Entries by Dave Kraft (1120)


7 Painful, but good, questions to measure your leadership:

A good leader is always trying to grow and become better. When you stop growing you in essence stop leading to the degree you could and should. Here are seven surprising questions to ask in order to measure the quality of your leadership.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

7 questions to measure your leadership: 

1.  How are you becoming dispensable?

  • Create systems that function without you.
  • Give control with accountability.
  • Develop vision as a team, not an individual.
  • Build redundant talent. Cross-train and rotate jobs.

 2.  How are you making it safe for teammates to speak truth to power?

  • Listen calmly.
  • Honor constructive dissent.
  • Lower the volume of your voice.
  • Smile.
  • Avoid power positions. Sit in lower seats.

 3.  How are you expanding organizational capacity?

  • What have you recently let go?
  • What have you learned from failure?
  • Who are you mentoring?

4.  How are you learning?

  • What are teammates teaching you? You aren’t smarter than everyone on your team, are you?
  • What are you reading?
  • How are you connecting with people that excel beyojd our achievements

5.  How are you making yourself accountalbe to those your serve

  • Complete this sentence. “I’m accountable to _______ (insert a behavior) my employees.
  • My team members know I’m accountable to them because I _______.
  • What character quality are you developing? Who’s asking you about it?

6.  How are you actively seeking feedback?

  •  Open yourself to 360 degree evaluations. What might those closest to you say, if they were completely safe?
  • Don’t tell teammates what you’re doing. Ask them to explain your goals and priorities based on your behaviors.
  • What questions do you ask others about your leadership?

 7.  How are you making others feel powerful?

  • Trust people to take on big challenges.
  • Provide coaching and training.
  • Focus more on maximizing strengths than fixing weaknesses.
  • Connect their values to leadership roles and goals.


  •  Confronts self-deception.
  • Minimizes waste.
  • Expands potential.
  • Identifies capacity.
  • Invites development.






Six reasons why pastors/church leaders need to be more courageous

I don’t think there is any doubt among those who study leadership that most of today’s Christian leaders could use a good dose of courage; in not being afraid to lead, not afraid to have the tough conversation and not afraid to make the tough decisions. Thom Rainer shares six reasons why pastors and church leaders need to be more courageous today!

Originally posted by Thom Rainer

Six reasons why pastors/church leaders need to be more courageous

If I could choose one more course for ministry training and preparation, it would be “Courageous Leadership.” I hear from so many pastors and staff who are trained well in the classical disciplines, but who are ill-prepared for the real world of church ministry.

Though there have certainly been more difficult times in the course of Church history for pastors, leading a church today is much tougher than it was 20 and 30 years ago. There have been some demographic and cultural shifts that reflect this reality. But some of the challenges can only be understood in the context of spiritual warfare.

So, what are some of the specific reasons pastors and church leaders must be more courageous today? Though my list is far from exhaustive, allow me to name six of the key factors.

1.  There have been dramatic shifts in culture, most of them adversarial to biblical Christianity. Church leaders can no longer assume that biblical values are normative in culture today. To the contrary, many of the cultural mores are antithetical to Christian truth. The pastor must take a stand in this adversarial environment while remaining pastoral and compassionate.

2.  The position of pastor is no longer held in high esteem in many communities. When I was a pastor in the 80s and 90s, I could count on some level of respect from community members because of my vocation. That is not the case most of the time today.

3.  Church critics can be vicious. Have you noticed that, throughout the Bible, the greatest harm to a believing community comes from dissension among the believers? Opposition from the outside is a challenge; dissension from within can be devastating. And church critics today seem to have gone wild!

4.  Pastors must push against the “me” mentality of many church members. For reasons I have noted for years, many of our church members see church membership as tantamount to country club membership. They pay their way and get their perks. Pastors who push against this pervasive and unbiblical mentality often do so at great cost.

5.  Good church leaders must say “no” often. The best church leaders say no to the good so they can say yes to the best. But those who receive a “no” don’t often receive it well.

6.  Ultimately church leadership is spiritual warfare. Paul leaves no doubt to this reality in Ephesians 6:13: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” Pastors and church leaders are truly engaged in spiritual warfare. They must have courage, a courage that can only come from God.

I am not certain about the mindset of Joshua before he led the people of God into the Promised Land, but it seems like he needed an extra dose of courage. Repeatedly in Joshua 1, God tells him: “Be strong and courageous . . . “ (Joshua 1:6).

Church leaders need to be reminded of the need for courage today. Serving as a pastor is an impossible job without the strength and courage that comes only from God.

Church members: may I encourage you, even exhort you, to pray that your pastors and church leaders will have the courage they need to lead God’s churches? Let me hear from you.



