EP 121 – CHARACTERISTICS OF A GODLY LEADER : HUMILITY
They bootcamp boys are back talking about the importance of being a godly leader. You’ve probably heard the refrain-everything rises and falls on Leadership-we agree but it’s not always the kind of leadership one might think. We take time to talk about the characteristics of a godly leader which we believe are primary in helping a church, which needs to be Replanted or Revitalized, move forward.
5 Characteristics of Godly Leadership
Remember – the change a church needs is first spiritual before it is strategic or structural.
What are the specific characteristics of a humble godly leader?
- Healthy biblical identity
- Holy contentment
- God-grounded confidence
- Promotion and edification of others
Stay tuned as we continue to explore the characteristics of a godly leader in future episodes.
Don’t miss this great event. Am I a Replanter? February 18-19, 2022 in New Orleans at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Registration closes this week.
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] All right here we are back at it again at the bootcamp, 2022 second episode of the year. If you missed last week, you missed it. It’s such a great episode. Go back and listen to it. As we recapped 2021 and all the great highlights from that two series in particular, two great guests and news in the Bob Bickford life.
and so we are at the time of. Heirs. We are in the middle of huge staff meeting for Nam home week gathered with the whole crew, in ATL, dirty south, and probably have already enjoyed some pretty good food together and had a lot of laughs by the time that you’re hearing.
Bob Bickford: I think that’s a good prediction Jimbo. I love it when our guys are the replant team of the north American mission board. And when we all get together and get to collaborate and laugh and celebrate how fun and, our team is spread out all across north of me. it’s really good to see the guys.
We get to see everybody in person, at least a couple of times per year, maybe two or three. and so I’m excited [00:01:00] to gather with the guys again and, and really talk about the coming year and some of the plans that we’ve got going and, work on some of our initiatives. So, and I like Atlanta, spot.
I don’t like driving in Atlanta.
JimBo Stewart: No.
Bob Bickford: but I like when we’re up in the suburbs up north where the headquarters are in Alpharetta once we get up there, it’s all good.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think Atlanta traffic may be my least favorite traffic ever. And that’s after I’ve been in traffic in India.
Bob Bickford: Oh man. And even the LA were, but you weren’t driving. You didn’t have a car in LA
JimBo Stewart: No LA was, I took the bus. That’s a whole nother long story, but yeah, I took the bus in LA when I was there. I did drive in Peru and, that was an experience for sure, but a whole different kind. uh, Hey, my speaking of Peru, my family did a fun thing for new years. one of my sisters texts in our group texts that we call Stuart shenanigans, Hey, let’s all play two truths and a lie.
And, and so since we were all, all over the place, we text each other [00:02:00] a bunch of two truths and a lie. And, that was a lot of fun with my whole family. What did you guys do for new year’s Eve?
Bob Bickford: Bad Jimbo. We were, we were really bored, boring.
I actually went to bed about 10 o’clock or 10.
JimBo Stewart: No.
Bob Bickford: Jimbo. I was tired. I just couldn’t. I’m an old man. I just, you know, couldn’t do it. Barb stayed up because she did not, but she, she did not want to be awakened by our neighbors who every year, since we’ve lived here in Webster groves for 13 years now, they go outside at midnight and they bang pots and pans and scream happy new year.
Now it’s our next door neighbors. Now the ones in the back shoot off fireworks and they don’t shoot off just quiet fireworks. You know, there’s real loud, concussion fireworks. They don’t really make any kind of light show, but they just, this giant explosion, we were probably, I would say probably 15 or 20 of those that went off.
And so, uh, I was [00:03:00] awakened. just right before midnight, cause apparently our neighbors clocks are a little early and, so I was awakened to some noise and then it sounded like a war going on over here. so Barb, Barb does not want to be awakened by that. So she brought the new year in and, uh, she was, she was flipping between, you know, different new year shows and here I’m just going to make a, I want to make an observation, a media critic, observation about all of the new newest brunch.
they’re all off. And one of the reasons they’re awful is because they can’t, the folks who are hosting them are horrible at improv. They can’t, they can’t improv. They can’t have fun. And like they’re all script people, right. They’re singers. And so they get up and sing the lyrics. They script out there.
