Entries by Dave Kraft (1027)


Bully leadership; how to recognize it and what to do about it!

For me personally, one of the most helpful (and convicting) passages of scripture on the subject of leadership is 1 Peter 5:1-11.  I am often nailed with the instruction “Not Domineering” in verse 2.

At a leadership training event a number of years ago, Proferssor Sam Storms addressed a group of us on the subject of "Bully Leadership."

In light of what has transpired since his teaching, I thought this was worth revisiting.

In addition to being a professor, Sam has authored numerous books and articles and pastors a church in Oklahoma City.  You can Google him to discover more of his background, current interests and involvements.

Dr. Storms shared with us some practical insight as to what it can look like to be “domineering.”  I am including his thoughts in their entirety without editing out anything or adding in any of my own comments.

Please sit down and take some time to read this slowly and prayerfully. Be prepared to participate in some sobering self-evaluation and repentance, for the Holy Spirit may convict you of some attitudes and practices that have crept into your leadership.

 May I introduce Dr. Sam Storms:

  “How might a pastor or elder “domineer” his flock?

 “A man can “domineer” or “lord it over” his flock whenever he threatens them with stern warnings of the discipline and judgment of God, even though there is no biblical basis for doing so.

 “A pastor domineers whenever he threatens them with public exposure of their sin should they not conform to his will and knuckle under to his plans.

“A pastor domineers whenever he uses the sheer force of his personality to overwhelm others and coerce their submission.

“A pastor domineers whenever he uses slick verbiage or eloquence to humiliate people into feeling ignorant or less competent than they really are.

 “A pastor domineers whenever he presents himself as super-spiritual (his views came about only as the result of extensive prayer and fasting and seeking God. How could anyone then possibly disagree with him?).

 “A pastor domineers whenever he exploits the natural tendency people have to elevate their spiritual leaders above the average Christian. That is to say, many Christians mistakenly think that a pastor is closer to God and more in tune with the divine will. The pastor often takes advantage of this false belief to expand his power and influence.

“A pastor domineers whenever he gains a following and support against all dissenters by guaranteeing those who stand with him that they will gain from it, either by being brought into his inner circle or by some form of promotion.

“A pastor domineers by widening the alleged gap between “clergy” and “laity.” In other words, he reinforces in them the false belief that he has a degree of access to God which they don’t.

 “Related to the former is the way some pastors will make it appear that they hold sway or power over the extent to which average lay people can experience God’s grace. He presents himself in subtle (not overt) ways as the mediator between the grace of God and the average believer (cf. the RCC concept of the priesthood). In this way he can secure their loyalty for his agenda.

 “He domineers by building into people a greater loyalty to himself than to God. Or he makes it appear that not to support him is to work at cross-purposes with God.

 “He domineers by teaching that he has a gift that enables him to understand Scripture in a way they cannot. They are led to believe they cannot trust their own interpretive conclusions and must yield at all times to his.

 “He domineers by short-circuiting due process, by shutting down dialogue and discussion prematurely, by not giving all concerned an opportunity to voice their opinion.

 “He domineers by establishing an inviolable barrier between himself and the sheep. He either surrounds himself with staff who insulate him from contact with the people or withdraws from the daily affairs of the church in such a way that he is unavailable and unreachable.

 “Related to the above is the practice of some in creating a governmental structure in which the senior pastor is accountable to no one, or if he is accountable it is only to a small group of very close friends and fellow elders who stand to profit personally from his tenure as pastor.

 “He domineers by viewing the people as simply a means to the achieving of his own personal ends. Ministry is reduced to exploitation. The people exist to “serve his vision” rather than he and all the people together existing to serve the vision of the entire church.

 “He domineers by making people feel unsafe and insecure should they desire to voice an objection to his proposals and policies.

 “He domineers by convincing them, ever so subtly, that their spiritual welfare is dependent on his will. To cross him is to cross God!

 “He domineers by misinterpreting and misapplying to himself the OT command: “Don’t touch God’s anointed.”

“He domineers by building a culture of legalism rather than one of grace. People are thus motivated to embrace his authority and bow to his will based on extra biblical rules that supposedly are the criteria for true spirituality.

 “He domineers by arguing or acting as if his movements and decisions are ultimately determinative of the spiritual welfare of others (cf. 2 Cor. 1:23-25).

 “He domineers when he leads people to believe that their faith hinges (i.e., rises or falls) upon his life and decisions.

“He domineers when he uses people as a means to his own satisfaction rather than enabling them to experience satisfaction in Christ alone.”

Love to hear your reaction and experience with "Bully Leadership."




I love what author Marcus Buckingham says (“The One Thing You Need to Know”): 

What defines a leader is his/her preoccupation with the future…leaders are fascinated by the future…Whenever a person strives to help others see a better future, there is leadership…you do it because you can’t help it. You do it because you see the future so vividly, so distinctly that you can’t get it out of your head.”

Let’s think about moving toward some God-pleasing dream/goal/idea/burden in the future as strategic thinking and strategic planning. It is leading proactively rather than reactively.

 As I have been thinking about/teaching this concept for a number of years, here are five critical steps in being strategic in your leadership:

1. Purpose ~ Who Are You?

We start with who you are. How has God created you? What are your spiritual gifts, passions, natural abilities, experiences? Where are they pointing? As you think through these areas of your life, you can develop a purpose statement which can serve as a road map/blueprint/compass to guide you into your exciting future.

2. Vision ~ Where Are You Going?

Leaders are visionaries at heart. As you look into the future, what bothers you, keeps you awake at night, gets you up early in the morning? If you could make a significant contribution to right a wrong, give birth to something that doesn’t yet exist, improve something that is not what it could be, what comes to mind? Buckingham says: “leaders rally people to a better future.” What is that better future  you see that you want to rally people to so they can join you on your exciting journey?

3. Team ~ Who Do You Need To Get You There?

From the people who are traveling with you toward your desired God-pleasing future, what kinds of people do you need to select to be on a team that can complement you? A good team has different kinds of people: dreamers, administrators, implementers, problem solvers, etc. Carefully and prayerfully select people who are different than you. You need some go-getters, some very sensitive people-oriented team members and some very detailed people. Think in terms of Prophets, Priests and Kings.

4. Goals ~ How Will You Get There?

You will want to set goals to help you move toward your vision. Steps you will take that, over time, will get you to where you want to go.

One thing has become clear as I’ve studied the life of Jesus and Paul and that is that they had goals they were working toward. Ref. John 17:4, 2 Timothy 4:8, Phil 3:13,14.

Goals can be divided into time frames: life goals, long-range goals (5 years or longer), intermediate goals (l year), short-range goals (daily/weekly) as well as into areas of life: personal, spiritual, mental, physical, social, family, ministry. One person planned goals around the four areas in Luke 2:52: mental, social, spiritual, physical. You want your goals to be SMART:

---> Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time frame.

There is an excellent book on my blog site under Book Notes by Brian Tracy called “Goals.”

5. Evaluation ~ How Will You Monitor Progress?

On a regular basis you will want to evaluate how you’re doing by asking yourself some questions:

  • What is going well?
  • What is not going well?
  • What do I need to start doing that will help me?
  • What do I need to stop doing that is hurting me?
  • What do I need to do differently that will improve what I am doing?
  • How can I better use my time?
  • Who else do I need on the team to make us better?
  • What is the most important thing I should be working on today, this week that will move me toward my desired future?

Why not take a personal inventory as to how you are doing on these five aspects of being a strategic thinking/planner so you can improve your leadership?


Why & how the fear of missing out can significantly hurt us

The fear of missing out (FOMO)  keeps many people from being able to prioritize and focus on the most important things at any given time. It was Steven Covey who said , “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Staying strategic on an individual or corporate level means saying no to a lot of things so you can say yes to a few things. If everything is a priority than, in reality, nothing is a priority.  The good can become the enemy of the best. Michael Hyatt shares why FOMO really hurts us and hurts us badly!

Originally posed by Michael Hyatt

The fear of missing out isn’t worth much, but FOMO costs us a lot. That’s especially true when it comes to our productivity. It’s like a powerful undertow, invisible on the surface of our work, which can pull us away in the current.

Right after I left as CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, an online periodical approached me about serving on their advisory board. I was busy building a revenue portfolio, and the role seemed like a good fit. Plus, it would garner me a lot of free exposure, which I figured would help the rest of my business.

Not so much.

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Dead-End Opportunities

First, I had to hound the team for payment. I spent hours every month trying to collect. And that nebulous opportunity for greater exposure never really materialized. After a few months, I was done. We parted ways, and I was no further ahead for all the wasted time and effort.

Another time a tech company offered me stock options for board involvement. I had friends with similar arrangements who raked in the cash when their companies sold. The product seemed excellent, and the board was filled with topnotch people.

But despite my initial impression, it was a bad fit for me. It gobbled up tons of time, kept me from other more important projects, and ended up going nowhere.

The problem in both cases was that I let FOMO drive my yes, rather than what was truly best for my business. Maybe you can identify.

The Fear Motive

This is a recurring struggle for me. Someone has an opportunity, and I feel like I’m going to miss something if I don’t jump on it. It’s important to remember what Steve Jobs said:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

That’s true for success in most of life. But fear can turn it inside out. Suddenly success looks like saying yes to 1,000 things. And if we don’t, we worry we’ll fail.

This is why we’re so deathly afraid of passing up an invitation. We sweat missing an opportunity so we say yes to every one that comes along:

to new clients because we fear missing out on income opportunities.

to your boss because we fear missing out on praise or leadership.

to new training because we fear missing out on learning a new skill.

to lunch invites because we fear missing out on key networking.

FOMO is also why we don’t close the office door, turn off push notifications, or exit Facebook. We’re so busy saying yes to the vague possibility that something is more valuable than our work that we never get around to actually working on what matters.

A Bad Gamble

Our schedules tell the tragic story—no boundaries, no focus, no clarity. Like that undertow, we’re dragged through the week by external offers and requests that may never pan out.

And deep down, we know.

Time is fixed. Until physicists figure out something better, we’re free to use 168 hours a week, no more. That means every yes is a tradeoff.

So when we pencil in another chance for improved income, status, or relational equity, we do it at the expense of focused time for high-leverage projects and margin for rejuvenation and our most important relationships.

Focus and margin are proven. New opportunities are a gamble. And the more of them we commit to, the less likely our fractured focus can even make good on any of them.

Thankfully, there’s a way out.

5 Steps to Overcome FOMO

To keep FOMO from killing my productivity, I follow these five steps:

  1. Set strong, specific goals. Clarity is key. If your priorities are clear, you can play your game instead of everyone else’s. Goals filter incoming invitations. Does the opportunity help you achieve your goal? Great. If not, see ya.
  2. Know the high-leverage tasks needed to hit those goals. There’s only so many hours in a day. Once you chunk down your goals into tasks, you give them priority on your schedule.
  3. Recognize the tradeoffs. When you feel like saying yes, count the cost. Ask, “What am I giving up to say yes to this, and is that worth it? Will it benefit me more than my clearly articulated, preexisting goals?” Probably not, if you’re honest.
  4. Become a no ninja. Remember, an opportunity with a yes attached is an obligation. Too many obligations is an obstacle. Give yourself permission to turn something down today. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.
  5. Cultivate a mindset of abundance. FOMO thrives on scarcity. “An opportunity like this will probably never come along again,” you might rationalize, “so I have to say ‘yes’ now.” But, no you don’t. As a mentor once told me, there’s always another deal. I’ve never seen him proved wrong.

An opportunity with a yes attached is an obligation. Too many obligations is an obstacle.MICHAEL HYATT

If we operate with focus from a place of abundance, filtering out opportunities becomes simple. The question is whether you’re confident enough in your goals to pass on all the distractions.


Four issues to which every church should give some serious thought and prayer!

I coach leaders, travel a bit and have the opportunity to observe churches all over the country.

There are four things I’m seeing as I get around.

Maybe it’s just me; my perspective, my lens through which I see things; my interpretation of what I’m observing.

At any rate, here they are:

1) Many churches and their teams struggle with assimilating new people;

2) Many churches and their teams struggle with creating a leadership development plan and pathway;

3) Many churches struggle with recruiting and maintaining a good volunteer base;

4) Many churches struggle with the majority of their current and potential leaders being very busy, very tired and moving toward significant burnout.

These are four things I’m seeing everywhere I go and, in most situations, where I’m coaching or consulting leaders and their churches.

I can’t think of a single church that I’ve worked in, or been a part of, during my 48 years of vocational christian ministry which didn’t struggle with all four of these in some way or another. It seems to come up over and over again.

Now, I’m not going to spend the rest of this post trying to “fix” these four issues or telling you what I think you should do. It’s too easy trying to find a “quick fix” or copy what other successful churches are doing, instead of humbling ourselves before God, praying for wisdom and discernment, and thinking outside the box.

He is the Lord of the Harvest and we need to seek him for solutions to these four critical issues.

I genuinely believe this!

If there is no serious thinking about these four issues--some serious praying and addressing them--it’s just a matter of time until the church you are a part of becomes irrelevant and obsolete in trying to advance the gospel, make disciples and plant new churches.

I’m inclined to seriously wonder if we are not overly occupied with rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic (busy, busy, busy) that we’re not aware that our ship is taking on water and slowly sinking. A vast majority of churches in the U.S. are declining, plateauing and dying.

I think that things can be turned around if we:

 1) Have a process in place which adequately helps new people become part of our family. Many churches are seeing visitors come through the front door, but they don’t stick. The back door is too wide open.

 2) Focus on identifying, developing and deploying new leaders. The current ones are serving in a variety of places and roles. It’s the old 80/20 principle:  20% of the people are doing 80% of the work and 80% of the giving. It’s simply not sustainable.

 3) Figure out how to encourage more people to step up and serve the family  they’re a part of. The majority of people in most churches are spectators, not participants.

 4) Ask ourselves why people are perennially so busy, so tired and (almost) burned out and what can be done about it.

All four are interrelated. There is a fair amount of overlap.

I’d love to hear from you.

  • Do you see what I see? 
  • Does what you see bother you and/or keep you up at night?
  • What can we as leaders and our church families do?

I'm trusting that some of you will share some creative ideas on addressing these four critical concerns? Not so others can copy what you are doing,  but so that we can all learn some principles which can be applied in other contexts.


Learning leadership from the man who created Nike

A true leader can learn from anyone at any time on any subject. I read broadly in the church world, the sporting world and the business world so I can continue to grow in my leadership.

Here is Coach & blogger JT Ayers sharing what he learned from the legendary founder of Nike, Phil Knight. 

Originally posted at

At the age of 24 a young runner fresh out of college borrowed $50 from his dad to start a small shoe company that would sell shoes to his kind of people, runners. At first, Phil Knight would sell high-quality shoes at a low price from Japan out of his own van at Track meets. After years of ups and downs, getting sued, and unable to generate profit, Phil Knight turned his small family run company into an empire.

Shoe Dog is a fantastic book written by and about Phil Knight’s journey in the 1970’s to build a business people would be happy to buy from.

Here are 5 Leadership Lessons from one of the most successful companies ever: Nike.

True Motivation

Knight is a native Oregonian who ran track under the famous coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon, with whom he would co-found Nike with. He became a sales rep for the Tiger shoe made by a Japanese Company, Onitsuka Co. Knowing he could make a shoe that was perfect for his type of people, runners, he assembled a team of other runners to make a shoe that they would love. Bowerman would even experiment with rubber in waffle irons for a better sole to their shoes. Nike shoes were inexpensive and developed a reputation that his company (Blue Ribbon at the time) would do whatever it took to ensure that the culture of running could have their own shoe.

“At the time, our culture did not see running as a recreation activity. No one ran for fun.” Phil was creating a shoe for a culture that didn’t exist except for those few athletes that ran for sport. With no promise of success, Nike was built by runners for runners. They cared about their product and they cared about who they sold their product too.

Finding The Right Moment With The Right People

In 1972 after years of trying to work with Onitsuka, Phil took his best friends and employees out to break the Big News:

“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Our moment. No more selling someone else’s brand. No more working for someone else. Onitsuka has been holding us down for years. Their late deliveries, their mixed-up orders, their refusal to hear and implement our design ideas—who among us isn’t sick of dealing with all that? It’s time we faced facts: If we’re going to succeed, or fail, we should do so on our own terms, with our own ideas—our own brand. We posted two million in sales last year . . . none of which had anything to do with Onitsuka. That number was a testament to our ingenuity and hard work. Let’s not look at this as a crisis. Let’s look at this as our liberation. Our Independence Day. Yes, it’s going to be rough. I won’t lie to you. We’re definitely going to war, people. But we know the terrain. We know our way around Japan now. And that’s one reason I feel in my heart this is a war we can win. And if we win it, when we win it, I see great things for us on the other side.”

Phil had a vision and it was shared by his closest friends and colleagues.

"Often I’d walk into my house and Matthew and Travis would meet me at the door. 'Where have you been?' they’d ask. 'Daddy was with his friends,' I’d say, picking them up. They’d stare, confused. 'But Mommy told us you were working.”

Do the most important work with people you respect, love, and care for – friends.

Letting People Do Their Jobs

Knight hired well. More importantly once hired he let people do their jobs. Phil admits that he purposely would not respond to letters and calls from his team if they needed help. He let his people figure it out and they did because they cared about the product as much as he did.

A famous Harvard business professor studying Nike came to this conclusion about Nike. “Normally,” he said, “if one manager at a company can think tactically and strategically, that company has a good future. But boy are you lucky: More than half the [Core Leadership group of Nike] think that way!”

The people of Nike, because of Phil, were given freedom, his trust, and space to figure out the work. Ironically, Phil even didn’t like the Nike name and logo at first, stating “I guess it will grow on me,” but his team did like it so he went with it.

How To Be Competitive

Adidas and Converse dominated the shoe world in the early 70’s. At the time, Phil sold the Japanese shoe, Tigers, and learned he needed to be competitive with these big companies.

“People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it.”

Phil and his team never gave up. They had many opportunities to stop, sell, go public early, but they didn’t. They continued because they knew what they were doing mattered.

Success Is In Legacy

Some of the biggest successes Nike has ever had, according to Phil, has not been with how much money that made rather who they did it all for. Nike, started out as a family run business with friends and wives in the front office. This philosophy continues even today. Some of the biggest endorsements Nike had are family.

When Andre Agassi, won the U.S. Open, unseeded, he came to Phil’s box after the final shot, in tears and said, “We did it, Phil!”

When Tiger’s father, Earl, died, the church in Kansas held fewer than one hundred, and Phil was honored to be included.

When Jordan’s father was murdered, Phil flew to North Carolina for the funeral and discover with a shock that a seat was reserved for him in the front row.

Phil’s son, Matthew tragically died in a diving accident when he was 34, and the first person to call the Knight’s was Tiger Woods. “His call came in at 7:30 a.m. I will never, ever forget.”

For Phil Knight, “it was never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad. I keep thinking of one line in The Bucket List. ‘You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.’

“If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”

I highly recommended Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog. Link below: