Entries by Dave Kraft (1143)



One of the keys to longevity in ministry is to delegate to capable people and then get out of their way and let them do their job. Another way of saying the same thing is to influence the influencers. Identify, recruit and develop good talent and turn them loose. Dan Rockwell shares with us four ways to reach your ultimate goals by focusing on, and investing in, key influencers

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell


Lousy leaders are over-involved and frantic.

The leader’s ultimate goal is building teams that excel without them.

#1. Identify influencers.

Look beyond job titles or positions that may obscure true influencers in your organization. The self-protective good ole boy’s club may be a roadblock to maximizing true influencers.

10 questions to identify the real influencers in your organization:

1.  Who is authentic and genuine? Influencers have heart.

2.  Who believes in important ideas? Look for people who believe in excellence, consistency, and making things better, for example. Drifters aren’t influencers.

3.  Who is dependable?

4.  Who do people look to when they have questions or need help?

5.  Who do people gather around when having conversations?

6.  Who is working to make themself and others better?

7.  Who solves problems and remains optimistic at the same time?

8.  Who is willing to try things?

9.  Who has an exceptional skill or talent?

10.  Who do people trust?

Tip: Get over the idea that no one is quite good enough, when searching for influencers. Work with people who are almost good enough.

Spend time with real influencers, especially if they don’t have titles.

#2. Build relationships with influencers.

Don’t be formal and stiff. Forget about agendas. Connect with influencers by understanding who they are and celebrating their talent.

#3. Develop influencers.

Explore where they want to go, not where you want them to go.

Offer to be helpful.

Provide new opportunities.

Connect them with other influencers.

Help them stop doing things that waste their talent. 

#4. Challenge and release influencers.

5 questions that help leaders capitalize on influencers:

1.  How might you challenge influencers to stretch their talent?

2.  How might you challenge influencers to challenge themselves?

3.  What can you do to get out of the way?

4.  How might leaders create environments that leverage the power of many influencers?

5.  How might influencers create new influencers?

How might leaders create teams that excel without them?



Seven traits which indicate a leader is insecure!

From my experience, insecure leaders are dangerous leaders. Fasten your seatbelt, because this post may be painful. Here are seven traits indicating that a leader may be insecure and over the long run may cause more harm than good.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

7 Traits Which Indicate a Leader is Insecure

Christian are called to walk by faith. This includes Christian leaders. A part of our calling in leadership means we want always know what the future holds, but we steadfastly follow God’s leadership. 

I must be honest. As I work with Christian leaders – and I observe the culture and leaders within the world – I sometimes see more confident leadership outside the church than within. How can this be? 
Having faith should never be mistaken as insecurity, however. In fact, a more opposite is true. People of faith have assurance in Whom we are following. We can lead people with confidence, strength and conviction. 

Insecurity always shows up in a person’s life. It can possibly be disguised, but it can’t be hidden. Insecure people – or people who aren’t secure in who they are personally or comfortable with their abilities – display some common characteristics.
Insecurity is a normal emotion when we are exposed to something new, but as we mature in leadership – and especially in our faith and calling – we should guard against the negative impacts of insecurity.

Here are 7 traits you may see in an insecure leader:

1.  Defensive towards any challenge.

The insecure leader flares his or her insecurity when ideas or decisions they make made are challenged in any way. They remain protective of their position or performance. They are constantly looking over their shoulder expecting someone to question them or their authority. 

2.  Protective of personal information.

The insecure leader keeps a safe distance from followers. Their transparency is limited to only what can be discovered by observation. When personal information is revealed, it’s always shared in the most positive light. This is about them and their family. They only want you to believe – and know – the best about their world. 

3.  Always positions his or herself out front.

Insecure leaders assume all key assignments or anything which would give attention to the person completing them. They are careful not to give others the spotlight. They use words like “I” and “My” more than “We” or “Our”. They tend to control informtion – everything goes through them first. 

4.  Limits other’s opportunities for advancement.

The insecure leader wants to keep people under his or her control, so as to protect their position. They are leery of strong personalities or other leaders. They have “yes” people around them and guard against anyone who displays leadership potential. They hand out titles only to those they believe will never question their authority. 

5.  Refuses to handle delicate issues.

Insecure leaders fear not being liked, so they often ignore the most difficult or awkward situations. They talk behind people’s backs rather than to them. They are likely to say one thing to one person and something else to another – depending on what is popular at the time. 