All right. They’re newscasters or they’re entertainers. They have a script or they’re reading from a prompter. You take all that stuff away and just say, man, just make it up. As you go. It’s really bad. Like you and I would be a whole lot better at hosting a new year’s show. And I think [00:04:00] I’m just going to go out and I’m going to propose this GMO.
Maybe we ought to, maybe we had a host, a live bootcamp, new year’s Eve special at some
JimBo Stewart: Come on, man. That would be awesome. I think it would probably be better. We could, we could lower the boot instead of the, instead of the ball, we could lower a boot.
Bob Bickford: Maybe we could get chosen road to do a couple tunes for us. You know, things like that. Clifton could come on and regale us with, you know, stories and tales. And, uh, there’d be a lot of fun. Kyle Beerman he’s a musician. He could probably sing, sing a few songs and, uh, it might be fun.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. I think it would probably be one of the more entertaining new year’s Eve shows you ever seen in your life. so let us know listeners, if you want us to pull it off and you want to help fund the budget to make it happen, man, as we go into this new year, we want to focus on. At the bootcamp we want to focus on, uh, man, just, the essentials, right? What are the core fundamental things of what it means to be a [00:05:00] godly leader? A, uh, biblical. Pastoral shepherd leader. And then there’s so many things out there, about how to do church, how to do church revitalization and Bob and I have been discussing a lot, how we could best serve you guys.
And one of the things that we think we can do now that each of us are not preaching weekly in and out and leading, as the lead pastor week in and week out, is we. Kind of curate and consume, consume, and curate all the material that we that’s out there that we can and figure out how do we distill that down to the most basic themes that have passed the test of time that are really actually beneficial and helpful.
And one of the things I’ve recognized, Bob is a lot of church revitalization material seems to focus a priority. On systems, like your first impressions and your [00:06:00] website, your communications, your facilities, and, all those sorts of things. And here’s what I’d say is I think we need to recognize and putting those things in their place.
They’re not necessarily bad things, but they are certainly not. Nor priority items, to be honest, those things are not going to revitalize your church in the sense of it being a more spiritually healthy church. Now, I would say, as your church becomes a healthier church, those are systems that be. That health more sustainable, that they can build up and prop up like scaffolding in a way to help you continue to run sustainable ministries, but they do not revitalize a church.
And so one of the things we’ve been talking about is we’ve tried to boil down basically a lot of this to what are the five. Key factors that somebody needs to work on, that are biblical, regardless of your [00:07:00] context, regardless of where you’re at the size of your church. and that’s you as the leader, right?
You need to focus on growing as a leader. You need to focus on the direction where, where are you taking this church? You need to be clear about that. You need to figure out where God’s called you in your missional context and that unique place. So the leader, the direction, and then the team, who’s your core team.
Who’s helping you in the plurality of leadership, in whatever form that takes, who’s helping you get there. And then really out of that, you’re asking two main questions. One, how are we making disciples who make disciples that make the community noticeably better? And how are we developing leaders that are going to serve this church and that are gonna go out and serve the kingdom of God.
and so the other things that people want us to focus on, I really think are secondary and we don’t need to spend a lot of energy there. I think we need to spend our energy on the leader, the direction. The team are we making disciples? How [00:08:00] are we doing that intentionally? And how are we developing leaders?
Bob Bickford: I love that breakdown. And I think you’re exactly right. Most of what we see suggested. In terms of turning a church around, starts with strategy and structure and not the spiritual work. And one of the things that’s a distinguishing mark for our team is we often will say that replanting and revitalization is first and foremost, a spiritual work before and say strategic work or before it’s a structural change.
And so I think if guys can just get their head around that that will give them some patients in the early. And they can work on the spiritual side for themselves and then for the congregation and as the spirit, as a spirit works in the church and as people’s hearts begin to soften and change, and then people began to be captured by the things of God, the purposes of God, the mission of God, those structures.
And those systems are more easily changed than if you just go in and start trying to change them right up front. So just keep that in mind, guys. And, and I, I really liked [00:09:00] this list that you put together about starting with the leader, and it does start with the leader you know, long-time famous quote speed of the leader speed of the team.
