Triperspectivalism and Leadership

There is a way of looking at leadership holistically that is described by the word triperspectivalism. The word means a threefold way to perceive and look at something.

Triperspectivalism is something that we are increasingly discussing and using at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, my home church.

The three leadership aspects/roles are:

  1. Prophet
  2. Priest
  3. King

We are spinning off  three functions exemplified in the leadership of  Jesus…He was prophet, priest and king!

Let me briefly unpack the three leadership roles and what each means

  1. The Prophet is the forward-looking, goal-setting and communicating leader;
  2. The Priest is the care-giving pastor to people;
  3. The King is the systems leader, the operations person, the one who figures out how to get from point A to point B and develops ideas on how to make it happen.

I am primarily a King in the way I lead, with a touch of prophet. So I would be viewed as a King/Prophet.  I am challenged in the priestly function; so I need to make sure, when forming a team, that I have a strong priest to keep an eye on how we are doing in caring and paying attention to the people as we travel toward the dream/vision Jesus has given.

Here are some thoughts on Triperspectivalism:

  1. When initiating a project, planting a church or launching any idea, it is advantageous to build a team with at least three people…a prophet, a priest and a king.
  2. The three leadership functions need to respect and appreciate what each brings to the table and to defer to one another.
  3. It is tempting for the prophet to want only prophets…the king, only kings…and the priest only priests on the core team, but all three are essential in honoring Jesus.
  4. If there is no prophet, the endeavor can keep circling the wagons with no new ideas or God-pleasing dreams and goals.
  5. If there is no king, ideas can be discussed but may never be implemented with solid follow-through.
  6. If there is no priest, ideas can be conceived and implemented with a good game plan, but people’s needs, capacity and emotional/physical condition may not adequately be taken into account.
  7. Every leader is primarily one of these with perhaps a strong second one.

If this brief introduction to leadership as seen through perspectivalism whets your appetite, I can send you two documents that will build on what I have shared here. Email  and I will send them along.




Pride goes before a fall

Author Jim Collins wrote a very insightful book titled, “How the Mighty Fall.”

It is mostly about fallen leaders/companies in the corporate world, but the same principles that Collins discusses apply to Christian leadership.

Scripture has a lot to say about pride and its destructive consequences as well as the value of humility.

Proverbs 16:18 (ESV):  “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Isaiah 57:15b (ESV):  “I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. “

The last thing any Christian leader wants is to fall…fall from a loving and vibrant relationship with Jesus or fall from being usable by Jesus.

Recently, my Pastor Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, spoke on pride in a Sunday sermon.  Here are some painful and probing questions from that teaching. The questions are essentially Mark’s and I have added a few words here and there.

Answering these questions for yourself will give you the opportunity to be honest on some tell-tale signs that you are a proud leader:

1.  Do you find yourself longing for lots of attention?

2.  Do you find yourself jealous or critical of those who succeed?

3.  Do you always have to win at anything you do or try?

4.  Have you developed a pattern of “lying” (especially in embellishing the truth)?

5.  Is it hard for you to admit being wrong…to say “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault”?

6.  Do you find yourself often in conflict with others on your team or to whom you report?

7.  Do you often cut in front of people in line at the bank, in a store or on the freeway?

8.  Do you find yourself easily upset when you are not sufficiently honored or respected?

9.  Do you have a mindset/attitude of entitlement or gratitude?

10.  Do you believe you are superior to most other people?

11.  Do you learn from others, ask other people’s opinion or input, or do you readily assume that your ideas/decisions are always right?

Personally, I am convicted by number 7. By his grace I have begun to slow down instead of being in a hurry, which often results in cutting “in front” thinking I am more important than everybody else…pride pure and simple!

Here are three questions on the subject of  “pride/humilty” that I have been wrestling with:

1.  What is the difference between God-confidence and pride?

2.  In what ways can insecurity be thought to be humility? 

3.  In what ways can security be thought to be pride?

I would love to get some “comments” on this one!  Have at it!


Do you hate to wait?

My lack of patience has gotten me into more trouble than the lack of any other character trait I can think of!

To my own detriment, I like to keep moving, get things done and see things moving forward. As I walk with God, sometimes He seems to walk awfully slow.

My daughter Anna, her husband Joel and their three children, Ella, Jude and Cameron are experiencing some challenging times at the moment. A few weeks ago she sent me this:

I know God is doing a great work in us.

I am reading this book called “CALM My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow and last night I read this part that she quoted from a man named Andrew Murray who was facing a trial:

“In time of trouble, say: First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.

“Then, say: He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

“And, last, say: In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows; therefore, say: I am here…

“1. By Gods appointment,

“2. In His keeping,

“3. Under His training,

“4. For His time.”

Is there something going on in your life right now that is posing a fair share of challenges for you?  By His grace and for His honor, the above can help you to trust and not hate to wait! Thanks, Anna, for passing this along.




Don’t rush me…the hurrier I go, the behinder I get!

As I observe leaders, groups and churches, it seems to me (maybe it’s just because I’m getting older) that people and things are moving faster and faster.

We live in a world where we think that bigger is better (than smaller) and faster is better (than slower).  Think again!

Our computers run faster, our food is served faster, we are encouraged to be faster or else be replaced by a person or a computer that is faster.

Here are a few things that need to be done slower:

  • Be slow to add someone to your team
  • Be slow to change your vision and direction to please some people
  • Be slow to borrow money or sign for someone who does…even if they are relatives
  •  Be slow to take up someone’s cause without hearing the other side of the story
  •  Be slow to believe everything you hear or read
  • Be slow to confront and correct until you’ve checked your motives and your heart
  • Be slow to open your mouth and give your opinion
  • Be slow to accuse someone of something
  •  Be slow in accusing the Lord of being unfair, unjust or uncaring

 At times slower is better. Do these things slower and with His grace you will be a better leader!



Leadership Weekends with Dave Kraft

Due to the huge response and continued strong sales for Leaders Who Last, I am setting up "Leadership Weekends" with churches around the country as well as in Canada.

It is one year since Leaders Who Last was published by Crossway Books and the book is still in the top ten in Christian leadership on Amazon both in paper and electronic format and is in it's 4th printing. All praise to Jesus!

I head out on Friday, Jan 21st for the 1st weekend of 2011; River Lakes Church in Bakersfield, California. They are expecting 200 of their leaders for a full Saturday of presentation coupled with think, write, pray, application time, small group discussion & Q&A. 

I gather with key leaders on Friday and Saturday evening and preach at all services on Sunday morning on "What leaders and followers expect from each other."

My dream goal for 2011 is to be in twenty-four Cities.

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest"~Matthew 9:36-38 ESV

You could refer to laborers as leaders in these verses without violating the meaning of the passage. These verses have been significantly motivating for me for over 25 years.  Things haven't changed much since Jesus first said this. The harvest (hurting, hungry and needy people) are still plentiful & the Laborers (leaders) are still few.

My calling is to impact the next generation of church leaders through: Teaching, Writing and Coaching.

The expressed purposes for the Weekend are:

1.  To move each leader's personal leadership to a new level

2.  To encourage each church(s) to take leadership development seriously and make it a core value

3.  To help each church (s) to launch/ improve a leadership development philosophy and pathway

You can go to this link  to see more details or click on the "Seminar Tab" at (this web site). I would love to come to your church!

I would deeply appreciate your praying for my weekends at churches during 2011.

Pray that as I am there, all of us would see Luke 5:26 ESV happen, "And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe saying, 'we have seen extraordinary things today.' "