Leadership

28Feb

4 Thoughts after Preaching Esther

Yesterday our church finished up a 9-week preaching series through the book of Esther. Click here to listen to any of the sermons.

At the end of every preaching series, I like to take some time and reflect on my own heart, not as a pastor but just as a person. If you let him, God will change your heart as you spend more and more time in the Bible and Esther was no different for me. I have four main thoughts from our journey through Esther.

 

1. God’s divine providence knows no bounds.

The only caveat worth adding here is that God does never does anything outside the character of God and we know that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). However, we need to be careful to not impose our concept of what we define love to be onto the actions of God.

In a book historically criticized by some due to God’s apparent absence, (God’s name never appears in the book of Esther) it is impossible to miss God’s providential activity.

  • What are the odds that Esther, a Jewish girl living in Susa, would be chosen to be Queen of Persia?
  • Why were Esther and Mordecai still in Persia? God’s people were no longer in exile but Esther and Mordecai did not return to Jerusalem.
  • How was Mordecai, a Jewish nobody, able to maintain communication with Esther after she was crowned queen?
  • What are the odds that Mordecai would be the one to uncover the secret plot to kill the king?
  • The turning point of the entire book begins with the king’s seemingly random sleepless night (6:1).

God’s divine providence isn’t on center stage in Esther, but it is undeniably moving in the background, moving closer to true redemption all the while using surprising reversals and non-Israelites to accomplish God’s purposes.

Even though we can’t always see how God is moving, we can trust that God is moving.

 

2. We still have a responsibility to obey.

Even though God’s divine providence moves the story of Esther forward, people are still called to obey along the way.

  • Esther eventually realized this and decided to obey with her bold, famous declaration, “If I perish, I perish.” (4:16)
  • Mordecai’s wisdom and faithful support of Esther accomplish much at great potential danger to his own life.
  • Even King Ahasuerus decides to do what is right and honors Esther’s courage instead of Haman’s evil plan even thought he risked being labelled a “flip-flopper” and losing political collateral.

Is there an area of your life where you know what’s right but you’re not doing what’s right?

“22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” – James 1:22-24

 

3. Power is a fleeting tool.

Power comes and goes in the book of Esther. The only people who retain it are those who see it as a tool to point others to the glory of God.

  • When the book of Esther opens, Esther and Mordecai are displaced Jews with no power. When the book ends, Esther is queen and Mordecai is VP of the Persian Empire (10:3).
  • Haman quickly gains and quickly loses power. He dies arguably the most ironic death in Scripture, hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai.
  • We first meet King Ahasuerus in the middle of a 6-month long, no-rules party which some scholars estimate was attended by up to 15,000 of the king’s most vicious warriors and most cunning politicians. As great and powerful as his reign was, history tells us King Ahasuerus was later assassinated by his own chief official.

Even though it might not feel like it, you have a certain amount of power and influence. Friendships, work opportunities, and social media profiles can all be leveraged to point others to the glory of God.

 

4. It’s important to remember and celebrate God’s work in our lives.

The book of Esther ends with the inauguration of Purim, the festival to commemorate God rescuing his people from Haman’s edict to eradicate the Jews from the Persian Empire. Jews today still celebrate Purim by reading and remembering the story of God’s divine provision through the bravery of Esther and Mordecai.

One of the ways my wife and I remember the good, normal days of our marriage is through these photo books she makes every year. Our most recent book just came in a few days ago and I found myself remembering good moments from the last year I would have forgotten if it weren’t for the books.

As Christians, we should remember the landmark moments of our faith. We should celebrate our baptism and other significant breakthrough moments of spiritual growth. But the key to a lifetime of faith might just be the ability to remember God’s everyday goodness even when it doesn’t feel like it’s real. Maybe it’s journaling or telling faith stories around the dinner table on a regular basis, but I would encourage you to find a way to remember and celebrate the good, normal work of God in your life.

