Jane Hansen Hoyt
November 2005
Nashville, Tennessee

Diane Fink:  We have the privilege this morning, here at the President's summit in Seattle Washington, of having the leader of our ministry, President Jane Hansen, come and share some of the nuggets and the wisdom that she had gained in her years of leadership, not only in Aglow but in the body of Christ.  Jane has served as President of Aglow for 25 years and over that time she has been anointed by God to not only lead the ministry of Aglow, but also to be anointed as a leader in the body of Christ at large.  We have the awesome privilege this morning of hearing our leader share some of those nuggets with us, the leadership of Aglow.  So, we will begin our session, which is entitled, "Leadership 101 with Jane Hansen" and it is entitled, "I am in the game.'"  Please welcome Jane.

I Am In the Game

Jane Hansen Hoyt:  Thank you.  It is great to have you here in Seattle.  Welcome home.  I also want to just share a very brief word that Bob Jones gave a couple of years ago to those of us at Headquarters, but it really has to do with the whole ministry.  And he said:

The Lord is enlarging your plate.  Go get a new hairdo and a new dress.  He is going to show you new life, and He is going to be showing this right away.  So wrap yourselves in packages.  Wrap the package actually in the best way that you can, but just know that on the inside you are still the same.

And I think that is a good word for us.  We want to wrap ourselves as beautifully, and lovely as we can, but on the inside, even though some things seem to be shifting and growing and changing - that is good; it's healthy, it keeps the ministry fresh - but even though we may look a little different on the outside, the DNA of our ministry remains the same.  We are all about ministry to women, it doesn't matter what culture they are from, we are for women and for what God wants to do in women around the world.

So, this morning, this session is about Leadership 101.  And I just want to share a few thoughts with you about leadership.  If you had to put in a word what leadership is really about, I wonder what word you would come up with.  What I would say is that leadership is influence.  It is the ability of a person to influence others.  One can lead others only to the degree and the extent that he can influence others to follow him or her.  We all know as Christians that leadership is God-ordained.  It is something He bestowed upon a group of people in various levels within a ministry.  But as leaders, we need to take a look back and see if others are following.  Because if no one is following, you need to question your leadership.

Margaret Thatcher said, "Being a leader is like being a lady.  If you have to go around telling everyone, then you aren't."  Leaders are mentors.  What is a mentor?  A mentor is a trusted counselor or guide, a tutor, or a coach.  A coach is one who directs team strategy.  I loved what Diane shared last night about the winning team.  The group that came together from different ways of life, different cities, different teams that they had played on, but it wasn't until they became a team, dedicated to one another and to the winning process, that they were able to take the gold.  So, a coach is one who directs team strategy.

Leadership is always, "Say, always," about team work.  It is not about one person being exalted; it is about forming a team.  Because it is together that we get the job done.  Teamwork is work done by several with each doing a part.  And each one subordinates personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.  The greatest mentor, guide, coach or tutor was a man called Jesus.  Many scriptures say He taught them saying.  In Matthew 11, it says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me."  In other scriptures, He says follow me.  The word "follow" means "come closely after."  To seek me, to attain to, to attend closely to.  In other words, to observe clearly and then to follow.  That is a true mentor.

In John 13:15, it says, "I have given you an example that you should do as I have done." That is what Jesus said to us.  True leadership is the giving of oneself in selfless service.  In one sense of the word, you let your life go in service to others.  That kind of leadership is never done without a cost, and I am sure you have found that.  There is a cost involved.  Jesus paid the ultimate cost.  He laid down His life.  But as believers, we are called upon to do the same.  We come to Jesus, give ourselves totally to Him, and then He asks us to lay down our lives in service with Him and for Him.

For those who are called to leadership, there will be a higher price.  Everyone is called to lay down their lives, but for those who are called to leadership there is a higher price.  True leadership can exact a heavy toll on our lives.  And the more effective the leadership, the greater the price.  Now that sounds negative.  It just means that the further you go with Him, the longer you walk with Him, the longer you serve in leadership, you find yourself less able to reserve those little places just for you.  You find your life really being given away.

Christian leadership is a blending of both spiritual and natural qualities.  Have you found that to be true?  There is the inward qualities and the outward qualities.  Now inward qualities, to me, speak of character, heart issues, and motives.  The outward speaks of natural things:  leadership skills, communication skills, social graces, proper etiquette, protocol, appearance, natural things.

Let's talk for a few moments about inward qualities.  Mentoring is not just about teaching how tos.  It is not a list of rules.  It is more about someone observing your life.  It is ultimately about demonstrating to others, by the example of your life.  Last night we spoke about evidence and testimony.  This is just another way of being a testimony, of showing the evidence of the work of God in your life.  So it is ultimately about demonstrating to others by the example of your life, what it means to both and live and die.  That is leadership.  They will see through your life, how to live, but they will also see how to die.  Are you with me?  Leadership involves both.  It is about effecting character changes in the lives of those you lead.

In Larry Crabb's book, Inside Out, he makes this statement.  "The church needs leaders."  And we can say this of Aglow or any ministry.  "Leaders are needed who can involve themselves in other people's lives with the joy of integrity and transparency."  Is that a scary word to you?  Transparency?  Confident that their love is unseen, willing to be deeply known for the sake of helping others.  That awful distance from people that the ora of leadership creates.  Those are powerful words.  The awful distance from people that the ora of leadership creates, can be bridged.  Vulnerability, humility, intimacy, power.  Qualities of character that the pressures of leadership often weaken, can be developed.  They must be developed.  I hope you are hearing what is being said here.  It is incredibly powerful.  Even when you think of the ora of leadership, do you know what comes to my mind?  Something false.  Something put on.

Something that is not real.  What God is looking for are real people who can relate to real people in a very meaningful way.  That is true leadership.

