Get the ___ Out of Leadership

How does the way others think about you—or what they’ve said about you—affect your ministry? How does the way you think about yourself, perhaps based on those tapes that keep playing in your head of what others have said to or about you, affect your ministry?

If we are honest, my guess is that most if not all of our ministries have been affected greatly by what others or by what we think of us. I wonder if we even realize how much those voices have hindered our ministries. I know. I’ve heard and still hear those voices in my head. “You can’t …” “You’ll never …” “You aren’t …” “You don’t have enough …” “You’re not … enough.”

Jesus and the apostle Paul were particularly aware of and empathetic toward this issue, and both wanted to be sure followers of Christ didn’t fall for this trick of Satan. This morning I was reading 1 Timothy 4, and came across a significant encouragement from the apostle to his prodigy, Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (v. 12).

What were people telling Timothy? “You’re too young. You can’t …” Paul was telling Timothy not to listen to them or pay too much heed to what they thought about him. (The New Living Translation translates it as, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.”)

Timothy was young. That was probably just one of the supposed “obstacles” he had to fruitful ministry. What is it for you? How would you fill in the blank?

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are _____.

What’s in the blank for you? What have others told you or what are you telling yourself?

It’s a trick! It’s a deception from the Deceiver himself. It’s a downright lie.

Don’t let anyone think less of you or look down on you for any reason.

“For our hope in in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers” (v. 10).

“[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Cor. 12:9). 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

“What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

Everything. You can do whatever ministry God has given you to do—in your home, in your small group, at your church, in your neighborhood or workplace—not by your strength, but through Christ, who gives you strength.

Take what you put in your blank and give it to God. Surrender it. With God there is no such thing as “can’t.”

Then fill in a new blank:

For I can do _____ through Christ, who gives me strength.

QUESTION: I’d love to hear what you wrote in that last blank. What can you do through the power of Christ? Please respond by clicking the comments button, below.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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