christian schools need strong leaders to meet changing expectations, manage new technologies, and confront elements of culture that conflict with a biblical worldview education (all within a finite budget). It is not hard to convince leaders of these facts. It is also important to affirm that some things should never change at a Christian school.

What are some of these ‘challenges’ that Christian schools are facing? Here are a few facing leaders in 2018 …

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How to Overcome Email Overload and have More Time to do What is Important 

How to Overcome Email Overload and have More Time to do What is Important 

Email is the black hole of productivity. It is also a paradox. On the one hand, it is a boon to our productivity. It eliminates back and forth missed calls and voice messages, the hassle and time required to schedule meetings, and it provides an easily searchable document trail for future reference. On the other hand, email continually threatens to pull us into the black hole of the incessantly urgent but not always necessary. It can subject us to the constant gravitational pull of the immediate that saps our energy and preoccupies us while we ignore the important. Email allows others to write on our “to-do” list and is incessant; we never catch up.

Taming the Email Beast …

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6 Reasons Why You Should Keep A Journal and Tips for Journaling

6 Reasons Why You Should Keep A Journal and Tips for Journaling

I never used to journal or “keep a diary.”

I suppose there are several reasons for this. Earlier in my life, I thought of journaling—keeping a diary—as “something girls do.” I probably came to that false conclusion because my early exposure to journaling was always limited to female examples, _The Diary of Anne Frank_ being one.

A second reason is that, sadly, reading and writing were not highly valued in my childhood home. My mother never went to college, and my father joined the military before graduating high school. They were good parents, but neither placed a premium on the development of the mind. The idea of voluntarily spending time as a teenager or young man writing in a journal without being forced to by a teacher was the farthest thing from my mind. I am reminded of the hilarious scene in Back to the Future when Doc tells the old men in the bar that in the future people run for fun:

Doc: In the future, we don't need horses. We have motorized carriages called "automobiles."

Barfly:If everybody's got one of these auto-whats-its, does anybody walk or run any more?

Doc: Of course we run, but for recreation. Fun.

Barfly: Run for fun? What the hell kinda fun is that?!

I would have said the same thing about journaling, albeit with different language!

I was wrong. History is replete with famous people keeping journals; Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Winston Churchill, to name a few. None other than George Washington kept a daily diary for much of his life, from his first surveying trip in 1748 until December 13, 1799, the day before his death.

The question is why? Why take the time and develop the discipline to journal? I believe there are at least six good reasons to keep a journal …

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