One of the phrases in what I have just read to you out of Larry's book, Inside Out, he said, "We need people who are willing to be deeply known."  How are we deeply known by others?  It requires a quality of an open heart and being an open person and having an open heart doesn't mean that you tell everybody everything.  That is not being an open person.  An open, vulnerable heart is one that receives others in a noncritical, nonjudgmental way, and you are willing to share yourself with that person.  You don't put yourself on a different level thinking, well, I am the leader and I only associate with certain people.  No, that is not leadership.  The ground is level at the cross.  We are all made of the same stuff.  There is not one better.  We might be different than one another, but we are all made of the same stuff.  We all have the same kinds of insecurities, weaknesses and strengths.  We are just people after all.

So, we need an open, vulnerable heart that receives others in a nonjudgmental way and is willing to share or to give ourselves for the sake of helping others.  So, if someone comes to you with real turmoil or a struggle in their life, you don't just quote scripture and share principles with them, you share your life with them.  You share your heart with them.  You share your own struggle and how God helped you walk through certain areas of your life.  You don't have to give all the details, but you need to be real.  An open heart hides nothing, protects nothing.  You are not a self-protecting person.  Self protection keeps you hidden, keeps you away and isolated from others.  An open heart is an honest heart. 
A person with an open heart doesn't have to be right.  We don't esteem rightness over relationship.  We esteem relationship.  If we get to be right along the way, well, it feels kind of good once in a while, but that is what God is after.  It is what we heard late night:  unity and relationship. It means that you are willing to learn to live and learn to die and be an example of that.  It means that you are willing to die to your own desires, opinions, and perceptions.

Now, you are team members and I know that you run into conflict from time to time.  That is just life isn't it?  But what do you do when you think you are right and there is conflict because others on the team see it differently?  You can share your heart.  You must share your heart.  But you don't do it in a self-righteous, demanding way.  You simply put it on the table and then you trust God with that.  I have had situations like that myself, where I felt I knew God wanted such and such, but others were feeling differently, and, ultimately, you die to what you feel and think. Well, now, how is that being a leader?  Trust me, that is being a leader.  If it is God, He will bring it back around to the thing that was important to Him.  So we learn to let it go, because unity and relationship are more important than being right.  Do I hear an amen?

With leadership comes authority, however, authority does not mean that you become a dictator.  It is being ready to really hear what others are saying.  I am going to talk about communication in a few moments, but when I say we really need to "hear" one another, I mean you listen with your heart, not just with your head or your mind.  Controlling leadership and having to be right stems from fear and insecurity.  Do you know that the more wrong you feel on the inside, the more right you try to be on the outside?  We all have places of insecurity, of nervousness, of unsureness, of just not being sure we are measuring up or doing it well enough.  We all struggle with things like that.

But the more wrong you feel, the more that struggle predominates in your life, the more you strive to be right, to be seen, to be noticed, to be affirmed on the outside, because you are trying to feed a broken place on the inside.  Do you hear me?  Godly leadership flows from knowing "say knowing." It flows from knowing in the depth of our beings that we have been called by God, and we find our security in that knowledge, and we live out of that security.

That doesn't mean you never need a pat on the back, or that we don't need to fill one another's buckets; we do need to do that. But your feet are on solid ground when you really have resolved God has called me to this position, at this time, for this season, and He will enable me.  I will have all sufficiency for the task that He has called me to.  God will guard you.  He will guard your leadership team.  He will guard the women you lead.  Sometimes we are so uptight thinking, "Oh, if I make a mistake and get the meeting off track."  Just go in confidence, knowing that He is bigger than you, and He is bigger than any scenario that could enfold in your meeting and your team meeting - oops.  He is a big God and He cares more about this ministry and about your team meetings, and your lighthouse meetings, than you could ever really give attention to.  He is in control.  We do need to be prepared.  There are things that we will hear this morning that we will recognize.  Yes, this is part of leadership.  But ultimately God is in control.  You don't have to control to get the job done.  You just need to be a godly, gracious, open, nonjudgmental, leader and He will do amazing things through you.

Let me just summarize.  God wants to change good disciples into powerful, loving servants who leave an indelible mark on the poeple they touch.  Is that what you want? Do you want to leave an indelible mark on the people who come across your path?  So He is going to be about changing your life.

Leadership is about going first.  Leadership sets the tone.  You set the tone in your team meetings; you set the tone at your area retreats.  Your presence as a leader makes a statement.  So leadership sets the tone and opens the way through openness, humility, transparency and integrity.

It is about the issues of our own heart being resolved.  It is not only knowing about these things, but it is actually living them out.  Letting them be worked into the fiber of our being.  That is a leader.

Christian Leadership is not about perfection.  It is about realness and honesty.  Let's turn to some practical, outward aspects of leadership this morning.  This is an important part of being a leader.  Leadership does not simply happen.  There are leadership skills that can be taught and learned and caught as we walk along together.

So, our first segment is: Get Your Gear On

We are all aware that God is calling forth women at this time.  A recent word was given.  In fact we heard that word repeated just last night:

I am bringing the girls into the game now.  So rise up; I am calling your number.  Come into the game now.  Many of you have been sidelined in this past season, and I say, get your gear on for I am calling you back into the leadership of My body.

And we say "Yes."

So let's begin with the most outward, which is our physical appearance.  Just for a moment, just scan in your minds leaders that you know; pastors, leaders in your community, maybe national or international leaders.  Just get a picture of them in your mind.  Got it?  Now, just think of their appearance.  I would dare say that every one of them makes a pleasing appearance.  It is rare to find a leader or a pastor who is shabbily dressed, who is unkempt, who doesn't have good personal habits.

Recently I was in Africa, and Jervae and her husband, Dwight, and another member of our team, were going out into the countryside, out into the bush, to meet with a group of Aglow women that actually had put on their best apparel.  They came to a cement building.  There were very few places to be seated in that building.  And it was just sort of automatic, I guess it is an unspoken thing, but these women in their nice garbs all brought a piece of cloth carried over their arm, because they knew that they would be seated on the floor for that entire meeting.  The men sat on the chairs.  Her husband, Dwight, was asked to meet with the chiefs of the tribe.  So, as the chiefs of these various tribes arrived at the meeting, now they are out in the country, it is in the bush, but they arrive in their nicest suits.  Now they wore little rubber zories or sandals on their feet, but they came in their best apparel.  That so touches my heart.

