Some thoughts about leadership

Published 4:54am Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Dr. James Troglen

Every generation has it’s focus, catch phrase or new emphasis. For the past 20 or so years it has been leadership.

Every minister’s library has at least a few volumes on the topic. Mine has many by a variety of “leaders.” I have books such as “Leadership 101,” “Jesus on Leadership,” “The Empowered Leader,” even one on leadership late in one’s ministry written by a dear friend of mine Gary Fenton, “Your Ministry’s Next Chapter.”

The characteristics of a leader vary depending on the “expert” but all are beneficial to look at. One man stressed perseverance. He gave the following example of a letter written to a company by a rejected  candidate. “To Whom It May Concern: Thank you for your letter of [date]. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment at this time. This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals. Despite [your Company]’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet with my needs at this time. Therefore, I will initiate employment with your firm immediately. I look forward to working with you. Best of luck in rejecting future candidates. Sincerely, [Your Name].”

I personally like short quick ideas about leadership. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Live in such a way that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

“Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.”

“Things ain’t what they used to be and never were.”

“We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by.”

On a more serious note Brad Lomenick, director of the Atlanta-based Catalyst movement for young leaders, shares five key leadership lessons he learned in his 20s. These lessons apply to young church leaders and, really, any young leader in any capacity:

First, use your 20s to build a foundation for your 70s. Create deep roots that will give you a foundation for when you are older. Finishing well means starting well.

Second, don’t worry about climbing the ladder. There’s no longer a ladder anyway; it’s more like one of those spiral staircases. And sometimes you are going across or down when you think you might be climbing. So don’t worry about it. Spend your 20s learning and having life experiences. Travel, explore the world, take on projects that seem fun.

Third, if your “career” path doesn’t make sense to anyone except for you, it’s OK. For example, when in his 20s, I was in college at University of Oklahoma, a wrangler on a guest ranch in Colorado, a management consultant, a business development officer with a magazine and media company and a strategic business plan developer. That is all over the map. But God was orchestrating steps very clearly for what was next in my story. And He continues to do so.

Fourth, be diligent and aggressive in developing your friendships and relationships. Create a core group of close friends who you want to do life with. This group may change a bit over the years, but it is imperative to find a circle of trust that you are committed to and they to you.

Fifth, and lastly, figure out who you want to be, not what you want to do. Who you are is more important that what you do or where you live — spiritually, financially, family, emotionally, relationally. Find two or three older, wise “sages” that you can learn from and count on as help.

I love Brad’s last point; “Who you are is more important than what you do or where you live.”


Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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