Tag Archives: Leadership

Jethro Leadership Lessons

Not the Hillbilly from Beverly Hills. Though he did have that down home charm. Not the special agent from NCIS – though I loved the discipline of Tony with the slap on the back of the head. I am one who (might have, I will deny it to government officials) used this policy raising my son through adolescence. Even to this day, he ducks if my arm twitches behind him (supposedly).

This Jethro is the one with seven daughters – a daunting task in itself. This Jethro is the one who raised livestock. This is the one that kept his two grandsons and their mother while their dad ran off to free a nation by taking on the strongest leader in the world. Quite a family man. This is the one that took the leader of a million plus refugees and told the leader he was doing everything wrong. He was not afraid of the hard calls and hard conversations. This is the one whose wisdom can be seen impacting judicial systems for millennia, even the America system.

Jethro – aka Reuel (which means friend of God) – a Midianite, who were descendants of Abraham through another wife after Sarah passed away. Jethro – a priest who worshipped Yahweh. Jethro gave his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses.

After Moses and the Israelites left Egypt, Jethro caught up with Moses. He escorted Moses’ wife and kids back to him. And then he shared a meal and listened to how the LORD worked through Moses and did great acts in delivering them from Pharaoh. Interestingly, the word most translations use is Jethro ‘rejoiced’ … but the word could also mean ‘shiver, feared.’

Later, he saw Moses tied down judging and helping people lined up to see him. Jethro motivates him to get leaders over 10, 50, 1000 etc. Let the judging be done through progressive system, Get a bureaucracy set up. All while doing what the Lord tells him to do.

Jethro was a wise man. From him we can learn some great leadership skills.

  • Be willing to listen to outsiders and glean wisdom
  • Be willing to have the hard conversation
  • Be willing share/delegate the responsibility
  • Be willing to hold people accountable and be held accountable
  • Be willing to stay involved

There are other lessons, but these are five basic principles in which we all can see powerful wisdom.

Thank you Jethro.

All for One … Part 5 of 6

I hated group projects in college. Being the grade conscious control freak I sometimes was, I often ended up doing extra work outside of my assigned area to cover for that one guy who just sluffed it off. It was like they just didn’t care about the grades. And just like that, my inner Hermione Granger comes to the surface.

I think the group projects were learning experiences about group dynamics and less about the topic. I should’ve learned leadership skills better and maybe not have been so grade freakish. Because, I have discovered these type of people can be found in the workplace, in church ministries, in society, well, in all areas of our life – there will be people who just don’t desire to help share the load.

So far in Nehemiah 3, we have looked at 4 types of people found in this important endeavor of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem …

  • Leadership is setting the example
  • Some people worked in areas outside their area of skills
  • Some people are willing to work in unappealing areas (the dirty jobs)
  • Some people are willing to work harder than others

But we also see another type of people in this group projects …

Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.

Neh 3.5

This is not a rant about freeloaders or those who feel entitled, I’ll let others go down that rabbit hole. This is simply a reminder that there will almost always be people who don’t support our endeavors, who don’t buy into the vision, who share no interest in helping, or who might even fight what we are trying to do.

Group #5 … there will almost always be some people who don’t support our endeavors


We are not told why the nobles didn’t get on board. Was it about power (we don’t want others to gain independence), influence (who does he think he is coming here, starting new projects, taking away from our past work), economic issues, indifference (I just don’t care about others), or what? Did Nehemiah blow it when he shared his vision? Could he have used better leadership skills to get the nobles on board?

Since the text doesn’t tell us why, let me share a key component on how we can attract others to our vision. John Maxwell shares some various strategies, but only one is the proper place to start.

Some start with communicating the vision. They give details, lay it out, almost class room style. This sharing the information is vital, and some want all the details up front. But still, this isn’t the most effective starting place. Some attempt to convince through emotional appeal. They use motivational techniques to rally the troops. The problem here is the emotional level often needs to be progressively growing to keep their interest. It just isn’t sustainable.

The key strategy … connect with them personally. Maxwell quotes Abe Lincoln saying, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” People stick with the vision when they buy into the leader.

So, back to the college study groups and group projects … maybe if I spent more time connecting personally, I wouldn’t have to have spent so much time covering for others. It’s not too late, I can do this today too!

All for One, One for All

He Smells Like Sheep – and I am So Glad

It’s no secret I love books, both reading and collecting – all types. And I hate to say it, but I very often do judge a book by its cover. And when I saw this particular book, I gladly laid down my money. It was Lynn Anderson’s They Smell Like Sheep.

Here was a book on leadership, a book to let me know how to handle a flock of church goers, a book that would give me the ins and out of a congregation that was smelly, messy, and in desperate need of my guidance. And as a young pastor, this is exactly what I wanted.

But it is not what I got.

I got the ole switcharoo…

What I got was a book that told me how to behave, told me what I should be – a humble, servant-leader, and a caring type of pastor. I got a book with insight on changing me – not changing the sheep.

This is not the reason I bought the book – no sirree.

And when I learned what the title really meant, I wasn’t thrilled, not at all. For the “one who smelled like sheep,” to whom the title was referring, was not the sheep – but was the shepherd. A good shepherd smells like sheep.

He spends time with them. He hangs out and makes them his family. He pretty much lives with them. And the smell of the sheep comes to reside on him, his clothes, his very essence. The presence of the shepherd AMONG the sheep is the key to the leadership principles Anderson was getting across.

His very presence and provision and protection are promises to live by!


Let me move this discussion to the role of the big Shepherd, our God, and we will see a powerful truth.

When I look at the first verse of Psalm 23, I see this very clearly. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. And he is not some shepherd way out there, ignoring the sheep, running everything from afar. Nope. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. He has promised He will be with us, always.

And there was a period of time He came physically amongst the sheep as well. He spent time, he ate, he walked, and without losing any of his deity, he also was fully human. I don’t grasp how he did this, I just know he did. He came down to be with His sheep – and now you could say he smells like sheep!

And He still is in our midst. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

His very presence and provision and protection are promises to live by. Yes, He is on the throne, but He is also here among us. He is that Awesome. And because of that I can live in peace, I know he will take care of me, and I know I shall not want!

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

I’m glad my LORD, my shepherd , is in our midst. I thank him for loving us enough to live among his created humanity, and I am glad he knows me-understands me-faced life like I do-and still loves me. And he loves you too.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Thank you Lynn Anderson for showing me some powerful points on leadership. I sure misjudged your book on its cover, and I’m better for it. It hit me hard and I am glad.

This lesson hit me hard!

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Do you know this? I hope so.

This week will be a brief look at the 23d Psalm. Check out each day‘s delightful insight.

Dreams of Vampires (repost due to technical issue)

It was macabre, eerie, and downright weird. I’m not reading any Anne Rice or Rowling’s. I haven’t watched any Twilight in a very long time. I did watch Kate Beckinsale in The Widow, but no vampires there … just life sucking human traffickers. I don’t lean the goth lifestyle.

So why have vampires haunted my night time subconscious thoughts?

A little back story. There are a group of humans in a world run by vamps. I am among the group of humans. The lead vampire, a woman, is rather polite. She realizes the symbiotic relationship that is needed, so she and her colony, cloud, flock (whatever she calls her group of vamps?) protects the humans and the humans provide food, infrastructure, and more.

A lone transient person is discovered. He had been beaten and left for dead. The humans nurse him back to life, only to later discover he is a vampire … an evil, monstrous vampire that believes all humans should be drunk dry. He challenges the female alpha and takes over.

I don’t know the outcome, I just wake up bewildered.

What did I eat that makes me think of such a story … on multiple nights at that?

The only thing I can think of is my leadership role at church. (I am ready not a few leadership books at the present). Now, don’t take this too far, I am just speculating. Don’t try to theologies or pick apart … it was just a dream.

The female alpha respects those under her care, she understand all have an important role. In comes a wolf in sheep clothes. Taken under the care of the flock but then turns on the flock. He demands his way, challenges the leadership, and takes over – leading to the destruction and eventual death.

Ouch! Am I the kind leader that allows a wolf to sneak in? Am I the controlling myopic monster that brings destruction and ruin?

I don’t know, but it makes me pay extra attention to the role God has given me. It makes me want to be a better leader, protecting those under my role of responsibilities, and preparing my family (church and personal) for all scenarios.

What role of leadership do you have? How serious are you taking it?

Maybe it will take a dream to shake you a little bit. It did me.