You see, there is something God has put within us, and especially as leaders, you want to look your best.  You want to put your best foot forward and I believe it is very important that leaders do that.  So, let's talk about physical appearance.  We don't talk about that much in Christian circles; we talk about godly things.  But I would like us to look at this with new eyes today.  It is time for us to take a look in the mirror, just as we look at our ministry, and think we need to freshen this up.  We need to be conscious of that as women.  Physical appearance is one of the places where we can be taught.  We can learn.  We can catch what is fresh and new in this season.  Your physical appearance does make a statement.  Do you realize that?

Put yourself in a new setting.  You have just walked into a room. No one knows you.  They don't know your name.  They don't know who you are or what you do.  They have never heard you speak, and I don't mean speak from a podium, I mean they have never even heard you converse.  They know nothing about you, but you have just walked into the room.  What is the first thing they see about you?  Your appearance.  Your appearance makes a statement and it makes a statement about yourself.  It makes a statement of how you feel about yourself.  I believe God wants us as women, and especially as Christian women, to have a presence about us.  I don't mean something haughty or snobby; no, a pleasing presence. An appearance like, "Oh, I wonder who that woman is."  She is a leader in Aglow.  She is a woman of God.  She is a child of the King.  That kind of an appearance.

Some Christians think appearance doesn't really matter, it is not very spiritual - but it does, for all the reasons I have just said.  Think about the creation story.  God indicated His divine approval by saying creation was very good.  He loved what He had created and it was a thing of beauty, and He said, I really like this, this is good.  Think about the tabernacle in Exodus 26.  It called for fine, woven linen of blue, purple and scarlet threads with artistic designs.  It was important that it be beautiful.

Think about the physical appearance of many leaders that you read of in the Bible.  Saul is one in 1 Samuel 9.  This is what the word says about Saul.  There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel.  From his shoulders upwards he was taller than any of the people.  This was a good looking guy.  I think of David.  David was a handsome man.  Think of Esther.  It says she was a beautiful woman who gave herself to beauty treatments.  Yes, it was in preparation for a godly call on her life, but how did she even get that far.  She knew how to take care of herself.  She was a lovely, lovely woman.  Thank of Deborah; Abigail is described as a beautiful woman.  They took care of themselves, even then, in the best way they knew.  They made a pleasing appearance.  They were comely and winsome in the very presence of their being.

So, I say, God loves beauty.  And He has put within us, especially as women, that same desire for loveliness and beauty.  That is why we create in our homes.  I love to create an atmosphere in my home. I do fun things in my kitchen.  I create a coffee bar on one corner, or an Italian corner with bread coming out of a basket and an open cookbook that shows lasagna or something.  I love to create and so do you.  I love fresh flowers.  I keep them in my home all the time.  They make me happy.  They speak of God's beauty and His creation.

I said earlier your appearance makes a statement about you.  So what do we do about our appearance?  Well, we need to update.  Do you like to update?  I do.  How do we update?  Well, do you ever buy a magazine and just thumb through it?  You can't help but notice newscasters;  Diane Sawyer always looks so sharp.  Katie Couric or others, I can't think if other names right now.  But you kind of look like, "Oh, she's got a different hairstyle now, and she's kind of lightened it up."  "What is she doing and how would that look on me?"  Or you notice accessories, because, you know, accessories are probably the greatest key to our appearing with an updated look.  So we need to be aware of what is current.  It doesn't take a lot of money to look well, or to be current.

I think with clothing, having some basic items in your wardrobe.  You notice I wear black a lot, but the reason I do it is because you can do so much with it.  You can travel the world and have a few accessories and change the total look.  So a few years ago, I learned that if I got just some very basic colors and then put different jewelry, jackets, scarves and shoes - shoes being my downfall - that you could really just change the look.  You could dress it up or you could dress it down.  And it doesn't cost a lot of money to do that.  I know we are all conscious of guarding the budget.  As I said, current styles are mostly about accessories, if you really watch.  Clothing doesn't change that much.  There may be a few items like these these broomstick skirts or these flouncy skirts that are kind of popular now, but you can live without a flouncy skirt if you have the basics, you will look current.

So what do I mean about accessories.  Well, shoes.  Shoes make a statement.  Handbags make a statement.  Accessories like belts and jewelry.  Have you noticed they are coming out with lots of clunky bracelets?  They are wearing lots of ropy looking belts - I don't have any yet, but next week I'll be at the store.  It is just fun to just liven up your look.  Hairstyles.  We need to stay current with our hairstyles, don't we?  We are all different sizes and shapes and ages.  But I'll tell you we need to forget our age, stay young, stay young in spirit and heart and attitude.  When somebody asks just say "I feel good."

All right, we want to look feminine, we want to look current, we want to look like women of God who are relevant and have it together.  Is that not true?  You know, two women came to my mind.  You will probably laugh.  One is a US woman and the other is someone from overseas.  But I think of Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s.  She had a classic, classy look.  You wouldn't have seen her in one of those founcy skirts.  She just had this very simple, simple style.  She always looked elegant and classy.  We can learn from that.  That is what I look for when I look in magazines, don't you?  You know the other woman that I thought of was Princess Diana.  It was interesting how she changed as the time went on.  Initially she kind of wore clothes that were not as flattering to her, and as she moved along in her confidence, her dress became more simple and more streamlined.  But again, it was a classic and classy look.  So we can take lessons from people like this.

Now it is time for questions:

Nellie:  I thought that according to 1 Peter 3, that we weren't supposed to be concerned about our outward appearance?

Jane:  Well, 1 Peter 3 tells us that we are not to be consumed with the braiding of the hair and the wearing of gold.  But I think what this is saying is don't bother with that kind of thing.  I think what it is saying is learn to develop the inward qualities of godliness that will shine forth in your appearance.  I think, because of all the reasons that I have given this morning, God loves beauty and He has put within us this desire for beauty.  So He is saying, don't just focus on that, become a whole person.  Be balanced.  Let Me do the inside work so that what you bring forth on the outside really shines for Me.

