This post references Is It Time Yet?
This post references Is It Time Yet?
Have you ever noticed how many leaders experience marital problems? I have been in the ministry for over 30 years and I have seen many ministerial leaders experience adultery and divorce on so many different levels. Now that I am in the counseling ministry, I have seen the same is true for leaders in all walks of life. I have begun paying attention to some of the problems that seem to be prevalent in these marriages. No matter how good a leader a person is does not exempt him from problems in his life and his marriage.
Problem #1: Most leaders are task oriented people. They are Type A personalities or if you prefer, they are D on the DISC model. What that means is that they are driven and they over look people because of the task at hand. When a person is totally focused on the tasks at hand as well as thinking about the production associated with the task, he totally forgets about the people involved in the process. Or he thinks about what the others can do for him. Again, this leader tends to look at other people as assets or maybe liabilities and not necessarily as people.
Obviously this mindset is not conducive to a good marriage. The wife begins to feel nothing more than an employee at best. She does not feel like a life partner; rather she feels used and many times abused by this type of husband.
Problem #2: Most leaders are strong decision makers. In business it is imperative that the leader is able to make good, quick decisions without a great deal of hesitation. Many times the leader does not even listen to the advise of his advisors as he believes he knows what is best for the moment.
Again, I believe you can understand why this mindset does not work in marriage very often. The wife feels she has much to offer to the relationship and to the plans for the relationship. If she is never talked to nor listened to, then she will begin to feel unimportant and insecure.
Problem #3: Most leaders are workaholics. Leaders tend to spend most of their time “running” their businesses. They wake up early and go to bed late. They even eat at the office or on the road. They feel that they just cannot spare even 30 minutes of their day to spend with their wife in such a mundane event as eating.
This mindset also is not beneficial to a good marriage. The relationship needs to be fostered and cared for. A person cannot expect to have a good marriage if there is not time spent nurturing the emotional connection that is needed for the marriage to flourish.
Let’s look briefly at how what the Bible says about marriage.
Ephesians 5:25-30 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
There are several important lessons a leader can learn from this passage of scripture concerning his marriage. I will just point out a couple of these lessons.
Lesson #1: A leader must love his wife sacrificially. When you think about Christ’s love for the church, the first thing that should come to mind is the fact that he died on the cross to save His bride. He was not selfish in any way. His love for his bride transcended her faults and her inadequacies and He showed His love through the cross.
Another way Christ showed His love was through serving His disciples. The most poignant example of this is when He washed the disciples feet. I wonder how the wife of a leader would feel if he humbled himself to the point of meeting such a basic need?
Lesson #2: A leader must nurture and cherish his wife. These two words speak specifically to fostering the relationship. In order to foster the relationship, time must be spent listening to and caring for your wife.
Again, Jesus spent time with His disciples. He ate meals with them and invited them into His life. Jesus shared with His disciples many of His plans. Jesus’ disciples were shown that they were important to Him and never a burden to Him. Not one time did Jesus make the disciples feel less than because of the mistakes they made. He would lovingly correct them as needed, but He always let them know theta they were loved and needed.
I understand that husbands (leaders) are being compared to the Perfect Son of God. I also realize that no one else has ever lived up to His perfection. Yet, this passage of scripture tells us to use Him as our example. Many of us have to learn to put aside our decision making skills, our plans, and our drive so that we can listen, learn and love our wives. I promise when we learn to do these things, our marriage will flourish!!
I was thinking about the motivations of a Leaders heart. Why do we Lead? Do you have a Leaders heart? What is our motive for leading? Do we truly long help others or just enjoy being in charge? This is a thought that I imagine, should make us all think. In our society a lot of people want to be a leader. But why do they want to be a leader ?
We see a world full of people who say they want to lead, but in reality they just want to be in charge of everything, including our choices. I look at leadership as something that empowers people. Leadership is more than a title that affords you opportunity. A leader looks after the well being of those he leads not just the benefit of himself. When we look at the Bible we see Jesus’ example of leadership. He empowered 12 and those leaders changed the world. He was a great leader and taught those around him how to lead. We should empower others to lead, and I believe that should drive our motives as leaders. We should also remember that leadership requires great responsibility. You are still responsible when everyone goes home and the lights are cut off.
