PowerPoints for Leaders

PowerPoints for Leaders

J.J. Turner, Ph.D.

Chancellor, World Bible Institute

This is a new series and will be a continuing feature on Jeremiah Institute—visit often and share with others.


In recent months I have caught myself deciding to buy a book or some other printed item based on the number of pages and the font space and size of the text. If the chapters ramble on, regardless of the content, I find myself skipping paragraphs or speed reading to get the main point or finish the time-consuming task. I’m not proud of this, just being honest about the obvious impact on my study and reading time. It has caused me to buckle down relative to my attention span.

     We’ve all been in classes, heard speakers, and read books where the main point if there was one, was lost in the weeds of verbiage. You left confused with more questions than answers. The person who said, “A message doesn’t have to be eternal to be memorable” is certainly right in our day of “less is more.” The days of the 45 to 60-minute sermons are becoming memories; even 30-minute sermons have become Sleep-aids. If a listener can leave with one point and one intentional application based on the sermon, an amazing thing has occurred.

     We’re living in a time where the attention span is shrinking faster than the dollar or a cheap cotton shirt. The ability to concentrate mentally on a particular activity, especially in events where information is being dispersed is impacting every aspect of communication. In cases diagnosed as extreme by mental health professionals, a new label—ADD—has been coined: Attention Deficit Disorder. It has been estimated that every classroom in America, from elementary to college, contains students with ADD. Some schools have special classes and teachers to deal with attention span issues.

     Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 persons, studying their brain activity of 112 using electroencephalograms. The results showed the average attention span of a human had decreased from 12 seconds in 2000, or about the time the cell phone revolution began, to eight seconds. In the meanwhile, goldfish are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. Other studies indicate that the average attention span of an adult or young person who is really interested in a subject is approximately 20 minutes. This calls attention to the need for upgraded communication skills: delivery, listening, attention, remembering, application, etc. Thus the questions: As a leader is your attention span longer than a goldfish? How about your listeners?

     One of the major reasons Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863, is so memorable is because of its brevity—272 words. Today that’s about one double-spaced, 8 ½ X 11, typed page. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech lasted 17:29 minutes. Churchill’s “We shall Fight on the Beeches” address lasted 12:22 minutes. Steve Job’s Stanford Commence address lasted 14:45). It has been estimated that an average reader can read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in 18 to 20 minutes.

     The Ten Commandments are presented in 17 verses in the NKJV (Exodus 20:1-7) and can be read in three to five minutes. Peter’s sermon—the first Gospel sermon—on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts, is 11 verses (Acts 2:29-39). We don’t have a record of the “Many other words” preached (2:40). In his discourse before the Athenian philosophers on Mars Hill, Paul spoke approximately 268 words as recorded in the NKJV. Yes, I remember he once preached until midnight and a hearer fell from a window (Acts 20:1-12).

     My computer word count is growing. So I’d better get to the point. This is the introduction article to my new blog column for WBI: PowerPoints for Leaders. Each blog will be presented with the realization that LESS IS MORE. I will get to the relevant point for leaders. There is amazing power in one word. Paul affirmed this when he used the Greek word rhema in Ephesians 6:17: “And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is A WORD of God. There is awesome power in ONE WORD, e.g.: No! Yes! Love! Repent! Stop! Obey! Etc. This is why James said, “Let your YES be yes, and your NO be no” (James 5:12). A word of God can defeat Satan.

   Remember what Jesus said about the Gentiles: “And when you pray, do no use vain repetitions as the Gentiles do. For they think that they WILL BE HEARD for their MANY WORDS” (Matthew 6:7). Yes, less is more! Especially because we all KNOW more than we are practicing. We need continual reminders contained in brief points that, hopefully, will initiate new actions of leadership.

Various Types of Attention

God has created us with brain functions that contribute cognitive processing abilities and resources to focus on stimuli and information. When we are exposed to information our brain exercises mental processes that decode it from our environment which allows us to experience it through our five senses. Our attention span determines how focused or how long we are focused on something we are being exposed to by listening and watching.

     Paying attention is the first cognitive function that determines how we process the meaning and application of the subject, etc. Numerous things contribute to attention span and how we process the event. Here is a quick reminder of various types of attention.

