Withheld Affection?

The Apostle Paul wrote: “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.” [2 Corinthians 6:11-13]

As in all affairs of the heart, there is risk.
To me it seems one question is always: “Who goes first?” Who gets to be first to love, to risk, to be vulnerable? Paul settles the issue for those of us in ministry: We get to go first! In doing so, we model the way of love for those around us. “We have opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you.”
How generously, how obviously, how daringly do we love? How careful are we to not withhold our affection from those we lead?

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

Courageous Leadership is Decisive

Courageous leadership is decisive.

The Latin root of decisive means “to cut.” However, in church it is rarely nice to cut anything away, to cut anything off, or to cut anything out—even when it’s a toxic presence.

To lead with your whole heart means that you stand for what’s best for the church, simply because it is best—even when that stand is unpopular. Even when it provokes opposition from stakeholders in the Church.

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


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

Crises in Leaders’ Lives

Edwin Friedman observed that crises are normative in leaders’ lives.

Some are imposed on the leader from forces outside that leader’s control.

Others are initiated simply by the leader doing exactly what he or she should be doing.

As you study Jesus with his disciples, notice how frequently he invokes adversity for those closest to him. Yet, how reluctant are we to lead in a way that invites a crisis for long-standing church members?

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


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

God, Our All-in-All

The Father wants leaders to be courageous and for churches to thrive even more than we want them to. God, across the centuries, has been faithful to succor, strengthen, rescue, and prosper the intrepid obedience of women and men willing to trust the Lord and align themselves with Kingdom purposes.

God delights to be our all-in-all [Psalm 46:1], to watch over us with care [2 Chronicles 16:9], and to remain closer to us than we can comprehend. [Matthew 23:37]

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


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

Conspicuous Gallantry

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross 

Many in church leadership today bear little resemblance to their biblical ancestors. In light of all that God has done for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we should be among the most courageous human beings to ever walk the planet.

But, in my experience coaching hundreds of pastors over twenty years, I’ve found that, as a general rule, we are decidedly not courageous.

It seems that few of us remain cognizant of the immensity and universality of God’s love for us. If we did, it seems that we’d be willing to live gallant lives that honor him.

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


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

The Normal Christian Life

As I read the New Testament, the “normal Christian life” is described, above all, as a life of adventure.

The trust relationship between the Christian and her God was so central, so dynamic, and so pervasive that she was flung, by her faith, into a way of life that was exciting, surprising, and maturity-producing.

New Testament church leaders who were called to lead modeled a way of life characterized by bold risk, deep sacrifice, and honest trust.

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


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

Encountering Hardships

When Jesus’ disciples encountered hardships and threats, Jesus used these opportunities to propel them toward God in faith. He was careful not to cater to their preferences, assuage their anxieties, or diminish their distress. In most cases, Jesus challenged them to even greater risk, trusting the Father.

Because he did, they experienced God’s rescue. As a result, they grew confident in the fidelity of God and served Jesus’ Kingdom cause selflessly.

Christian leaders should be empowered to do the same.

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


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

The Function and Impact of Healthy Elder Boards

The vision I have for churches in North America can’t come to fruition through a single leader, though it must begin there. Ultimately, it will take teams of dedicated, trusting, God-fearing, and humble leaders to pull this off.

Integral to the success of the Church I see is teams of leaders who work with – not against – the lead pastor. I envision leadership teams where elders willingly following their pastor’s lead, launch innovative ministry that challenges the status quo, and demonstrate Gospel goodness to those who are yet to follow Jesus.

In this kind of church, elders will be championing the pastor’s pursuit of God, clearing obstacles from his or her path, and making resources available so the ministry can take God-authored leaps into the unprecedented. As they do, they’ll experience God’s faithfulness while growing in maturity.

When pastors are supported this way, they’ll be freed to seek the Lord’s direction, enroll a congregation postured to bring glory to God through their trusting obedience, and continually experiment with outward moving ministry initiatives that brighten a gloomy world.

Churches will be incubators of innovation and “no fault zones,” where bold risks are as common as they are in the Book of Acts, and learning, growing, stretching and becoming is experienced. This growth and risk-taking can really only be experienced when pastors are freed to build other leaders.

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


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

Goodwin’s Expectation Principle

Goodwin’s Expectation Principle:

“People will live up to the expectations of those who they respect.”

– Dr. J.R. Clinton, from the book “Leadership Courage” by Kirk Kirlin, Novo’s reFocusing Team

#leadership #leadershipdevelopent #LeadershipCourage

Christianity: the “All-In” Commitment

Whether your weekly gathering involves hundreds of intricately choreographed parts, or is simple and rudimentary, the result is largely the same: lives are not much changed and people live little differently as a result.

This is heartbreaking.

I’m saddened by the life-sapping demands that burden so many of our pastors. In my view, they could be doing so much more productive work discipling leaders and impacting their communities. Instead, their vitality is consumed satiating the needs of their congregations.

Convinced it doesn’t have to be this way, I have a vision for something different.

The compulsion for the Church to retreat to the margins of society is ever present, especially now. For Christians and churches to bring a clear, distinctive, restorative, and visibly beneficial dynamism to society, our leaders will be heroic, God-trusting activists who live like those in Scripture who have inspired millions across history.

The Bible we read is full of examples of God’s people trusting and moving into unknown, uncertain, or absolutely dangerous territory in response to God’s direction. Responding as they did required an “all-in” commitment rarely seen today. It is my passion to champion Christian influencers to live their lives all-in.

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


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

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