 

Have you read through the book of Esther lately? What were some of your take-aways?

3Dec

The Anti-Vax Mom was Right and Donald Trump was Wrong

Over the past few days I have said the following words/phrases in perfectly normal conversation:

  • ding-a-ling (a crazy person)
  • cattywampus (crooked, out of place)
  • yonder (over there a ways)
  • feeder road (a road to merge on the highway)

Some of these might make sense to and some might not. I use some of these terms more frequently than others but a few phrases that don’t come out of my mouth as much they should are:

  • I’m sorry.
  • I was wrong.
  • I made a mistake.

Those are usually tough things to say to someone because they always mean two things:

1. You’re about to be humbled.

(Notice: a lot of people speak about the value of pursuing humility but not as much about humility pursuing you). Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Sometimes humility finds you, whether you like it or not.

2. You messed up.

Nobody likes making a mistake, but you can tell a lot about a person by how they respond after making one.

What an Anti-Vax Mom Got Right

Earlier this year, the Washington Post ran a story about Canadian mom Tara Hills. Hills and her husband have seven children and were passionate anti-vaccine advocates until all seven of their children contracted pertussis, or whooping cough.

As Hills started to research further she learned how the study she was basing her skepticism on was in fact a debunked 1998 study that falsely linked the measles vaccine to autism. Both Canada and the U.S. have suffered large outbreaks of whooping cough and measles in recent years.

Her children were ordered to home confinement until their antibiotics were completed.

But that’s not why this mom’s story made the news. Plenty of other families feel the same way. It was her loud admission that she got it wrong that drew attention from people on both sides of this issue.

“I set out to prove that we were right,” Hills said, “and in the process found out how wrong we were.”

After years of getting it wrong, quite publicly in fact (Hills was a blogger in the anti-vax community) she boldly admitted what more of us need to: I got it wrong.

What Donald Trump Got Wrong

What the anti-vax mom got right, Donald Trump got wrong.

On November 22, 2015, presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Among topics of discussion was Trump’s November 21, 2015 assertion that he witnessed footage on television of large crowd of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the September 11th attacks.

Trump claimed “I watched thousands and thousands of people cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Stephanopoulos told Trump that Jersey City police at the time were aware of the rumor and investigated it proving it false. The rumors of said celebrations were traced back to an Internet claim that was also proved false.

Trump doubled down on his original claim and insisted further the he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating.

A simple Internet fact check proves his claim was incorrect and thus, a lie.

At best, Trump suffered from an exaggerated memory that stems from deciding to react to a tragedy with confidence instead of fear. It’s a noble trait but one that often produces false memories.

But almost fifteen years later, Trump has all the information he needs to respond honestly yet he refuses. He won’t do what the anti-vax mom did, admit he’s wrong and apologize.

It’s easy to point out others successes and failures in this arena but what about your life? What about mine?

I’m still learning to say those phrases. They sting. Often, humility is still pursuing me instead of the other way around but I’m trying to learn from mistakes and get better each day.

I never thought I’d say this but…

I want to be more like the Canadian anti-vax mother.

2Dec

The One Regret You Never Have to Feel

It was 3 A.M. and he would not stop beating on my door.

I stumbled toward the door, simultaneously stubbing all my toes on the trappings of a college dorm room along the way, and flung it open.

His face was as red as his hair. He had  just sprinted all the way down the hall.

Our rooms could not be farther away and still be on the same wing  yet our friendship was closer than most.

We were in a group together, a small group of college boys trying to become the men we felt God calling us to be. That calling meant a lot of things to all of us but one thing was the same: our desire for purity.

We had all struggled with it as various levels. Some struggled with moving too fast with girlfriends. Others struggled with how fast you could see any type of girl you wanted on the Internet. All of us felt the longing to be better than we currently were and through several years of mostly failure we had collectively realized we needed one another.

