Tag Archive - integrity


Leading with Authority without Abusing Authority

You don’t have to look very hard in society to find examples of people in authority abusing their authority. Unfortunately in the church where you’d expect things to be different it seems like it rarely is. In a recent conversation with a church leader they asked me if they really had to be a jerk to get things done and be a successful leader in a church? I don’t think they do and I don’t think you do either. It’s possible to lead with authority without abusing authority.

#1 Positional Authority

We follow people who have positional authority in our lives because we have to. They’re in a position of authority in our lives such as a parent, teacher, boss, or ranking officer. We follow these people because if we don’t there are unpleasant consequences that we’re forced to deal with.

#2 Expert Authority

We follow people with expert authority because of the wealth of experience or knowledge that they have. These people have something that we don’t and are recognized as experts in their field, which naturally places them in an authority role. We listen to them because they have something that we want.

#3 Moral Authority

We follow people with moral authority because we want to. These people don’t ask anyone to do anything that they’re not willing to do themselves. They know it’s not wise for them to do every job in the organization while understanding that no job in the organization is beneath them. They serve the organization instead of having the organization serve them. They lead out of who they are and allow people close enough to them to see that they are who they are all the time and in every setting.

Jesus could have led with positional authority after all He is God in the flesh. But He didn’t. Jesus could have led with expert authority after all He created everything that exists and is pretty much the expert on…well everything. But He didn’t. Instead Jesus led with moral authority. He submitted to His Father in the garden saying, “not my will but yours be done.” He said, “If you want to be first you have to be last,” and He put our needs in front of His own. He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me,” and He went to the cross first.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


4 Ways Spiritual Leaders Violate the Trust of the Church

Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on, especially in church-world. When trust is high there is an environment for momentum, wins are celebrated, and people follow leadership because they believe in the leader and where the leader is taking them. When trust is low skepticism runs high, progress comes to a screeching halt, and the tenure of the leader is short-lived. Below are four ways leadership of church leaders is commonly eroded.

1. Follow Through

The easiest way for church leaders to build trust is to follow through on, and do what they say they’re going to do. Unfortunately this is also the easiest way to lose trust. This kind of trust can be won or lost at a very low level. For instance, if people in the church body leave voice-mails, send emails, and turn in communication cards from the weekend services that aren’t followed up on in a timely manner you can lose trust in a heartbeat. This kind of behavior in the organization is ultimately an indictment on your leadership as the pastor, because you’re the one leading. And by the way, “timely manner” in the market place is much different than “timely manner” in church world.

2. Integrity

Integrity is the degree to which your public, private, and personal life, line up. Your public life is the part of your life everyone sees. Your private life is the part of your life only those closest to you see. Your personal life is the part of your life that only you see. When these three areas of your life aren’t in alignment you run into character flaws that can show up in some pretty damaging ways. When this happens church leaders forfeit the trust of their congregations.

3. Moral Authority

Nothing is worse than hearing someone communicate with their actions, “Do as I say, not as I do.” It doesn’t work in parenting, and it doesn’t work in leadership. If you want to build trust as a pastor you need to lead with moral authority. That means if you want your church to be authentic then you need to go first and demonstrate authenticity through your teaching and leadership approach. If you want a church of small groups then you need to be in a small group. Leaders who build trust with their congregation go first.

4. Courage

Sometimes leaders can lose trust by moving too fast and not “earning the right to lead,” after all just because you have the title of “pastor” doesn’t mean you’re the leader yet. This is commonplace in churches. However the opposite is true as well. If you have earned the right to lead and you don’t have the courage to cash in the leadership chips you’ve earned you can lose the trust of your congregation. They’re waiting for you to lead, so lean into the trust you’ve built and lead, otherwise you’ll lose it.

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Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation


global leadership summit 2012: mario vega

Mario Vega is the Senior Pastor of Misión Cristiana Elim in El Salvador one of the world’s largest churches with 73,000 attendees. These are my notes from the talk he gave at The Summit this year:

  •  God is not interested in offerings or sacrifice but obedience
  • There are defining moments in the life of a man that define his character
  • When a person participates in dishonest behavior it reveals the character of the heart, and it is usually just the tip of the iceberg
  • Those who allow themselves the liberty of moral failure open the door for further failure in the future
  • The moral failure of a leader will challenge the integrity of others as well
  • The steps that Samuel processed when he realized the fact that his friend Saul was no longer going to be king: 1. Denial 2. Depression 3. Acceptance 4. Action
  • Integrity lost cannot be fully restored
  • Leaders are defined by the ongoing decisions that they make
  • Every right decision a leader makes will strengthen his influence


Posted in Leadership