Jesus was a great example of a Leader that empowered his team. It was messy at times but he did it anyways. No one ever said empowering young leaders was going to be pretty, but it is necessary. I feel sometimes leaders are so concerned with keeping things going and trying to make the end result perfect that they never hand off the baton. The problem with this lies in the fact that the wealth of knowledge and life lessons aren’t passed to the next generation. I think that we are all concerned with our legacy we leave, but what are we willing to let go of in order for this to happen. Our legacy is dependent on the people we pour our life into. I know in my own life this has been hard. Battling with my own insecurities of being replaced by someone who is younger and better at my job than me. I have come to a different conclusion at this stage in my life, if I don’t help raise up this generation I am not doing my job. I am more successful when those around me are successful. When talking with a young leader I’ve worked with she said, ” your leadership, and raising up leaders is going beyond individuals in our community, but it’s impacting nations. As we go off, we raise up other leaders and individuals, which in turn impact even more nations. Ripple effect.”
Let’s look at an examples given to us by Jesus. Jesus empowered leaders. The 12 men he choose changed a world. I realize that one was replaced but that leads me to my next point. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the mess. Empowering people can be messy but it is necessary. We see several examples throughout the Bible of Jesus empowering people. He sent the 12 disciples out to do the work of ministry in Matthew chapter 10. He gave them instruction and sent them out and again when he left this earth he commanded them to go into all the world and make disciples(Matthew 28). All this wasn’t an overnight process. He spent a lot of time instructing the 12 men he brought beside him. He had to settle disputes over childish things and help them understand the importance of what they were going to do.
So when it’s all said and done, why do we really want to lead ? Do we want to empower others or just be in charge, there is a difference. Leaders often pay a price that those who just want to be in charge won’t. The true sign of a leader is being willing to put the best interest of those you lead above your on personal desire. I hope and pray that is the kind of leader you want to be. A leader who wants to help others find their destiny and calling and empower them to be world changers.
“The greatest leaders I know are followers”
Several years ago I began a study of the top ten American churches. While serving as a lead Pastor for fourteen years I studied the bible asking the question “What does God require of the modern church?” This study was quite different in nature. It changed my life and career almost as much as the previously mentioned biblical study. With years of biblical comparisons I began to study the top ten American churches and their pastors. I purchased books from each Pastor, downloaded their sermons, visited their websites, followed them on social media, and researched them extensively. I joined a daily bible devotion with one pastor, received monthly coaching from another, and even entertained possibilities of a job offer during my time of research and study. I can take years of knowledge and comprise it into one sentence. The greatest leaders I know are followers.
“Elisha was a great prophet because he followed a greater prophet.”
The bible proves great leaders are great followers. Elijah, a prophet who hears from God and then shares with the king, walks by Elisha and obtains him as a follower. Elisha leaves the comforts and inheritance of home to follow Elijah a successful leader and prophet. Oftentimes Elijah tries to get Elisha to consider staying behind, separating himself from the problems of the ministry, but Elisha faithfully pursued. He followed closely behind his mentor and coach. Elisha’s faithful pursuit of following the example of Elijah produced a ministry of mass proportion. Elisha was a great prophet because he followed a greater prophet.
“Every good leader is a great follower.”
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without him.” That is exactly what one of the top ten American churches said about Pastor Rick Warren. I’m not promoting any man over Jesus, nor were they, but they were proving a valid point. “God uses people, just like he used prophets, to influence leaders.” This makes every leader a follower. Every Church and Pastor I studied all passionately describe a greater leader or church they consider their mentor. Along their journey to be original in nature they each had someone greater they learned from. They all remain disciplined in following others which makes them pursue excellence and greatness in their field. Elisha historically has a greater ministry than Elijah, but without Elijah, there would be no Elisha, The greater the follower, the greater the leader. If you want to be a great leader, you have to be a excellent follower.
“Follow those who are strong where you are weak.”
As I was talking to one church in particular I counted twelve connections of people who tremendously influence the Pastor and church. This pastor is considered to be one of the “Top” in his field but he disciplines himself to follow other churches examples of things he knows he is weak in. When I asked about worship style and music selection I was told “We use another churches stuff for that, they are way better at that than we are.” So now when I see a church conference line-up of speakers, I see how they all seem to connect. Many times the top leaders are all learning from one another and are learning from another’s strengths. It makes us stronger leaders and better followers when we follow others who are stronger.
“Find someone who is greater, and pursue him with passion.”
Jesus is the greatest leader I know. He was constantly pointing people towards heaven to his Father. He pursued Gods will with passion. Whatever your past, current, or future ministry, never forget the most important factor is to always passionately pursue Jesus. More than we follow any model, pastor, example, or style, never forget that Jesus speaks personally and intimately. Follow Jesus closely and faithfully. Be sensitive to hear directly from him as he leads you, he might be wanting to use you as a great example for others.
“You only get one life, so live every day with no regrets, and sleep comfortably each night, knowing that if you do not wake, the world is a better place because you were in it.”
