EP 154 – SERVANT LEADERSHIP PT. 3 w / BOB BUMGARNER
Here’s another great EP with Jimbo and the Bobs talking servant leadership. Every leader and every church lives in tension between selfishness and selflessness. Servant leaders live free and bold lives asking for feedback in order that they may become more, not for their own glory, but for God’s glory.
Bob Bumgarner put together a great chart which describes the difference between self-serving and servant leadership. Check it out as you listen to this EP and dig down deep in examining your own leadership world.
There’s some great gold in all of the podcast but this quote stands out; “In church planting, you may die of starvation. In church revitalization you may die of a broken heart.”
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have questions, comments, stories to share? Drop us a note, email or even voicemail on the Bootcamp hotline.
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next We are to have, squared yet again, and, uh, excited to have both bobs to do yet. Another episode to follow up a little more on servant leadership we get into that, as presumably.
According to the calendar we enter into this season that I have very little experience with fall. Uh, what does that look like in the you’re you’re Bob you’re Bob Bickford. You’re like in a, I don’t know where you are geographically. Like, are you in the Midwest? Are you in the south? there a debate on that?
Like do people get debates on where St Louis’s.
Bob Bickford: There is some debate Jimbo, but I think the way we describe St. Louis, it’s the Western most east coast
JimBo Stewart: That’s a long,
Bob Bickford: So if. I know That’s it’s, it’s hard to, you know, describe it. I mean, you come here and if you go to [00:01:00] downtown, you’ve got red brick buildings. It looks old. I mean, Jimbo, it is the gateway to the west, right?
So back in the day, people settled here and there were all kinds of. Like parts of St. Louis that were Italian or German, et cetera. And, uh, and so we, we do celebrate fall here and it usually begins after what we call the second summer, which is kind of late August, maybe early September, we get one more scorcher.
Of, uh, heat and then the fall kicks in and Gibo, it is delightful in the fall because the leaves turn colors. You’ve only seen those on hallmark movies when you’re watching with Andrea, you know, when, when somebody moves to town with a plaid shirt and marries the girl who’s frustrated or whatever, you know, that sort of thing, but fall is, is a time for.
Flannels. And it’s also a time for Jimbo vests and I think we’ve got a wonderful vest, uh,
this year that I’m gonna add to my collection. And I think you’re gonna, you’ve already added it to
your collection. I believe as
JimBo Stewart: With a, the replant, the replant team has some [00:02:00] new swag. So new
if you go to replant merchant.com, you’ll see, we’ve got a few, few things there. We have a, now I think, I think this is the most on-brand item. We have a. To our merchandise for the replant team. It is a Carhartt vest, which I know when I’ll get to wear it other than when I travel out of town.
But I’m excited.
Bob Bickford: Jimbo. I was really excited when you modeled it for me. And I’d like to put that picture on the bootcamp show notes if I can, but I’m not sure I’m allowed.
JimBo Stewart: So Bumgarner, got the, I got the best end to sample to see how it was. and said, send me a picture. so I went ahead and put it on without a shirt and instead of nice, Larry, the cable guy asked. Version, which I submitted that to, uh, our marketing team at Nam and told them they should that for, to the merchandise website, but they said no.
and, had to have a four hour meeting with HR[00:03:00]
Bob Bumgarner: Yeah, I think
I, think you’re okay until you suggested a replant calendar and then that kind of took it off the wrinkles.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. When you were holding the can of liquid death, I think to right
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. Liquid death, the water that looks like a beer can like it’s not, it’s just water. Yeah. Just to add to the effect. Yeah. it wasn’t as appreciated as I thought it would be. I think it’s a glorious photo. But that is not why we’re on here to talk about my gorgeous body, but to talk about, servant leadership continue to part three, with the servant leadership guru, Bob Bumgarner, as we talk about this.
So ultimately one of the things we started talking about last week was, to fall into the danger of being too nice. Really we weren’t talking about being mean or a jerk. were talking about being clear and being, on mission and on point. And so you flip that, so we want to say, Hey, don’t be so nice that you allow mission drift and you tolerate a mission creep out of [00:04:00] just try not to shake the apple cart.
But want to flip the script on that a little bit today and talk about. to not make it all about yourself. Right? So like one of the things we talked about in servant leadership last week that you brought up Bumgarner was, some diagnostic questions to think about, if we’re on level, if we’re at the right place in this, and part of that’s even how we to feedback criticism or what, what is it?
trying to be. Something so that our name could be great or are we trying to do something that we feel is something God has called us to, and it’s important and that the mission matters more than our name like that. And so, as we look at the landscape of leadership in the world, right now, we talked last week about an overemphasis of competence.
