Fearless Living, Fearless Leading

fear notWashing dishes at a friend’s house last night after a lovely dinner, I was struck with a thought, a question, really, that I then turned and posed to my wife and friends. I asked them, “If I could lead us all out of fear what couldn’t we do? How would each of us respond to each other and to the world around us if we were completely fearless?” Okay, it was a downer of a question and every sense of frivolity and lightness fled the room. None of us had a great answer. After an awkward moment of silence, my beautiful, amazing, and dry-witted wife quipped, “Well, who died and made YOU Jesus?”

Since that moment I’ve been thinking about what really could happen if we just lost our fears instead of our car keys or our reading glasses. Wouldn’t we respond very differently than we do now to threats of economic hardship, terrorism, and even to our spouses and loved ones? I think we would. I think if we could develop a stronger belief in Jesus’ work for us and dig a lot deeper into what that means for us on a practical level, we would lead very different lives altogether. Perhaps we would lead lives like God fully intends for us to lead. Fearless lives. Child-of-God kind of lives.

For one thing, all competition would cease. We would realize that God has already anticipated every need we could ever have and has already provided for them. We would stop hedging our bets on getting what we need from Him and from the world around us, abandoning every temptation to manipulate anyone in any way for any thing. We would pray with confidence. We would love unconditionally. We would move from the “competitive mind” to the “creative mind.” We would become extreme givers, never takers. We would overwhelm the people around us with the kind of Spirit power rarely seen since The Book of Acts.

Our leadership would change, too. Transparency would be the norm. A compassionate kind of listening would become the hallmark of our husbanding, our parenting, and our ministries. People would flock to follow us because they would feel validated for being who they are, not just feeling used by us for their talents or dollars. If we were truly fearless, we could look someone deeply in their eyes and say, “Darling, I’m here for you” and mean it from the essence of our being. We would, in short, make the fearless kingdom of God in all that it means come to bear in very tangible expressions all around us. Life would come alive again.

No one died and made me Jesus.

But Jesus has entrusted me with leadership abilities with which to lead others toward all that He died to give us. Freedom from fear – all of it – is ours in Jesus. Best I can tell, Jesus said,”Fear not” about 15 times as recorded in the Gospels. Seems to me once would have been sufficient if we could only do it.

What kind of leader can you become if you begin to take steps, even small ones, toward eradicating fear from your life and ministry? How would that affect your leadership, the planning, the praying, the interactions with the people you lead? Are you ready for what fearless living and fearless leading will do?


Courage to Lead in Spite of Adversity

cowardly lion“In business and personal life, to create true integrity and lasting effectiveness you need to develop the courage to move towards the sound of the gunfire.” — Dr. Martin Groder

Cartoonist Roy Delgado once depicted Kansas ex-pat and ruby-slippered Dorothy saying to her Oz-bound compadres the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow, “With no courage, no heart, or no brain… there’s no doubt you’ll eventually be approached to run for Congress!” As funny (and perhaps as true) as her optimistic outburst was in this cartoon, there’s no such thing as great leadership without courage, especially in adverse circumstances.

It’s easy to mistake manipulation for leadership. Businesses, corporations, and even churches can find themselves following leaders who might bring short-term results while sacrificing the character that results in longevity and brand allegiance. The CEO who burns through employees in the name of profit or the pastor who chews through congregations in the name of “kingdom building” can be one and the same. When things aren’t going well any of us can fall back into a competitive mindset that is far too willing to sacrifice character, integrity, and the true courage to lead by doing what is right over doing the right things (Myatt, 2012).

Mike Myatt said, “Courage is a trait possessed by all great leaders. So much so, that leadership absent courage is nothing short of a farce. Let me be very clear – I’m not advocating for bravado, arrogance, or an overabundance of hubris, but rather the courage necessary to stay the course…Many leaders think they have courage – few actually do.”  http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/09/19/every-great-leader-has-this-quality-do-you/

True leadership, something beyond mere results, is a matter of character and integrity. True courage in leading others means we will move toward the fray, not away from it.

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at john@johnchisum.org, or call 251-533-5960.