When Leaders Are Challenged

When Leaders Are ChallengedIt’s going to happen, your team is going to come to you with a problem. They might be surfacing a frustration with your leadership, a challenge that they have no idea how to handle or communicating struggles they are having with their own teams. It’s going to happen.

The number of leadership books that fill the pages of Amazon or the shelves of the bookstore are representative of the number of solutions on how to handle problems or challenges. As a Christ-follower first and then leader the best resource for finding leadership solutions is in God’s Word.

In the book of Numbers Chapter 20, Moses, the leader of thousands of people, was face with a big problem, he and his followers were in the desert and they had no water. Obviously he knew there was a problem, but it became a big issue when his followers started complaining. In the recording of the confrontation it actually says the people quarreled with Moses and insinuated, no blamed him for leading them to the wrong place.

Here is what we can see from this scenario….

  • Moses listened to their concerns without making comment or making a hasty decision
  • Involved his closest team member to be a part of the process
  • Sent the followers away without giving a decision
  • Before discussing a solution with his team spent time in prayer

There have been many times I have been faced with challenges from my team and too often I reacted out of my own wisdom before seeking God.. But that is not the example we see displayed by Moses….before giving an answer he spent time in prayer.

There have also been times when I have petitioned God for answers, sometimes they become clear and others no so much. Clear answer or gut feeling I know that the time I spent in prayer was productive because I always think clearer when I have been in His presence.

I am student of leadership and enjoy the process of learning to be a better leader and the best examples of God inspired leadership are in His word.

What is your favorite example of leadership from the Bible?

Write that note!

Write that noteI have a file labeled ‘affirmation.’ Its the place where I have kept many of the notes and cards of encouragement given to me over the span of my career. The people who wrote those notes have no idea how many times they have encouraged me through the years. The little things do make a big and lasting impact. Take a look at this account of an event that my friend experience last week.

Yesterday, I met with a guy who worked with me for a number of years. He was a great employee and I thought a lot of him. I haven’t seen or talked to him in 7 years until yesterday. I was meeting with him about possibly filling a key job for us at another organization. During our conversation he was telling me that things had gotten a lot more difficult since his current company had been acquired recently. He said for many years he has carried three notes with him everyday in his planner that when things get tough and he gets down he pulls them out and reads them for encouragement– two of the notes are from his daughters and the other is a note I gave him. I had forgotten about my note. The weekend I left his current company and moved my personal goods out of the office, I wrote notes to several employees and left them in an envelope on their desks. The notes thanked them for all the support they had given to me over the years and letting them know how much I appreciated what they did. One of those notes I had left with him. You never know the impact your words have on people. It was quite humbling.

I make a point of trying to encourage my staff on a weekly if not daily basis, but I am not very good at writing notes…that needs to change.

I have the privilege of leading various teams of volunteers…I need to let them know more often what a great job they do…I need put it in writing.

Here’s my plan: I am going to start the week with five blank note cards on my desk and sometime during the week write what needs to be said, what is deserved to one of my team members or volunteers.

Do you make a point to write notes of encouragement, to co-workers, family and friends, on a regular basis?



Who are you pushing?

I remember the day Ken told me he would never play piano in church…I knew he had the skills.Businessman pushing a car

I remember the day when Ken told me he could never lead worship in a church…I knew he could.

Today Ken leads worship in a local church and does so from the piano.

It is the job of the leader to

  • find the best people for his team,
  • evaluate their skills,
  • give them opportunity to be used
  • provide training opportunities
  • and…push them beyond their current comfort level so they can be the best they can be.

Who is the next person you will add to your team?

Are you supporting them and giving them the training they need?

Will you give them opportunities to lead?

Are you pushing them to take new steps of service or leadership?

I am looking for my next Ken. Do you have a Ken or Frank or _________ that you are pushing?


Let Us Make, Let Us Build

You can quickly get yourself in trouble if you take the credit for all that you accomplish.White Bricks

The reality

  • you have the support of your staff
  • you have the skills gathered through experience
  • you have been mentored by wise persons
  • and most importantly
  • you were made by God and for His glory…not yours.

Look at this from Genesis chapter 11

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves…”

The people were using what God had given them, and empowered to them, to make something for themselves and take all the credit.

God gives all of us talents and skills for the sole purpose of bringing glory to Himself.

It is easy for us to create something, finish a project, accomplish something with a team and then step back and say: ‘look what I (we) did.’ But…it is only by His grace and for His glory that we can create…even exist. So instead of ‘let us build’ or ‘let us make’ we need to rephrase to say ‘with God’s help we were able to do and ‘may it be honoring to Him and bring Him glory’.

I have worked in a ministry setting for the last 30 years and it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘look at what I (we) did’ in that setting as a secular setting. So as I write I am reprimanding and challenging myself to remember to always give credit to God.


Thank you for allowing me to live and work.

Thank you for helping me to create and produce.

Forgive me where I have failed to give You the recognition you deserve.

To You be the glory for ever and ever for everything.


How do you respond to compliments?

How do you respond to compliments?Applause

I think it is harder to respond appropriately to compliments than to criticism.

My whole career has been spent designing performances (planning worship services) standing on a stage (church platform) singing (worship leading) and leading creative arts groups (ministry teams). Criticisms and compliments are a regular occurrence. Its the compliments that are the hardest to respond to.

Loved the choir song today.

Wow…the music was beautiful today.

You did a great job leading today.

As an musician it feels great to get compliments but in the church setting how do you respond? I have struggled with this all my career. In a human way I need the good words from people but as a Christ-follower I want to make sure people understand that I want to direct the recognition to God.

In a recent look at the passages below I found some guidelines about responding to compliments.

Peter then invited them in and gave them lodging.The next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter helped him up and said, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” Acts 10:23-26

He had been very angry with the Tyrians and Sidonians. Together they presented themselves before him. They won over Blastus, who was in charge of the king’s bedroom, and through him they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food from the king’s country. So on an appointed day, dressed in royal robes and seated on the throne, Herod delivered a public address to them. The assembled people began to shout, “It’s the voice of a god and not of a man!”  At once an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give the glory to God, and he became infected with worms and died. Acts 12:20-23

Then he said to me, “Write: Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are fortunate!” He also said to me, “These words of God are true.” Then I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you and your brothers who have the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9-10

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Revelation 22:6-9


  • Accept with sincerity all recognition.
  • Always remember our strength, talents, skill are not of our own doing but come from God
  • Redirect the recognition to God who deserves it more than we do.

How have you found is the best way to respond to compliments?


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