Leadership is…

One way to think about leadership is this:

“Leadership is the visible employment of courage in a way that changes people.”


-from the book “Leadership Courage” by Kirk Kirlin, Novo Mission’s reFocusing Team

Make ’em Curious

People outside the Church think they know what Christians stand for—and want nothing to do with it.

Our task is to demonstrate Christ so generously and consistently ‘til people become curious.

–Kirk Kirlin, Novo Mission’s reFocusing Team

#MissionalPathway #ChurchOnMission #Jesus #Pastor #Leadership

Key to Local Mission

The key to local mission is to serve people for their own good, no strings attached…the same Christian people serving the same unchurched people regularly, repeatedly, personally, generously, and unconditionally.

Freely you received, freely give.


–Kirk Kirlin, Novo’s reFocusing Team

#pastor #Jesus #ChurchonMission #MissionalPathway #refocusing

Doing What’s Right

It’s incumbent upon leaders in the Church to do what we know to be right. Every time. All the time.

What if the Church in our nation determined to do what we know to be right, simply because it is right? What if honor and integrity supplanted expediency and political advantage?

How might we then live?

How might our society respond?

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Moral Suicide?

It’s incumbent upon leaders in the Church to do what we know to be right. Because, when we don’t, we compromise ourselves. When you compromise your own integrity, you commit moral suicide.

When you fail to do what you know to be right, you immediately lose esteem for yourself. The antidote to low self-esteem is not the empty pumping up of those who live without integrity. It is to live a life that you yourself esteem. A life that you respect. To quote my friend Tom, you do what’s right.

One tragedy of Christian leadership in our day is that far too many suffer from this malady. Collapsing on what they know to be right, the erosion of esteem begins its inexorable advance.

Confidence is undermined. One collapse breeds another.

Compromised, the leader looks outside to determine direction. Like the politician taking cues from polling data, she’s straining to sense the political winds rather than standing on the moral certitude of doing the right thing.

The question is no longer “what is right?” but “what’ll work?” Adrift of one’s ethical moorings, the tragedies mount.

This is what passes for leadership in a culture of cowardice.


-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Emotional Maturity

A few years ago, our ministry team was engaged in intense strategic meetings that would determine the direction of our ministry around the globe. We had the benefit of “fresh eyes” as three millennials had recently joined our team. From their perspective, several of the ministry methods that I’d helped to pioneer over more than a decade were grossly outdated, even misguided, based on their understanding of scripture.

My opportunity, in that moment, was to remind myself that my value and security were safely in the Father’s arms. Postured this way, I could remain curious and give careful consideration to their perspectives.

Instead, I childishly interpreted their observations as criticisms of my cherished contributions to our work. My interpretation that these were personal rebukes fueled my angry, immature response.

A self-differentiated leader will surrender herself to integrity. Her integrity. She entrusts herself to God, being obedient as best she can, to what she knows to be right.

A Christian leader cannot afford to be reactive as I was. Nor can he be capricious, impetuous, or mercurial. If he is, those he leads cannot follow.

Leaders are only leaders when people follow.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage.” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

“Leadership Courage” is available

Edwin Friedman, in “A Failure of Nerve” concluded that the US had become “chronically anxious.” One characteristic: the least mature wield great influence. His observations apply to the US, and also describe the condition of the Church—pre-Covid, pre-George Floyd, pre-election chaos. Friedman goes on to describe a unique kind of leadership for such anxious times.

Leadership Courage” applies Friedman’s brilliant leadership insights to the local pastor desiring to provoke growth and maturity in her or his congregation.

Leadership Courage” is a must-read for ministers, lay leaders, and serious Christians right now.

It is available:



Resisting their Resistance

Courageous leaders have learned to govern themselves, to manage their emotional reactivity, to restrain their impulsivity.

Like the impulse for revenge, to employ terrorist tactics, or zero-sum strategies. Courageous leaders will resist the ever-present impulse to resist another’s resistance.

Think about that for a minute.

When you encounter someone resisting you, what you stand for, what you care about, or what you’re invested in what do you do? The most natural thing is for you to resist them back. Right?

I assert you do this all the time.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Subordinating your Emotional Reactivity

We’re considering Jesus’ example of governing himself, managing his emotional reactivity, and restraining his impulsivity while in Gethsemane.

Jesus is warring in prayer alone. Scripture records that, being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. [Luke 22:44] I don’t know what all that means other than his struggle was intense—more than he’d ever experienced.

His request in essence is “Father, is there any other way? Ok then, your will be done.”

In his humanity, wouldn’t Jesus have wanted a way out? Wouldn’t his impulse be to give in? To give up? To escape the burden crushing his soul?

Jesus, our example of self-leadership, restrains his very human impulse to escape the intensity of this assignment, and subordinates his emotional reactivity to the commitment to his Father that would benefit all humanity.

It is important to point out that he didn’t achieve this by his own power or determination. Coming to the end of himself, Jesus cries out to the Father who sends an angel. The angel appears and strengthens him. [Luke 22:43]

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

Jesus in the Garden

Courageous leaders have learned to govern themselves, to manage their emotional reactivity, and to restrain their impulsivity.

There is probably no more spectacular example than Jesus in Gethsemane. [Matthew 26:36-46]

Entering the garden, Jesus is feeling the weight of the immense spiritual battle bearing down upon him. So, he asks his three most dependable, most intimate friends to stand with him in prayer.

After a short time he returns to find them asleep. “Couldn’t you watch with me one hour?” he asks. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Do you hear him begging them? Expressing bitter disappointment in


I don’t.

I hear him calling them to do what’s right in that very intense moment. He also uses their failure as an opportunity to teach them about spiritual warfare.

It will serve them later.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/


#leadership #courage #pastor #Jesus #courageousleadership #LeadershipCourage

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