Freebie: FREE Book “Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads”

Normally I share a freebie on Fridays, but the freebie I want to share is only free until midnight tonight! That means if your reading this blog about this free ebook, you need to grab it asap before it goes up to $4.99 tomorrow! The FREE ebook I want to share with you is called Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads by Mark Riddle. I had the opportunity to meet Mark personally a few weeks ago at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I have not dived into this book just yet, but plan to in the coming months. From what I am hearing it’s an excellent leadership book that those in church leadership. One review of the book said, “This book should be required reading for church staff and lay leaders alike.” Here is a short review of the book by Tim Schmoyer:

Most church leaders deal with the issue of congregation members who expect the paid staff to serve them, provide services, and direct programs. For the most part, the congregation members are involved, but they’re serving the youth pastor in his ministry or the children’s director in her ministry rather than taking responsibility for THEIR ministry. Things like this happen because somewhere along the line the team player removed his or her shoulder pads and placed them on the paid staff member. Unfortunately, the staff member accepts them because “this is what I get paid to do” and before long, it’s a church of people with unrealistic expectations who also share no ownership in the outcomes.

Mark’s little book addresses issues like this and more as he talks about how we can discover our role in misplacing responsibility because church staff members do it, too. He also addresses how we can begin to give back misplaced responsibility that’s been delegated to us.

I hope these thoughts have wet your appetite to read this ebook. Below is the link to download the book for FREE from Amazon as a Kindle edition. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry! You can click here to download a Kindle reading app (for FREE) that allows you to read Kindle edition books on your computer or tablet.

Redeeming Leadership: Shoulder Pads by Mark Riddle

How to Cultivate Humility in Leadership

For the past week or two I have been studying through the book of Acts in my devotions. As I have been studying Acts, I have seen several leadership principles I have been wanting to share. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love to write about leadership principles I see in Scripture. I was going to write a few posts about the leadership principles I have seen in Acts, but I realized all of them come back to one thing-humility. If there is any trait a Biblical leader must have it is humility. It’s not an easy trait to maintain and cultivate, but with God’s help we can be leaders known for our humility. Here are three ways to cultivate humility in leadership as seen in the book of Acts:

1. Don’t be afraid to serve behind the scenes. At the end of Acts 1 we see the disciples are faced with a situation-who is going to replace Judas. In verses 21-22 we see that whoever replaces Judas has to have been among them the whole time they were traveling with Jesus from the time He was baptized by John until His ascension. There was only two men who meet this criteria, one being a man by the name of Matthias. Peter prays and asks God to show them which man He has chosen for this job. God reveals to them Matthias was the man and so he replaced Judas. The reason this is so interesting is because we have not heard of this Matthias guy until now. He has been walking with the disciples and Jesus for years and we just now hear about him! What does this teach us? Sometimes we have to serve behind the scenes. Sometimes as leaders we have to go unnoticed and serve in the background while everyone else is getting the recognition. The first thing we can do to cultivate humility in leadership is be ok with serving behind the scenes. At the end of the day, it’s not about us anyways.

2. Always depend on God. Before Peter and the other disciples made their decision about who will replace Judas, Matthias or the other guy, they prayed and asked God for His will (Acts 1:24, 25). Many times in leadership we try to make all the decision on our own. We feel that as the leader we must call the shots. But if we want to be Biblical leaders who maintain humility, we must depend on God. Not just in making decision, but in everything we do. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, you must get serious about depending on God.

3. Don’t allow any task to become to small for you do to. A lot of times in leadership we feel like there are some tasks that are just too “small” for us to do. For example, a lead pastor might not feel like it’s too small of a task for him to clean the bathrooms. That is a somewhat extreme example, but if we want to be leaders who have humility, we must realize we sometimes have to do those “small” tasks and get our hands dirty at times. If you’re in leadership and refuse to do something because it’s too “small” or “lower” than you, your probably struggling with pride and you need to cultivate humility. In Acts 6 a need arose-widows where getting neglecting in the daily distribution of food. Because the apostles were called to pray and minister through the Word so they equipped other faithful men to do this task of serving tables. One of the men chosen to serve tables was Stephen. What is interesting about that is a few chapters later you find out Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr. Stephen didn’t allow serving tables become too “small” of a task for him. He decided to start with a “small” task and obviously was faithful at it. If you want to cultivate humility in leadership, don’t ever allow a task to become “too small” for you to do.

I want to leave you with a verse that I believe drives all three of these points home. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” Because Matthias and Stephen humbled themselves and were servant leadership, God exalted them later on down the road. Sometimes we have to serve in those humble ways before God exalts us. The best thing a leader can do is humble himself before God and allow God to exalt him in the proper time-God’s timing.