Question:  Regarding having an open and honest heart, what do you do if someone asks you a personal question and you are really not at liberty to share, but you want to have an open and honest heart?

Jane:  That is a good question.  We have said that having an open and honest heart does not mean you tell everybody, everything.  But if someone asks a question that you kind of feel puts you on the spot, don't feel pressed to answer specifics.  An open heart is more of a feeling and an attitude than it is information.  Do you understand what I am saying?  You want to cover the people that perhaps were involved in a situation, and it might be meaningful for this person to know how you worked through certain things, but what you need to express to this person is an openness to hear what they are saying, and an openness to share, without divulging information and uncovering people.  It is a feeling and an attitude that the others will catch and they will feel safe in your presence and they will open their heart to you.   Thank you.

The second portion of our Leadership 101 is:  Get Your Signals Clear

Communication is the key to being a good leader.  It is the key to relationships period.  But I just want to stress, especially since we are leaders gathered here today, that leadership or communication is the key in leadership.  It is what will build the team and what will build unity.  Recently I read a book entitled fierce conversations.  It is a secular book, not a Christian book, but there are some wonderful principles written in this particular book.  Listen to this.

Our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time.  While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a ministry, a relationship or a life, any single conversation can.  Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have.  A lot of times we are distracted when we are talking and we don't listen and fully engage.  Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have.  Success is often measured by the accumulation of titles while little or no attention is paid to the power of each conversation to move us toward or away from life's goals.

When you think of a fierce conversation, think passion.  Think integrity.  Think authenticity.  Think transformation.  Think leadership.  When you hear the term fierce conversation do you hold back and think, "Oh, that sounds scary."  It is actually a wonderful habit to develop.  That is really being an open, honest person.  Conversations are the work of a leader.  And they are the workhorse of an organization.  I want to repeat that because this is important stuff.  Conversations are the work of a leader.  Do you remember that I said earlier, you, as a leader, set the tone?  You set the tone on your team and in your team meetings, and you set the tone in your public gatherings.  You set the tone, and if you will learn to be a communicator with an open, honest, vulnerable heart, you will find that your team and your meetings begin to come together in a cohesive way that is deeply satisfying to those that you are serving and walking with.  So conversations are the work of a leader and they are the workhorses of an organization.  It is the real stuff of life.

One of the first great communication skills is not about talking.  It is about listening.  In a conversation, many people are more focused on their next comment or response rather than really listening and hearing what the other person is saying.  They are running off over here, over there.  They become defensive.  Something kicks in gear.  They are not hearing at all what is really being said.  They aren't feeling the heart of the other person.  They are busy running and thinking of what they are going to respond.  They hear the words, but they are listening with their heads rather than their hearts.  These are great keys for you as leaders.  To develop the habit of listening with your heart and not your head, and then you can help others also to learn to do that.  They will observe how you handle yourself in the midst of conflict, in the midst of hurt and pain, in the midst of all manner of situations; you set the tone as the leaders.  Communication is the work of the leader.

In conflict resolutions, do you ever have that?  A person needs to know that they are being heard.  You are half way home if the person knows they have been heard.  See, they don't want your quick answers.  They don't want the scripture; they don't want you just thinking all the time they are talking, I have got a great answer.  No.  Sit back in your chair, open your heart, set aside your judgments and listen with your heart.  They will know you are listening, because they can feel it.  Don't always be ready with a quick answer.

Don't be afraid of silence in a conversation.  Does that make you uneasy?  Let silence do the heavy work.  I am letting silence do the heavy work right now.  That is a gem that needs to go into your heart.  And for me to just keep talking, you wouldn't have gotten it.  Let silence do the heavy work, in marriages, with kids, in Aglow, in our church.  We need to learn this.  Slow down the conversation so that insight can occur between words.  So that you can truly discover what the conversation really is about.  It is not just words that are being spoken.  So slow it down.  We run way too fast.  We run mentally; we run emotionally; we need to slow down.  So many people feel that they need to fill the atmosphere with words.  If there is a silence, they'll talk.  They have to fill things with words.  Words in the air are not guaranteed to accomplish anything useful.  We, as women, especially need to learn this.  Words in the air are not guaranteed to accomplish anything useful.  They are just words, and talk.  Do you ever find yourself weary of just words, and words, and words.  Never mistake talking for conversation.  Never mistake talking for real conversation.  If you are in a social setting where a lot of talking has occurred, but no real meaningful conversation, you will go away frustrated, and weary.  It was meaningless.  Sometimes we have to stop the words in order to start the conversation.  These are good tools and tips for you as leaders.  Silence will allow for time to receive what is really being said.

Don't talk over the top of others.  Karen Anderson has a great line, and I don't know where she picked this up, but I love it.  "Often we walk on other people's lines."  They are in the middle of saying something and you just jump right in on the top of it.  And if they don't stop talking, you talk louder.  You would be surprised how many people do this.  We need to slow it down.  Don't interrupt.  Communication is more about listening than it is about speaking.

What is the opposite of talking?  Waiting to talk.  I got you.  Many think that not speaking, when someone is talking, is listening.  But it isn't necessarily.  They are hearing people's words, but that is only the beginning.  You also have to hear their feelings.  You have to hear their aspirations, their fears, and their insecurities.  There are many things you will hear if you will listen with your heart.  That is a key for leaders.

I also would like to encourage you as presidents and leaders of teams that when you are in a team meeting, it is important for you to draw the quiet ones out.  You will have people on your teams that are talkers.  Their hands are up; they always will have something to say.  There will be others on your board that will just let them do the talking.  That isn't healthy for a team.  You need to try to keep it in balance and draw out ones and say, "Susie, what do you think about this?"  And get her to open up and share what is in her heart.  You will get some good stuff.

We need what silence accomplishes.  Some of my most meaningful conversations have been filled with silence.  Have you found that to be true?  In a social setting, maybe you are having six or eight people in for dinner, we are not talking a party of thirty people, but an intimate dinner gathering, if you as the hostess, will try to direct, and I don't mean boss, but in a very gracious way, you can begin to draw everyone into the conversation.  What people tend to do is get side conversations going so you have got voices here and voices there, and somebody down here is saying something really meaningful and they just happened to have caught your eye, but nobody else is getting it.

