Six Tips to Remember Before You Speak the Hard Truth

Life isn’t perfect and rosy. It’d be nice, but it’s alright to be honest. Stuff happens. Sometimes there are a lot of pieces to pick up and put back together, or to scrap in favor of something new.

But fixing troubles isn’t easy, either. It gets worse depending upon the number of people involved in the situation, and how long the trouble has gone on. Eventually someone has to step up and tell the hard truth, to tell it like it is so the group can move on to what is possible.

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It’s Okay to be a “Sensitive” Leader

Leadership is a responsibility. Some people desire a place in leadership so they can have a say or be the one calling the shots. They don’t want to be told to clean the bathroom, they want to be the one doing the telling. Others are thrust into leadership without asking for it. There are few who really understand all there is to know about leadership.

The very first thing to consider, for everyone who aspires to lead, is the issue of responsibility. John Maxwell often says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Scripture warns those who want to be teachers about their higher level of responsibility. Surely God considers the work of a leader to hold as much weight, if not more. Old Testament prophets often delivered God’s judgment on leadership for their failures that had destructive consequences on the people.

If our individual assemblies were meant to coast their way downhill, ending up wherever whenever, God would not have ordained leaders or provided the spiritual gift of leadership. The fact God places people in authority means that authority is as special to Him as those being looked after. It is no small thing.

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When the Leader Speaks

After a recent meeting with our leadership team, one of them mentioned how he thought we had a good group. He had heard about church board meetings that involved a lot of yelling and screaming and said with confidence that we should not have to worry about that.

Another team member told a couple of stories from his experiences in those meetings, and agreed with the first’s assessment that we currently have a great group. He also mentioned how one of those big boardroom fights led to innocent families being pushed out of the church.

That’s when I gave the same two-cents I usually share in a discussion like this. It’s the pastor’s job to make sure those situations are as close to non-existent as possible. One way to do that is to be a strong leader, willing to put your foot down. Some things just aren’t up for debate. The senior leader, whether it’s a pastor in a church board or the chairman of a business organization, has to be willing to say so.

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Better Think Twice: Be Responsible with the Power of Influence

Every pastor and teacher wants to be able to get through to their audience. A lot of work goes into preparation and presentation. To present a message and declare it to be the word of God for a specific people at a specific time and in a specific situation takes confidence in hearing from God and putting all of the pieces together in just the right way.

Some pastors have it easy. The congregation hangs on their every word and their people pledge ever to walk the path their leader shines before them. I don’t know if that is normal, but it doesn’t seem to be. Instead pastors agonize over the message, hoping to reach someone with the power of the Word of God for their lives.

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What a great day when the connection finally clicks. Not a cultish type of following, but a simple desire to hear the direction of God through His anointed messenger. You finally have their attention. They truly desire to learn from you and follow your example.

Having earned such a place in their lives there is something we pastors have to keep in mind. We have reached a position of influence. How careful are we to protect that influence as we control what we put in front of those who are looking to us to lead?

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Tests of Leadership (2): When the People Push

Leadership isn’t easy. Somehow our minds have latched on to the idea that to be the leader is to oversee, kick back, and watch as everything falls into place. When the Word of God is clear, people will follow. If troubles arise, people will trust. And the leader gets to enjoy what is accomplished.

This is nothing like real leadership. Real leadership understands that difficulties will come. Enemies will need to be fought off. Obstacles will have to be crossed. Struggles will affect the lives of individuals and of the whole. The leader has to remain steadfast through the difficulties as he/she points to the unchangeable Word.

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It is important for the leader to keep his/her eye on that Word at all times, because there will be days when that Word will be challenged. When his gaze is focused the leader will be able to stand against those voices. When his gaze wanders, so will his resolve. And doing the right thing will fall to the will of the masses.

One of the most difficult situations a leader will face does not come from a competitor or oversight committee. It isn’t overt until it builds enough steam to try and roll you over. It is the push from the people called to follow the leader. Because of difficulty or unbelief or insubordination, the followers gather together to push the leader in their direction.

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