Three secrets to leadership longevity

In their heart of hearts, every leader wants to finish well. Nobody enters leadership with the desire to fail! I’m convinced that every leader deeply desires to get to the end of the race, hit the ribbon in full stride and hear the wonderful words of Jesus, “Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

But, saying that, believing that, wanting that and actually having that be a reality are vastly different. Many leaders don’t finish well. As I mention in my book “Leaders Who Last,” Bobby Clinton has come to the conclusion that only 30% of leaders finish well. That is very disconcerting, to say the least!

The sad fact is that many:

  • Quit
  • Plateau
  • Are disqualified because of significant sin
  • Finish discouraged, defeated and deflated

Allow me, in this post, to share with you three secrets to ministry longevity so you can be a leader who lasts and finishes well:

1. Personal Disengagement Times That Refresh And Refocus

The practice of Sabbath as a principle, not just day, has fallen by the wayside. Many leaders are working insane and/or unsustainable hours week after week. It is not uncommon for me to have conversations with leaders who are working 16-18 hour days week after week. With His help, we need to learn how to engage intensively in work for periods of time and then to disengage giving our bodies, minds and souls time to recoup.

I read of a hunting safari in Africa where the hunter was pushing the men to go for long hours with no breaks (as ministry leaders do today). One morning the men he had hired were sitting around and refused to move at his command. When he asked the interpreter why they were not “moving out” he replied that the men were waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.

You perhaps remember the line from the movie “Top Gun” where the commanding officer says that the two hot-shot pilots’ egos were writing checks their bodies couldn’t cash.

In today’s leadership world, our schedules are writing checks our bodies and souls cannot cash.

We need daily, not just weekly, Sabbaths. Many leaders have a good work ethic, but not a good Sabbath ethic. There is an excellent Book Note at on the book “The Power of Full Engagement” which is a great and helpful read if this is an issue for you.

2. People Who Confront And Encourage

One biblical character who offers helpful lessons on people speaking into our lives is King David. One of the things that David had going for him was his relationship with Jonathan. I Samuel 18:1 says of their relationship: “Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself.”(NIV) I Samuel 23:16 says, “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.” (NIV)

The special relationship these two men shared was a constant source of encouragement and guidance for David in the dark and doubtful periods of his life. I believe that every leader needs a Jonathan in his life to encourage him and be a close friend. I talk with a lot of pastors and leaders and, quite frankly, it is rare to find a leader with a Jonathan. 

Leaders desperately need to talk to someone and often find it difficult to do so with their followers or even leadership peers (too much competition and comparing). Leadership can be a very lonely and hazardous calling. Jonathan’s counterpart in the New Testament would probably be Barnabas, whose name actually means “son of encouragement.” Paul made it, in part, because he had Barnabas.

Having a Jonathan is an excellent start, but it’s not enough. We need a Nathan. If leaders are to survive the fast-paced, high-pressured, intense and demanding times in which they find themselves and not succumb to some morally compromising situations, they need a Nathan to confront them. If finding a Jonathan is hard, locating a Nathan borders on the miraculous.

Many followers find it extremely difficult to speak truth into the lives of their leaders, and many leaders don’t encourage this kind of honest talk.

David had Nathan as well as Jonathan. Nathan’s biggest contribution to David’s life is found in II Samuel 11:7. After he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Nathan called a spade by putting his bony prophetic finger in David’s face saying, “you are the man.” When David was down, Jonathan lifted him up and when David was up to his ears in sin, Nathan brought him to confession and contriteness.

The result of Nathan’s bold and loving action is recorded for us in Psalm 51. Some churches are predominantly a Jonathan culture and others are predominantly a Nathan culture. Individually and corporately, we desperately need both if we going to make it.

 3. Personal Systems That Protect And Organize

It is safe to say that many leaders are overwhelmed, overcommitted and running on empty. One reason is that they are not organized--not staying on top of their responsibilities, emails and the constant needs of those they lead. Every leader needs a system to protect them and organize them so they are not taking an emotional hit by letting balls drop and commitments and promises slip through the cracks.

There are a number of good systems available out there, so I won’t take time to deal with that here, except to say you need to have a system that is user friendly, fits your personality and context, doesn’t cost an arm and leg to use and doesn’t take too much time to maintain. You need an organizational system which helps you keep your priorities, know what you said to whom and when, and reminds you to follow through on your commitments/promises.

If you are disorganized to the point where your people start to think and say they no longer trust you, that can be the beginning of the end of your leadership.

Now, obviously these three are not a panacea for all that my ail you as a leader, but I truly believe that if you address these three areas your leadership will go to another level and you will serve Jesus with more joy and energy!


Key questions to ask in dealing with conflict

Dealing with conflict goes with the territory as a leader. You can pretend it’s not there, deal with it, or wait and pray it will go away (which it seldom does), but it is nonetheless part of being a leader.