  1. Momentary attention. Out of the blue, you hear a noise and turn to see where it came front. Since it ceased quickly, you paid no more attention.
  2. Selective attention. The speaker is rambling on and you lose interest, but when he comes to a joke or bit of interesting data you listen. This is selective attention. This is a popular form listening to sermons and lectures.
  3. Alternating attention. This is the ability and practice of switching back and forth from one project or subject to another, each requiring different cognitive skills. Sometimes neither task is done very well.
  4. Divided attention. We’ve all heard a teacher say, “Let me have your undivided attention.” This is the cognitive practice of alternating, somewhat successfully between two tasks. This is usually referred to as multi-tasking.
  5. Sustained attention. This is the ability to cognitively focus with a laser beam of attention on one item, subject, etc. without being distracted. It is having “ears that hear and eyes that see.”
  6. Prayerful attention. This is a self-control and spiritual approach to paying attention. It is a recognition that Satan is continually trying to steal the word out of our hearts (cf. Luke 8:12). It is continually asking God to help you pay attention (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  7. Avoidance attention. This is a deliberate cognitive choice not to pay attention to what is being said. It is flipping through the songbook or Bible during the message. It is focusing on a person or item in the auditorium.
  8. Deficient attention. When a person has a brain injury, dementia, etc. it is not possible to focus on what is being said, or comprehend what is being presented.

     These are the attention challenges a speaker or writer faces which demand staying abreast of the new advances and practices in communication. Remember your listeners and readers may not have the attention span of a goldfish. How about YOU? I’m looking forward to our next PowerPoint visit.


As a leader and teacher, you must challenge yourself to pay attention as well as teach others how to pay more productive attention. Here are some quick tips:

  1. Believe you can pay attention. This is more than half the battle.
  2. Know why you need to pay attention: to learn, remember, and use materials.
  3. Make a commitment to self, others, and the Lord to paying attention.
  4. Go to the event with an idea of what you will learn, or desire to learn.
  5. Prayer specifically before entering the learning event.
  6. Pray for the teacher before and during the learning event. (Mental prayer—self-talk).
  7. Wear comfortable clothing which is appropriate and in good taste.
  8. Make it a habit
  9. Get a good night’s sleep is will help prevent tiredness and drowsiness.
  10. Eat a balanced and healthy diet. Proper eating habits contribute to alertness.
  11. Get appropriate physical exercise, it contributes to your ability to stay focused.
  12. Remove all distractions: cell phone, computer, notes, iPad, music, etc.
  13. Stay in the present. Don’t daydream, drift into “trance”, mind wanderings, etc.
  14. Repeat what is being said in your mental self-talk.
  15. Choose a good seat or pew close enough to a speaker or teacher to see his eyes.
  16. Know your learning mode: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.      
  17. Take notes of major and relevant points, ideas, illustrations, etc.
  18. Ask questions. (1) What is being said? (2) What does it mean? (3) How does it apply? Etc.
  19. If there is a break take the time to quickly review what was presented.
  20. As soon as possible after the class add additional notes from what you remember.
  21. Prepare a quiz or test over material to check what you have learned.
  22. Form or join a study group where the subject is discussed, explored, and applied.
  23. Don’t continually look at the people around you. Focus on the teacher, etc.
  24. If possible choose short lectures—20 minutes would be ideal.
  25. If appropriate and encouraged, ask questions.
  26. Research deeper into the subject: “become an expert.”
  27. If at all possible, and as soon as possible, teach the material.
  28. Make a plan to intentionally practice points relevant to your daily life.
  29. Be excited about the class. Tell others about it, etc.
  30. Ask for a conference with the teacher if you have major questions, etc.

     Yes, you can learn by paying attention. Always remember that Satan doesn’t want you to pay attention. His mission is to steal the word out of your heart (cf. Luke 8:1112). As leaders, we must train ourselves and those who follow how to be more attentive.

     Watch for additional PowerPoints for Leaders.



Grandma: “Charlie, you’ve got your shoes on the wrong foot. Honey, you’ve made a mistake. Let me help you change them. Okay?”

     Charlie: “Granny, mistakes ain’t bad. I remember when grandpa got on you for failing to put gas in the car, you told him that the mistake was no big deal that anyone can make a mistake”.

     Take a moment and look at the persons seated around the leadership conference table. There are some obvious differences among the attendees: dress, height, education, agendas, fingerprints, DNA, etc. But there is ONE thing you all have in common. You have all made mistakes.

