Leadership Battle Lines

Avoid These Three Pitfalls at all Costs!

Leadership is a battle.  Leaders fight battles every day.  The old adage is true, “You win some and you lose some.”  Sometimes in winning a battle we are actually losing in the end.  Here are Three Battle Lines that may make a leader feel like they are winning but they are actually losing.

Below are three Battles that leaders have chosen and will choose to take up.  Each of these may feel like a winning solution but in each case a leader will lose.  They may feel like they are winning but they are not.  Are you able to determine what a winning battle line is and a losing battle line?   To be sure it must not be based on feelings.  It is apparent that each of these battle lines exposes the level of insecurity that exists on the inside of the leader.

Insecurity is NEVER good in a leader.  An insecure leader rarely creates a strong community.  They instead create divisions through combativeness, complaining, and comfort.  Insecurity causes a leader to steer away from the mission at hand out of maintaining leadership.

The Team Exists for You (since you are the leader). 

This is so easy to actually believe.  The leader leads and expects and is even entitled to the status that comes with leadership.  Perks flow up.  Respect is demanded.  The rules don’t really apply to  you because of your position.  If you are really good at this the end will be loneliness.  NO ONE WANTS TO BE ON A TEAM WITH A LEADER WHO THINKS THIS WAY.

The result will be lack of morale and low ownership of the mission.  Churches are not exempt.  Many Pastors draw up this battle line quite often.  They say, “This is MY ministry, MY church!”  No wonder we are where we are with people sitting in a chair, listening nicely and then going home.  After all it is not their ministry.  They are not qualified.  They are not professional and smooth enough.

A Pastor can get away with this mindset and feel like they are winning but the church is losing.  This is not the heart of Biblical leadership (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Leading Based on Getting Strokes from those you Lead.

Someone once said, “Never seek affirmation from the people you lead.”  It will erode you ability to lead unlike very few things can.  It goes like this, “I wonder if they liked my presentation? I wonder if they appreciate all of my sacrifices? I wonder if they will like the new rules we are setting up?”

Truth be known, a little self disclosure (I really struggle with this and have for many years).  I used to ask my wife if she thought my presentation was good enough.  It wasn’t out of the motive to get better but it was to get stroked.  It was for my EGO.  I still feel this sometimes, even after 25 years of speaking to all kinds of people.

I have reflected on this and have come to the conclusion that a leader should do their best and that is that.  Shut their briefcase and go home.  The results will come, God is good, and then the work of leadership also comes with all the needed changes as well.

Stroked based leadership is a myth.  I have, on occasions traveled to speak to a group that never met me.  I typically get more “strokes” on the road than at home.  If I expect strokes at home like on the road I am missing one important detail, “Those closest to you already know you.  They know all about you the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  One person said, “Those who know you more will always applaud you less than those who know you less.”  SO TRUE!

Keeping Strong People Away Because of Your Weakness

Business or church leaders do this all the time.  They hire people that show of their own strengths rather than the best for the organization.  Choosing this battle line will cause the organization to diminish.  A strong leader will always pick strong leaders and they will also be able to attract strong leaders.

If you think you are winning in this way ask yourself:

  • Can I invite someone to speak at my church that is better than me?
  • Can I hire someone that is better than me?
  • Will I let a volunteer pick the way they want to do something?
  • Do you think someone is disloyal if they don’t agree with you?
  • Do you see those who work for you as employees rather than teammates?

The Ground You Stand On

How Temptation Works and the Ground We Lose

I think the reason temptation is so powerful is that it blinds us to how we maybe getting deceived.  What you see is typically not what you get.  The hook looks really good until you swallow it.  We all have the potential to succumb to temptation over and over again.  We do have the ability to say, “NO!”  And what is the best news of all, our past choices never have to be the story on our future.


Temptations come in all shapes and sizes.  Since our enemy can’t defeat God he will do all he can to defeat us and get us into small thinking and selfish living.

1. Casual Contact (the small, seemingly insignificant things the enemy uses to get a foothold in our lives).  This is the daily barrage of small gnats that irritate the joy out of you.  Financial investors know that small amounts over long periods of time can make great wealth.  In the same way, great ground is lost by small erosion on a daily basis.

The best defense to Casual Contact temptation is to have solid accountability.  True friendships are a great way to keep your footing.  A friend that consistently asks how things are going in your life.  A true friend will wound you where it matters but the wound is exactly what you need.

2. Corrosive Conflict (the “misunderstandings” that happen with people in your workplace, church, neighborhood, and family that end up creating division).  Families and teams are the basic building blocks of our society.  When they crumble ground is lost.  The Bible encourages us to do everything we can to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14).

The best defense against losing ground to Corrosive Conflict is to take God at His word.  Proverbs 15:1 is a great place to start; gentle answers turn away wrath.

3. Crippling Emotions (the fear, insecurity, and jealousy that we all battle at one time or another).  It maybe true that everyone has some form of psychosis in them.  Every family and team is made up of differing personalities.  When we forget to enjoy the differences we lose ground.  If we believe the negative stuff and forget the truth, we lose ground.

The best defense to our Crippling Emotions is to remind ourselves of the truth.  Our enemy is a liar, that is the language he uses.  Instead of believing lies believe the truth.  The truth will set you free from the negative thinking.  In order to believe the truth, one must know the truth, get a Bible and begin reading it and then get with other believers who are talking about the Bible and applying it to their lives.

4. Confused Identity (basing who we are on external accomplishments rather than what Christ has already accomplished for us through His death and resurrection).  Have you ever over inflated your achievements in order to make yourself look better than you really are?  If we do this we are losing ground inside of us.  Instead of getting bigger we get smaller.  We should remember who we are and who God is and have sober judgement about our abilities and giftedness.  Romans 12:3 is spot on, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”

The best defense against Confused Identity is to remember who God is.  The Bible has hundreds of passages that declare how great God is (Exod 15:7; Jer 32:17, 19; 1 Chron 16:25, 29:11; 2 Chron 6:32; Psalms 47:2, 7, 48:2, 96:4, 136:4; Neh 1:5; Is 12:6, 40:26, 55:9; Ezek 36:23; Josh 7:9; Mal 1:14; Matt 5:35, Luke 1:49; Eph 3:20; 1 Tim 6:15).

Are You Rapture Ready?

Reflections from a Message on an End Times Overview

Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else -something it never entered your head to conceive- comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.” C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

God is in control.  He will invade.  He has come one time as a baby and will come again as a warrior.  Interestingly, the very way that the Jewish people thought He would come the first time.

When My Life Was Changed

I made a personal decision to receive the Gift of God through Jesus as a sophomore in High School.  I began to read the Bible like every day was my last day with it.  I was hungry for as much of God as I could get.  Those first years were truly some amazing times.  My Bible became a playground of sorts.  I was throwing colors all over the pages of my Bible believing that a worn out and well read Bible meant that the person reading it was not worn out.  After a couple of years of reading the Bible and some bible studies on End Times stuff I wrote in the inside cover of my Bible this quote, “In case of Rapture read Revelation 13.  Trust Jesus as your savior, don’t get the mark (666)!  Don’t be deceived by evil men.  Realize that Jesus will win in the end (Philippians 2:11, Revelation 19-22).  He loves you so much!  After reading this you have to be able to make a decision live with Hell on earth for only a little while longer or live with Hell in Hell for Eternity.  Why Wait?  TRUST JESUS.”  This was before The Left Behind Series books.  I just sit back and am amused at this.  Here is the picture from my Bible.  I still believe this…although I probably would not have written it in my current Bible.