We met once a week to encourage and pray for one another. As we ended our meeting each week in the cramped common room upstairs we reminded each other of one of the pillars of our group: If any one of us felt a temptation coming that we did not feel strong enough to resist on our own, we could always…always go to another person in the group and that person would stop whatever they were doing to be with the one fighting off temptation.

Over the years we met there were dates cut short, workouts missed, papers not completed. Whatever it took; it didn’t matter. We were there for one another. Anytime, day or nightt.

The whole concept was centered around four simple words:

“Flee from sexual immorality.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18

I love when the Bible’s simple. You don’t need to know Greek to know exactly what this verse means.

On this particular night, one of the guys was struggling with the temptation of pornography. His roommate had unexpectedly gone home for the weekend and he knew that temptation is magnified in isolation.

So at his greatest moment of need, he didn’t just try to resist for awhile and ask for forgiveness later. He literally (and I hate when people say that word but don’t actually mean it) literally ran down the hall and started beating down my door at 3 A.M.

I didn’t greet him with anger or a lecture. That wasn’t how the group worked. We supported one another with the gifts of time and presence, two things that are even more valuable to me now.

Nothing super spiritual happened except everything.

We didn’t have a Bible study on purity right then and there. That’s what we did to prepare to flee. I let my friend in and we made popcorn and watched the Sandlot until morning when we crashed.

My friend woke up after lunch the next day with…no regrets.

He didn’t care that he woke up half the hall, at least not enough to fall into sin. He didn’t care that his hallway dash was caught on the security cameras and the RA’s probably watched it back later laughing. He didn’t care about giving into a temptation only he would have ever know about.

He cared about becoming a man of God. He cared about purity. He cared about our future wives that we were already praying for but hadn’t met yet.

Nobody in the group was or is perfect and of course we all have regrets but none of us have ever regretted resisting temptation.

In a world that is bombarding us with the message that we should never say no to a new experience or a thrilling rush, our group helped each other do just that. The ethic of the kingdom of God, humble self-denial, flies in the face of the rampant “you deserve it” “treat yourself” culture that’s especially being marketed to millennials.

You might miss out on a thing or two but speaking from my experience, those things aren’t worth the baggage or pain they cause, if not immediately then soon there after.

What helps you resist temptation?

9Aug

I’m Praying I Get Fired for This

Nobody wants to get fired.

I’ve never had the experience and most of me hopes I never have to know what it’s like.

But there’s another part of me that earnestly prays to be fired one day over one word: capacity.

I sincerely hope and pray that God allows me to be a part of a movement of his grace so powerful that it fills our church with so many people with so many different experiences, problems, and triumphs that I am simply incapable of effectively carrying the leadership load of such a movement and a change in that position is necessary.

In short, I’m praying to see someone else work me out of my job.

I love my church so much and want to see God do something mighty within her, something far more abundantly than I even know how to ask. I want something to happen there that exceeds my current ability so quickly that a change has to be made to keep the Gospel movement spreading at a rapid pace.

Everyone has their own leadership limits. Knowing those limits isn’t weakness; it’s wisdom.

Of course I am also praying to continue to grow in ability so that I can see that movement happen from my current position, but I’m convinced far too many churches, organizations, and companies become stagnant because they hit the leadership capacity ceiling of whoever is in charge and instead of making a change to help propel them to the next level they stay put and settle into complacency.

I care too much about my church to allow that to happen.

I first started thinking about this concept of capacity almost a year ago now. I got to spend a weekend at the Village Church in Dallas, TX and in one of the breakout sessions, one of their three Lead Pastors, Josh Patterson, spoke about their hiring process. He mentioned he looks at four C’s when interviewing new applicants:

 

1. Competency – Can you actually do the job?

2. Compatability – Will you be a good fit within the greater organization?

3. Core values – Are you trustworthy? Do you have good work ethic? Can I trust that you’ll do what you say you’ll do?

belegit

The first 3 C’s made a lot of sense to me and I had heard them before. The fourth one initially caught me off guard.

