Imagine making your personal list of the top 10 most emotionally healthy leaders found in the Bible. Would John the Baptist make the list as a strong leadership role model? Possibly not. Taken from the opening sermon of the 2017 Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference, Pete looks at three aspects that make John the Baptist an extraordinary model of leadership. He knew himself and he knew God. John the Baptist was very aware of who he was and was not influenced by what others thought of him. He was free from impressing people but was completely attuned to what God’s mission was for him. He was deeply aware of issues surrounding him. John the Baptist realized there was a cultural crisis of shallow spirituality in which people kept the rules but did not have a vibrant relationship with the Father. He knew his limits. John the Baptist realized that his job was not to change. Read more.
Looking over our shoulder to more “successful” ministries is one of the most frequent sources of pain for leaders. It is also one of the great temptations that hinder us from faithfully following Jesus. We can learn a lot from the pattern of John the Baptist’s leadership as he responded to the news that he was losing people to the “new, big thing” happening around him (John 3:26-30). Content leaders affirm: 1. I am content. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. “A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Yes, God gives gifts and abilities that we want to steward well. But each place of service, employment, success, or failure (a lot of God’s closest servants seem to suffer martyrdom) is under God’s sovereignty. It is tempting to strive, manipulate, and anxiously toil to push doors open that God does not have for us. But we want to. Read more.
For years I heard the maxim: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to speak.” I would also add: “Only the one who has learned to be silent is prepared to lead.” Think about it: Paul, after his conversion, spent three years in a silent retreat in Arabia. Jesus spent thirty years of silence until he opened his mouth and began to teach. John the Baptist spent his adult life in the desert before he brought a word from God. Ezekiel said, “For seven days I sat in silence and was dumbfounded.” Job seven days in silence until he opened opened his mouth in anguish. Habbakkuk and Samuel waited before the Lord before they spoke. How can we learn to lead out of silence in the midst of our noisy world and churches? Slowly practice silence…. before, during, and after our words. This is a life work, and it can. Read more.
The Desert Fathers in the 3rd to the 5th century, following the tradition of Elijah, Moses, and John the Baptist, fled to the silence of the desert to purify their hearts in order to see God. Ultimately, they sought to save the world, and the church, from idolatry. Their wisdom has endured almost 2000 years. The next time you are criticized or slandered, remember these words from Abba John: “One day when he was sitting in front of the church, the brethren were consulting him about their thoughts. One of the old men who saw it became a prey to jealousy and said to him, ‘John, your vessel is full of poison.’ Abba John said to him, ‘That is very true, abba; and you have said that when you see only the outside, but if you were able to see the inside, too, what would you say then?’ How very true.