And about the time they are through, they will say, now what was that you were saying?  It creates chaos.  What you want to do in a social setting is create community.  That is why you brought this group together.  And it will be deeply satisfying to everyone who is gathered around your table if you can gather them without being bossy, but just kind of direct, gather and draw in.  Well, Jim, tell us about what's just happened with you, and... You know how to do that.  People will go away saying, that was the best evening, because we have really had a conversation.

Here is a good one liner for you.  The conversation is the relationship.  That's true.  The conversation is the relationship.  We add a lot of things to that, but what it boils down to is how meaningfully we can connect with each other and know each other's heart.  That is the relationship.

Let's talk for a moment about the other side of the coin regarding silence.  We have talked a lot about letting silence do the heavy work and letting silences have a place in your conversation so that you are really hearing and connecting.  But there is another side to this coin, so we need to talk about conflict resolution.  Because when conflict comes, especially as women, we want to back off.  We are uncomfortable with feelings, with tensions, with things that hang in the air that nobody really wants to talk about.  But we cannot be afraid of what is being said.  You need to be afraid of what is not being said.  And as long as it remains hidden, it smolders.  By not saying the difficult things and leaving them hidden under the surface, the result is that they will surface in a different way, at a different time, in a different place.  And the result could well be broken relationships.  Every person has to own what is inside of them.  If you have given a person opportunity to share what they are really feeling and where they are really at, and they say no I am fine, and you give them opportunity after opportunity, they have to own the fact that they are remaining in a hidden place.  It will come out later.

Have you ever had conflict on your team?  Probably not, right?  But when emotions surface, it does make people uncomfortable.  Generally speaking, it does.  We want to rush in and we want to fix it.  So, Susie starts crying because she is really hurt, or maybe she is really angry and she is spouting off.  But let's say she is hurt and you want to rush over, you want to hug her, you want to pat her back, and you want her to just be okay, because what she is  doing really makes you uncomfortable.  We don't say that, but it is the truth.  Fear, then, is our motivating factor.  In order to come out the other side of difficulties, you are going to have to be willing to walk all the way through this thing in order to get where there is peace and resolution and a cohesive team once again.  So peace and restored relationships can only come as we are willing to face into the storm; face into the conflict that we are facing.

When a feeling surfaces in someone, what is our tendency after we have hugged and wanted to pat them and do everything we can to just kind of get them to stuff those feelings?  When you begin to see something in someone, you need to stop as leaders.  You need to stop and say, "Mary, what are feeling right now?  Talk to us about what is going on on the inside.  Don't be afraid of what you will say.  Don't be afraid of accusations.  Don't be afraid of the surge of what might come out.  Just relax."  Then sit back in your seat.  Mary is going to tell you how she feels.  That's okay.  That's good.  That's healthy.  It may be uncomfortable for a moment, but if you just read the situation and say to the Lord, I will have an open heart, I will listen, I will hear, I will not defend.  I am not going to run over her feelings.  I am not going to say, well, yes I hear what you are saying, but you are wrong.

I had someone close to me recently share with me that they had written a letter.  She was so intimidated by the person she needed to share her feelings with, she wrote a letter.  And sort of true to form, this person came back and said, well, I am very proud of you for sharing your feelings, but your perception is wrong.  Well, that is just another way of saying I am superior, I know what is right, and I know what is not.  And thank you for your feelings, but you are wrong.  Don't do that to people.  They need to know they have been heard.

So, as you pause and begin to draw out what is inside of that person, because it will come out one way or another, listen for the feelings behind the words.  Because feelings say more than words.  Here is a good quote:  "You must deliberately come out from behind yourself into the conversation."  You need to be fully present.  Do you know what I am saying?  You need to make it real, at least your part of it.  And if you are willing to be real, you will change the atmosphere.  Okay, everybody take your finger and touch your nose.  This is where conflict resolution begins.  Right here.  And everybody said.  Yes.  It is the truth, isn't it?

We do have some more questions.

Jane: Hi, how are you?

Question: There is tension, Jane, on one of our leadership teams, and I really don't know how to begin to deal with it.

Jane: I don't either.  I think you first need to identify if this is a long-standing situation or if it is just something that has currently come up in your meetings.  If it is like the elephant under the rug and it has gone on and on and on, what I have said this morning totally applies.  Somebody has to step up to the plate and say there is an elephant in the room.  And, as president, lucky you.  It will begin with you being courageous, stepping out, and setting the tone by your open and vulnerable presence.  You provide a safe place for them to begin to share what is going on.  You may, as the leader, feel fearful that they are going to gang up on you or maybe you are afraid that you are the one they are angry with.  But don't be afraid.  Run for your life.  That's what we feel like, isn't it?  That is not what you want to do.  In a moment you shoot up a prayer and you say, I am yours, I am open.  I am open to hear, I am open to correction, I am open.  And if it is not about you, imagine that, and it is about a situation that is a storm cloud brewing, you head into it and know that God cares more about the unity of your team than even you do.  He will enable you to get there, as long as you will enter into the conversation and be the real you, and allow God then to work through you, to help others to come into that place of openness, honesty and vulnerability.  You will get where you need to be.  Thanks for your question.

Diane:  Jane and I are going to do a little, brief role playing for you of the wrong way to handle a situation and then the right way.  And just to give you the scenario, a president has been in a setting outside the team meeting with several of the members of her team.  And in the course of the conversation, an issue comes up and they make a decision on it.  The problem is that one of the team members was not there in that social setting, so the very next time the team comes together to discuss what they were going to do and this decision comes up, there is one of the team members that doesn't know anything about it.  And as they are excited sharing what they want to do in an outreach or whatever, someone is sitting there in the dark.

This is the wrong way:

Jane:   Diane, is something wrong with you today?

Diane:   No, I am fine.  I am just fine.

Jane:   Really?  You seem sort of closed and negative today.

Diane:   It is just that a decision has already been made so you don't really need my input.