4. Capacity – Do you have the skill set to adapt and grow with the job as it gets more demanding?

 

Patterson said when they do annual staff evaluations, they can evaluate their staff’s performance very quickly with just a few questions, all centered around capacity.

  • Do you actually have the capacity for your job that you seemed to display when you were first hired?
  • Do you possess the capacity to continue in your current job as it has grown more demanding than when you first started?

Patterson later said that they have let people go almost every year of the church’s existence because of how they answered the latter question.

His reasoning is simple: Why let one person’ capacity, no matter how good or nice or beneficial that person is, limit the future of the organization as a whole? How much more true is this in a church where what’s at stake may not be numbers or member satisfaction but the very Gospel itself?

Although it would be hard to take, I sincerely hope to be fired one day because of capacity concerns. I will never stop learning or trying to lead to the best of my ability. However if that pink slip day comes, I can take great joy in knowing that God allowed me to be a part of something so much bigger than me, and by moving me aside it was able to continue advancing for the greater good.

I know my current leadership limits. While I am constantly working hard to expand my capacity, one person should never be a good enough reason to hold a good movement from continuing to advance further and further.

Whatever you’re most passionate about, it’s not all about you.

  • Some people are skilled enough to preach for 50 people but not 500. Some are skilled enough for 500 but not 5,000.
  • Some people are skilled enough to manage 10 clients, but not 100. Some are skilled enough for for 100, but not 1,000. You get my drift.

It doesn’t mean you’re less of a person, especially not in the eyes of the One who created you in His image. So rejoice in your weakness.

mostimportant

Seek to expand your capacity, but never try and be someone you’re not. God doesn’t need another version of someone else, which is why he made you YOU.

15Feb

Don’t Should on Me

I thought my pastor friend cussed at me.

We were having a perfectly pleasant conversation, at least so I thought, when all of a sudden she calmly said, “Don’t should on me.”

What?!?

Imagine if you heard that sentence instead of saw it written out.

My friend was halfway kidding but the truth she was conveying was powerful.

Thankfully, she was patient enough with me to explain this punchy little truism.

The conversation we had happened like most do when someone “should’s” on someone.

Person A: _______ that you did was really great. I really liked how you _______ and did ___________.

Person B: Thanks! It was a lot of hard work but I’m glad you thought it went well.

Person A: Yeah! It was good but you really should have __________________.

Person B punches Person A in the face and goes to jail. Friendship over.

“Should” falls well short of constructive criticism. It does not motivate someone to change or help someone see the good done in the midst of falling short.

Especially when used in past tense, should leaves no room to improve. In the scenario above, Person A is helpless to improve the situation Person B described (“you should have___”). Person A does not own a time machine!

“Should” is useless, paralyzing criticism that is most often given by those who eagerly point out problems yet just as eagerly refuse to be a part of creating solutions.

But what about when “should” comes from within? This might be the most harmful form.

Self-inflicted “shoulds” are just as unhelpful as when they come from others.

Whenever you feel a case of the “shoulds” coming on, ask yourself two questions to determine if the feeling really is something that you need to act on or if it’s just guilt you need to kick out of your life.

Guilt and Should are like ugly twins trying to keep you stuck in the past. See: Are You Living in the Past?

1. Is this something I really want to do? (Or am I just trying to please someone else?) 

2. Is it worth it? (You can have the desire to do many things, but what is most important? What one thing is necessary? [Luke 10:42])

Sometimes we do simply need to be told to pick it up a bit. Maybe laziness has set in. Maybe unhelpful patterns in decision-making have set in. See: Chop Wood & Carry Water

Whatever the reason, change for the better is always a good thing. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to create that change.  “Should” is not the right way.

Next time you hear “should” from someone else or from within, simply say,

Don’t should on me.