     The same illustration applies to the congregation.  In the midst of all the differences, there is that ONE thing we all have in common. We have all made mistakes. And guess what? We will all make mistakes again somewhere on our journey down life’s road.

     What is a mistake? I once heard a farmer say that a mistake was “miss-placing a stake” on the wrong boundaries of a piece of property which caused disputes and lawsuits. That makes sense. However, Mr. Webster defines mistake as: 1 to understand or perceive wrongly; to interpret or judge incorrectly; 2 to take (someone or something) to be another; recognize or identify incorrectly; 3 to take someone’s motives or actions wrongly; to err in judgment; 4 a fault in understand and judgment, etc.


Various Traits of Mistakes

Obviously, not all mistakes are the same or have the same consequences. Mistakes take place in the various categories of life and therefore have varied results or consequences. Here are some of those traits and consequences.


  1. A mistakes can have some immediate consequences.
  2. A mistake can have long range consequences.
  3. A mistake can hurt only the person making the mistake.
  4. A mistake can hurt others in numerous ways.
  5. A mistake can be a positive occurrence with benefits.
  6. A mistake can be an eye opener or a blinder.
  7. A mistake can be a learning experience or dumbing one.
  8. A mistake can occur in 101 contexts and ways.
  9. A mistake can be a friend or foe. It’s our choice.
  10. A mistake can be forgiven or held as a grudge, an enemy.
  11. Many times we are ignorant of a mistake we’ve made.
  12. Sometimes the consequences of a mistake don’t show up until much later. Years go by after the mistake, e.g. health issues.
  13. Mistakes may occur several ways:
    1. From a lack of knowledge.
    2. From a lack of understanding.
    3. From a lack of participation.
    4. From a deliberate deception or behavior.
    5. From a lack of experience or skill.
    6. From the lust of the flesh (James 1:11-17).
    7. From unforeseen circumstances.


What is the biggest mistake you’ve made? How did you correct it?


Mistakes Leaders Must Avoid

The following list of mistakes a leader must avoid should be approached with the understanding that not all of them are sinful or wrong, which some are, but are expediencies or not the best way to lead.

  1. Avoid the mistake of arbitrarily judging people (Matthew 7:1-5)
  2. Avoid the mistake of walking by sight (2 Corinthians 4:7).
  3. Avoid the mistake of thinking all follower are in the same state of spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:11-17). Each is in his or her own place of growth.
  4. Avoid making arguments from Scriptures take out of context (John 10:35;            ).
  5. Avoid binding traditions and expediencies as being equal with biblical authority (Mark 7:7, 9).
  6. Avoid trying to deny or conceal your mistakes. Be honest with God, self, and others. They will “find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
  7. Avoid not asking God to forgive your mistakes. Ask Him to forgive and give you wisdom not to do the same things again and give you wisdom (James 1:3-7).
  8. Avoid digging the hole around the mistake deeper and deeper. Fill it with positive beliefs and behaviors.
  9. Avoid equating a mistake with being a failure in life and giving up never trying again.
  10. Remember the Bible characters who made mistakes, Noah, Jonah, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, etc. You are in good company.

Lesson Learned from Mistakes

Since we have made mistakes, are now making mistakes, and will make mistake sin the future, why not learn major lessons while enrolled in Mistake University? Here are some of the lessons which may be learned as we matriculate in MU:

  1. Mistakes help us discover who we are.
  2. Mistakes help us discover our weaker spots.
  3. Mistakes teach us valuable lessons learned no other way.
  4. Mistakes help us to let go of the idea of being perfect.
  5. Mistakes prove that we are very human.
  6. Mistakes teach us how to live beyond and without regret.
  7. Mistakes help us to grow and evolve into better persons.
  8. Mistakes help us face the realities of real life.
  9. Mistakes help you know it’s okay, you are okay, and it will be okay.
  10. Mistakes remind us there are no successes without failures.
  11. Remember you are not the sum of your mistakes.
  12. Remember negative thinking creates negative results.
  13. Most mistakes aren’t as bad as we think they are.
  14. Mistakes usually eliminate what doesn’t work.
  15. Regardless of mistakes, life must and does go on.
  16. Making mistakes is better than faking perfection.
  17. Making mistakes help you develop empathy and sympathy.
  18. Making a mistake will help you be wider next time.
  19. Without mistakes, you are staked in the comfort zone.
  20. Mistakes help you remember, “Those of you without sin cast the first stone” (Jesus Christ).
  21. Remember as a leader in the church you will make all kinds of mistakes. Here are just a few:
    1. You will make mistakes in decisions.
    2. You will make mistakes in speaking, writing, and communication.
    3. You will make mistakes in judgment and timing.
    4. You will make mistakes in planning.
    5. You will make mistakes in teaching and preaching.
    6. You will make mistakes in your family.
    7. You will make mistakes in manners and socializing.
    8. You will make mistakes in delegating.
  22. Remember these keys:
  • Do all you can to prevent mistakes.
  • When you make them acknowledge them quickly.
  • Always document what you learned.
  • Avoid the same one in the future.
  • Never, never, no ever let a mistake stop you       

George, a minister in a local congregation, sat slumped in a chair with his chin on his chest and his eyes gazing at the floor. His breathing was shallow. It was his initial visit to the biblical counselor’s office. When asked why he had made the appointment, he replied, “I don’t think I can take it anymore.”

     “Take what anymore?” the counselor asked as he looked over his intake paperwork. “Please share with me.”

     “I’ve been in the ministry for 18 years, most of which have been happy years but in recent months all has changed. I am so discouraged and struggle with bouts of depression.  I don’t know what to do. I need help.”

     Discouragement strikes again. I can relate to George’s concern about discouragement. I have lost count of how many times I have thought about quitting full-time ministry; especially on Monday mornings while reflecting on Sundays.

     I am often asked, “Do you ever get discouraged?” One of my stock replies both in and out of the pulpit is, “Sometimes I get so discouraged that could walk under the carpet doing side-straddle hopes and never touch the carpet over my head.” However, the key is not to stay in a state of discouragement.

     When was the last time you were discouraged? Don’t tell me that as a leader or as a human being, you’ve never gotten discouraged? Discouragement is one dis-ease, sooner or later, every person will experience. Especially, leaders. Why? Because we are human and above all having to deal with people can be very discouraging.

     Those who lead in the 21st-century aren’t alone or a new species that’s never appeared in history.  Many of God’s outstanding servants, in both Testaments, experienced discouragement: Moses, Job, Elijah, Jeremiah, Peter, the Psalmist, etc.

     In the 42nd and 43rd Psalms we have a graphic picture of discouragement presented to the Chief Musician; a contemplation of the sons of Korah:

My tears have been my food day and night,

While they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are

You disquieted within me?...O my God, my soul

is cast down…Why have You forgotten me? Why do

I go mourning because of the oppression of My enemies?

… Why are you cast down, O my soul…Why do You

Cast me off? Why do I go mourning…Why are you

Cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted

Within me? (Psalm 42:3, 5, 9, 11; 43: 2, 5).

Why Do Our Souls Become “Cast Down”—Discouraged?

I think the number one reason is because we are human and have to deal with people over and over every day of our lives. People disappoint, hurt us, abuse us, criticize, and sin against us. That’s what humans do to one another. Discouragement is a choice. Sometimes it’s the so-called pillars in the church, leaders as well as followers who contribute to our choice of being discouraged.

     Here’s a quick list of reasons why we get discouraged:

  1. Life and people tend to treat one another in unfair ways.
  2. People tend to use freedom to step on the toes of others, as well as seek to limit the freedom of others.
  3. When we get tired and feel run down physically and emotionally, we slip into discouragement.
  4. When people lie to us, especially when they are close to us, it is discouraging.
  5. Any behavior or attempt to do something can create discouragement because of not doing it just right.
  6. The fear of rejection; not being invited or left out of the conversation can send discouragement through our emotional system.
  7. Sometimes even our best efforts aren’t enough, we fail and it creates a deep sense of discouragement and many times depression.

     What tends to create discouragement in you quicker than anything? Who tends to discourage you the most often? Why do you continue to choose to be discouraged?

 Keys to Overcoming Discouragement

  1. Recognize discouragement when it comes. You can deal with something you are not aware of. It starts with a thought.
  2. Always remember discouragement is a choice you make; likewise you can choose to reject it. No one can force you to be discouraged.
  3. Research WHY you are experiencing discouragement. Be specific in identifying the WHY. Why the thoughts?
  4. Rest your body. It’s amazing how relaxation will change your perspective of events and people.
  5. Restore your energy. This relates to a balanced diet, resting, diverting your attention, and exercise.
  6. Reorganize your life. Clutter and disorganization is a discourager. Organizing helps you find stuff and eliminates discouragement
  7. Resist the discouragement. This back to recognizing it when it seeks to enter your peace of mind zone. Just say STOP!
  8. Remember God’s word. Here are a few specific Scriptures:
    1. John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage. I have overcome the world.”
    2. Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
    3. Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
    4. 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will. He hears us.”
    5. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
    6. Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the LORD.”

     Leaders, above all people, need to avoid and fight against discouragement. Why? Because like any dis-ease it can infect others.

     What are you going to do to intentionally fight against discouragement?





In one of the first classes in Navy Bootcamp, the instructor said, “Men one of the most important things you need to know is who is the enemy. This will require diligent and continual study. In one of the first classes in the Police Academy, the instructor said, “Men you need to know who the bad guys are. They are out there and always changing.” In a graduate class on marriage and family counseling, a professor said, “Ladies and gentlemen you need to know the enemies of marriage, the family, and the home.”

       My list of being exposed to challenges to know enemies, foes, and opposition could go on. However, as the name of this lesson states, I want to identify the real enemy of personal, biblical, spiritual, and church leadership.


Through my years as a student of leadership, both as a leader and follower, as a writer and teacher, etc. I have numerous lists of enemies of leadership. Here are a few:

  1. Not qualified for the leadership assignment.
  2. A lack of defined roles and responsibilities.
  3. Content with status quo.
  4. A failure to focus on details.
  5. Poor communications.
  6. The power is invested in one person.
  7. Inability to make decisions.
  8. Failure to use appropriate conflict management.
  9. A lack of openness and honesty.
  10. Playing the blame game.
  11. Poor performance and evaluation.
  12. Egocentrism among participants.
  13. Playing the blame game.
  14. Continual cancellation of finish date.
  15. The playing of favorites.
  16. Clandestine agendas and procedures.
  17. A sense of not belonging.
  18. Control and delegation issues.
  19. Failure or neglect of proper training.
  20. An imbalance of compensation.
  21. Mistreatment of “lower-level” followers.
  22. A lack of clear job descriptions and how evaluated.
  23. Prejudice toward certain persons or groups.
  24. Anger and lack of temper control.
  25. Moral and ethical issues allowed to go unchecked.

This list could go on and on but I think these 25 will sustain the point that there are enemies, challenges, and distractions to successful leadership. Can you think of 2 more?






     Please keep in mind that these enemies are not confined to what we called the “secular world.” They exist within the Body of Christ and are challenging local congregations must deal with them. This requires special attention, training, and commitment by godly leaders in the church.


There is ONE SOURCE behind all these enemies of leadership. The one source is SATAN. This is why we must not get bogged down in dealing with the symptoms of his attacks, destruction, and creation of failures. We must go to the source of these symptoms. We must not put Band-Aids on the symptoms and neglect dealing with cancer-causing the disease.

     The enemy of God, creation, and man first appeared in the Garden of Eden. A history we all know if we’ve read the first 3 chapters of Genesis (Why not go and read them now).


     Since this is to be a PowerPoint lesson I must not dig deep into volumes of paragraphs to make my point. So I will list some of the major attributes, workings, and influences Satan is having on spiritual, personal, and congregational leadership today. Please study carefully the following Scriptures. They will help you recognize and resist and defeat the enemy of your leadership.


  1. We must never forget that Satan is our ADVERSARY. The apostle Peter affirmed this (1 Peter 5:8).
  2. He speaks (Genesis 3:1, 2; Luke 4:3).
  3. He knows (Revelation 12:12).
  4. He works (Ephesians 2:2).
  5. He believes and trembles (James 2:19).
  6. He is a disputer (Jude 9).
  7. He has desires (John 8:44).
  8. He makes requests (Luke 22:31).
  9. He is a schemer (2 Corinthians 2:11).
  10. He is conceited (1 Timothy 3:6).
  11. He wills (2 Timothy 2:26).
  12. He has wrath (Revelation 12:12).
  13. He deceives (Revelation 20:2).
  14. He is a thief (Luke 8:12-15).




What 3 major truths have you learned from the Powerpoint?






3 _______________________________________________


How will you intentionally use this lesson in your leadership?


Everybody is involved in change. If you don’t believe take a few minutes and look into the mirror. Compare photos of today with 5, 10, and 15 years ago. You see the evidence. Change is occurring in your physical being. Change is the one constant we have to deal with in every category of life; internal as well as external.

     Benjamin Franklin may not have been a psychologist by profession, but this statement by him is true: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

     Look around you and notice all the changes that you are involved in related to communication. Notice the transportation changes. Evidence of change is everywhere; some changes are positive and some changes are negative. Both are constantly occurring.

     Change, spiritually speaking, is essential to salvation. Jesus said, “repent or perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5) The Greek word translated repent means to “have another mind; to change over.” Thus, out of the changed mind comes the changed life. Behavior is tied to our thoughts (cf. Proverbs 23:7; Mark 7:21-25; Acts 26:10, 11).

     Few challenges confront leaders more persistently than change. Yet, how ironic that many church leaders change very little in their habits and practices during their lifetime; and especially in leadership practices.

     While it is true that a leader can’t change or control the world around him, he can change himself and choose new patterns of behaviors as well as attitudes.

     The business leader, Peter Drucker said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” We’ve all heard and used this definition of insanity: “The sign of insanity is doing the same old things over and over and expecting different results each time.”  The tendency of church leaders is to say, “We have always done it this way.”

     A major danger of refusing to change is the things we hold on to control us. In 50-plus years of full-time ministry, I have noted numerous signs in the lives of preachers, elders, deacons, and teachers that they have not changed in areas where expediency guides instead of a “thus says the Lord.” Here is a quick bullet list of some of these areas leaders refuse to let go:

  1. Traditions guide how things are done, both in structure, time, evaluating, and measures of success (cf. Mark 7:7, 9).
  2. Habits in approach to teaching, preaching, behavior, and how they deal with any issue that arises.
  3. Sadly, some leaders live behind a wall of fear, worrying about what others will think or what if we fail attitudes.
  4. Stuck in the same old routines which are expressed in prayers, speech patterns, response to questions, etc.
  5. As a closed mindset relative to any new observations about a Scripture or new insight related to a context. An unwillingness to restudy any subject.
  6. A tendency to maintain personal relationships with a group or click in the congregation while neglecting others.
  7. A failure to improve the educational level. Rarely reads any new books; ignorant of the latest challenge in society; blind to impact on the congregation.
  8. Sadly, some leaders are lazy. They have excuses for not doing their job. They have found the level of “get-by-ism” and find shelter in it. The brethren tend to accept the status quo.
  9. There is a tendency of some leaders to let stubbornness keep them from asking for help or admitting they don’t know how to do a certain task. Pride is an enemy of change.
  10. It is amazing how resentment and jealousy hold some leaders back from changing. They will not admit that someone has influenced them or changed their mind. This is another expression of pride.

     I must be quick to admit that reluctance and resistance to change are not the exclusive territories of leaders. It is also part of the mindset of most members. Just let leadership suggest a change in a long-held practice and you’ll see conflict arise to an amazing level; even to the splitting of the church.

     The leaders of today must admit that the church is facing challenges and problems she has never faced before, at least not on this magnitude. Congregations are declining in number, programs are being cut, and some congregations are a closing song away from closing the doors forever. It is time for leaders to wake up and make the changes in methodologies, not Scriptures, that will glorify God and expand the borders of the Kingdom (cf. Ephesians 3:21).




When King Solomon told his son “of the making of many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12), his words are still true today. Back on October 26, 2015, the 299th day of that year, it was reported that as of that day, 1,246 paperback books on leadership had been published. That’s an average of 4 books per day.

     Amazing! I must confess several of those books were penned by me. I wonder how many articles were written on leadership during those 299 days. How many seminars and workshops were conducted?

     What is the major and minor purpose or objective of leadership? The answer is one word: RESULTS. How we get there is the stuff all those leaders books are all about.

     At the end of the game it doesn’t matter how well you played, how loud the fans yelled, or how colorful your uniforms were, etc. What matters is the RESULTS. Did you win or lose? Which?

     Church and spiritual leadership differs greatly from secular leadership at the core level—the unchangeable factors. These are the impeccable truths from God’s word which determine spiritual results and do not change.

     God’s core truths, which are used in this lesson to focus on the essential, enduring, and effective leadership truths. They are cause and effect. Most leadership principles are tied to the process, i.e. plans, goals, and process. God’s core leadership truths do not change with the culture, times, nor wishes of followers. The core of unchanging leadership principles is TRUTH—God’s truth (Proverbs 23:23).

      It is in the context of people where the venues of God’s truth develop a strong foundation that lasts regardless of what may or may not happen on the action road to results. It is in DOING, not around nor about the word, but in the purity of the WORD that sustains success in leadership.


Why so Many Leadership Books?

What does this proliferation of leadership books say to those of us who are leaders and interested in leadership? I think there are several observations that can be made:


  1. There is an unlimited freedom to write and publish books on leadership. It is our First Amendment right.
  2. Everyone has an opinion about leadership as is free to express it.
  3. There never seems to be a decline in interest related to leadership. It is a popular subject.
  4. The numerous institutions, with different objectives, need differing leadership principles and practices.
  5. The understanding of the nature of leadership continually shifts as academics and pep-rally gurus shape our mindsets relative to leadership.
  6. The endless number of leadership books and seminars point out the fact that most leadership philosophies and principles don’t last for very long. The sands keep shifting.
  7. Some are waiting for the next book by their favorite author (e.g. John Maxwell). What he has already written needs improving, approached differently, and emphasis needs shifting.
  8. The demands tied to the science and art of leadership are not static. They are always changing.
  9. The leadership team, trainees, and veteran leaders continue to change. Leaders come and leaders go. What may have worked as a method months or years ago, has changed. Each new leader brings a new set of dynamics.
  10. Reading, studying, and emphasizing leadership doesn’t produce a leader. An office or title doesn’t make a person a leader.
  11. The world is changing at an almost out of control rate. The media has brought the world together. It is having an impact on character, morals, ethics, and practices in every person’s life; especially leaders—church leaders, too.
  12. The lack of individual commitment to see self as a leader has contributed to the perceived need of an “expert” to train me. An attitude of “I can’t make it on my own” has emerged.

     I am sure there are additional reasons we could note for the continual growth and interest in leadership books, seminars, and articles. These 12 are only introductory eye-openers.


World’s Best Leadership Advice

Have a lost my mind? Do I dare advocate there is the “World’s best leadership advice” in the midst of 4 new books being published every day on leadership? Why do I dare and make this claim? One reason. These leadership principles are based on commonsense and the truth of God’s word. These principles aren’t based on culture, academics, and human wisdom.

     Here are those truths deducted from a Study and application of Scripture, Scripture inspired by God for the intended purpose of directing mankind (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3).


  1. The first question is: Where does all leadership begin? It starts with a person. It doesn’t start with an abstract concept nor observations in the animal kingdom. All leadership starts with the man in the mirror. Remove him and you don’t have leadership. This principle is taken from Ezekiel…..”I sought for A MAN” (Ezekiel 22:30). Leadership doesn’t start with a committee or group; it starts with a man. YOU!
  2. Leadership is based on knowing, understanding, believing, and activating a clear mission. Our mission as church leaders has been clear for almost 2000 years. It was given to us by our Leader—Jesus Christ. We have chosen to call it the “Great Commission.” It is recorded in the Gospels (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15, 16; Luke 24).
  3. Effective spiritual leadership is based on a 101 percent commitment to our mission. 99% won’t do. Our mission starts with a commitment to our King. Here is the core of our allegiance: “If any man will come after Me, let him DENY himself, take up his CROSS, and FOLLOW Me” (Matthew 16:24).
  4. Effective and approved leadership originate and flows from the heart. It starts with our thinking (Proverbs 23:7), then is demonstrated in our behavior (Mark 7:21-25), and is based on the Greatest Commandment—Love (Mark 12). There are over 800 Scriptures that reference the heart; obviously it is a key to successful and God approved leadership.
  5. Effective and approved leadership is guided by LOVE. Love is the basis of our obeying our Master (John 14:15). Love is the basis of keeping His commandments. Love is the practice that will “cause all men to know that you are My disciples (John 13:31-33). Love is the greatest. Some of its major attributes are described in 1 Corinthians 13.
  6. Effective, commanded and approved spiritual leadership is based on being a servant; not being served. There have been and are presently, many great examples of serving. None however, are greater than the one where God dropped to His knees and washed the disciples’ feet (cf. John 13:5-20).
  7. The effective spiritual leader stands firmly on God’s word. All ideas, programs, and efforts are launched, sustained, and perpetuated by Biblicist’s obeying God’s word (i.e. believing and practicing God’s word). The first question   which must be asked before any movement is made in pursuing a leadership objective is: What does God’s word say? The danger is one of “launching” from a verse and what it originally meant, to now making it into something else in order to prop up an idea, program, or personal agenda.
  8. An unchangeable principle of leadership is accountability. From Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-3) through Revelation 22:21, God alone is the author, sustainer, and judger of whether or not His will has been done. His will must not be confused with man-made programs, rules, and standards of accountability. Jesus said His word would judge us on the last day (cf. John 12:48), and Paul said we will be judged by his Gospel.
  9. There is no doubt, nor should there be, that an unchangeable and effective leadership truth is leading by FAITH. A leader may have charisma, knowledge of biblical languages, speak with “tongues and men and angels”, cajole and persuade others to accept his agenda, BUT “without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Because “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 4). Sadly, most leaders determine what they will do or not do by the balance on the checkbook, approval by members, and personal applauds by followers.
  10. Few things should be more obvious to both leaders and follower than the dynamic and essential place of communication in leadership efforts. The rule of communication is: “You cannot, not communicate.” The challenge is—what are you communicating? Leadership communication is tied to influence. Influence relates to two major qualities: what a leader DOES and what He SAYS. With what he DOES being the most powerful of the two.
  11. Another major principle of leadership that must always be in place is the training and education of leaders. Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus didn’t spend His time behind the closed doors of a theological institute, making a rare public appearance, and giving selected lectures to paid attendees? Why did He spend His years of public ministry selecting and training leaders? Paul was the master trainer of preachers, leaders, and servants. Timothy would be a prime example.
  12. The last principle I will mention is actually the first. All leadership begins, continues, and culminates with the “attitude of Christ.” The previous eleven principles will not become realities until your attitude is that of Christ. Paul commands us to have the attitude of Christ (cf. Philippians 2:4-7). Every day leaders are given a set of circumstances with which they must deal. How they deal with them depends on their attitude. It is a choice tied to our thinking (Proverbs 23:7; Jeremiah 6:19; Colossians 3:2).

Developing and Doing These Principles

By now I’m sure you’ve gotten my point and that is these points will be no more than talking points, powerless to achieve the results God desires. I have no I idea how you have received these principles nor how you plan, if you do at all, to use them. Regardless, for those who choose to become intentional about using these impeccable principles, I offer the following suggestions.


  1. Create a clear awareness and understanding relative to what the principle means to your life and personal leadership. Answer: why is this principle so powerful? How can I best develop and use it in my life and leadership? What is my first intentional step in DOING this principle?
  2. Make a commitment to yourself and to your team that you will develop and use these principles. The congregation needs to be made aware of your intentions, as well as those on the leadership team. This adds motivation to the commitment.
  3. Never, ever forget that it is PRACTICE that makes perfect and enhances the skills needed to make the best and most productive use of the principle
  4. Be sure you have first built a foundation with these principles before you start activating the second phase of leadership: planning, setting goals, budgeting, timelines, etc. These secondary practices will shift like the sand as you move forward. The foundation principles will not move. They are the solid foundation which all else is built on.
  5. Never forget it is up to YOU to keep YOU motivated. Others may contribute through external stimuli but only you can flip the motivation switch which is inside your heart. Remember, “If it is to be, it is up to ME.”
  6. How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time. That’s how you reach and continue developing these principles. Don’t try to do them all in one giant leap. Map out the steps you will take to make each one a reality, then take baby steps. Remember, “Inch by inch its cinch, yard by yard it’s too hard.”
  7. Dare to do more than is required or expected. Be a “second miler.” Remember, this is what God is expecting with regard to loving Him (Mark 12:    ). Start strong and finish stronger. Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding toward reaching your goal.
  8. Never forget, your goal is to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21).



© Dr. JJ Turner and ©Jeremiah Institute - All Rights Reserved (usage)

Go to top