Balanced Leadership

Many pastors limit their leadership effectiveness by clinging to either confidence or humility. The better option—and one that Jesus Himself demonstrated for us—is to be both confident and humble. 

I unpack this idea in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. It’s available in print, ebook, and audiobook. 

Get more info, or order a copy of my book for yourself, at ShepherdLeadershipBook.com. 

The Confident-Humble Tension

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the Thriving In Ministry podcast with Kyle Willis and Dace Clifton. 

When I was trying to explain to my friends why I was writing Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter, I found that many were quite intrigued by the idea of the confident humility—or the humble confidence—that Jesus so perfectly demonstrated for us. 

Almost every leader I’ve met tends to be naturally wired as either a confident leader or a humble leader. Our effectiveness as a shepherd leader comes in allowing the Holy Spirit to help us maintain a healthy tension between those two poles. Jesus did this perfectly, and we are to follow His example. 

I have two chapters in my book discussing this tension. Here’s how I introduce the topic in the chapter “A confident leader’s attitude adjustment: 

God has created each of us uniquely—implanted with the temperament, talents, and personality He wanted each of us to have. God made you on purpose, and He made you for a purpose. But that being said, shepherd leaders are almost never perfectly balanced. If you’ve ever taken a temperaments assessment or any other kind of personality test, you know that you had some attributes that were more prominent than others. God never gives us weaknesses, but our areas of strength can become a self-imposed weakness if we rely on our strength instead of on our Strength Giver. 

Leaders tend toward two poles: confidence or humility. God made us this way on purpose. But to be the best shepherd leader, we each must allow the Holy Spirit to help us learn to lead in a more balanced way. If we lean too much toward confidence, we can come across as arrogant and even tyrannical. But if we lean too much toward humility, we can appear to be weak, indecisive, and unsure of our leadership direction. None of us will be perfect in this at every single moment, but with the proper attitude adjustments, we can learn to more consistently stay at the balanced point of being humbly confident or confidently humble. 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is now available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

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Thursdays With Oswald—The Harmony Of Health

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Harmony Of Health

     Health, or physical harmony, is a perfect balance between our organism and the outer world. … The great error of the healthy-minded cult is that it ignores a man’s moral and spiritual life. … The attitude to sickness in the Bible is totally different from the attitude of people who believe in faith-healing. The Bible attitude is not that God sends sickness or that sickness is of the devil, but that sickness is a fact usable by both God and the devil. 

   Happiness or moral harmony is a perfect balance between our inclination and our environment. … The Bible reveals that a man can have physical health at the cost of his moral welfare, and happiness at the cost of spiritual welfare. 

   Holiness, or spiritual harmony, is a perfect balance between our disposition and the law of God. … 

   The devil tries to make us think that when we have entered into the sanctified life, all is done; it is only begun. We have entered into Jesus Christ’s finished work, but remember, says Paul, you have attained to nothing yet; everything is perfectly adjusted, now began to attain and to “grow up into him in all things. These three things develop slowly together: first, the basis of spiritual holiness; second, the building of moral happiness; and third, the decoration of physical health. A full-grown man in Christ Jesus is one who has become exactly like Christ Jesus. “Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

Quite simply Oswald Chambers identifies health as a perfect balance:

  • Physical health balances outside germs against inside defenses.
  • Emotional health balances outside circumstances with inside coping mechanisms.
  • Spiritual health balances God’s law (outside) with our obedience to that law (inside).

Furthermore, Chambers says that Jesus Christ is our measuring stick. We must study God’s Word, and watch Jesus closely to see how He lived out the perfect balance of the Scriptural principles so that we can attain “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Zig Ziglar On Money & Success

Inspire To Be GreatZig Ziglar was a highly successful salesman, which opened the door for him to have a successful second career as a motivational speaker. His insight into money and success is well worth paying attention to—

“I define success as having acquired some of the things that money will buy and all of the things that money won’t buy—while maintaining balance in your life.” 

“Money bought me the house, but it won’t buy me a home. It’ll buy me a companion, but it won’t buy me a friend. It’ll buy me a good time, but it won’t buy me peace of mind. It’ll buy me a bed, but it won’t buy me a good night’s sleep.”

“Don’t count the things you do. Do the things which count.”

“In America, we have become greedy. We are bombarded with so many ads that say, ‘You gotta have this car! You gotta wear these clothes! You gotta take this vacation trip! You gotta have that second home at the beach,’ and all of these absurd things. Over the years, I have noticed this—that if standard of living is your number-one objective, your quality of life almost never improves. But if quality of life is your number-one objective, standard of living invariably goes up. That kinda contradicts what a lot of people believe.”

“Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy because of what you have.”