Jane:    Really.  I'm sorry if you feel that way, but I am the president.  You know, Diane, as leader of this team, I have a right to make some decisions.  Besides that, I really know I heard God say that we should do it this way.

Diane:   Fine.

So how would you say that conflict was resolved?  It wasn't.  It will exacerbate the tensions, the ill feelings, the hurt and it will cause breakdowns in the relationship.

This is the right way.

Jane:  Hi Diane.

Diane:  Hi

Jane:  I am sensing that something is bothering you.

Diane:  No.  Nothing.  I'm fine.

Jane:  Yeah

Diane:  Yeah, I'm fine.

Jane:  You seem upset like there is a hurt in there or you are just feeling disturbed about something.  Can we talk about it?

Diane:  Well, I guess the truth is that it appears that you guys had a meeting and I wasn't part of it, and a decision was made.  Not only did I not get asked for my input, but I didn't even get informed about it ahead of time.  I am just sitting here in the meeting, really feeling hurt and left out by the whole thing.

Jane:  You know, it was odd.  We were all together at Joanne's wedding, and we just to talking around the table there, eating our wedding cake, and we were talking about the plan for our outreach.  And you know how it happens, we had this spontaneous conversation, and really I should have come home, and called you immediately, and filled you in.  I really apologize.  I got busy with the family and I thought, well, I will call her tomorrow.  And now here we are at the meeting and I can see that you would feel left out.  Will you please forgive me, and forgive us as a team.  We didn't mean to leave you out at all.  You are part of us, you are important to this team, and we want you on board.  We need to be functioning together.  So please forgive me.

Diane:  I do and I really appreciate even hearing how it came about, that it wasn't intentional and it just happened.  So, yes, I do forgive you.

Jane:  We love you, Diane.

Diane:  I love you, too.

Okay, the third segment is: Hold your proper position on the field

And this is about leadership again in the public sense.  Public meeting protocol.  And as I have already said, as a leader you set the tone in the way you present yourself.  Your appearance, your composure, your presence.  Let me underline composure.

Get really still on the inside and don't be nervous and casting about.  You might have butterflies in your tummy, but just hold your composure, because people will feel the peace that comes from you.  You will either bring a sense of peace and order or confusion and chaos.  And as I said, don't be moved by anything.  I don't mean by that stubbornness or not needing to hear information that people are needing to give you, but there is a kind of scurry of activity before a session begins even at conference, or in your meetings, it seems like there are last minute things that come that can throw you off.  Just maintain your composure and stay focused.

Be prepared.  We spiritualize lack of preparation.  I don't think that is right.  Be prepared.  If God wants to do something different in your meetings, go with the flow, but you go in prepared.  Have a well thought-through agenda.

Now I am talking about not only your team meetings, but when you go into a retreat or a lighthouse meeting, just have an order to your meeting.  When presiding at a public meeting, don't leave the podium vacant.  Generally speaking at a conference setting, if it is during praise and worship or anything that is happening, I am either there or I have introduced the person who has now come to the podium.  People tend to look - they have to look somewhere - okay where are we going, what is happening.  They are following you as the leader and it doesn't mean that you are dictator or that you are trying to be in control of everything.  You just need to let your presence be there.  Be the leader.  As I said, even during praise and worship, don't just turn the meeting over to your praise and worship people.  If there is anybody I trust it is Ruth Collingridge, but we have an agreement that she likes to see me at the podium and we maintain eye contact so that I know where she is going, or if I feel I want to add something, we maintain that kind of connection.

So you don't just give your meeting away to someone else.  You are the leader.  You have a team that you function with, and as a team, you have talked and prayed about where you feel the direction of this meeting needs to go.

So, without being dictatorial or without being so rigid that you can't go with the flow if God decides to do something different, you need to maintain course.  Are you with me?

Let others know what they will be doing in the meeting.  It is rare that I will call on somebody spontaneously.  Most people like to at least have gathered their thoughts.  One or two at least.  So it is better to just say, "You know, I am going to call on you for prayer today" or "You'll be taking the offering."  You let them know ahead of time, and you tell them how much time they have.  I find that people, and it isn't only women, but I find that people take longer.

More minutes click by more quickly than you can imagine.  You are up here, you are talking, and more time has gone than you realize.  So we need to kind of be aware of keeping things moving.

Don't give the microphone to someone who doesn't have a specific task.  If you have not called on that person, you don't just let random people come to the microphone.  Again, it is not about you having to be in control, but you have a room full of people, and it can get really boring for the people out there if these random things are happening from the podium.  You want to keep your meeting lively, you want to keep it moving, and you want to be sensitive to the Spirit, so you need to be aware of these kinds of things.  You want to hit the target for this meeting don't you?  God has spoken to you.  This is where we feel we are going and you want to hit that target.

Do your homework.  Give proper introductions of speakers.  Share regarding their ministry affiliation or if they have a title, use their proper title.  Speak from the heart as much as you can but don't have it be too random because again we fill the atmosphere with words.

Be as concise as possible.  Honor special people that are in your audience.  Just honor them by recognizing them or saying they are a former leader in Aglow and we are so glad to have Nancy with us today or just honor them.

During the praise and worship time, don't be afraid to wait on God.  Again, you know I have talked a lot this morning about filling the atmosphere with words.  I want to say that I feel one of the things that kills the anointing the quickest is when there is someone at the mike who has to explain to you everything that is happening.  They talk away the anointing.  Don't do it.  Learn to be silent.  If there is something that God wants you to say, you are going to know it beyond the shadow of a doubt.  There are many times in a conference setting where I am praying.  I may look like I know exactly what I am doing, I don't, but I am praying, God what are You saying?  What are You doing?

Where do we go next?  Don't be afraid of silences in that way.