How Leaders Can Prevent Moral Failure BEFORE It Happens

As leaders, I am specifically speaking to church leaders in this post, we are called to be good stewards of the integrity of our church and the Gospel. This is why moral failure, which happens too often today in our churches among leaders, is such a devastating thing. It not only hurts the leader who has failed, but causes damage to the church involved and the message of the Gospel. Recently, Crawford Lorritts, said this in the Elephant Room about leaders and moral failure: “What you do when a leader fails morally happens before the fall.” Too often we wait until a leader has fallen to deal with the issues. Unfortunately, leaders tend to wait until they fail morally to deal with the issue. I believe church leaders today need to take whatever steps necessary to prevent moral failure before it happens. Here are three practical things a leader can do to prevent moral failure before it happens:

1. Have a consistent time with the Lord each day. I cannot stress the importance of having a personal devotional time with the Lord each day! A leader who is not having a daily devotional time with God each day is asking to be taken down by a moral sin. The battle with our flesh and the Devil is too real to not spend time with God each day for the strength we need! Crawford Lorritts also said this: “I have never talked to someone who has failed morally that was not consistent in his time with the Lord.” Consistency with the Lord is they way we grow spiritually and a strong, growing spiritual walk with the Lord is the only thing that will prevent us from moral failure (read Greg Stier’s post called “Lust Will Pick the Lock”). The first thing a leader can do to prevent moral failure is having a consistent time with God each day.

2. Have a strong relationship with your spouse or significant other. Usually before a leader experiences moral failure, his marriage or relationship with his significant other will start to struggle first. Not only should leaders have a consistent time with God each day, they must also have a growing relationship with their spouse. Leaders, stop coming home after work and spending more time on the computer, or Twitter, or checking e-mails. Turn that stuff off and spend time with your spouse! You need it, they need it, your ministry will be more protected when you spend the right amount of time with your spouse! This is so simple, but leaders fail to do it too often. Have a date night each week and never let the love between you and your spouse go downhill.

3. Always have accountability in your life. Leaders, don’t wait until your mess up to get an accountability partner. Seek out accountability relationships even when things are going well. If your married, I believe your number one accountability should be your wife. Then you should have Godly men, or women if you’re a woman, to keep your accountable and ask you the “tough questions.” In a recent post called “3 Ways to Handle Personal Sin as a Leader” I said, “The leader who does not have accountability in their life are asking for the enemy and their flesh to destroy their leadership position.” Don’t be an open target for your flesh, have accountability in your life!

These are just a few ways to prevent moral failure in leadership before it happens. Pray and ask the Lord to help you protect yourself before it happens and costs your leadership position. A lot of what I said came from a conversation called “Help” that took place in the Elephant Room. Click here to see a recent post where I shared my favorite quotes from the Elephant Room event.

3 Leadership Lessons from Moses

One of my favorite things to do is study and talk about Biblical leadership. I believe that everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I shared this simple thought with a group of men this past Sunday. These were not your average church guys or men gathered for a Bible study, these were men inside the Medina County Jail. I went to the jail to preach God’s Word to these men and my message could have been summed up in this one though: Everyone has the potential to be a Biblical leader. I believe on major reason we don’t always believe that truth is because we allow our past and our mistakes keep us from moving forward as leaders. Certainly this is what these men felt when they were listening to me preach this message while inside a jail. I believe the person who has made terrible mistakes and been through many trails is a great candidate to be a great leader of God. Charles Swindoll said, “No one deserves the right to lead without first preserving through pain, heartache, and failure.

Maybe you feel that way. How could you be a Biblical leader with your past? I want to remind you, just as I did the men in the jail, that some of the greatest leaders in the Bible could have easily used the excuse of their past. One of these leaders is Moses. I want to share with you three leadership lessons we see from the early life of Moses:

1. Leaders have a past full of mistakes. In Exodus 2:12 we read that Moses murdered a man and then buried him in the sand! Think about that compared to your past mistakes. If God can forgive and use Moses, a murder, in leadership, why couldn’t He use you? We all have a past full of mistakes, but we must not allow that past to keep us from doing what God calls us to do. Jeremy Hales, camp director at Skyview Ranch, says, “The rear view mirror is smaller that the front window.” It’s easy to look in the rear view mirror of our life and see the mistakes behind us, but the front window is huge and is a full-view of what God has for us in the future. Again, Moses murdered someone and God used him; God can use you!