Is it time yet?, almost sounds like a familiar movie title, Are we there yet? I wonder if king David ever asked himself this question, Is it time yet? King David was quite a significant leader in the Old Testament. David was faced with a dilemma when it came to timing in his life? Maybe after killing Goliath, David wondered, is it time yet? Maybe he could still hear the crowd saying,” Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands”, and silently wondered, is it time yet? It appeared as though God had handed Saul over to David on more than one occasion, was it time yet? Was God using this as a test? Was God handing Saul over to David to fulfill the promise he made to David to make him king? We could speculate, but in the end it would only be speculation. I imagine that David saw it as a test and treated both instances as such.
David had more than one opportunity to take the life of Saul, but David had to decide what kind of Leader he was going to be. David decided as a Leader that it was not his job to fulfill the timing and will of God in his life. In our lives we have to decide what kind of Leader we want to be as well. Will we take our destiny into our hands or allow God to work his plan. Now I understand that scripture teaches us that faith without works is dead(James 2:17), but we cannot force the hand of God. I am amazed by David’s restraint in the midst of the turmoil he faced with Saul. While watching a teaching series by Jimmy Evans “I Am David”, he referenced David not taking advantage of the fact that he was anointed to take Saul’s place. Just because God has called us and anointed us for a greater purpose doesn’t give us the right to rebel against the current authority God has in place.
I was at a conference where Perry Noble spoke and he made a couple of statements I want to share in this post. The first was “The anointing does not allow you to shortcut the process.” David realized that God promotes and demotes. If we try to hurry the process we will end up in a bigger mess. David could have said, ” I have been anointed, I don’t have to deal with this”, but he submitted to the process God was taking him through. This leads to the second statement, which was “There is no progress for the leader who will not embrace the process.” The process builds character in us as Leaders. The process is often painful and feels unbearable at times. I recall going through several things in my life that were painful. I wondered at times when would it be over. I remember this lady in our church who would tell me “It won’t always be this way”. I am sure I had doubts that she was right. I imagine David felt the same way. He knew he was anointed to be king but it wasn’t the right time. Will you embraces the process, in order to see your dreams as a Leader come to fruition?
Saul had tried to kill David and he could have had the mindset of an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth but he choose to take the high road. I am sure that there were times for David, as well as for you and I, that the high road doesn’t look so good. The bible tells us this in Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. I know this is the first thing that goes through your mind when someone does you wrong. But for the rest of us we want to get even when we are done wrong. David obviously understood in God’s time he would be promoted.
I leave you with this thought how will you handle the anointing that God has placed on your life. Just because you are anointed doesn’t mean that you have been appointed. The anointing that is on your life is only a sign of what is to come. The appointment only comes after we allow ourselves to go through the process. Will you try and push the Hand of God? Or, will you allow God to promote in his time? It is so easy to become disillusioned when we have a promise from God. In our microwave society we have a mindset of I see it, I want it now, but God has a way of using time to prepare us for his purpose. Those who are willing to endure the process will reap big, while those that seek a quick fix will have a life filled with dismay.
I was reading today in proverbs chapter 15:1 and it says “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (NLT) I have heard this my whole life that a soft or gentle answer turns away wrath but the last part is interesting as well ” harsh words make tempers flare”. As a Leader, do we take time to stop and think about how the words we use affect those we lead? As I read this verse this morning, I texted several groups and family and I posted and texted this
“I’ve alway heard that a soft or gentle answer turns away wrath(rage) and believe it to be true. If we maintain our composure and speak nicely to that store clerk (or who ever) ,who has already had a bad day, we might brighten their day instead of making it worse and avoid a bad experience ourselves.”
So my question is this, While leading how do we respond to those we lead? There are two things that I wanted to look at. The first is affirmation and the second is providing correction.
We have to be affirming of those we lead letting them know the value they provide to us, our group or organization. I have had leaders in my life that were not good at this. It was easy for them to talk to others about how good I was doing but it was difficult for them to tell me. I don’t know about you but I like to hear words of affirmation. Words of Affirmation are life giving and should not be undervalued. I have also worked in situations where the leaders in my life were very affirming. I flourish in an environment like this as opposed to others where words of encouragement are few and far between. I try my best as a leader to affirm those who work with me. I have come to realize that when I do this it not only allows me to speaks words of life but it also builds a relationships with those I lead. This is quite useful because before anyone will help or work under your leadership there must be a relationship first. Words of affirmation build rapport and allows you to speak in to the lives of those you lead.
