3 Things Everyone Wants to Know from a Leader

There are three things every person wants to know from a leader. If you can’t answer them, no one will follow you. If you can answer them all satisfactorily, they will follow you almost anywhere.

I once had a boss who related this to me about a fellow pastor. One of Bob’s (not his real name) people had told my boss, “I love Bob a lot. I love the way he does church. I love his vision. I love where he wants to go. I would follow him anywhere. But this vision is his, and I don’t want to do it.” Hmmm…. This is a classic case of someone not answering these three questions:

  1. The first thing is: Can we trust you? If you cannot be trusted, don’t even bother trying to answer the next two questions. If people don’t trust you, they will not follow you anywhere, anytime, anyhow. But if you can satisfactorily answer this question, they will easily move on to the next question.
  2. The second question is: Do you know where you are going? Once you have answered the trust question, then people want to know if you have a pretty good idea of where you want to go. If you are going to take them, they want to know where that is. Do you, as a leader, have a clear picture of where you want to go. If you do, if you can paint that picture for your people, then they will move on to the next question. If you can’t, they will never even ask it.
  3. That third question is: Can you get us there?  Ah! This is where the rubber meets the road. The first one asks about your character. The second one asks about direction. Getting to this last question says, we like you and your character. We want to go where you want to go. But this last question says, “Are you the person?” If you cannot show them that you have the capabilities to do it, then you have failed your followers.

My friend the fellow pastor in the story above had answered the first two questions, but he couldn’t get over the hurdle of the third. His people didn’t feel he had the capacity or capabilities to get the job done.

Answering these three questions should motivate you and stir you to find those answers soon, if you don’t already have them figured out. If God has gifted and called you to leadership, then you must continually come back to these questions and continue to answer them on a regular basis.

Otherwise, as John Maxwell says about leaders without followers: “You are just out for a walk.”

Enjoy it Now!

Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they haven’t found it, but because they haven’t stopped to enjoy it.

Cineas was disturbed at Pyrrhus’s intent to go to war against the Romans. “Sir, when you’ve conquered them, what will you do next?” Sicily is near at hand and easy to master. “And when you have conquered Sicily? Then we will pass on to Africa and take Carthage. “When these are conquered, what will be your next attempt?” Then we will fall upon Greece and Macedon and recover what we’ve lost there. “Well, when all are subdued, what fruit do you expect from all your victories?” Ah, then we’ll sit down and enjoy ourselves. “Sir, may we not do it now and forego all the preliminaries?” (unknown source)

Enjoy your life now. It’s not when you make enough money, not when you advance to a better degree, not when you get that new job…. Enjoy your kids now. Enjoy your health now. Enjoy your wife/husband now. Don’t put it off, enjoy it now.

I am not a big fan of what Facebook and Smart Phones have done to us – even though I love my smart phone and my Facebook account…. I’m not a big fan of they way they have robbed our free time, robbed our family time, and robbed our times of boredom where we would have to stop and think, or come up with something creative to do.

Enjoy your life now. put down that phone, back away and begin enjoying today’s life, with real people. When you get to the end of your life you aren’t going to say, “If only I could have posted one more picture from Pinterest.” or “If I could read Facebook just one more time.” No, most people come to the end of their life and wish they had more time with their family, friends and loved ones.

So why not do it now?

Still a Mac!

I wrote this related post on July 21, 2008 – Hello, I’m a Mac

That was the first day of class for my Doctor of Ministry classes. I finished the Dmin this year. And as I read over that post of my first day, I was amazed. I have always bucked the system a bit – dressed differently, done it my way, rather than the “supposed to” way, and of course, with school, never really gave it my all. This time I did. Out of 35 people to start the program, 11 of us finished the classes, and about 3-4 of us finished the classwork. 2 of us graduated on the normal time schedule in our cohort. (it is often fairly normal to graduate with an extra year and 2-3 will be doing that)

I’m not saying that to brag, but rather to simply say, I had some really good insight into myself those 5 years ago. I am glad for that insight and I’m glad I put it to good use and made it work for me, rather than against me. No more academic probation because I was too busy playing tennis or golf. This time, I got it done right.

It just goes to show, that when we put our minds to something, we really can get it done. ONE OF MY CORE VALUES IS: Discipline will get me where I want to go.” And it was that discipline to take 4-6 hours every Monday afternoon to work on this long-term project, to plan and to do was the only way I was going to get it done.

It’s the same with all of us. The finish line is only a discipline or two away from us. The more we are able to discipline our time, our energy, our ideas, the more we will actually be able to make it all happen….

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

The title on this entry is a quote often attributed to St Augustine, popularized by Richard Baxter in 1679 and frequently quoted by John Wesley. What if this became our leadership mantra? What if it became the mantra for our church? Marriage? Friendships? With all people?

Unity in the essentials. Very few things are essential. Liberty is akin to freedom to try, freedom to seek out new options, freedom to be different. Charity = love. In other words, love all people, all the time, in all situations. Treat people with respect, love, and care always. But continue to strive for the other two.

The problem with most leaders is that they want it to say, Charity in essentials, liberty in very few things and unity in all things.

Which kind of a leader are you?

I’m Thankful for…

I’m thankful to my wife of nearly 25 years. I’m thankful for her ability to get into my heart and head and for her love and support.

I’m thankful for my kids. I’m thankful that the older ones are moving from children to friends. I’m thankful for their smiles. I’m thankful most of them are home this Thanksgiving (wish they all were – but it’s hard to get 42 all in the same place at one time! 🙂  ) I’m thankful they are responsible and following Jesus.

I’m thankful for my dad (and my late mom). I’m thankful for great in-laws.

I’m thankful for my church that is allowing me to lead. I’m thankful for great associate pastors. I’m thankful for a great place to worship. I’m thankful for a great team of elders and ministry leaders. But most of I’m I’m thankful for the church – the people – they are some of the greatest people in the world.

I’m thankful for a house, for a warm house, for a fire. for the sunshine, for the rain (kind of). And I’m thankful for how life is going.

Most of all, I’m thankful for Jesus Christ. He’s my Lord, Savior and King. I will follow him all the days of my life. Proverbs says that knowledge is knowing the right thing. Wisdom is doing the right thing. Matthew 11 says that Wisdom is known by her deeds. It’s my desire to be known by doing the things of Jesus – being wise – and living for him thankfully all day and every day!

Monopoly

I’ve been listening with my family to a series of tapes (yes…remember those) by Bill Liversidge from the 1985 Michigan Campmeeting. He was the early morning speaker then and my Mother-in-law had them while we were visiting. Great speaker and great grasp of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

One concept caught my eye on the third day’s talk: How we treat one another is a reflection of the kind of God we believe in.

Adventists don’t have a monopoly on Jesus Christ. We don’t have a monopoly on truth or on the Holy Spirit either. Because we believe we have truth in our midst, doesn’t give us the right to trample on others. The truth And our actions are revealing the character of God.

So, he asks the question: “How big is your God?”

So let me ask you a couple of questions:

        • What kind of picture of God does your neighbor see?
        • What kind of picture of God does your friend see?
        • What’s the picture of God your coworker sees?
        • What’s the picture of God your children see? Or your spouse?
        • What’s the picture of God your dog sees?

Take the time to think about that picture of God and reflect the God you are experiencing – chances are it’s a God of grace, mercy, kindness and love. Matthew 10 says that we should only fear the one who can destroy us eternally. But never fear, he loves us more than the sparrow whom he always takes care of. In other words, God is tough, but he loves you and me!