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Some of our longer and deeper studies appear on this page. Several are based on experiences within our own community. They include articles on spiritual maturity, and specific issues relating to leaders and leadership.

Further thoughts on our need to think issues through (and counsel) when making decisions, if we are going to be effective in what we do.

What are the reasons that people choose to work independently rather than in co-operation with others of like mind?
(See also The Pizza Parable, Losing Your Identity, and Loose Cannons.)

What seems like a minor doctrinal point is developed into a powerful spiritual truth about the relationship between human organisations and the invisible kingdom of heaven.

This article does not say much that is new, but it does say something that needs to be said over and over about the need for patience amongst leaders, and the need for God's grace in all of our lives.
(See also A Letter Upon Release, The Body of Christ, and Pastors and Teachers.)

More reflections on how abuse of power is a concern for everyone, whether they are seen as leaders or not.

This study uses Jesus Christian organ donations as an illustration of something that distinguishes us as a group, which is our willingness to question our own motives in relation to virtually anything we do, in order to find the will of God.

November, 2014  by “Bob”
“Bob” shows how taking the lower seat can affect every area of our lives, and become a trademark of a true servant of God.

A humorous illustration of the danger in assuming you have all the answers when you have only begun to learn all that God wants to teach you.
(See also So You Want to Start Your Own Ministry? and Convenient Doctrines.)

Even God himself takes the time to listen when trying to say something that we are not hearing.  It would pay for us to do the same when we find ourselves getting upset that people don’t seem to be hearing us.
(The following article was written sometime before April, 2004, but somehow slipped through the cracks when the web site was revamped.  For what it's worth, we are re-publishing it now.)

Be sure that someone is listening before you criticise, and be sure that you are seeking the best interests of the one you criticise, rather than just trying to punish them. When we are being helpful, they may want to listen. (See also Patience, Free Will[10], and Criticism.)

Ever feel frustrated by the lack of common sense in those around you? Worse still, have those around you ever felt frustrated by the lack of common sense in you? Here are five simple ingredients that go into making up that elusive quality that we call common sense.
(See also Wisdom, Change, and Imagination.)

A letter addressed to community members who rely too heavily on correction from others to keep them on the rails. Five-star stuff for Jesus Christians, but not so relevant for others.
(See also Self Starters, Personal Responsibility, The Social Conscience, part 2, Job Lists, Budgets and Schedules, and Conviction vs Condemnation.)

If you are ever asked to be a "witness" (or counsellor) in a grievance meeting, this article will give you practical guidelines on how to handle your responsibility for the good of everyone concerned.
(See also Reading Minds, Discernment, Thou Shalt Judge, Disagreements, and Try the Spirits.)

Sometimes even in a Christian community it becomes necessary for the good of members to make them carry their own weight. A good leader must be prepared to "carry" the followers, but we must also be willing to push followers into fending for themselves.
(See also Self Starters, Criticism, and Something to Say.)

To forgive is divine. To forget is stupid. If people have a record of causing division, they should be "marked". Even their "good words and fair speeches" must be examined with some suspicion. They may not necessarily be hopeless cases, but they do need to repent and to get back into a spirit of humble co-operation. Until they do, they must be handled with care.
(See also Reject Us, Reject God, and Divine Authority.)

When tensions arise between you and the people you are trying to work with, one simple question could alter the entire perspective.

A closer look at one aspect of "common sense" reveals that one's ability to apply lessons in a way that relates to the practical needs of their own lives is an important ingredient in spiritual success. However, it is also quite rare.

Practical observations and tips from psychologists that can help all of us to be more effective leaders and parents.
(See also We See What We Want to See, and Cognitive Dissonance.)

Is it enough to have the truth? For a prophet or teacher, maybe. But a true shepherd (or pastor) must also grasp the Spirit behind the truth. And that "Spirit" may even choose to overlook technical offences against the truth. Could this be the missing key to spiritual growth?
(See also Pastors and Teachers, and The Five-Fingered Ministry.)

Seven verses from the Proverbs illustrate various aspects of laziness. Includes tips on how to overcome the problem.
(See also Buying Time, Self Starters, Burying your Talent, and 'Conscience' Issues.)

The problem of replacing a worldly system with a Jesus Christian system is discussed in this article on the need for private prayer to keep us on track.

Who are the real manipulators? Clumsy, untrained leaders of small new religious movements, or the experts, who have been schooled in the art by the world's best manipulators?

A comparison between running, playing chess, and facing the challenges and responsibilities of being a leader. We can hide from these challenges, or we can thrill at the adventure, especially as we see our abilities improving.
(See also Media Interviews, When Relations Break Down, and Having a Great Time: Wish you were Here!, Having a Great Time: Wish you were Here!)

Why do we need leaders? What is the spiritual difference between a leader and a follower? Why do people join organisations to begin with? Is it wrong for leaders to discipline followers? Are authoritarian leaders unloving leaders? And do you need to have a title before you can act as a leader? The answers are here.
(See also Confessions of a Manipulator, Reality in Utopia, and Character.)