One other thing I want to mention about praise and worship.  We are talking about not killing the anointing with talking.  One of the things that I find in praise and worship, we are a lot more about praise than we are about worship.  One of the things, and I have seen this happen again and again, I think of one conference setting where we had entered into such a place of worship, I mean it was not about us, it was about Him, and somebody came and whispered in my ear they had a prophetic word.  And I am thinking, just hold it.  And I kept saying just wait, just hold it.  Because, and ultimately this person just went to the mike, what it did was, take our attention away from God and brought it back to us of what we need, what God is saying to us and how He wanted to minister to us.  I am telling you, one of the most precious things you will experience in your meetings is when you move from praise into true worship.  And when we say it is His presence that defines us, that is the most satisfying thing that will happen in your meetings.  It is not all about us.  If we get centered on Him, we have come home.

Another thing is about judging words.  You don't need to embarrass or humiliate anyone.  We just think we have to show how brilliant we are and this was that, and that shouldn't have happened.  You don't have to do that.  Just go to the microphone and if somebody has brought a word and it kind of goes off in a different direction, or if the mood of the spirit that day is one of quietness and worship and somebody screeches out with something, just quietly bring it right back to where it was, and do it in a very gracious way.  But do bring it back.  Don't let that fill the atmosphere of where you were going.

I also want to encourage you to allow enough time for the speaker.  So often and we get caught in this, too, in our conference setting, we try to pare back what we have as preliminary things.  But when you only meet together once a year, you have things you need to present.  But we want to allow enough time for the speakers.  People come to a meeting to worship the Lord and to hear the speaker.  Now there is some stuff that needs to happen, announcements or offerings or whatever, but allow time for the real purpose of the meeting to take place.  That is your job as a leader.

I think I will close that segment with that comment and I believe we do have questions.

Question: If you are at the podium most all the time, do you feel the others will think you are trying to dominate?

Jane:  Hopefully not, because I think how you handle yourself at the podium will let them know whether you are trying to be the boss and the dominate one.  But I feel that being at the podium is like being a conductor.  If you listen to an orchestra, there are many sounds that come in, and the conductor of the orchestra isn't your focal point, what you are listening to is the sound of what God wants to bring forth in that setting.  So, being a leader is like being a conductor.  You are calling on different sounds and different voices.  You are making room for them, but somebody needs to be there to say, you come forth with that prophetic word.  That's how I see that.

Question: Jane, what should you do if someone is at the podium and they take too much time?

Jane:  We have all been caught in that, haven't we?  Well, just with a beautiful smile like yours, you approach them and as soon as you begin to move toward them, they'll realize their time is up.  And if they continue on, just the hand on the shoulder, and where you can, if they take a breath, just jump in there and say, hasn't this been a wonderful message this morning?  Something really subtle like that.  Those are awkward moments aren't they?

Alright, our last segment is:  Go by the play book

We are almost finished.  These have been good, helpful hints for us as leaders.

Aglow is 38 years old this year.  Isn't that incredible?  As women begin to age, what do we do?  We begin to look for ways to stay younger looking.  Maybe we don't want to look twenty-five, thirty might work, but we look for ways to stay fresh, to stay current.  We put cream on our faces to alleviate some of the lines, to ease some of the lines.  That sort of thing.  So it is with ministry.  God has such a fresh call on Aglow.  I told you last night that I recently had breakfast with Robert and Anna Stearns, and his comment to me was that Aglow is experiencing a renaissance.  The word renaissance means rebirth.  And the historical renaissance that we know about was the transitional movement in Europe between medieval and modern times.

Well, Aglow is also in a transitional place of movement into modern times, into times of relevancy.  And that word relevant is really important.  It is important that people know that we are not just living back in the 70s, but we are women that listen to the news.  We read the paper.  We are very aware of what is going on in our world today.  You know it is easy to become accustomed to doing Aglow in the good old way.  This is comfortable to us.  We even have a certain form to our meetings.  But familiarity can hold us in the past.  Does your home look exactly the way it did in the 1970s?  That's true.  See, there is something God has put in us that is creative, that wants to freshen up the carpet, or the furniture, or add new plants or whatever it is.  We stay current with what is happening at that time.  And so it is with Aglow.  We cannot stay locked in the past of how we have done Aglow meetings.  Amen?

Barbara Yoder spoke to us the last couple of conference years, and I don't remember which conference it was, but she said your words will hold you in the past seasons.  You must speak the language of the next dimension.  But you must also have the look of the next dimension.  So you want to be appealing to the public that you are wanting to bring into your meeting.

I have a new home.  I moved in a year ago.  And when I moved from the home that I had lived in for thirty some years, most of my things were sold.  But a few things I took with me.  So now I am living in a new house and I put some of the old things in this new house.  But they are in totally different places.  I actually have two pieces that I had in the master bedroom that are now in the living room.  It is not the bed!  I just didn't want you going there.  I have an old desk and an end table.  They look totally new, totally different, and totally fresh.  Pictures that were hung in a certain place in the old house, are hung in different places in the new house and people have said, oh is that  new picture?  No, it is the same picture, but it is in different surroundings.  And it is accessorized differently, so it looks totally different.  That is what we are saying about our meetings.  Don't just do it in the same old way.  It gets so boring.  Don't you get bored?  So do they.

Practical ways to make your meetings fresh, updated and relevant:  What is it you want to accomplish in your meetings?  Who is your target audience?  What kind of woman are you trying to reach?  What kind of a community do you live in?  You need to take assessment of where you are and what you believe God is wanting to do through your lighthouse meeting, or area retreats and look for fun, creative, exciting ways to make it totally new and different.

So just as we must speak the language of the next dimension, we must also speak the language of the people we are trying to reach.  If you are trying to reach a younger generation, we know when we are comfortable with some of the language and it rolls out of our mouth easily.  We need to ask God to help us update even how we talk.  We want to be relevant.  Talk about current things.

There is an ad going in Charisma magazine.  Karen Anderson was just sharing it with the leadership team last week.  And in this - is it a full page ad, Karen? - in this full page ad, which is going to be wonderful, I believe it is the picture that you have on your conference fliers there of the His Defining Presence and that beautiful graphic.  That is what is going in Charisma magazine as a full page ad and one of the lines that she put in there about Aglow is bringing global vision to a woman's world.  That sounds relevant, it sounds current, it sound s like these women know what is going on.  We need to get out of the 70s, the 80s, and yes, even the 90s, and move fully into where God is taking us as a ministry and where He is taking His people.