Right. And that’s kind of a business idea and that’s kind of a S strategically. Idea, but I really think if you take that phrase and you apply it and you really think about it and you think about the priority of spiritual over structural or strategy, and it’s really the spiritual work and the life of the leader, that’s super important for us to focus on.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. And so as we look at this, I think one of the things that we. Consider as the leaders, what are, so what are the core things that we need to think of as the pastor, as the leader? One is the spiritual vitality of the leader, right? Are you bearing the fruit of the spirit? Are you, do you have a rule of life and rhythms in your life that are you growing?
Are you maturing in Christ? Are you dependent on Christ? then after that, The calling, do you have the desire to do this? Do you have the biblical qualifications to do this? [00:10:00] Have others affirmed those qualifications and calling and giftings in your life? And then the character, just the godly character of a leader I’m in the characteristics slash competencies.
Like there are actual characteristics and competencies that are needed. We’ve talked about those a lot on here. and then lastly, the capacity, do you have the emotional, relational, physical capacity, spiritual capacity to, to do this, to lead a church through church revitalization. And so today I wanted to focus on the character.
Of godly leadership. What is it? What does it look like to be a godly leader? And, I just finished reading a fascinating book called, facing the Leviathan by mark Sayers, where he really tackles this idea of leadership in how. Too. There’s a false dichotomy of leadership where he goes throughout history and scripture and [00:11:00] literature, and really draws out this idea of there are these two ideas of apex leadership that we have in modern Western.
World that he argues actually come from pagan mythology and we, so we either have the heroic conqueror that’s powerful, or we have the creative genius that breaks all the rules and thinks outside of the box. And, those are really the two approaches that we take to leadership and he proposes a third type of leader.
A biblical view of leadership being that we’re one who lay down our lives and serving humility and serve with integrity that build others up, that don’t platform ourselves. And we’re not the powerful conquering hero or the creative genius, but we it’s, it’s less about our abilities and more about our submission to God as a leader.
Bob Bickford: I mean, I like that. If you think about some of the key [00:12:00] people that God has used throughout history, he seemed to have picked the ones who are overlooked. The least, and the, the least likely wants to be chosen to lead. You think about, you know, about Gideon. If you think about. Paul, even in some ways, you think about David, who is way overlooked in terms of like all of his brothers were, you know, when, when Samuel is trying to figure out, is this the one Lord and, you know, do you have any more brothers?
And David’s not even in the house. Right. And, and he’s even warned at the beginning of time, don’t look at us, don’t look at his countenance. Don’t look at his status. you have to really understand. So I think one of the myths that, is part of our culture is that the, the leader who is going to form a leader, who’s going to really lead things and make a good transition is the guy with the chisel jaw, the great haircut, the right wardrobe and the incredible, Communication skills.
Right? And, and so that can be true. In some regards, that person gets a lot of followers and that person has a lot of influence and can have a [00:13:00] lot of charisma at the front end. But what we’ve seen, I think recently in our own culture is that there’s got to be character behind all of that. And character matters if you have all the substance and the trappings, or if you have all the trappings of leadership and you don’t have the.
meaning the character and the solidity that the character brings, then you’re probably going to outgrow your capacity and your character and, and, um, that’s not going to be good.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
I think godly character begins with humility. Right. So we talked about this as a supernational and spiritual work more than it is strategic. We love strategy and we think strategy is important and we should think strategically, we think that’s even a biblical idea that we can see consistently in scripture.
The idea of being able to think strategically and plan out strategically. but it’s not preeminent preeminently. This is about our submission to the Lord. And I think. James chapter four, verse six, which says, God opposes, opposes the proud, but gives [00:14:00] grace to the humble. and then Luke 14, 11, where it says everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
And so I would argue that godly leadership begins with humility and that humility is it begins with self-awareness. And a healthy and biblical identity of knowing who we are in Christ abiding in that identity in Christ, having a holy contentment like Paul describes in Philippians chapter four, where we, we all know the part where he says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me in four 13, but in that four, 10 through 13, where he says I’ve found the secret to being content in all circumstances that, that holy contentment of that’s that’s the.
The strength of not, I can, I can accomplish great things, but I can withstand whatever circumstances are thrown at me because my contentment is found in my identity in Christ because of my self-awareness [00:15:00] and that leads to a God grounded confidence. And so I, I am confident in my calling and the work that God has given me, not because of my abilities or capabilities, but because God is strong in my week.