Making wise decisions requires the ability to listen to opposing points of view (or imagine them if there is no one handy to express them). But how often do we do it?

This article is most remembered for its illustration about two communities that differ only in the obnoxious odour that one gives off! It suggests that there could be room for greater co-operation between Christians who are divided on issues which are secondary to obeying Jesus.
(See also The Body of Christ, and Divine Love.)

Ross shares his experiences while out of the community, and relates it to adolescence, when young people must learn to stand on their own.
(See also Corporate Adolescence, and Thirty is a Dangerous Age.)

Is there an easy way to evangelise? Probably not.
(See also Tracts, and Faithfulness.)

As followers become more and more adult, you are able to move away from thoughts of punishment and into a focus on consequences as a way of relating to them as equals. This approach to leadership puts the onus on followers to make their own choices in their own best interests. Some helpful tips on how to inspire followers.

Robin reminds us that we are only building God's kingdom as we genuinely seek to bring glory to God. When we get it right, enthusiasm will surround everything that we do.
(See also Aim for the Sky, Boredom, Faithfulness, and Positive Thinking.)

Good leaders must consider many different options before settling on the best.
(See also The Role of Experience in the Quest for Truth.)

What is the difference between power, and power abuse? What is a cult? And how can we avoid power abuse?
(See also Abuse of Power, and Leaders who Serve.)

Dave apologises for the many times when he has failed as a leader.

We need to move from robot-like faithfulness in one small area of responsibility to taking more initiative in other areas. Includes comments about the need for a job list, and the need to plan time away from responsibility.
(See also Job Lists, Budgets and Schedules, and Empowerment.)

Why are so many of the articles in this list written by the same person? Wouldn't it be fairer to have more different people writing the articles?
(See also Divine Authority, Losing Your Identity, and Hurtless Criticism.)

It takes more than a title to make one a leader. And bitterness against those who try to lead you will lead to your downfall. All communities require rules if they are to function effectively.
(See also Anarchy and Pacifism, Divine Authority, Bitterness, and Loose Cannons.)

In opinion matters (in our community), leaders have the final say. But only because they are supposed to know how to set aside their own opinions in order to accommodate the opinions of others. The overall goal is humble co-operation.
(See also Divine Authority, Bearing Burdens.)

A look at the ethics of discussing followers when the followers are not present. Deals with special requirements regarding a grievance taken against a leader.
(See also Les Byron, Leadership, and Two Witnesses, part 2.)

Whether it's playing chess, running, or just growing spiritually, you won't make progress if you hide from criticism, or from anything else that challenges you.
(See also Becoming Adults, Leaders who Serve, Criticism, and Chess and Leadership.)

Leadership in the kingdom of heaven is a paradox. It combines confidence with humility, and divine authority with service to others. This is only possible when we stop trying to build an empire and concentrate on building God's invisible kingdom of faith and love.
(See also Patience, and Divine Love.)

A manipulator is a skilful manager. We need more such people!
(See also Reading Minds, Discernment, and Divine Authority.)

Learn how to get people to do things, just through understanding their motivations.
(See also Behavioural Psychology, and Empowerment.)

You don't have to be big and powerful to be significant, and sometimes it even helps to be able to accept (and confess) your limitations.
(See also Cockroaches for Christ.)

Being forgiven does not exempt us from responsibility for the consequences of our actions. Pleading ignorance does not erase the consequences either.
(See also Empowerment, Becoming Adults, and Moral Adults.)

Only those pious acts which go undetected by others will be rewarded in heaven. It could result in some big surprises when we get there!
(See also Fasting Without Ceasing.)

The greatest commandment is to love one another. It is by our love that the world will be able to recognise authentic faith. But talk of love becomes meaningless if we will not seek reconciliation with other believers.
(See also Disagreements, Bitterness, and Criticism.)

Are traditional excommunication practices an accurate reflection of what the Bible is getting at when it tells us to treat heretics "as heathens"? Maybe not.
(See also Enemy Loving.)

While in prison in Feb/Mar 2001, Dave discovered that he could build the kingdom of heaven in some of the most unchristian environments. There may be more opportunities for sharing our faith that we have previously overlooked.
(See also Divine Love, and Divisions - Part of God's Plan?)

Email has made it possible for leaders to have daily communication with everyone in our worldwide community; but this has brought greater awareness of faults as well. (See also In Spirit and in Truth, The Five-Fingered Ministry, and Free Will.)

Do you take time to develop as a whole person? Cherry encourages community members to maintain balance in their personal growth.
(See also The Martha Syndrome, and Balance.)

Don't wander around in a daze when you can develop a picture in your mind which brings together everything that you do, to form a meaningful plan for your life. When you begin to see where it's all heading, you'll be able to help others see it as well.
(See also Empowerment Sessions, and Imagination.)

By putting ourself in someone else's shoes we can anticipate how we are coming across to other people. This is particularly important when being interviewed by the media. Listen for feedback and watch for clues as to how you are coming across to other people. A few tips here on how to deal with suspicious inquisitors.
(See also Common Sense.)

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