When Confidence Becomes Hubris

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

In my book Shepherd Leadership, I take two chapters to dive deep into the healthy tension that is helpful for leaders. This is an important tension to maintain our effectiveness as leaders. 

When I was interviewed on the Leading From Alignment podcast, we took two episodes to talk about this healthy tension.  

As I said in this interview, every leader should take the proactive steps to make sure that our healthy leadership confidence doesn’t cross the line and become unhealthy leadership hubris. Keep healthy friends around you, enlist the help of a wise mentor, pray that searching prayer from Psalm 139, and pick up a copy of Shepherd Leadership. 

I have a special offer just for pastors (and for those who love their pastor). For just $12 I will send you an autographed copy of my book and a download link to get the audiobook of Shepherd Leadership free of charge. All you need to do is complete this form and I’ll have the materials right out to you.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Help With Our Blind Spots

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

Check out a snippet of this conversation I had with John Opalewski and Jim Wiegand on the Leading From Alignment podcast. If you want to watch the full 30-minute interview, check out this link. 

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I have posted quite a bit this week about a leader’s self-awareness—from my book review of John Maxwell’s The Self-Aware Leader, to my training with a pastoral team in South Carolina, to the clip I just shared from this interview. This aspect is so crucial for leadership success. 

As one of my friends commented to me this week, “Your timing on this is incredible—I was just thinking about self-awareness this morning. It’s probably my biggest fear as a leader: am I accurate in my own self-assessment? am I who I think I am?” These are questions that all leaders should be asking regularly. 

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

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

How I Learned To Stop Sabotaging My Sabbath

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

We all know that it’s impossible for a leader to be “on” 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Yet many leaders continue to operate as though they are supposed to be “on” all the time. The Bible not only calls for us to take a Sabbath rest, but it is something that God Himself demonstrated for us. 

I enjoyed my time on the Thriving In Ministry podcast with Kyle Willis while his podcast partner Dace Clifton was on sabbatical. Kyle and I didn’t plan this, but he mentioned a passage from Hebrews 4 that the Holy Spirit used years ago to get my attention. 

I would make my plans for a day off, or even a break in the middle of a busy day, only to find myself allowing work to consume that time. I was sabotaging my sabbath time until I saw three life-changing words in Hebrews 4:10. 

It is a very humbling thing to recognize that it is “my own work” that is sabotaging my sabbath rest. God is aware of my need for sabbathing, but I have to submit my plans to His plan. As I mentioned in this interview, and in a previous blog post, writing “ITLW” at the top of my daily To Do list has helped me immensely. It is a reminder to me that God knows what I need to be doing, with whom I need to be speaking, and what ministry needs to be accomplished each day far, far better than I ever could. I must listen to the Holy Spirit and submit “my own work” to God’s will. 

I talk about some other strategies that helped me in this area in my book Shepherd Leadership. It is a part of a 5-chapter section where I discuss how leaders can achieve wholly healthiness—mental, physical, spiritual, and relational health. I hope you will pick up a copy for yourself.

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

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

The Pinnacle Of A Leader’s Health

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

In my book Shepherd Leadership, I take five chapters to unpack the lessons we can learn from the health of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was mentally, physically, spiritually, and relationally healthy. 

On the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady we talked about a chapter in my book called “The Pinnacle of a Shepherd’s Health.” In that chapter I wrote—

     The phrase Dr. Luke uses about Christ’s growth is, “Jesus grew in favor with men” [Luke 2:52]. People liked having Jesus around. The word Luke uses for favor is from the same root word that is also translated “grace.” Jesus was a graceful Man. Or we could say that He was a Man so full of grace that when He was jostled, only grace spilled out of Him. 

     What does it mean when someone is graceful? It means they are pleasant to be around. It means you feel safe around them, knowing they will never belittle you or put you down. It means that their focus is on your agenda, not their own agenda. It means they are a “there you are!” person, not a “here I am!” person. The bottom line: grace-full people are full of grace for others. 

The way we react as leaders says more about our health than our planned actions do. Once again, let me share with you a passage from Shepherd Leadership

     Let’s return to our perfect example in Jesus. He was treated rudely and spoken to condescendingly, even by people who should have been His allies. Then there were those on a constant mission to try to trip Him up or get Him to say or do something that would have undermined His credibility. Yet Jesus never spoke inappropriately nor acted childishly. Jesus never had to say, “My bad, I misspoke there,” or “Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” 

     We can make all of our plans to behave in loving ways toward the sheep under our care, but what happens when the sheep ignore us, bite us, or leave us? As boxer Mike Tyson noted, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Surely the best indication of our overall healthiness and servant-like attitude is not so much our actions but our reactions. 

If your reactions are less than what you would like them to be, I believe you will find a lot of excellent content in my book that can help you. 

If you want to catch up on some of the other clips I’ve already shared from this interview, you can find them here, and I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Parents, Don’t Fret

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

Near the beginning of my interview on the Leading From Alignment podcast with Jim Wiegand and John Opalewski, I was asked to share a bit of my personal background. 

I have been incredibly blessed to have grown up in a solid Christian home and in a fantastic Bible-believing church. And yet I still had to come to a point where I had to decide for myself whether I was going to put my faith in the claims of the Bible. Check this out…

Parents, God is faithful to His Word. If we as parents will teach the Scriptural truths to our children, the Holy Spirit will bring that back to their remembrance as our kids get older. We don’t have to fret about their spiritual standing, but we can stand on God’s promises. 