2. Leaders must go through the wilderness. The best leaders in the world have been through the wilderness. After Moses killed a man, he ran (Exodus 2:15) to the land of Midian, which was basically a wilderness. God had two purposes for the wilderness for Moses: to punish him for his sin and to teach him lessons for the future. This is how God disciplines His children. We see this twofold purpose in Hebrews 12:5-11. In this passage we see that God disciplines us because He loves us just as a good father disciplines his children. God is holy and must punish sin. Ultimately, He did this through His Son who bore God’s wrath for our sins. But even as Christians, God has to chasten us and correct us when we sin. What we see in this Hebrews passage is that even as God does that, He also has another purpose in mind: to train us and to make us more holy (Hebrews 12:10-11). Before you can be a leader, God has to train you and sometimes that training comes through a wilderness. Currently I am experience that. I am waiting and praying for God to open a door for my first full-time ministry job, but I am having to go through the wilderness of discouragement, learning to trust God, and patience on Him. Click here to view a post I wrote awhile back on this subject.

3. Leaders have a holy calling. I believe we sometimes don’t fully understand just how special and awesome it is to know God has called you into leadership of some type for Him! In Exodus 3:1-6 we read that God showed up to call Moses from within a burning bush! God then tells Moses to take of his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy. When God calls you to do something for Him, it’s a holy thing! Don’t take lightly the calling of God on your life.

I hope these three leadership lessons from the early life of Moses are an encouragement to you. Remember, God can forgive you and use you! You may have to go through the wilderness to get there, but the calling of God on your life is a holy thing!

Related post:
3 Leadership Lessons from Jude
3 Leadership Lessons from Jeremiah
3 Ways to Handle Personal Sin as a Leader 

3 Ways to Handle Personal Sin as a Leader

I believe one area of leadership we don’t talk enough about is how leaders should handle personal sin and failure due to sin. We often wait until leaders sin to the point where they are disqualified, then we talk about what they should do. They should step down. They should be fired. They need to get help. But we never talk about what they should do to handle the sin before it gets to the point they are disqualified. I believe there are a few reasons for this problem. First, leaders don’t always like talking about their sin. As a leader, you don’t want people to see your flaws and struggle because your their leader. This is a terrible attitude, but we often have it as leaders. Second, if a leader does talk about his sin, he will be judged and condemned. That might be a strong statement, but often times when leaders confess sin and ask for help they don’t receive the loving support and help we are told to give in Galatians 6:1.

As leaders, we are sinners just like the people we lead. If you’re a pastor, you’re a sinner just like the people in your congregation. Student pastors, you are a sinner just like the students that make up your student ministry. Leaders, we will sin and struggle with sin, but we need to learn how to handle it so it doesn’t destroy us to the point of having to leave our leadership position. Here are three things leaders can do to handle personal sin in their life.

1. Confess and repent quickly. This may seem simple, but when we sin we often get so discouraged and down on ourselves we forget God told us to confess our sin to Him and He will forgive us (1 John 1:9). In his book Doctrine, Mark Driscoll reminds us that repentance is a gift to the Christian. Because of Christ and his payment for our sin on the cross, we have the privilege to confess and repent of sin! Christian leader, don’t stay down and discouraged when you sin, confess and repent of it quickly! God will forgive you and your fellowship will be restored the moment you confess! This doesn’t mean that you will not feel broken, we should feel broken over our sin. But remember Christ already paid for every single sin you will ever commit on the cross. Confess, repent, and get back up!

2. Seek out accountability. This is huge! We often shy away from this as leaders because we don’t want to reveal our sin to someone else and naturally as sinners we don’t want to be accountable to someone. But as leaders, we must have accountability set up in our life’s. Don’t stop at confessing and repenting when you sin, get help and be accountable to someone. Leaders, you need someone in your life asking you the “hard questions” and asking how you’re doing personally in your walk with God. The leader who does not have accountability in their life are asking for the enemy and their flesh to destroy their leadership position. When you sin, confess, repent quickly, get back up, and find some accountability!

3. Use your sin to encourage others. I am not saying share all your struggles when you stand up to preach or teach, but what I am saying is that when it is helpful and appropriate encourage others by your struggle with sin. Encourage others to confess and repent as you confess and repent. Encourage others to seek out accountability as you seek out accountability. The people we minister to need to know their leader is a real person who has real struggles. In Psalm 51 David confesses his sin to God. In verse 13 he says, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways…” After he has confessed and repented of his sin, David says he will then turn and teach others no to sin! J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church, said, “God can take the sins of our kingdom and use them in great ways in His kingdom.”

Leader, you will sin and will blow it at times. If you have fallen morally you may lose your position because God is clear in His Word that there are some sins that will disqualify a leader. But you WILL NEVER loose your relationship with Him! Deal with your sin before it costs you your position.

A book I would recommend on this subject would be Failing Forward by John Maxwell. In this book he explains how as a leader you can fail, but fail forward in a way that will help you as a leader. Also, if your a leader, you need to check out Perry Nobles blog for some great thoughts on leadership.