Correction is a hard topic but in Proverbs 12:1 we are told ” To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” When you have relationship with an individual allows you to speak words of encouragement and correction into their lives. I have had several different leaders who have spoken correction in my life. The first type only referenced what I had done wrong. This type of correction may work well for some, but it really never has worked well with me. Most of the time when a leader in my life attempted to tell me what I had done wrong, I already knew. They were simply scolding me and this was more counter productive than helpful. I would leave knowing that I needed to fix the problem but often felt hopeless because I wasn’t sure how to fix the problem. I imagine that I am not the only one to leave a meeting feeling this way. This type of correction often produces the opposite result than was intended. I believe the best way to bring correction is to define the problem, talk through it, then together find a solution. If one party doesn’t offer suggestions on fixing the problem, you have just managed to discourage those you lead.
The second type of correction leaves those being lead with fresh perspective and determination to fix whatever problem has been brought to their attention. I have also been led by this type of leader and hope that I provide this type of correction to those I lead. When addressing a problem with those you lead this is the best way to approach it. Once you schedule a meeting with them start off with praise for the things that they are doing correctly because it set a great environment for dealing with the issue that you are about to address. Most times it isn’t that you are so displeased with the individual you are providing correction to, but you see areas for growth. By the time the meeting is over, both parties are encouraged and more things are accomplished because you handled the situation in an appropriate manner.
I do realize that all those you lead are different and some require a more direct approach, but remember, a soft answer deflects not only anger but a host of other emotions … doubt, discouragement etc…. As Leaders what are some things you have seen leaders in your life do well?
Have you ever found yourself in a place spiritually, physically or mentally that you just didn’t want to lead anymore? You became so drained and so burned out that you just didn’t care anymore. You thought why not just quit? As a Leader I can only imagine that we all have felt that way at some point. How do you lead when you don’t want to. Just because your a leader doesn’t mean that you never feel like throwing in the towel. I think sometimes that people view those that Lead as invincible. And sometimes as Leaders we may view ourselves that way but as history has shown us no one is invincible, so we must learn to take the proper steps TO prevent burn out.
King David in 1 Samuel 30 was a prime example of a Leader who not only wanted to give up but had those around him ready to stone him to death. Now for the most part we may have had people upset with us and wanted to quit but most us have never had people wanting to stone us as Leaders. David had just lost his family along with those around him. He was hurting, and so were those around him, and probably didn’t have a burning desire to Lead. But he learned to encourage himself in the Lord. One of the main things that we have to do is encourage ourselves in the Lord. We find our strength in Him. As a pastors child my sister and I were often illustrations for the sermons my dad preached. I remember one illustration of when I was a really young child. My parents had always rocked me to sleep but decided one night to let me cry myself to sleep. After a while it had gotten quiet and my parents became concerned and decided to check on me. When they walked in they found that I had climbed over the side of my crib and was hanging on with one hand while patting myself on the shoulder with the other hand, sniffling telling myself it’ll be alright. Some times we have to encourage ourselves and lead in the face of adversity. David Learned to do that and inquired of the Lord how to proceed. I had a friend that posted this a few days ago “If you live off man’s compliments, then you will die by his criticism.” My interpretation was If we allow man’s compliments to lift us, then their criticism will tear us down. We must know how to encourage ourselves in the face adversity.
Leaders must also be able to take a 50,000 foot view. So often we get to a place where we don’t want to lead anymore because we are so consumed in the here and now that we can’t see the bigger picture. We get stuck on the ground floor and do good to see short distances much less see the whole picture. When you don’t feel like leading step back and take a look from a higher place to put everything into perspective and you will find it easier to Lead in a hard situation. I had a lady that use to tell me “it won’t always be this way.” That has been something that has ministered to me numerous times and I have used to minister to others. This statement was an encouragement when I was at a place where I didn’t want to continue.
Finally, when you find yourself in a place of burn out and not wanting to lead you need to rest. I have thought in the past that the more I did the more spiritual I was but as I have grown older I have found that to be inaccurate. As a leader we have to learn how to rest. Jesus found time to rest. So why wouldn’t we value rest also. I have had people of significance in my life tell me that sometimes rest is one of the most spiritual things I could do. In order to lead even when we don’t want to we must learn to rest because we can’t give to others and push through hard times when our bodies aren’t at 100%.
These are just a few things that are helpful to remember when we are at a place in our lives where we don’t want to lead. Be encouraged in the Lord and learn to encourage ourselves. Keep perspective of where we are and where we are heading. Lastly, get some rest because you are no good to yourself or anyone else when you are worn out. What do you do when you find yourself not wanting to lead? How do you cope?