A Selfless Leader

Leaders give up something of value to wear that mantle. Consider the sacrifices you have seen leaders make What personal sacrifices have you made for the greater good of your team? It seems certain to me that all leaders sacrifice. The essence of sacrifice appears to be a matter of the heart. David cried from his heart, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart. . . (Ps 51:17)

I don’t believe a leader who demonstrates brokenness is one who is weak. It is quite the opposite. Roaring leaders aren’t around long. It’s the leader with a contrite heart and quiet confidence who enjoys completed missions.

As we consider a broken spirit to be at least one definition of sacrifice to God, we must look inside our own hearts to consider our degree of brokenness. Certainly, leaders will be more effective when leading from a position of humility and with a contrite heart. A love inspired leader’s inner strength should not need to be a matter of roaring or engaging in public demonstrations of power.

As I observe highly effective love-driven leaders, I am reminded that their powerful demonstrations of quality came with great personal sacrifice. They didn’t achieve competency through a Google search. The foundations of their success were not poured with fanfare or in the presence of fan clubs. They sacrificed, put in the really hard work, and committed themselves to preparing for what was to come. Now their hard work and sacrifice make competency seem easy. They don’t have to roar.

Love Leads by Steven Greene, 2017

The roar of Victory or Defeat

For decades, sports broadcaster Jim McKay could be heart on Saturday afternoons proclaiming these classic words: “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports . . . the thrill of victory . . . the agony of defeat . . . the human drama of athletic competition . . This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports”

I think Jim had it backward. There is so much more potential for agony in victory. And defeat can catalyze positive change.

Victories often lead to the celebration of self. Winning leaders can become independent of God and begin to roar. “I can do this without You.”

When he heard of the Philistines’ planned attack. David went to the Lord in atypical leadership for a king and asked how to win again. Lesser kings may have attacked the Philistines using the winning strategy from the first battle. It’s hard to change a winning game plan. But David waited on the Lord to provide direction even after he had won a sound victory. This is a model of leadership.

A roaring “winner” may have simply charged on ahead to certain doom, but David waited for the Lord to show him a new path to victory. David didn’t bask in the thrill of victory. Victory can cloud judgments. As we span the glove to win the lost, we can’t be dependent upon the way we have won other victories. We cannot do what we’ve always done simply because we seemed to be winning. We must pray for a fresh anointing. We need Him more today than yesterday. Who will tell the roaring winners they are losing?

Love Leads by Steven Greene, 2017

Leaders Aren’t Perfect

We all know David did not live a perfect life, yet God called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). David loved God with all his heart, mind, strength, and soul, and he loved others as well. Although he caved into the appetites of his flesh when he had an affair with Bathsheba, he ran back to God when confronted with his sin, crying. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps 51:10-11).

A lesser leader probably would have responded differently to the aftereffects of sin. Perhaps we would have seen denial, spin, or some baseless attempt at rationalization. Many leaders experience moral failure, but few confront the sin, as David did.

Staying true to a mission is more difficult than planning the undertaking. Mission creep – that gradual shift in objective – seems to set in early in the project. Shiny objects flirt with even the most resolved leader. The shift that takes us away from the narrow path of a mission is a subtle one. Leaders can become unfaithful to their purpose at any time. It is easy to forget who we are and where we are going. Fidelity to mission is often elusive.

Love Leads by Steven Greene, 2017


The first principle leaders must teach about taking initiative is to make the first step. The hardest step is the first one. Naomi and Ruth took that first step together; surely leading and encouraging each other on a difficult journey. They started off on the right foot, and they ended up with blessings chasing them down and overtaking them. We are a nation of steps – twelve steps for this and twenty-one steps for that. The problem with steps is that many of us will skip to step twelve and start there. Step twelve is eleven too far. Love-driven leaders should teach the importance of a good start. The first step creates momentum if it is properly supported. I think one thing is certain about the process to achievement – if we skip steps in favor of a shortcut solution, we will lose the “best” of the process. If a process consists of foundational steps, when steps are skipped, the foundation is weakened.

