Know When to be Soft, When Firm
the Bible uses the word "comfort," the Greek word (a
form of "paraklesis") is translated in two ways--sometimes
as "comfort" and sometimes as "exhortation."
are two ways of encouraging a fellow. Sometimes a pat on the back
does it; at other times it takes a kick in the seat. It's a wise
leader who knows which is required. It's an even wiser leader
who then knows how to administer just the right dose of the required
coach on the sidelines walks over to two players who just muffed
a play. This is his team and he knows these young men, so he is
well aware what it takes to motivate each one to give his best.
To one, he walks over and puts his arm around him. "Bobby,
you can do better than that. Come on, man. I believe in you."
He walks over to the other one and yells, "Jason, what in
sam hill do you think you're doing? That was absolutely the sorriest
thing I've ever seen on a football field! Now, get back in there
and show me why I shouldn't kick you off this team!"
something to that effect. Each coach has his own style.
was checking out at the grocery store down the street and got
in the slowest lane. When my turn came, I found out why. We had
a trainee on the cash register and a veteran employee was showing
her what to do. As the young woman, probably a teenager, rang
up the first item, she held the key down too long and it registered
that I was buying three of them. Now, the older lady was having
to punch in the codes for reversing that action and clearing the
printout. It was time-consuming.
was working overtime not to be impatient, so I said, "Take
your time. You're new, aren't you?" The teenager nodded,
clearly embarrassed. The older woman said, "She's doing fine.
She just has too heavy a touch on that key. I did it myself when
I was new."
said to the teenager, "You're blessed to have such a patient
teacher. Not everyone is that good with new employees." She
nodded in agreement, and the older woman smiled appreciatively.
happen to have a little personal experience along that line.
A VISIT WITH THE DIRECTOR OF MISSIONS: Guard Thy Flock
former pastor is coming back to our church. He wants it back."
said, "Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. He wants
to take over your church?"
He started the church 15 years ago. Then about 7 or 8 years ago,
he left with a little group and began another church, more of
a Pentecostal type, I suppose you would say."
hurricane scattered his members and now he has only a small group,
not enough to hold church with, so he has apparently decided he'll
just come back and take over our church."
said, "How long have you been the pastor?"
years." I said, "Do you know this man?"
said, "A little. I've met him. A year or so ago, he showed
up in our services and while I was making announcements, he walked
to the front and snatched the microphone out of my hand and started
you let him?"
didn't think I had a choice. I didn't want to create a disturbance."
had already done that for you. How long did he speak?"
must have been 15 minutes."
then what happened?"
A VISIT WITH THE DIRECTOR OF MISSIONS: Support Thy Shepherd
right, start at the beginning and tell me what happened."
fidgeted a little, leaned forward in the office chair, and said,
"At first, we were excited about him becoming our pastor.
We're a small church, you know, and he was an outsider. He came
in after the storm, seemed to have an unusual vision for what
a little church like ours could do, and we bought it."
said, "You liked his preaching?"
a pretty good preacher. Not the greatest in the world, but we're
a small church and we've never been spoiled in that regard. But
he was fresh and, I think the word is, driven."
he continued, "we called him as pastor."
said, "If I recall, you wanted him pretty badly. He kept
turning you down and you kept calling him back and insisting that
he consider becoming pastor of your church."
silence. "We thought he would do our church so much good.
The people really liked him."
from where I sit, he has done the church a lot of good."
said, "From the outside, it would appear that way."
Another long silence. "But it's like some families that look
good to the neighbors but it's another story inside the house."
came in and started spending all that money to revamp the buildings
to host outside church teams that were coming to help rebuild
said, "Didn't the church vote to do that? And someone in
the congregation gave the money for it?"
in a way. The congregation just didn't realize what it was getting.
He started acting like he was the construction boss or something.
Giving orders. Making decisions on what wall to tear down, which
rooms to install bunk beds in, choosing the stoves for the kitchen.
We're not used to that."
not used to what?"
Leadership Principle No. 17--Give Yourself Time to Think.
analyzing the greatness of Abraham Lincoln are frequently perplexed
as to how one who started so far back in the pack with few natural
talents and attributes managed to win the race, securing his place
in history as the greatest of all our presidents. What was there
like to suggest that one key factor, particularly in the younger
Lincoln, was the quietness of the world in which he lived and
what he did with it: he thought. He read a lesson, then mulled
it over as he walked from one village to another or as he did
his chores. He did not do what the average person would do, read
something and check it off the list and go on to the next lesson.
What he read lingered with him because he focused on it and thought
about it. Some say Lincoln never went on to new book until he
had mastered the content of the one he was studying.
jerking up someone from the 21st century and plopping them down
in the middle of, say, 1825, when Mr. Lincoln was 16 years old.
His first sensation would surely be of the overwhelming silence.
No freeways with heavy traffic 24 hours a day, no planes filling
the skies, no radio, no television, no phone, no trains, and very
few factory whistles if any. To be sure, everyone else had the
same amount of silence and the same absence of distractions from
pure, deep thought as did Lincoln.
difference is that Lincoln used the quietness wisely; he thought
Pascal observed, "All the evils of life have fallen upon
us because men will not sit alone quietly in a room."