When you are standing at the podium, maybe you are just going to lead into a prayer, but you could say something like, you know this morning on CNN, I heard..., so they know you are watching the news, and you are current on what it is that is happening.  You could say whatever you have to say without being too political, but just refer to events in the world and then say, let's agree together in prayer today and go on with your prayer.  Or mention the headline, current event, or the whatever it is that is taking place, and say, you know God's word says such and such about this.  So that we are always being linked with current activity.  We are becoming increasingly globally aware, but we are also bringing our women along in the biblical perspective of what is happening in today's world.

A few suggested ways that you might update are:

Think about your praise and worship.  Now some of you may be gifted with a wonderful praise and worship leader, but others, especially at the lighthouse level, are struggling.  You get somebody who can't play too well but it is the best that you have.  I would suggest to you that you find some really awesome CDs.

You were at the office yesterday and I am assuming music was playing.  One of the things that we do when we gather there, even during our board meetings, there will be times when I just ask Kathy to put on Terry's whatever tape and go to number 5 - track five.  I know those CDs.  I know what songs.  I know what is being said.  I know what it brings forth.  So be acquainted with the music.  Be acquainted with the message.  Be acquainted with the tone and the direction of that CD, and then begin to play it and you will be surprised.  We did this at the board; we just began to enter in.  It is like you are swept away to another place.  Kathy just stays there by the equipment, and I will do like this so she brings the crescendo, and then if there is a point that we want to jump into and say our amens and pray our prayers, I just motion and she brings it down a little bit so we can begin to agree with what is being sung.  There are very creative ways that you can bring an excellent spirit of worship in your lighthouse meetings.  I would strongly suggest that you do that rather than struggling along.  This is not the place for someone to learn how to lead praise and worship.

Instead of a prayer box have you come up with creative ideas?  Having a prayer box was kind of 70s and 80s.  Someone suggested maybe you could just gather in groups to pray.  Just say, how about gathering together the people around your table.  Let's pray for Carolyn today, she has got such and such a need.  Let's agree together with Carolyn today.  Pray for their now circumstances.  Maybe you could have a designated prayer person at each table.  Maybe it is the hostess, or if not, maybe there is a person that you know just really knows how to break through to God and is sensitive to people's feelings.  They don't just pray by rote but they will really plug in to where people are at.

For ministry following the speaker, close the meeting, so that those that need to slip out, can.  They have got kids coming from school or whatever.  Don't always have a prayer line.  Think of a different way to handle the prayer needs following a meeting. Maybe you, as a board, could go to the women to pray, or maybe you could just fan out in your meeting and just go take someone's hand and say, let me pray for you today.  Do it differently, do it creatively?  Maybe you could have body ministry and let them begin to pray for one another.

In John Eldridge's book, Waking the Dead, he speaks about small groups.  He said, "You can't just throw a random group of people together and expect them to become intimate allies and ralate on a deep heart level."  That is true, but you have to begin somewhere.  And if you are holding a regular lighthouse meeting, I would say to you, begin there.  Maybe the same people don't come to every single meeting, but they will soon find out this is a safe place for me to share my heart and my prayer needs.  So begin to build community within your meetings.  And you women will be drawn to your meetings.  Our meetings are not just about we come, we learn, we leave.  Hearts remain buried, broken, untouched and unknown.  Aglow women all over the world say, my life has been changed by Aglow, and I am one of them.

Do everything you can to give your meetings the feel of heart connection, of beauty of peace.  Make it a warm, nurturing, caring place.  Do everything you can to make it a place of beauty.  The most simple decorations can be something very attractive, very warm, very beautiful.  Create an atmosphere in your meetings.  When I was in a local fellowship (it would be a lighthouse today) we would meet together as a board (a team now), and when we would uncover what we felt God wanted to do in that meeting, we had more fun just putting together what we would do for table decorations, how we would create this wonderful atmosphere.  We had a minimum of 300 women coming to our meetings.  You can make it happen.  We are workers together with the Lord and He will help you.

For speakers, I would encourage you, as area leaders, to have women who carry the Aglow vision.  Yes, it is alright to have other speakers from time to time, but they will bring their focus, their ministry, their current word into Aglow.  You need to have people who carry the Aglow vision.  I will tell you something, there are many things I appreciate about Barbara Yoder, but one of the things that I have seen with her, a pastor, an apostle, and active in many, many circles, when God began to link our hearts and when she felt one with Aglow, she didn't just come in as an Aglow speaker at our conference, she picked up the mandates, she picked up the heart of Aglow, and stepped into our ministry.  That doesn't mean she is locked into Aglow forever and ever and ever, but God imparted His heart into her heart for this ministry, so when she comes, she comes cheering Aglow on and speaking into our ministry with an Aglow word, not just her ministry.  In fact you have never heard her speak about her ministry.  That says alot.

For lighthouse speakers, we don't want lecturers.  Have a now testimony.  Have group interaction following.  Discuss the testimony and how it relates to their lives.  Have a theme for your meeting that is appealing.  Have women teach about things that women would be interested in, interior design, and relate it to the heart.  Or current fashion and relate it to your life.  Or gardening or child rearing or any number of things.  Make it interesting for the women in your community.

So now, let's summarize: 

  • It is time for the girls to get in the game.
  • It is time to get your gear on.  Be as lovely a witness as you can possibly be.
  • Get your signals clear:  learn to communicate in a way that draws people in and helps them feel safe enough to open their heart and to share their heart.
  • Hold your proper position on the field.  Platform etiquette, manners, graciousness, kindness, awareness.  How to set the tone for your meeting.
  • Go by the play book. 
  • Give your meeting a fresh face.  Oh, underscore that one.  How to prepare a place for Him to come so that what really happens is that hearts are touched, unburdened and changed.


You have been chosen by God to be a leader.  You have natural qualities and spiritual qualities.  And God wants to use all that He has done in you and placed within you.  I commend you as leaders, I applaud you as leaders, and I honor you as leaders.  God bless you.