14Jan

Louisville Sluggers & Spiritual Gifts

While many of you see the New Year as a time of renewal and a fresh start, I consistently find myself stuck in what some of you call “basketball season.” I just refer to it as those dark months between football season and baseball season.

I love baseball in just about every form but I hate college baseball. Don’t get me wrong, I love the purity of the competition at the collegiate level. I love that most of these guys never get a chance to play at the next level so this is their last stop. They’re giving it all they’ve got.

They don’t sign endorsement deals or get distracted by multi-million dollar contracts like in the pros.

But I hate the sound of college baseball. It’s anything but pure. It’s changed some over the years but there’s always been this unmistakable ping of some type of metal bat whereas any baseball purist can tell you you’re supposed to hear the crack of a wooden bat.

Louisville Slugger has been making bats since 1884. One day a young woodworking apprentice went to an amateur baseball game and watched one of his favorite players fail to get a hit as he broke several bats during the course of the game. The young apprentice approached the player after that game and invited him to come to his woodworking shop to receive a custom made bat to use in tomorrow’s game. The player went on to collect 3 hits the next day and then immediately sent all his teammates to the wood working shop for their own custom made bats and the legend of the Louisville Slugger was born.

Ever since then the company has almost exclusively made their bats for professional baseball players, each one custom made to the player’s exact specifications, even down to the type of wood used.

Up until 2002, each bat was hand carved. A skilled craftsman could take the seasoned log of wood used to create the bats and carve one in 15 minutes to the exact specifications of the player with expert, precision detail.

However, now the work is done by a computerized process yet the custom, precision work has never changed. The computerized carving machine is still only operated by the most skilled craftsmen and can carve a bat in 42 seconds.

Louisville Slugger makes almost 2 million bats a year and no two players have ever requested the exact same specifications. However, every Louisville Slugger bat comes with the exact same brand stamp burned into the wood.

The types of wood used to create the bats have changed over time. The weights and specifications have evolved too.

Yet one thing has never changed, the brand stamp unifies the bats Louisville Slugger has made in parts of three different centuries.

God has done an even greater work in creating you and me. We are each custom made by God, created with unique gifts and talents. Our gifts can very different from one another but they are given to us by the same God for the same reasons, to serve one another and to glorify God.

Even though our gifts are different from one another we too have been given a divine brand stamp that unifies us all. While we are indeed custom made, we are also made in the image of God. Our different gifts should serve as a constant reminder of all the different ways God has loved us and made himself known to us yet it is the source of our creation, God himself that holds us together.

Resources:

Our church is currently preaching a mini-series called “Custom Made” on spiritual gifts as we journey through 1 Corinthians.

You can watch the sermons here.

Click here to see the spiritual gifts assessment we used in our home groups to start discovering the ways God has custom made us.

20Nov

Biblical Decision Making

Earlier this week I wrote about my favorite word in the Old Testament, steadfast.

But the steadfast love of God is a really church-y thing to like about the Bible.

I have made a concerted effort this year to read and learn more about decision making. I’ve purchased books I would not normally read, followed blogs I am not naturally interested in, and thought about leadership in ways I had not done previously.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned about decision making did not come from a business book or a leadership blog, although those things have been of some help to me.

Instead, the best key I’ve discovered for great decision making comes from the pages of Scripture:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

The right decision is almost never what will bring immediate satisfaction.

Notice when the results (harvest) comes, “at the proper time.” It does not always come when I want or desire.

I’ve had many chances over the last few months to remind some good people of this great verse. They’ve all been in a hard spot, doing the right thing but not seeing good results.

  • Some of them are healing from a broken relationship.
  • Some of them are trying to get businesses off the ground.
  • Some of them are trying to help someone who does not seem to want to be helped.

All of them are living out this biblical key to decision making. All of them realize that what will bring them immediate satisfaction is not best.