6.  Makes everything a joke.

One huge sign of an insecure leader, in my experience,  is they make a joke about everything. Again, they don’t want to handle the hard stuff – and want to be liked – so joking is often a coping mechanism used to divert attention from the issues they don’t want to face. When people laugh it gives a false sense of being liked to the insecure leader.

7.  Overly concerned about personal appearance.

While this is not always the case, some insecure leaders are never far from a mirror. They are overly conscious of their clothing or hair. Afraid of not being in style or wanting to be accepted as hip or cool, they are constantly looking for the latest fashion trends or attempting to be cutting edge with the gadgets they carry. (I’ve observed the opposite here could also be true. The insecure leader is careful not to stand out, so they appear to have no concern for personal appearance at all.) 

Please understand, all of us have moments of insecurity. Leaders, especially, if they want to be effective, must learn to recognize signs of insecurity, figure out the root causes of it, and attempt to limit insecurity from affecting their leadership. And, again, Christian leaders, we have reason to be confident – if we are truly following closely to our Leader. 




Ways to recognize a church "Control Freak."

We have all encountered “Control Freaks” in our lives and ministries. Maybe you are one of them yourself. Leaving them alone is not a good idea, but how do you identify them? Chuck Lawless shares some helpful ideas.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

I don’t like writing this kind of post, but I think it’s necessary. I’ve seen too many churches with laypersons (and pastors, for that matter, though I’m focusing on laity with this post) who want to control the show. Here are some markers of those folks: 

1.  They’ve been at the church for a while. At least in the established church, they assume that their tenure gives them the right to take the lead.  

2.  They’ve often stepped into leadership voids in the past. Listen to their stories, and you’ll often find that they’ve gained control during previous times of transition or turmoil.

3. They want to know everything. Knowledge is empowering, and they expect to be in the loop for everything. I call them “information idolaters.”

4.  They don’t listen to opposing views. Particularly in a congregational-polity church, they’ll fight for the right to express their opinion – but then completely dismiss the opinions of others.

5.  They demand being a part of every major decision. In fact, they can’t imagine how the church can wisely decide something without their input. Even if they agree with the decision, they’ll find something wrong if they weren’t part of the process.

6.  Their support for pastoral leadership blows with the wind. If they like what the pastor’s doing, they’re on board. If they don’t like it, though, they quickly become opposition – always “for the good of the church,” they say.

7.  They speak in terms of “some people are saying.”  These “people” may be only themselves and their spouses, but the exaggerated phrase “some people” gives them a sense of support.

8.  They see the negative more than the positive. They see themselves as God’s appointed prophet to make sure the church never goes astray (with “astray” meaning any direction they don’t want to go). 

9.  They often use veiled threats against leaders. You’ve probably heard some of them: “people are going to leave”; “we’ll stop giving”; “we’ve seen many pastors come and go” . . . .

10.  They seldom talk about the Word or prayer. Indeed, you’ll seldom hear them talk about their personal walk with God. Control freaks don’t usually need God.

11.  They often focus on the budget. Controlling the purse strings is a primary way they extend their influence.

12.  They’d never admit they’re controlling. In fact, they might not even recognize it. That’s one of the enemy’s subtle ways to mess up the church: he influences control freaks who don’t even recognize what’s happening.

What other characteristics would you add? 



The often overlooked leadership sin!

Comparing: It’s been somewhat of a problem and a temptation for me for as long as I can remember. In high school I was often guilty of it. I got my sense of self-esteem, self-worth and self-identity by comparing myself with others. How was I looking, how was I doing, how was I viewed by others, my grades, my clothes, my athletic prowess, my popularity with girls.

In the leadership realm comparing is a huge issue. I have been to more leadership meetings than I care to remember. When pastors from the same denomination or leaders from the same organization have their periodic meetings, the “comparing games” begin in earnest. In most leadership meetings, it’s not uncommon to have the “Mr. or Ms. Successful” who become the poster child for what we should be like and experiencing. It usually depresses me.

We compare results, ministry size, salaries, cars, houses, responsibilities, fruitfulness, breakthroughs, victories, major achievements and favorite vacation spots ad “infinauseum.” Sometimes we go around the room and give reports, which just seems to feed the “Comparing Games.”her than being sick, harmful, dangerous and unbiblical, it’s normal. Normal, that is, for our fallen and prideful old nature which, I am sorry to report, is in very good health these days among many leaders.

