Accomplishments as High as Heaven, Character as Low as Hell

In recent months the evangelical world has been rocked by a number of scandals, by news of yet more leaders who used their churches or ministries to indulge themselves to the harm of others. These are yet more cases of men who will no doubt stand before God some day and plead all their accomplishments—“Didn’t I preach the gospel for you? Didn’t I encourage many people in their faith? Didn’t I lead many people to the Lord?” Yet despite such …

Faithful Leaders

It can be discouraging to see Christian leaders sometimes falter and sometimes fall. We feel residual shame when yet another well-known pastor is caught in scandal, when yet another Christian celebrity succumbs to a web of his own weaving. Yet we need to be careful that we do not make the extent of the problem greater than it is, for behind every one of these well-known, unfaithful leaders is a legion of ones who, though unknown, are faithful to God’s …

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The Inadvertent Trailblazer

My favorite cities to explore are the ones that have come together organically rather than according to a plan. Where some city centers were built on a grid with each building aligned closely with the road beside it and each street meeting the others at a perfect 90-degree angle, I prefer the cities that arose without such careful design. These are the cities where the streets wind and turn, where roads meet and cross one another at quirky angles, where …

On Following Mediocre Leaders

We human beings have a strange relationship with leadership. We love it, but hate it. We crave it, but resent it. We long to be led, but contend with those who lead us. We witness this phenomenon in toddlers, in seniors, and in everyone between. As soon as we have the ability to shake our fists, and for as long as we have the ability to shake our fists, we shake them at those who lead us. Our tendency is …

How To Lead and How To Follow

Even people who have no use for Jesus affirm the importance of his Golden Rule: “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). This is a call for each of us to live thoughtfully, to live selflessly, to live in such a way that we consider not only ourselves, but others. In the Golden Rule we get a glimpse of the world as it ought to be, a glimpse of the world as …

The Influenced Will Be Like the Influencer

We are easily influenced. It is a feature of humanity (and not a bug) that we learn best by example, by imitation. We are natural imitators and thrive on a combination of formal instruction and observable example. It is little wonder then that we cast about for teachers, for mentors, for people who can influence us, people we can imitate. All the while we know that we must find truthful and trustworthy influencers. With this in mind, we’d do well …

Follow the Way You Want To Be Followed

Most of us lead, but all of us follow. God has so structured authority in this world that almost all of us are leaders in some areas of life and followers in others. Parents lead their children while following government. Managers lead their teams while following the CEO. Directors lead their organization while following the Board. Few of us are without some responsibility toward leaders and some responsibility toward followers. Following comes before leading. We are born under the first …

The Greatest Burden of Leadership

If it is difficult to be a leader, it is far more difficult to be a good leader. If there are challenges that come to those who lead, there are far greater challenges that come to those who wish to lead well. This is exactly why we have such deep respect for leaders who are exemplary, for leaders who lead with skill. This is exactly why our bookshelves are overflowing with titles on becoming better leaders, on leading with confidence …

Accept Your Leadership

Some facets of life in our modern world are made more difficult than they really need to be. They have been debated and written about to such a degree that they’ve become almost impossibly complicated. I’m convinced that one such area is leadership, and especially leadership in the home and family. What should be clear has become woefully muddied. Meanwhile, our world is crying out for leadership—good leadership, confident leadership, humble leadership, the kind of leadership that uses authority to …

Doers and Delegators

We tend to associate the highest godliness with the humblest service. Jesus proved his holiness when he stooped to wash the filthy feet of his disciples. He proved his submission to God when he willingly faced the unjust suffering of the cross. In both cases, it is what Jesus did that displayed his godly character. This is the heart of what Christians refer to as servant-leadership, of displaying the highest kind of leadership through the lowest acts of service. Successful …