These quotes are from the book Inspire To Be Great. You can read my review of that book by clicking here. I shared some of my other favorite quotes from this book earlier, and you can read them by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading and watching from today…

“The worst form of ill association is ungodly marriage. I do not know anything that gives me more satisfaction than to see our brethren and sisters, who have walked in the faith of God, united in marriage—the husband and wife, both fearing and loving God. It is a delightful spectacle, and bids fair to be the means of building up the church with a generation which shall fear the Lord. But a very fruitful source of ruin to church members is that of a young man or a young woman choosing an ungodly partner in life. They never can expect God’s blessing upon it. They tell you sometimes they hope to be the means of their friend’s conversion. They have no right to hope such a thing; it so seldom occurs. The much more likely thing is that the ungodly one will drag the other down to his level, than that the godly one shall pull the other up.” —Charles Spurgeon

“If homosexuals are bullied, we need to protect them. If they’re unjustly discriminated against, we need to help them. If they’re treated with contempt, the person hurting them should be stopped. If a family member comes out as gay and then is belittled, harmed, or vilified, then the offending family needs to be corrected. If Christians ridicule people who identify as gay or lesbian, they need to admonished. If a church doesn’t welcome seekers of all stripes (including people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual), then it needs to change. But none of these circumstances are reasons to reinterpret Scripture to affirm homosexuality.” This is from a fascinating article: Bad Reasons To Adopt Pro-Gay Theology.

 

“Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.” —C.S. Lewis

“Resentment simply cannot dwell in a loving heart. Before resentfulness can enter, love must take its flight and bitterness take over.” —A.W. Tozer

“No nation ancient or modern has ever lost the liberty of freely speaking, writing or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.” —John Peter Zenger (in 1735 after winning his case that established the precedent for our freedom of the press)

“Never leave growing till the life to come!” —Robert Browning

“Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God? If learning and devotion are as antagonistic as that, then the intellectual life is in itself accursed and there can be no question of a religious life for a student, even of theology.” —B.B. Warfield

[VIDEO] John Maxwell has some great advice on conflict.

Did you know there is a right way to procrastinate? Yep! Check this out.

Organization In The Church

A.W. Tozer“The man who would oppose organization in the church must needs be ignorant of the facts of life. Art is organized beauty; music is organized sound; philosophy is organized thought; science is organized knowledge; government is merely society organized. And what is the true church of Christ but organized mystery? … Many church groups have perished from too much organization, even as others from too little. Wise church leaders will watch out for both extremes. A man may die as a result of having too low blood pressure as certainly as from having too high, and it matters little which takes him off. He is equally dead either way. The important thing in church organization is to discover the scriptural balance between two extremes and avoid both.” —A.W. Tozer (emphasis added)

Pastor, what do you think of Tozer’s thoughts of organization in the church? How do you balance against the extremes?

Alone (book review)

AloneIt’s weird to think this way in our highly-connected society, with the status symbol of getting as many friends, followers, and likes as possible, but more and more people feel disconnected and desperately alone. This is a serious subject that Andy Braner hits head-on in his book Alone.

Andy writes, “When people ask me, ‘What’s the biggest problem we can identify in the teenage nation today?’ it’s an easy answer: Teenagers are living all alone! … Even though Facebook gives us the ability to build a convenient corner of lives over the vast Web interface, the light of a computer screen isn’t bright enough to shine deep into our hearts and souls. We need real people. … Although this book is written for just the teen crowd, know that you’re not the only ones struggling.”

I love technology, and I’m very appreciative of the instant access to information and people. But I also know  the double-edged sword of too much technology means an increased connection to screens corresponding with a decreased connection with living human beings. There has got to be a healthy balance, and Andy makes some great suggestions for finding that balance.

I not only encourage teens to read this book, but parents of teens need to read it as well. Whether you read it together or not, find a way to discuss this content. Help your teenagers find healthy, fulfilling connections both through a screen and through face-to-face interactions.

Keepin’ It Balanced

This has been a very full week for me… and it’s only Wednesday morning! Sometimes when things get busy, I tended to get unbalanced. No, I don’t mean I’m losing my mind! I mean I tend to hyperfocus on some things, and almost lose sight of other things. 

One thing I always make time for is my Bible reading time. So as I was reading Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, I quickly spotted the balance Paul called us to:

  • Watch for God and stay occupied.
  • Be aware of evil but not obsessed with it.
  • Be sensitive but not reactionary.
  • Keep an eye on current events and balance them with Scripture.
  • Pray for yourself and pray for others.
  • Be busy but not a busybody.
  • Work hard and trust God.
  • Warn a brother that’s in error and continue to love him.

Ah, yes, I needed that! I hope it helps you too.

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