  • The one whose relationship has been broken knows it is not best to immediately jump into another one, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.
  • The one who is trying to get a business off the ground knows it is not best to bypass integrity to get ahead, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.
  • The one who is trying to help someone who does not want to be helped knows it is not best to give up on a friend in need, even though that is what would bring immediate satisfaction, but not lasting satisfaction.

Immediate gratification is often the enemy of successful decision making.

I do not know what decisions you have to make today, but I can tell you that this one key is probably true for you.

The right decision is almost never what will bring immediate satisfaction.

14Oct

Why I Hate Christian Bookstores

I hate Christian bookstores.

Can I say that? Yep.

They are frustrating for so many reasons.

But the $30 wooden angels that looked like they were carved by a blindfolded 4-year old or the t-shirts designed by someone who flunked a community college graphic design class are not what frustrates me most.

The books are the worst, and I LOVE books.

I don’t know what it is that makes Christians gobble up whatever the newest version of shallow theology peddled by some Christian author that may or may not even be a part of the local church. From prosperity “gospel” nonsense to virtue-based teaching steeped behavior modification the lack of solid, Christ-centered resources in a Christan bookstore can be astounding.

So with all these options – all these books from all these pastors writing about all this stuff…where should we start

How does the average Christian know what to buy and what to avoid?

I have one rule that helps me wade through the Christian bookstore maze: When it comes to books intended for a Christian audience, I generally only read books written by active pastors of local churches.

I have no interest in reading books from presidents of organizations, professors, or Christian authors in general. I am not saying they write sub-par books, not by any means.

There is just something about reading a book written by a man or woman who is in the trenches of ministry week in and week out. They’re not sleeping in and spending days holed up in their home office writing their books in solitude.

No, these are the people who write sermons by day and books by night. They may not reach their written word count goal for the night because a church member calls in a moment of need. So they give of themselves, their time and energy, to the ones God has entrusted to them and they write double the next night.

They can’t afford to sleep half the day away like other writers because they have staff meetings to conduct and hospital visits to make. They can’t quite seem to wrap up their latest chapter because they performed two funerals and welcomed a new baby into their church family.

After being wrung out for the Gospel all day, they ask God to fill them up on the way home so they can be wrung out yet again ministering to the ones that matter most, their family.

This week I’m at a small conference for church leaders at The Village Church in Dallas where Matt Chandler serves as pastor. He is the only “famous” pastor I really pay much attention to. I have enjoyed listening to his sermons since I was in college but I have gained a new level of respect for him today because I saw him make time for his church people, his family, and a room full of young pastors. His breakout session was filled with story after story of interactions with people in his local church, which will never make it into a book.

Of all the options at your local Christian bookstore, I would suggest reading the words of a humble, hard-working pastor who lives out what it means to love Jesus all the while leading others to do the same.

What are you reading right now?

19Sep

The NFL Needs a True Leader. So Does the World.

I’m sick of hearing about all the domestic abuse issues swirling around the NFL, and maybe that’s part of the problem. 

Today NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stood up and gave somewhat of an apology for the league’s inept handling of the Ray Rice situation.

However, it failed miserably as an apology.

It seemed forced, disingenuous, and scripted. Goodell’s purposeful misdirection and failed transparency has put himself and the NFL in a terrible light.

New details emerged tonight from an ESPN Outside the Line’s report that were conveniently absent from the commissioner’s address earlier today:

  • Ravens executives were made aware of the Ray Rice assault HOURS after it happened instead of what they originally claimed, that they simply had the testimony of Ray and Janay Rice.
  • A police lieutenant gave Ravens security director a detailed account of the assault while watching the first video, which was later released by TMZ.
  • The Ravens’ owner, president, and GM all petitioned Roger Goodell and the judicial system to have leniency on Ray Rice, which they did, initially.

The only decent man in this whole fiasco, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, requested the immediate release of his STAR running back and the FACE of his FRANCHISE (not an easy guy to cut) upon seeing the video footage. His request was denied by the Ravens owner and GM, a report the Ravens are currently denying – what a surprise. And it was that man, Coach Harbaugh, who the day after the incident was made public was shoved out there to deal with the press when that same owner, president, and GM refused to speak for their actions, or unbelievably lack thereof.