And if I believe if we have a strong, self-awareness a strong, healthy, and biblical identity, we’re content in that identity in Christ, our confidence is in God, not ourselves. We’ll find it so much easier in our humility to promote and Edify others over ourselves. I believe that’s one of the markers of godly leader.
Bob Bickford: I love that list that you put together for us. And one of the things that just stands out is the, to me, is the God grounded confidence, right? So when a pastor walks into a room or a meeting or a gathering, does he just exude that, confidence that comes from God, not his [00:16:00] own abilities. Right. And I think a lot of guys, if they’re trusting in their own abilities, Their own skills that leads them down a road in terms of the impact of, of how it affects their relationships in a way that’s not really good sometimes.
And you know, if you walk away from a meeting going. Hi, or if you feel the pressure in a meeting that I’ve got to make something happen or I’ve, you know, this is all on me. Or if people don’t agree with me, then it it’s that I’m not the leader, all those sorts of things. And that just kind of shows that the confidence that you have is really in yourself and then what your plan is rather than what God is doing in you, the process, and the fact that he’s brought people around you to help you figure it out to you.
JimBo Stewart: mark Halleck says. I mean his book, the posture of a godly leader. It is chapter on humility, which I highly recommend, in the, in the conclusion summary of that chapter, he says the Lord loves humility and his people, in fact, humility is the foundation, not only of all faithful Christian leadership, [00:17:00] but of all faithful Christian.
For this reason, humility is crucial in the heart and leadership of a revitalization pastor. Of course, a problem is this not only do we by nature, rebel from humility, we live in a world that does not value humility at times. Even churches do not value humility yet. The Lord does. The Lord loves humility in his people by his grace.
May we seek to love and shepherd, the tired, hurting, hungry sheep. The Lord has entrusted to our care and may we do it with Christ-like humility daily, remembering that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. And that’s a great word on humility and importance of humility. That’s how, that’s how.
To serve. that self-awareness piece is that begins. This is when we’ve talked about a lot on this podcast, but pop, I don’t, I don’t think we can overemphasize the importance of continually focusing on and growing in. [00:18:00] Self-awareness.
Bob Bickford: You’re right. and it’s gotta be an every moment kind of a thing. Right? So you’re in a, if you’re in an engaging in a conversation, and this is frustrating to you. Do you need to be able to, while that conversation is going on to ask yourself in real time, why is this frustrating to me? Or do I feel threatened?
Do I disagree? Why do I feel emotional about this? Why’d I feel energetic. Is it, is it really about this conversation or is it about something that’s going on in my life outside of this conversation? Is it something that’s happening with me? Have I lost felt like I’ve lost a lot of battles recently. And do I have to win this one?
Just cause I got to win one, you know, all of those kinds of internal dialogue things that, that you need to probably have in your mind and in your heart real-time are so important in, in that is self-awareness most guys get in trouble, I think because they’re not really aware of what’s going on with.
And if they can become aware. And like we said, I think this was in the last episode in [00:19:00]2022, man, you need to make arrest and solitude and time with the Lord in prayer part of your life regularly so that the Lord can surface some of those things too, in your mind about your character to you, as you’re reading through the Psalms and as you’re reading through Proverbs and whatever other passages that you’re reading, because those, those things are going to be stumbling blocks to your leadership.
If you. No, what they are and you don’t address them and you don’t let the Lord speak into them. Right. And so, and I just think guys, do whatever you can do to develop self-awareness and it will be one of the best disciplines that you can have in your life to understand how to deal with what’s going on with.
JimBo Stewart: I think one of the ways that we can continue to grow in our self-awareness in our healthy, biblical identity, which will lead to a holy contentment and God grounded confidence is constantly preaching the gospel to our. All right. And reminding ourselves of, of who God is, [00:20:00] how great he is constantly seeing that and reminding ourselves of his greatness and his goodness and our need for him.
And, and there’s one of these, it’s a weird juxtaposition of the gospel, where one of the best ways to contentment is embracing your own sinfulness and recognizing just how sinful. You are and just how desperately you need a savior constantly daily. I mean, always reminding yourself of that. Not in a beating yourself up, but in a, in praise, God, we have that, how much I need it and how great God is to continually be faithful to provide that for me and just remind me, man, I need grace.