As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Chuck Lawless poses 11 questions to ask yourself in  dealing with conflict.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Every church leader will deal with conflict at some point. How we address that conflict, particularly if it’s serious, will sometimes determine whether we survive it – and if we survive it, whether we bear scars for the rest of our ministry. Sometimes we give too little attention to these issues. On the other hand, sometimes we actually escalate the conflict because we give it too much time and energy. 

As you deal with conflict, here are some questions to ask in determining how much energy you should devote to the issue, listed in no particular order:

1.  Will this issue matter one year from now? I give credit here to my president at Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Danny Akin. If you know the issue won’t even be on the radar screen one year from now, no need to get too stressed today.

2.  How many people are truly opposed? Thom Rainer directed me to this question years ago.  Sometimes the opposition seems like many people, but it’s really only a few LOUD people. 

3.  Is this issue essential to the gospel?  If the gospel is at stake, it’s time to deal with the issue head-on. If not, you’ll have to determine if the issue is central to your church’s DNA, vision, etc. – but the urgency is not as great if the gospel is not at stake.

4.  What does the Bible say? The Scriptures may not directly address every issue you face, but the Bible does give us what we need to deal with conflict. Spend time in the Word when you face conflict. 

5.  Am I so emotionally involved that I can’t see the issues clearly? To be honest, I’ve heard few leaders say “yes” to this question even when they were, in fact, emotionally invested. That’s the problem with our blindness – we don’t recognize it until it’s too late. 

6.  What do I really want here? If the issue is resolved in the way you really want it resolved, will that resolution be honoring to God? Sometimes our fallenness leads us to want vengeance and vindication more than God’s glory. 

7.  Do I need to involve others in my decision-making process? Of course, you may not be in a position to talk to somebody about every situation. Generally, though, having more than one wise, godly voice in the conversation can be helpful.

8.  Can I put this fire out with a squirt gun (or even a bucket)? If a few simple steps can take care of the problem, do it. Put the fire out while it’s small. If the fire is already raging, make sure you have a team of “firefighters” helping you deal with the flames. Don’t fight fires alone unless you’re the only one standing for the gospel.

9.  How much change do I have in my pocket?  I first heard John Maxwell use this phrase. If you have enough change in your pocket – that is, enough credibility and support – that you can risk losing some, you can take greater steps in addressing the issues.

10  What’s the worst thing that can happen here, and can I live with that possibility? It’s possible the conflict won’t be resolved without someone losing something, including a job. If that’s the worst thing that can happen in this situation, is the issue so great that you’re willing to take the risk?

11.  Have I prayed about my response?  That is, have I sought Go before determining the response? Talking to God first can save heartache in the long run.    



7 Ways to maintain respect as a leader

Good leadership is built on trust. People will follow a leader they trust and respect. Followers will buy into who the leader is before they buy into where the leader is heading with a vision.  When you loose trust and respect, the end of your leadership is just around the corner. Here Ron Edmondson shares seven ways to maintain respect as a leader.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

People follow people they trust. They trust people they respect.

As a leader, one of your most valuable and needed assets is the respect of the people you are trying to lead. If a leader is respected, people will follow him or her almost anywhere.   If a leader looses respect it becomes very difficult to regain respect.

Often a new leader is given respect because of his or her position as a leader, but respect can be quickly lost due to performance. Many times it’s the seemingly small things which cause the most damage to a leader’s reputation and damages respect.

I have found with a few simple (some not so simple) acts help protect the respect a leader enjoys.

Here are 7 ways to maintain respect as a leader:

1.  Be responsive. Return phone calls and emails promptly. Be accessible to real people. You may not always be available, but you can create systems where people are genuinely valued and heard.

2.  Be consistent. Do what you say you will do. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don’t tell people what they want to hear, but speak grace and truth in all circumstances. Let people learn to trust you are a person of your word and can be depended upon based on what you say.

3.  Have high character. Act with integrity. Be honest. Protect your moral credibility. Be transparent and open to challenge. Allow a few people to know the real you and speak into the dark places of your life.

4.  Be fair to everyone. Don’t be too harsh. Don’t be too soft. Treat everyone with respect. Genuinely love people. (People know when you do or don’t.)

5.  Keep growing. Learn continually and encourage growth in yourself and others. Ask questions. Be teachable. Read. Observe. Glean from others and experience.

6.  Have good work ethic. I personally think leaders should work as hard or harder than others on their team. But, having a good work ethic doesn’t mean over-working either. It’s working smart and setting a good example for others to follow.

7.  Be courageous. Make hard decisions. Don’t shy away from conflict. Know who you are in Christ and live boldly the calling God places on your life. Live with the aim to finish well — in spite of the obstacles you encounter.

Maintaining respect is a matter of acting in a respectable way. How are you doing? You may want to ask the ones you are supposed to be leading.