There aren’t enough words in the world to describe the failures of the NFL in general and Roger Goodell in particular over the last several months. But I’m not sure they would be all that helpful even if they could be found.

What the NFL needs is exactly what they don’t have. A leader who is motivated to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing.

Yet the need is not exclusive to the NFL. Around every corner the world is crying out for true leaders.

When Roger Goodell has chosen to act, it has only been at the prompting of public outcry, or letters written by sponsors threatening to leave a league they will never actually leave since it’s a cash cow.

True leaders lead when it’s necessary, not just when it appears to be beneficial.

True leaders refuse to cover up mistakes in their own leadership or the leadership of others in their organization.

True leaders make the right decisions even when it exposes their own wrong behavior.

The NFL needs real leaders. But so does the world.

How can you be the type of leader the NFL, and more importantly the world, needs?

20May

Pastor Meets the Police

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to ride along with our Chief of Police on a patrol day. He was gracious enough to take me around to meet several leaders in our city. Our chief is an active member in our church and I learned a lot from him about what it means to be a leader.

Leaders are:

  • CEOs and thankless grinders
  • Vice-Presidents and salesmen
  • Mid-level managers and public officials
  • Stay at home moms and night shift workers

I left with these 2 takeaways that are already helping me lead better as a pastor. No matter what leadership capacity you currently find yourself in they can help you too.

1. Good leaders genuinely care for all people.

One thing that struck me as I spent the day in conversation with our chief was how much he genuinely cared for people that you and I might classify as scumbags. I half jokingly told him I fully expected to be apart of a high speed chase and then get to apprehend a fugitive in a foot chase. After all, I saw an extra bulletproof vest in the back so naturally I assumed that was for me when the inevitable foot pursuit went down. It was just a matter of time, right?

Sadly, the chase never happened, which I guess is a good thing. I joked with our chief that I was faster than him so it was a good thing he had me along. He then kindly reminded me just how good he was at catching bad guys. Then it got crazy. He proceeded to tell me about some of the worst guys he’s apprehended but he did it with such a deep sense of compassion for them, even in the midst of knowing justice was what they needed most. This just didn’t make sense to me. Here’s a guy who’s very life is threatened far too often by stupid people with nothing better to do and he speaks about them as people who need justice, yes, but also compassion.

Good leaders care about all people. They want the best for them despite past or even present circumstances.

 

2. Good leaders keep proper perspective.

As we rode around throughout the day, several people were pulled over for minor infractions. I could tell that my partner in crime prevention was much more concerned with the potential for a routine traffic stop to turn into something much bigger a speeding violation. The driver could have been driving illegally, under the influence, or be in possession of illegal substances, etc. Our chief has served in some pretty intense scenarios and after he got back in the car after issuing a warning he said , “This is really important…but I’m more interested in arresting the really bad guys.”

Our chief does what all leaders need to do in their own way; keep the major things major and the minor things minor. Sometimes leaders can get caught up on focusing too much on the little things. Maybe the little things are details that need to be shared with other team members or simply aspects of your job/life that need to be thought through quickly and then moved past. Other times little things can be aspects of your own performance that are tempting to dwell on far too much to be constructive. No matter the reason, focusing on the little things too much can really hamper your leadership potential.

The flip side is true as well. Sometimes leaders can focus solely on the big things, the major things, the big picture. Sometimes these leaders can be hard for others to follow because it can be perceived that attention to the little things is just not that important. Remember, any big picture vision only becomes a reality after careful attention has been paid to the little things and series of tasks that will help bring it to fruition. While it is definitely important for leaders to keep their eyes on the big picture, they do so at their own peril if they forsake the details and people that help make their vision happen.

Question: What leadership lessons are you learning?

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