Now we don’t need to underemphasize that, but an overemphasis of competence can lead to, uh, just kind of being self-serving. Let’s dive a little bit, Bob help us out what’s the difference between a self-serving leader and a [00:05:00] servant
Bob Bumgarner: Okay. So when you say that, the first thing I think of is Jesus, in places, but the sermon on the Mount said, you have heard it say. You know, you have heard it said this, but I say this, he takes it to a different level. I think having things, intention like that actually helps us. It gets the clarity there that, that we need.
I think that clarity actually creates the tension. So I think if we’re going to say there’s servant leadership on this side, then the other side of that is self-serving. Okay. And so the tension is, is not between servant leadership and okay. Leadership. No, the tension is, am I a self-serving leader or am I a servant leader?
And the reality is, like I said, last time, it’s a dynamic state. There are days that I’m a pretty self-serving leader. If I’m not, if I’m tired, if I’m hangry, you know, those kinds of things. And so if I’m, if the fruit of the spirit is not present in my life. And so, but I do think that’s the right, continuum.
So there’s really like seven or so, continuum thoughts to that we maybe would be [00:06:00] helpful at this particular point. And the first one deals with my possessions in my position. And so if I’m a self-serving leader, when I feel like I’m the owner of something when I’m entitled to it.
But, I’m more of a servant leader when I feel like I’m a steward of something and it’s on loan. I was in a meeting the other day with. With Tim Maynard, who’s the pastorate fruit Cove here in town. And he’s celebrating 30 years of ministry, this, this January. And he’s re
retiring, not retiring, he’s going on to the next thing in ministry.
But the thing that he introduced himself at the kickoff of the search committees and he said, hi, my name’s Tim. I have been the, the transitional pastor of this church for 30 years. while everybody chuckled, I was so. For him, because in essence, he was saying, I have stewarded this, for 30 years and it wasn’t a Jimbo knows him.
It’s not a, it’s not an exaggeration. okay. So that’s, that’s one. You guys want to add anything to the continuum of owner versus steward. Anything you guys want to
Bob Bickford: Well, I think, you know, we’re listening about this as individuals. I’m also thinking about churches because churches have this posture as Right? So I’ve heard, I’ve heard churches say church or our church, a possessiveness that really leads to the next one. in the chart that you’re going to talk.
Bob Bumgarner: Yeah. So the next one’s fear, what’s the, you know, what’s your greatest fear if you’re a self-serving leader or a self-serving church, that your greatest fear is losing your position. and then the, greatest fear, if you are servant leader is disappointing. The father of. What am I supposed to do, to please God, in this, in this moment.
And I think internally paying attention to what’s going on, as far as fear, listen to your, you know, your language. actually think that one of the greatest things that I observed. in succession is that we wait too long to help the next generation, embrace their stewardship.
I mean, second Timothy two, two, doesn’t say that it’s 20, you know, it’s 20 years, 20 years 20 at no, it’s, it’s, it’s immediate. You’re just [00:08:00] continuously doing that. So, so there, so pay attention to what you fear paying attention to what you fear a, servant leader is open to feedback because really they want to ask the question, how can I do. How can I serve more? How can I, how can my church be better for my community? So they’re open and challenged when they receive, feedback.
And then, another one is personal, is personal focus. How do you, you know, where, where is your focus? If you are a, a self-serving leader, then it is, it really is all about you. You’re, threatened by somebody else doing. Well, if you’re a servant leader, then it’s all about getting better.
So for instance, I mean, Jimbo’s on our team and, he’s an amazingly bright young leader. if I did meet my Cheerios on some days, it’d be easy to be threatened, by his skill and how good he is at things. But at the end of the day, when we understand. a
self-serving leader really wants the best for their team, for their area.
[00:09:00] It’s much easier to let people who are good at what they are good at, be good at that. So it, it really
isn’t about, us.
JimBo Stewart: I think on all three of those that you’ve just mentioned, if you, if you look at struggling churches
and dying churches, even
how we see that of of that fear of losing their position. I think of. I think of churches where I’ve been asked to coach or consult or speak into the situation. And even specifically where I’ve been asked, Hey, we, we think we
need to be replanted, right. Or something like
that. But the pastor will say something like this. but I need to
remain the lead pastor And while can empathize and understand why that would be a fear. I think we have to be really careful.
Right. And we see even sometimes when a pastor is really close to retirement and afraid of feedback because they’re afraid the feedback is going to result in them. Maybe [00:10:00] that. They don’t need to continue to be the pastor or they haven’t prepared for a transition, to go beyond them.
that personal focus. I mean, that’s, if you had to quantify the primary reason that churches seem to decline to the point of death, it’s an internal focus. It’s a. focused on the preferences and the, the desires of the existing serving the existing congregation rather than serving the community through the congregation.
so I think we have to evaluate ourselves as leaders and, and like Bickford was saying, even let’s evaluate the culture of. Churches that were leading and helping. And how are we seeing, are we seeing a culture of servant leadership and that mindset within the church? Are we seeing a culture of being self-serving.