Leaders must teach the importance of step one. Teach your team to take one action step immediately. I believe the Lord expects us to move as soon as His Spirit draws us. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit is not a “wait until tomorrow” thing. I believe God requires instant obedience. The Holy Spirit gives the nudge to take the first step – now. Drawing nearer to Him requires a move.

From Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017


The goal of a strong leader is to align the informal and formal flow of authority. Keeping an organization in alignment with the proper authority is likely one of the strongest tests of leadership. Here are four ways to help with authority alignment:

  1. Make fewer statements, and ask more questions. Jesus answered the questions about His authority by asking questions. (Mark 11:29-31)
  2. Be inclusive. When we treat our team members like mushrooms and keep them in the dark, the light may never reach them. People in the dark tend to reject authority. Light leads to understanding and compliance.
  3. Write it. Speak it. Repeat it. Draw on the walls if necessary.
  4. Celebrate team wins. When teams win, leadership tends to have an easier time with submission to authority. Sports teams love their coaches as long as the teams are winning. Authority dwindles in losses.

Effective leaders help people love authority.

I think I’ve seen every episode of “The Andy Griffith Show”. Sometimes I miss Mayberry. Andy’s show was wholesome and packed with life lessons. I also believe we could isolate many of the 249 episodes and use the footage in leadership training classes. We watch as Andy leads men and his town through life. He was probably the first TV sheriff who didn’t carry a gun. He need “nary a one.” Maybe it only worked on “The Andy Griffith Show”, but sheriff Andy Taylor showed that having effective leadership made it easier for people to submit to authority even in the tornado of town troubles.

From Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017


It isn’t difficult to become overwhelmed in the midst of chaos and crisis. Imagine the crowd of five thousand men who gathered to hear Jesus speak. The disciple Andrew told Jesus, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (See John 6:9)

Jesus was frequently underwhelmed by the faith His disciples showed. The disciples were frequently overwhelmed by the vision of the Lord, Particularly in the sea. I suppose there is not a neutral state to being whelmed. The word means to be engulfed or submerged – as in overwhelmed. “Whelmed” is an archaic term and serves little purpose in our vocabulary because it means to be overwhelmed.

Yet the truth is that becoming overwhelmed doesn’t change much about the situation. The crowd must be fed. Work must be completed. There are feet to wash. Perhaps becoming overwhelmed is selfish. It seems that Jesus wanted is disciples was to be focused on the needs of others- to love others. We never seem to have enough, yet God always provides.

The Holy Spirit keeps us afloat. Jesus is our Prince of Peace. The Lord is our shepherd; we shall not want. When the job is too big, budgets are too large, and people are too “whelmed”, do what the disciples did. Do all that you can do and trust the Lord to help you help your team.

From Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017


There must be an observable difference between a leader who is worldly and a leader who knows Jesus, a leader who loves. How does a Christian leader show that he is not of this world? How does the Christian leader glorify God? Answers to these questions are not a matter of leadership style. It’s all about the daily relationship between the leader and God.

This seems almost simplistic, but we can never be reminded enough that a relationship with Jesus is the most important qualification of a leader. The worldy leader leads and manages from a worldly perspective. The foundation of this leader s sinking sand. The world infoms, persuades, instructs, and ultimately destroys a powerless leader. Joshua received his leadership training directly from God, who told him:

“Be strong and very courageous, in order to act carefully in accordance with all the law that My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn aside from it to the right or the left, so that you may succeed wherever you go. This Book of the Law us not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise.” Joshua 1:7-8

Loving leaders have the same instructions. Our walk does not include turns to the left or right. We will succeed wherever we go as we depend upon the Lord for direction. We are also reminderd to speak the Word. We are to meditate upon it day and night. We are to “act carefully according to all that is written in it.”

From Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017

Groaners accelerate Entropy

Moses experienced what many leaders experience: moaners, groaners, gripers and complainers. Although more opposition is found in a valley, desert, or wilderness, some employees will find something to complain about even on the mountaintop of victory.

The Israelites were vocal grumblers. They complained about Moses’s vision for entering the Promised Land after Pharaoh upped their quota and deadlines (Exod 5:1-22). They complained as the Egyptian army pursued them (Exod. 14:11-12). They complained about bitter water (Exod. 15:22). They complained about being hungry (Exod 16:1-4). They complained about being thirsty (Exod 17:1-4) and more.

The Israelites lobbed false accusations at Moses (Num 16:41). Even Moses’s own brother and sister turned against his leadership (Num 12:1-2). And when it was time to enter the Promised Land, ten of the twelve spies brought back an evil, unbelieving report (Num 13:32). Moaners, groaners, and naysayers surround every step of progress. As we attempt to climb a mountain, we will surely experience the clawing hands of ankle grabbers who want to pull us down

Moses was charged with moving people out of the status quo – out of bondage of old ideas that had stopped working – and into the Promised Land. He was mocked for trying to fight entropy. The Israelites fought him almost every step of the way. They were always ready to run back to what they knew for fear of what they did not know. The status quo is comfortable, predictable, and limiting. Our work teams must be led out of the comfort of expected results. A team begins to move backward the moment the cloud of comfort settles in. That’s one reason it took the Israelites forty years to make a forty-day journey and a generation died without seeing the promise.

From Love Leads by Steve Greene, 2017


One of the fruits of faith is endurance. Leaders who love have a basic instinct to keep pressing forward even in the face of distractions and storms Love is a powerful motivating force to charge forward. Moses loved his people so much that he led them through the wilderness without personally experiencing the Promised Land. He let them to a place he had never been to and would never reach. Great humility and wisdom where key markers of Moses’s character.

Moses displayed a habit of making the right choice. We all make choices every day. The first choice is to decide whether to be led by flesh or the spirit. We choose to set our minds and conversations on things pertaining to the flesh or to focus our attention upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don’t accidentally follow the desires of the flesh. We make decisions to allow our sinful nature the opportunity to govern. It is impossible to serve two masters. We decide to be on the side that satisfies God or the side that satisfies our flesh. This is an important point of differentiation for leaders. We need to be clear about what team we support. We can’t begin the day on one team and then change uniforms at halftime. We cannot wear the pants of one team and the jersey of another. We must declare our allegiance. One team hurries entropy, while the other works hard to slow the process of decay.

Moses was a leader who abided in the Kingdom of God, and he was deliberate about pursuing things that are invisible and eternal. His mind was set upon things above. Leaders such as Moses will delare openly, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.” (Ps 73:24). This primary goal is the essence of sustainability. When desires float away from godliness, decay is sure to accelerate.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017


Most leaders have to learn similar lessons along the way when it comes to working with people. Jacob’s story had soap-operatic twists and turns, but after twenty long years of service Jacob was prepared to lead – and part of that preparation was learning to say no. When the Lord told Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, to your family, and I will be with you.” (Gen 31:3) Jacob did not consult with cheating Laban. With God’s help Jacob finally learned to say no.

I believe Jacob learned to say no to temptations that would alter his time priorities. Three questions could determine our productivity today: (1) can you fit me in? (2) Can you fit in another meeting?, and (3) can you fit this into your to-do list today? There’s a lot of fitting in happening in organizations today, and that’s not a good thing. Somehow we’ve come to think, “If I

can fit it in, I should

fit it in.” Life seems cluttered with “should”

Highly effective leaders say no with much more resolve than average leaders do – but love leaders say it in a way that improves relationships. We learn much about a leader’s growth potential base on what he won’t do. Effective leaders make room to make a difference. They don’t fill up a to-do list with more than one thing that must be done today.

“Love Leads” by Steve Greene, 2017


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