Today, we consider a second principle of Leadership Courage: Take full responsibility for your own emotional being and destiny.

Pastor, you are not your church. They are not an extension of you. If you are emotionally healthy, you don’t think of yourself as an extension of your spouse, your boss, your siblings, or your district superintendent.

Do you?

So, why allow yourself to be enmeshed with your congregation as if who you are is determined by their choices and deportment?

Edwin Friedman asserted that leaders can bypass burnout by avoiding the trap of taking responsibility for others and their problems. Imagine life without the double bind of being burdened by a false responsibility for the choices and decisions of others.

Do yourself a favor: re-read Ephesians, I & II Timothy, and Revelation 2:1-7.

Then, answer this:

  1. Did Paul make himself responsible for Timothy’s being and destiny?

  2. Was Timothy responsible for the being and destiny of the church at Ephesus?

If not, who was?

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


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