Thursday, February 09, 2017

Getting Growing ...

I rarely lack for vision and goals, but I've become a bit tired of goal setting.  There are so many variables at play that at times goals are really nothing more than my best hope for an ideal outcome.  I'm okay with that because as one friend is fond of saying 'if you shoot for the moon and miss, you just might hit a star!' 

As I weighed out where I wanted to go in 2017 and what I wanted to accomplish, I came to the conclusion that what I needed more than goals was a plan to grow.  My job has changed considerably.  My responsibilities have increased.  I have more to manage.  I have more to lead.  I am responsible for finding high capacity people and recruit them to join our team. Most of all, I am tasked with the challenge of turning a comprehensive vision into a national reality.  These are huge changes for me and ones that require something more than just another list of goals. 

Flatlined leaders have believed the lie that growth 'just happens'.  You can identify flatlined leaders by listening carefully.  They are replaying the same script that they playing a year ago!  The reality is that growth happens because we plan to grow.  Growth is INTENTIONAL! Getting intentional for me means that I devote an hour of my day, 5 days a week to personal/professional growth.  Some days I read and take notes, some days I listen to podcasts.  Some days I watch a video.  

Six weeks into my plan, I am seeing enormous growth and results.  Some of that growth is seen the way I am thinking.  Some of it is showing in the way I respond to situations and people around me.  Some of my growth appears in the content I have at my disposal in conversation and coaching.  It's been refreshing to do something more than repeating the same ideas I've had for years.  (Admittedly, not every new idea is a good idea, but not every new idea is a bad one either!)

I ran my first marathon in 2012.  Training was hard work and required more discipline and mental toughness than anything I had done before.  My muscles were sore more days than they weren't, but I grew from being a rookie runner into being a marathoner.  It wasn't always easy, but it was incredibly rewarding to cross the finish live upright and alive on race day!  

I'm seeing the same kind of growth happening in my life.  It's not always easy.  Some days I'm challenged on things that I've just been lazy about.  Some days I'm confronted with blind spots that I have intentionally ignored.   Other days, it's like I get an 'atta-boy' when something I've believed is confirmed to be true.  (It's rare, but it happens!)

If you're leading ANYTHING, you need to find a way to be intentional about your growth.  The people you lead, the people who look to you need you to be a growing leader!
What are you waiting for?  Get growing!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

10 Years Ago....

This moment seems so far away and at the same time, feels like it happened yesterday.  It marked the beginning of an incredible journey of faith, trust, favour and open doors.  I had no expectation that God would show up in my world in such a big way that day, but He did... and He keeps showing up (and showing off!!) on a regular basis!   

Check out what happened 10 years ago this month!

I attended the Speech from the Throne in Victoria today as the guest of a local MLA/Cabinet Minister who is a friend of the ministry. I arrived in plenty of time to people watch, chit chat with those who were sitting around me and just get the feel of the place. 

I noticed my MLA friend come out onto the floor about 10 minutes before things were to begin. He greeted a few people and then began to scan the public galleries greeting a few people he recognized. When he looked my way, I waved and smiled to catch his attention hoping that he would see me up in the "cheap seats". Upon recognizing me, he motioned for me to come down to the main floor and meet him at the door to the Chamber. When I arrived, he introduced me to the Sergeant at Arms who explained that the minister that had agreed to open the session in prayer had cancelled and could I/would I be willing to open in prayer. When I agreed (which took all of about .5 seconds, I was whisked to the Speaker's office and was asked again if I would be willing to serve in this way. 

I told him I would be happy to serve and he directed me to go with the Sergeant where I was led through the door behind the Speaker's throne and shown my seat where I was to wait until I was called upon to pray. After that he asked if I'd like to see their prayer book or just pray one of my one. I looked at the book and opted to pray my own... :-)

I spent most of the speech just trying to get my head around what had just happened... I'm going back next week for the Budget speech. As I was walking to the Speaker's office, my MLA friend turned to me and said "we know who's really in charge here don't we Tim!" He was as excited as I was!! 

I have to tell you that I am absolutely amazed at how God orders our lives and our days. I had absolutely no expectation to do anything more than attend the speech and perhaps have a moment to visit with my friend. God had set up an entirely different day that allowed me to meet virtually every Cabinet minister in the province and to publicly intercede for the MLA's and ask His blessing on this session. I was even on TV! (Okay, it was BC Leg TV and only political junkies watch it, but still it was pretty amazing!)
The same God who showed up (and showed off!!) on that day is still the same today.  As BC and Ontario resume sitting this month, we are looking forward to seeing God open more new doors into the lives of leaders!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Partner in Something Exciting!

Last Christmas my kids pooled their resources and gave me the kind of gift that took my breath away when I opened it. Their gift exceeded anything that I had expected of them.  I’m enjoying a delicious cup of coffee made by that very gift as I write this.

2016 feels a bit like God decided that this would be the year that He would take my breath away in terms of what He would do in, for and through Leading Influence. 

There’s not enough space to tell all the stories, but our biggest leaps forward have been to add Jason Goertzen to a full time role with us in BC, welcoming Dr. Scott Francis to our Saskatchewan role, while I have taken on the exciting opportunity to establish our work in Toronto this fall where we are being very well received!  Today, our ministry footprint extends from Victoria to Toronto and we have the unique privilege of serving and supporting leaders whose decisions affect the day to day lives of over 60% of Canadians.

This year has taught me that God delights in responding to the combination of vision, faith and sacrifice and it’s exciting to experience God’s response!

Leading Influence wouldn’t be here without your much-appreciated support and partnership!  2016 has stretched us financially and we need your help this year more than most as we look towards starting 2017 in a strong position.  As you consider any year end giving that you might do, we would be grateful if you remembered us!  As always, you can give online by clicking here.  (You will be taken to our CanadaHelps page) or you can mail to:

Leading Influence
626 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC V8W 3G6

From all of us at Leading Influence, have a very merry Christmas!

Saskatchewan - Winter Update

Leading Influence Saskatchewan is an exciting ministry to be part of. There is a legacy of prayer support here that has obvious fruit. Getting to know the heart of many of the MLA’s a and officials, I see a sincere desire to elevate and protect the people of the province.

Saskatchewan, like other provinces, is responding to the drop in commodity prices. That means a significant drop in government revenue. We face the daunting challenge of trimming programs and budgets that are greatly needed. Austerity is never easy because it has real life consequences for many families and their careers. But we now must endeavour to lead and steward through leaner years.

Please join us as we pray individually for each MLA. You can find our prayers at or like us on Facebook.

Screwtape at Christmas...

One day during the Christmas season, the devil dressed in a fine suit and went out to check on his territories. While moving through the halls of power he spied a junior demon tormenting a government official. The new demon was doing everything he could. He wanted to throw the official into turmoil so he would loose his faith in God and humanity. 

The Devil called the junior demon out into the hallway. On seeing the devil, the demon bowed low saying, “My master, I am terribly sorry! I am failing you. I can not turn this politician to the dark side.”

On hearing the report, the devil curiously asked “Well what have you tried?”

“I’ve tried everything” cried the demon, fearing a horrible reprisal. “I’ve offered him bribes of money, pleasures of the flesh, threats of political reprisals, but nothing unbalances him.”

The demon continued, “Regardless of what I say, he is steadfast in his integrity and goodness. What is most concerning is a bill that he is developing to bring to the assembly. If the bill goes through, much of our work to spread darkness will be ruined.”

The devil smiled knowingly at the lesser demon. “Let me give it a try” he said casually.

Effortlessly, the devil strolled into the official’s office and quietly whispered into his left ear.

Suddenly, the man sprung from his desk. He cursed God, and plunged the thick bill into the shredder. 

When Lucifer’s returned to the hallway, the demon bowed before him and begged to know how he had turned the man of integrity and gotten him to abandon his principles.

“Well it was really quite simple” said the devil. “ I just told him his younger brother was appointed Deputy Prime-Minister.”

Thursday, December 08, 2016

I Stand at the Door

By Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door - the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man's own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it - live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in -
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. 'Let me out!' they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door -
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But - more important for me -
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

'I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

'Four Months More??' - Ontario Update

Winter keeps sending signs of its impending arrival here in Toronto, but I woke up this morning thinking about spring.  

I’m not thinking about full blown blossoms and freshly mowed grass, but more about those early days when the crocuses and tulips push their way through the hard-packed soil and the tips of their greenery can just be seen.  For me, it’s one of the first signs that winter’s grasp is fading and that a new season is dawning.

That picture describes what I see happening at Queens Park in Toronto.  Next week concludes our first full session here and I can say with confidence that I am seeing signs of life and growth that give me hope for a harvest in the months and years to come.  Those indicators are anything from a text message, to an invitation to an event, to a warm conversation over lunch where the questions are beginning to migrate to the things that matter most and the list goes on.  These moments are foundational to what God has in store. 

I’m tempted to say 4 months more and then the harvest, but deep in my heart of hearts I keep hearing the words out of Amos 9 ‘that the plowman will overtake the reaper’ and in so doing will restore Ontario to its God given destiny and role within our nation.