I hi. I am in desperate need of grace all the time. But he overflows me with grace and goodness all the time. I just think about, I mean, I tell Audria sometimes I feel like I’m one of God’s favorites and because I [00:21:00] just, I just feel like I just get, I get blessed like way more than I should be all the time.
And that, that leaves me. To a greater self-awareness of the fact that I do need that grace and I need God and I need, but that I have an identity and that I’m his, and that it’s not in how hard I work or how much I accomplished or how productive or successful I am, or even how faithful I am. But my identity is in him and in his faithfulness, and in his productivity and that he’s accomplished at all.
He’s already won it and I just get to be a part of it. And that gives me that contentment and God grounded confidence, which leads to out of humility. We promoting and edifying others and building others up instead of always making myself the hero of every.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, you really, you you’ve hit on something that’s super important and that is acknowledging. Every blessing we have comes from God and every gift that we have comes from him. And I would also say this every opportunity, every opportunity that is before you comes [00:22:00]from God, and here’s the deal, you don’t deserve it.
Right? You did. and I want to say this, that, and this is kind of a, there’s a dual duality. This, you didn’t earn it, but yeah. Earned it by being faithful, you didn’t earn it by who you are, right in what you could do, but you, you were given the opportunity by demonstrated obedience and faithfulness.
to what God has called you to do, right? he has been faithful with little, will be entrusted with much, right. That, that idea, that being faithful obedience and the small things leads to greater opportunity. And so I would just say, may concentrate on everything that you have opportunity. Blessings material possessions, the church, you have the people, you have the leaders, you have, those have been entrusted to you by God, you didn’t, you didn’t, you didn’t create all that by yourself.
God’s given that to you. And then the, you steward that well by being faithful and obedient, and then perhaps the Lord will give you more. Maybe he will not. Right. But what he [00:23:00] can give you is a sense of your own. Oh, your your own, position and all of that. And he can develop into a heart of gratitude.
And when you have a heart of gratitude, man, you rest well and you celebrate others well. And so I just encourage you guys, if you can get to that place and live there and be confident in that, that’ll be such a blessing for you.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. And so knowing that God loves humility is such a great place to start in your leadership. And, and so seek that out, ask the Lord to help you grow and your humility. Think about those things, those factors of humility, of self-awareness your identity in Christ finding content. In Christ and not your circumstances, finding your confidence in God, having God grounded confidence.
And then, I mean, outdo one another and showing honor promote and Edify others. I remember a mentor of mine when I was real young, told me everyone that [00:24:00] you encounter influences you and you influence them. Nobody. Gives a neutral influence. And so think about, are you helping build others up or are you putting them down and.
That I believe comes out of humility. I think it’s like an output. A result of humility is that we promote others and encourage others. it’s a good barometer, a dash on the dashboard for you to look at. Do I constantly try to get laughs by making fun of other people or am I somebody who’s encouraging and promote others and help others?
When do I like when others win or do I wish it was me whenever others win. And I think that’s a good indicator of where your humility may be. Guys. This is, uh, something we’re going to dive more into in the character of godly leadership, humility, integrity, respect, empathy, and Goodwill. And so we’re gonna dive into those.
Some will have other episodes, first in there as well. this is going to be, I believe [00:25:00] the last week or the second to last week that you could sign up for the MRI, replant or conference in new Orleans. And so I’d encourage you to go ahead and do that. We’ll have the link in the show notes again. If you’re not one, you may be tired of hearing me say this.
Don’t worry. You only have one more episode maybe to hear me. But I’d love to see it in new Orleans. It’s a good event for people who are potential or rookie re planters or revitalizes or pastors of churches that are having the opportunity to replant and revitalize churches are looking to learn more about what is required of that, what that looks like it’s going to be honestly, really great.
Me and Bob and our wives, double doc, Jess dryer, and his wife, Darlene, Fred Luder will be there doing one of our sessions, George Ross, Ryan Rice. it’s going to be a really good time. And it might even be some king cake involved. So hope to see you hope to see you in new Orleans in February.