Bob Bumgarner: Yeah, I think a good example. Jimbo is the Calvary network of churches. I mean, when you walk onto their campus, you feel the servant hood. I mean, you’ve, you [00:11:00] actually, you feel the joy, you feel. Wanting you to, have a great experience, you know, and it’s not just Mark’s hugs. It’s the whole, it’s the whole thing.
I mean, how can I help you? What do you need? and what’s odd about that is that if you do it from a certain heart, it’s actually energizing. In other words, it’s not customer service. It’s the body set free to be free, to be happy to be what it was in India. uh, to, to segue, the next piece of this continuum would be interpersonal focus.
So a self-serving leader is going to undervalue others, undervalue. as people and as contributors. So think about it this way. Do you think that people have to earn the right to serve? I mean, do they have to, are there dues that have to be paid then if that’s the case, then probably you are undervaluing.
the people, but on the other hand, a servant leader is always looking for ways to build others up and value [00:12:00] others. I mean, I, I bet. I bet if we were to have time and we were to live. four or five people you could, you could tell me the names of the people that if they were taken out of your life, you probably wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing now, because they built you.
they built you up. They gave you that opportunity. They actually believed in you knowing you would probably fail, but they, they helped you see that it wasn’t fatal. then, again now moving from interpersonal to organizational focus. when it comes to the organization, we predict, and we’ve talked about this some, but we protect our position.
You know, it’s about Bob being the senior leader, or, you know, Bob being the youth pastor or whatever. Uh, so we tend to protect our position instead of making things better. And here’s the thing. If you’re the person that’s always making things better. Guess what? Whether you’re the official leader or not, you’re the organizational leader.
I mean, you don’t, you don’t have to have the title. to lead. And then finally, this whole idea of authority and status, from a self-serving leader [00:13:00] perspective, it’s, it’s the John, the Baptist thing, you know, you must decrease, in order for me to increase or, Stephen Covey popularized it. he talked about abundance mentality, you know, we can both increase.
We don’t like, in other words, the kingdom of God is big enough. People for us to reach or to there’s enough darkness in the world for all of us to do good. And so I, the thing that I don’t think you want to do with this scale, if people go to the show notes is to beat themselves up with it, but maybe make a Likert scale out of it, you know, how are you doing?
and if there’s a, like, I would, to be honest with you, I’d I would have no trouble sitting down with Jimbo and saying, okay, when you look at these. Give me one thing to work on. What’s one thing that you think I can move one notch up on. that would probably be a really decent, exercise to do. I will tell you that, there’s two things that I’ve done that have helped myself awareness.
Number one. when I worked, when I worked on a little bit closer team, I was sitting down with Jimbo and I would say this, I’d say, Hey Jimbo, what am I doing? That’s making [00:14:00] your job. And then I’d ask the question, what am I doing that just makes everything you do so much harder. And then what’s the one thing you want me to keep doing.
And what I found is we would originally have to schedule. but then eventually he just realizes, I want to know that and he just brings it to me, whatever, but I will say the scariest one, I, as I went to my wife and I said, okay, be easy. I said, I said, go easy on me, but what’s it like to be married?
Yeah. I mean, what, what’s something that, you know, that you, this is your moment. What can I really do better that would make our marriage, you know, 10% better? And she was kind, but honestly I did that with my teenage kids and I did it with Tina and, it was glorious. It was, they, they were kind and it was glorious and it, it sent a message.
So I think we can do
that for our.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I love this proactive moving forward. I want to become better. Mindset that that’s, present coast churches and Bob and Jimbo, but let’s [00:15:00] be honest, a majority of the churches that we do consultations with and in some, most of our bootcamp listeners, the churches, they pastor, they’re not asking these questions.
Like if we, if we were to put the chart out there, they’re all the way over to the left side. Right. So help us understand for the bootcamper steps into a church. I mean, it’s all about them and what they would lose and that they don’t want to compromise and they want to protect, and they don’t care about the community, you know, care in the sense of, their actions actually demonstrating that they care for the loss and it’s around them.
do we say to help that guy who wants to see his church move more towards the ride and those calls and that those characteristics that would God. Bring glory to Christ help the church beyond mission. How do, how do we help them take of steps in that journey?
Bob Bumgarner: I think that it goes down to working on the bot, the underneath side of the platform, you know, you ask, I think our character can keep us, you know, somebody [00:16:00] said your competence can take you where your character, character. keep you, I think when it comes to revitalization, I think character can keep you there long enough for your competence to actually do some good, but you have to have the long view.
and I think there has to actually be, resilience. You have to be able to bounce back from the attempts, but I think you have to be willing as a revitalizer to experiment with some things. you have to find out who you just have to acknowledge. You may never be the real leader of this congregation for years and oh, okay.
Then find the real leader who is it and, you know, lead through them. I do think one of the things that, is super important is why we have said, don’t pass. look at all the people that Paul had in his neck. You know, he had, an an, I S he had Barnabas.
He had Lydia. I mean, I, you just read the, new Testament letters. I mean, his actual network of people, I mean, he Timothy, he didn’t, he had Lou, I mean, mark, he looked think of all the people he had. We [00:17:00] think of him as this big stud prophet guy and, and he certainly was, but he didn’t, do it alone.
So for revitalization, Don’t do it alone. Build your own network. listen to podcasts, read, don’t think what are the next seven steps? What’s a next step. I mean, those would be things that I’ve I’ve jokingly said church planting. May cause death by starvation, but revitalization may cause death by a broken heart and, I get it.
I’ve pastored. I’ve replanted. I get, I get that. So, don’t lean on your competence, grow your character and do what you can, where you are with what you have. And then at the end of the day, when you put your head on your pillow at night, thank Jesus for the opportunity.
JimBo Stewart: I don’t think we’ve done this with you on the podcast before. what are people may not know about you? Is that early in your ministry, you were a re planter long before replanting was cool. man, just give us a, just a short synopsis of that [00:18:00] story, include the school buses because that’s one of my favorite parts of that story.
So just give us a short synopsis of your experience as a re
Bob Bumgarner: So I left seminary with a master of divinity degree. Nobody cared. I went to live in my well, I went to live with my mother and father-in-law’s basement, a church in Middletown, Ohio called me and said, will you come and be our pastor? There were 37. 30 of them voted for me, seven of them. Didn’t how do I know?
Because on my first Sunday there, the guy didn’t vote for me, told me he and his family didn’t vote. so anyway, there were two amazing things that happen there. number one, I had no idea what I was doing. I just, I wasn’t strategic. I just knew to preach and love people. And so I did that and God started doing some stuff.
we had a parking lot that, was all gravel And so, Sherman came to me one day and he said, Hey, Bob, we really need to do something with this parking lot and put up a hand rail and some things. So the old ladies don’t fall off the porch. And so I said, okay, sit down in front of the [00:19:00] church.
The next Sunday, he said, Sherman said, we need a handrail. It’s $167. I, I called the guy on, can we raise $167? That was huge. So we did, we raised $200. I called the handrail guy. He came and put the. and something happened in the, in the spirit of that church. People would drive by and they’d pull in the parking lot and they would go look at the hand rail and they’d go back and they’d get somebody.
And here’s what I learned there was that was such a small victory, but it changed everything so that people actually started coming. And so then we, we ran out of space. I mean, we had about 130 people coming in. A lot of those were kiddos. And so. We bought four school buses because we had a typical first unit Southern batches building.
We hollowed out the school, buses parked them next to the church. Like it was in a parking lot,
put air conditioners and chairs and shot boards in them. And those
buses were our kids class. I got to tell you, I was a, it was a blue collar [00:20:00] church
on the, in a mill town.
Those people love that. And I’m going to say those people, those were my people.
We loved it. And
it was a great way to serve, the community. But
you just do what you can with what you have.
Bob Bickford: may and I can see a new revitalization book, about to be published. and our friends from a coma for Jesus, grow your pie, grow your church by
hundred And And then also, uh, maybe we could get
Bluebird school buses to sponsor the podcast and we could, uh, find a use for some old buses. And, uh, I think the the eco friendly folks among us Jimbo, I think the eco re planters, which is a very small niche, I’m they might, might be excited about the repurpose of the school.
JimBo Stewart: I love it, man. That’s one of the things
that when you meet
Bob Bumgarner, if you meet him, now you have
a context and you kind of have a box. You put him in as
a Sage, a
wise strategic consultant great experience and great wisdom that can help [00:21:00] you strategically. Plan your next step.
And he is all of those things, and has had great experience, Florida Baptist convention as an
executive pastor, with great success and great accolades.
think probably my favorite thing, on his resume, is that he replanted in a
mill town turned school buses into Sunday school classes.
Bob Bumgarner: was fun.
JimBo Stewart: Good. All right, thanks. Bye. I appreciate you doing a few
Bob Bumgarner: you for the opportunity guys.
JimBo Stewart: Love you guys. All of you, all you
listeners look forward to seeing
you here in front of yet. Let us know how we can serve you.