In my own work with leaders, I run into this issue just about every week.  Last week I had some time with a young leader who shared frankly how caught up he was in defining his sense of success and worth by establishing (in his mind) where he was in the pecking order with other leaders he knew. Rather than rejoicing with the blessing of God on other leaders, he found himself getting discouraged and depressed because he perceived he wasn’t doing as well as he should be doing compared with them.

Now, let me say that I think comparing is a good idea. Whaaat? Aren’t you contradicting what you just said? No!  I think it’s good to compare what is happening with me with what can potentially happen. It’s good to compare where I am in my growth and ministry effectiveness with where it’s possible to be, with God’s touch. Where I get into trouble is when I compare myself with others who have different gifts, callings, capacities and personalities.   I often find myself coming out on the short end of the stick.

Doing some self-analysis, with my personal design in mind, and wanting to see things in the future be better is at the heart of vision and goal setting. It’s healthy to compare me with me, but unbiblical to compare me with others. God wants me to grow, to achieve, to be fruitful as I depend on Him and am honest about who I am. It’s unhealthy to try to be like someone else.


I have no desire to be like many of the leaders I read about or know. I want to be, with God’s grace, the best Dave Kraft I am capable of being. I’m going to be different than everybody else because God has made me the unique creation that I am. There is nobody else with my combination of gifts, personality, upbringing, capacity and desires. God truly broke the mold when He fashioned me (Psalm 139). I’m constantly in the process of being delivered from the temptation to be anybody other than me.

Walt Disney said,

“The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anybody else and that’s what makes you unique.”

Let me give some biblical support for staying clear of “comparison.”

“ Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So, what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?” I Corinthians 4:7 The Message

There just isn’t any point if I truly believe that who I am and what I am able to do are sheer gifts.

“Peter seeing him (John) said to Jesus, ‘But  Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  Follow me.’ “ John 21:21,22 New King James

Jesus is dealing with Peter’s attempt to compare himself with John as to their futures.  Jesus set him straight in short order by saying that what happens with John is none of Peter’s business.  His business was to focus on his own walk with Jesus and not size himself up by what’s going on with his good friend.

“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

 II Corinthians 10:12 New King James

 It could not be more clear than in this verse.  Paul himself seems to be saying that he will not be part of the “comparison game” (a losing game I may add)  to which others are falling prey.

“A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

I Tim 6:6 The Message

Oh, the joy and freedom of being who God made me to be: thankful and content with who I am, where I am and what I’m doing and not (often) giving in to the temptation of getting my sense of personal identity or self-worth by comparing in an effort to determine where I am in the food chain or pecking order.

 “But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

Luke 14:11 The Message

This, I believe, is a great explanation of biblical humility: content to be simply myself.  Not trying, in human energy or pride, to be more than myself or, conversely, running myself down through so-called false humility to be less than myself.

Comparing is a losing game for me as I will always find greater or lesser persons than myself. So I either become proud or depressed, neither of which are good for my spiritual or emotional health. Comparing is saying I don’t trust the sovereignty of God in my life…that I don’t really accept and am not genuinely thankful for who I am and what he is allowing me to accomplish. I am jealous and envious of others.

For me, I deal with this temptation to compare by praying daily, filling my mental hard drive with verses like those above and confessing it as sin as soon as I’m aware that my thinking is again taking me down the comparison road. I want to nip it in the bud before it starts to dictate and control my behavior. There are the good and bad days; but, all the while, I’m moving in the right direction.


Learning a valuable lesson from a Mexican fisherman!

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village, An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long answered the Mexican.” But then why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more? The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children and take a siesta with my wife.  In the evening, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs.  I have a full life

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the profits, you can buy a second then a third boat; soon you could have an entire fleet of fishing boats.  Then you would be able to leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even NY to direct your successful business.

“How long would that take,” asked the Mexican.   “Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?” asked the Mexican

“That’s when it gets really interesting, “ replied the now excited American.

“When your business gets big you can start selling stocks and make millions”

“Millions! Really, asked the Mexican.  And then what?” Then, you could retire and move to a tiny village on the coast somewhere.

You could sleep late, fish a little, play with your children take siestas with your wife.  In the evening, you could go into the village to see your friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs.