How to Be a Leader People Want to Follow

January 22, 2008

We have just posted a new sermon called How to Be a Leader People Want to Follow. Here’s an excerpt:

When someone asked General Norman Schwarzkopf the secret of his success, he replied very simply, “I never walk past a problem.” Another friend put it this way: “Just remember, when it comes to solving problems, the first price you pay is always the cheapest.” We ignore problems, hoping they will go away, but that rarely happens. And the price of solving them goes up, not down.

Whenever I think of this principle my friend Randy Miller comes to mind. One year he served as the Chairman of the Elders in the church I pastored in Texas. I soon learned Randy had a certain method of doing things. He was very orderly, not given to flamboyance, very much an administrator, always committed to doing things the right way.

We met almost every week to discuss the work of the church. He always carried a little pocket-sized spiral notebook with him. Over the course of a half-hour we would review the affairs of the church, checking off the items on his list one after the other. He’d go over all of his points with me, and then he would turn the page. The second page would always be about me. He would say, “This is hard for me to say, but when you said that last week in the sermon, you didn’t mean it this way, but this is how some people took it.” Or, “When you didn’t take time to talk to those folks, they were really hurt.” Or, “I know you think we ought to do this, but I’m not sure it’s the right idea.” Or sometimes, “You said this and you shouldn’t have and you need to do something about it.” Over time I discovered this: he was always right. He was a friend who loved me enough to tell me when I was making a mistake. Would you like to know how I feel about Randy Miller today? Although I haven’t seen Him in many years, I consider him a dear friend. He’s welcome in my home any time.

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