Courage is…

So what is courage?

Dan Tocchini, a friend and mentor, defines courage this way: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving forward in the face of fear.”

So, what is it that moves one forward in the face of fear? The answer, I think, can be found in the etymology of the word itself.

Our English word “courage” comes from the French cor, which means “heart.” Courage literally can mean “with heart.” To live courageously is to live with your whole heart.

Your whole heart engaged.
Your whole heart invested.
Your whole heart at stake.
Your whole heart exposed.
Your whole heart vulnerable.



–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus#pastor #discipleship

Courage is Integral to Leadership

Courage is integral to leadership. The link between the two is inseparable. To attempt to lead anyone, without employing courage, will undermine the possibility of the enterprise you hope to lead others in.

Management is another bird entirely. A manager does not a leader make.

I hold an advanced management degree. In graduate school we learned and practiced sophisticated problem-solving techniques. We became proficient using multi-faceted analytic tools such as market, cultural, financial, logistical, and competitive analysis. Most importantly, we developed our abilities at strategic reasoning and planning. In no way is my objective to denigrate management or management education.

Yet, leadership is an altogether different matter.See, leadership is the visible employment of courage in a way that changes people: their thinking, behavior, and the impacts of those changes.

–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Bound for Glory

I’m inviting you to consider the amazing provision for those who are God’s own. I’ve experienced many setbacks and failures in ministry. There have been many heart-wrenching times in my life, and I’m sure you’ve experienced them too.

But, you and I can have absolute confidence that these experiences haven’t disqualified us from ministry. In fact, You and I are bound for glory.

There can be no other outcome for our lives. No matter what happens here, our mortal existence will be subsumed by a spectacular life reserved in Heaven for us. [2 Corinthians 5:1-4, 1 Peter 1:4]


–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

God’s Provision

We’re considering the amazing provision for those who are God’s own. The capacity to trust in Jesus—to actually believe the Gospel and all God has promised—emanates from God’s generosity.

It is God who made God’s own light to shine in our hearts, giving us the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. [2 Corinthians 4:6]

The Bible states that we who are in Christ are new. New in every way. [Revelation 21:5]

I come from a long line of self-made, hard-working types. In my experience, ministry is deeply satisfying as long as there’s clarity about God’s direction, plenty to do, and some sense that I’m progressing. Take away any of those signposts and I can become bewildered.


Then, I naturally double down on whatever it is that I’m doing, even the result is more fruitless toil.

But, being a new creation in Christ, I’ve experienced grace to break the generational pattern, pause, and trust God’s Spirit to guide me in a new way forward. I’m learning that even my willingness to climb off the merry-go-round of useless toil is evidence of being new. Trusting God can be taxing for high responsibility DIY types, and facile for one whose identity is secure in Christ.

–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

A Triumphal Procession?

Consider the amazing provision for we who are God’s own.

Scripture says that God leads us in a triumphant procession with Jesus.

We are a pleasing aroma to God; a fragrance that is potent both for those who are pursuing and those who are rejecting him. This is not something we conjure up. We are a delightful fragrance and we are already on display as victors in the most consequential of all ventures.

God has promised to use every experience beneficially [Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 4:17]. More surprisingly, you and I are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from him!

What’s crazy is that these promises are not conditioned on our achievement. It is God who has performed spectacularly, and, as a result, we receive the splendor of his magnificence. [2 Corinthians 3:18]



–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Never Alone

Consider the amazing provision for we who are God’s own. God is called the “Father of compassion” and the “God of all comfort.”  God stands ready to comfort us in all of life’s difficulties.

We’re not on our own.

Not ever.

When we attempt to obey the Lord with a valiant ministry initiative and it fails—as often happens—God is poised to bring quick and thorough comfort. [2 Corinthians 1:3-4]

–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Sometimes, we go alone

We’re looking at courageous Christian leadership.

A leader moves.

She takes action.

Rather than conducting a straw poll to see what the prevailing opinions are, a leader will go first.

And sometimes this means going alone… for a while. God will see to it that, at some point, you’ll have only the Lord to rely on. Your only recourse. And so, you advance into the mist, trusting God.

It’s nothing special. It’s what leaders do.


–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Did Jesus do Evangelism this way?

American society thinks they’ve heard enough Christians—people they’ve decided are rigid, judgmental, hypocritical bigots. And, since we’ve reduced Christian ministry to explanation and oration, we keep trying to teach them the right way to think, believe, and act.

Did Jesus do it this way?

Consider the Campaign of Nain [Luke 7:11-17]

Jesus approaches the town and sees a funeral procession. A widow is broken over the death of her child. People are in despair. What does Jesus do? As he sizes up the situation, his heart goes out to her. He walks up, touches the casket, raises the boy to life, and hands him to his mother.

That’s it!

No altar call.

No self-promotion. No advertisement about next Sunday’s meeting. Jesus doesn’t tell them to do anything. Jesus brings the Kingdom and because he does, people are blessed. He is a messenger of good. An “ev-angel.”

And they all get it.

Their conclusion is stunning: “God has come to help his people.” [Luke 7:16]

Is that what people conclude when you and I come to town?



–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Teaching as the Primary Means of Evangelism

Because of the predominance of the teaching grace in American churches, we have embraced a dysfunctional over-emphasis on teaching as the means of evangelism.

Realize this, whenever you are with anyone, you create an experience iwith that person. When you keep trying to teach those who are not postured to learn, what do they experience?

I suggest that it’s like scratching someone where they don’t itch.

It is irritating.

Trying to teach those who don’t want to learn creates the experience of annoyance, condescension, and frustration—not openness.

What is worst of all, we do this in the name of Jesus.

–Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

“Leadership Courage” is Available!

Twenty five years ago, Edwin Friedman, psychologist, rabbi, lecturer, and author observed that the US had become “chronically anxious.” In this condition, he said the least mature wield the greatest influence. A cursory glance at our culture today reveals just how prescient he was. In A Failure of Nerve he described a distinctive kind of leadership necessary in such a context.

If his observations apply to the US in general, they even more describe the condition of the Church. Leadership Courageis an attempt to apply the brilliant insights of Friedman to the local pastor in America who is laboring to provoke growth and maturity in the congregation.

Leadership is primarily a matter of the heart. And, the heart of an effective pastor can be developed to conform to the postures and practices that Friedman suggested and Jesus modeled wonderfully. Leadership Courage is a provocative and contemporary examination of both.

It is available now at:

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