This doesn’t remove responsibility from us. I love the story of a woman named Monica who prayed for years and years for the salvation of her son. Even when it appeared he was running as hard as he could away from God, Monica continued to pray. Eventually, her son did put his faith in Jesus and went on to have an immeasurable impact on world and church history. Monica’s son is Augustine of Hippo. 

So Mom and Dad, make sure your kids hear God’s Word. Then make sure God hears your prayers for that Word to not return void. You don’t have to fret over your children when you remember that God loves them even more than you do! 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Optimal Spiritual Health

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 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I spent a good chunk of our time talking about the health of pastors. I think it is very important for shepherd leaders to be wholly healthy because we cannot give to our flocks what we don’t possess ourselves. 

One of the things that is very interesting to me is the parallels between maintaining our physical health and maintaining our spiritual health. When it comes right down to it, our physical health can be optimized by getting a handle on four key elements: (1) proper diet, (2) regular exercise, (3) appropriate rest and recovery, and (4) regular times of evaluation and adjustment. 

Our spiritual health is optimized with these same four elements. 

As my friend Josh Schram reminded me, “Health is not just a big one-time choice. Health is small daily choices.” Jesus made these daily choices to eat well, exercise regularly, rest when needed, and make the adjustments His Father spoke to His heart. He set us an example for healthy spiritual growth that will keep us in a place to grow our shepherd leadership capacities. 

I have found that we are much more likely to make and stick to a plan to get physically healthy when we have a workout friend or someone who is holding us accountable. The same is true for our spiritual health. So pastor, don’t try to get and stay healthy on your own, but get a trusted friend or two working out alongside you. 

In my book Shepherd Leadership, I have five chapters that focus on a leader’s mental, physical, spiritual, and relational health. I hope you will pick up a copy to help you operate at peak healthiness. 

If you want to catch up on some of the other clips I’ve already shared from this interview, you can find them here, and I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Leading From Alignment Podcast

I am so stoked about the “Leading From Alignment” podcast that dropped on September 6! Our conversation was supposed to cover some things from my book Shepherd Leadership but we got into so many other topics. 

Check out this fantastic interview on YouTube or Apple podcasts.

Practical Health Questions

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 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff wanted to know if I had a favorite chapter in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. That’s an easy question to answer because it is the chapter I didn’t write—the Preface of the book was written by Dick Brogden and sums up my book better than I could have on my own. 

But there is a chunk of five chapters in Shepherd Leadership that I keep going back to quite frequently. This section is also one that has resonated with other leaders who coach and counsel pastors. 

Dr. Luke summarized the wholly healthy development of Jesus in just one verse: And Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God, and in favor with men (Luke 2:52). I think this gives us the perfect pyramid for our healthy growth—

  • It starts with our mental health (wisdom) 
  • Which helps us make good decisions for our physical health (stature)
  • Which creates an ideal environment for our spiritual health to flourish (favor with God)
  • Which is ultimately realized in our relational health (favor with men) 

This is why, when I am coaching other pastors that are struggling with relationships with their board or parishioners, I start with…

Oftentimes the answers to these questions reveal a deficit in mental, physical, or spiritual health that is preventing a breakthrough in strong, healthy relationships. As soon as health is being restored at the lower levels of this pyramid, positive changes in spiritual and relational health begin to blossom as well. 

Pastor, please pick up a copy of my book to help you get into the healthiest place you can be. You cannot give health to the flock under your care if you are not at optimal health yourself. 

If you want to catch up on some of the other clips I’ve already shared from this interview, you can find them here. I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

My Unique History

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 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I talked about my unique background and how that contributed to not only the book I wrote but also to the activities in which I am presently involved.

God took me on a long journey before I came to be a shepherd in Cedar Springs, MI. There were times in my younger life when I questioned why my path didn’t look like a straight line that was heading toward a career or vocation, but God showed me the truthfulness of the promise in Romans 8:28—He is using ALL THINGS to accomplish what He needs for me and for His Kingdom. (Check out the short video below where I share a bit of my autobiography.)

I hope this is a word of encouragement for you too. God IS directing every single one of your steps, He IS using all of your education and experiences to accomplish His purpose. Don’t bail out of this process, and don’t ever get discouraged that your path seems different than those around you. God is being as unique with you as He is with everyone else. 

If you are a church leader, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I believe you will find many more encouraging thoughts that will keep you engaged in the work to which God has called you.

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

“Let Us” Be The Church

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 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff asked me what was different for our church during the pandemic shutdowns. I explained to him how our season of change had begun long before anyone was even talking about a coronavirus.

Of course one of the big things in my personal life during the last year was authoring a #1-selling book called Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. As I commented to Jeff, those “let us” phrases in the Book of Hebrews so struck me that I wrote about it in my book. 

     Have you noticed that the word “saints” in the New Testament is always in the plural, never the singular? That’s because we need each other to bring out the saintly qualities in each other. This is why the writer of Hebrews stresses the camaraderie of “let us” so many times (Hebrews 10:22–25). I’ve found that many shepherd leaders tend to isolate. They are so involved in their own pasture of ministry that they seldom make the time to interact with other shepherds. In fact, isolation is one of the devil’s favorite tactics. I encourage you to find friends—fellow saints—who are also committed to healthy spiritual growth and avail yourself of their friendship and insight. —an excerpt from the chapter ‘Four Elements to Optimal Spiritual Health’ 

“Let us” be the church wherever God places us and however He chooses to use us. 

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

%d bloggers like this: