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Leadership in Context Episode 22 Show Notes

Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci

Episode 022

Strong Personalities, part 1

Do you have any strong people in your life that you would like to have better relationships with?

Paul and Barnabas’ Relationship

Acts 15:36-39

After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Paul and Barnabas were incredibly close. They had a great relationship, both were apostolic leaders, and they had tremendous history together. Here we see them having this great disagreement. It was not a doctrinal disagreement; it was a personal disagreement. Barnabas was overlooking the character fault in John Mark, possibly because they were cousins. We don’t see Barnabas and Paul traveling together again. In Scripture, we see them having a mutual respect for each other after this event, but there was definitely a break in the relationship that happened as a result of this disagreement.

Focus on the Big Picture

Paul and Barnabas agreed on the work, but they got focused on the person, and that is where the disagreement was. When we have something bothering us about someone, we tend to magnify their imperfections. Or the other side, when we are enamored with someone and think they are so wonderful, we excuse their missteps. It can go either way. We need to look at the big picture. What is the work? What are we being called to do? What are we being called to build?

It’s not About Doctrine

Never elevate your opinion to the position of doctrine. When you do that, after a while, people will not take you seriously and you will lose your integrity. If you are going to “go to the mat” on something, do it over the Word of God, but not on your opinion or your perception.

Keep it About the Work

Barnabas was loyal to John Mark. We see him very loyal to Paul in Acts 9. Maybe loyalty was one of his characteristics. But it was his focus on John Mark that caused him to miss Paul’s understanding of the situation.

Strong is Not Bad

If you had to lead a church (or a business) and you had no strong personalities, you wouldn’t be able to get a whole lot done. Compliance is not the goal of leadership. Fruit is the goal of leadership.

If you have someone who is strong in ideas, strong in opinion, and strong in actions, how do you work with them? Are they strong in character? Strong in morals? Strong in commitment? Strong in history? If you have both areas working together, you have a chance of reining in someone who is a potential leader, who can influence a lot of people for the positive and get a lot of work done.

If you have someone whose character, morals, or history concerns you, you are not going to release them into ministry yet. To help them grow, you have to be direct with them. You have to look them in the eyes. They won’t take hints. You might say, “I really would like to delegate this to you, but in a meeting you tend to pop off and say whatever you are thinking without processing it. You have to bring that under control.” They are not going to get it if you say, “It would be really good if everyone was a bit more contemplative in their meditation before they spoke.”

I want strong people. It’s a lot easier to get something done when you have strong horses pulling the wagon that want to go somewhere and do something. I would rather steer people who want to veer off the road a little, and get them to pull the weight, than to have to drag someone and convince them to do something.

Not About You

A strong person’s ideas or criticisms are not about you. Be careful to not make it about you. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Are we talking about the work, are we talking about the divine purpose, or are we talking about my personal opinion?” If we make it about those who are in oversight feeling offended or pushed against, we are going to miss opportunities for the work to be increased moved forward. How are we going to win this thing? Sometimes leaders win an argument with someone strong, but they lose the war because they missed employing that person. Keep in mind that if someone has one idea (that wasn’t the right one), they are going to come back with another idea IF they are given the time of day and a process where they can be heard and used.

If someone was watching you, would you appear to be a stifling leader or an empowering leader? If you are a stifling leader, you won’t just shut down the strong people, but you will shut down a lot of other people as well. People are our greatest resources. The gift of God is wrapped up in imperfect human packages. We have to figure out how to release those gifts, channel them, and hold onto them without dragging them down.

Rejoice in the fact that you have strong people around you. Utilize them in the Kingdom of God, for His glory, and release them to do what they can do in the scope of your team and purpose.

Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!

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