Your web browser is out of date

Note: parts of this website may not work properly for you. Update your browser for better speed, security, and experience.

Your user account is not associated with an active church account.

Please contact us.

Episode 41 - 22 Apr 2019

CLP Unscripted: 3 Thoughts on Leadership

Greg Crooks, executive pastor, joins John and Adam in a new, special podcast. The trio doesn’t have any planned agenda for today. Instead, they each bring a leadership principle to discuss. Show notes -->

Listen Now

Episode Summary


Greg Crooks, executive pastor, joins John and Adam in a new, special podcast. The trio doesn't have any planned agenda for today. Instead, they each bring a leadership principle they have recently been mulling over. We hope you feel challenged to grow as a leader.

  • Leadership Is Stewardship of People’s Lives. (1:55)
  • Nobody Wants To Be Led. (11:40)
  • Best Leaders are Humble Leaders (24:00)
  • Books On Your Night Stand (37:50)
  • Does Every Outstanding Organization Need a Tyrant? (41:05)

Greg Crooks is known as the man who gets things “unstuck.” He’s in charge of operations and day-to-day ministries across Watermark’s campuses.

Leadership Is Stewardship Of People’s Lives. (1:55)

Greg’s leadership principle is to remember that leaders are entrusted with the lives of human beings. Everyone a leader is responsible for is a son or daughter of God. They are someone's spouse. They are a parent or a friend. Leaders may come and go, but the best leaders are those who impact people’s lives for the better. A leader’s success is determined not just by getting things done, but by impacting people for the better.

Leaders can have a lot of success publicly, but when they leave, pay attention to what is being said in private conversation. Even if a leader implemented new programs or gave incredible speeches, a truly great leader will have strong relationships with the people they are leading. They may be known for their accomplishments in public, but are an even better leader behind the scenes.

For example, John notes a time when he and Greg experienced a minor work conflict. The next morning, before work started, Greg called John to ask if they were okay. He didn't call to ask about deliverables or something work-related. He wanted to clear any conflict before the day began.

Leadership is temporary. At some point, all those in leadership will no longer be there. It’s important for leaders to steward their responsibility today. Great leaders encourage their people, but they are also willing to have hard conversations. They need to correct people so they can get to the right place.

Remembering that the people you lead are God’s sons or daughters changes your perspective when speaking with someone who is hard-hearted or struggling.

2. No One Really Wants to be Led. (11:40)

The new American dream is one of autonomy. People want to be their own boss and do whatever they want. Although they still desire clarity and a vision, they don’t want to be told what to do. It is important to walk into meetings not thinking you are the savior with all of the answers. People want to be loved, encouraged, and cared for, just like Jesus modeled in Mark 10.

If we led out in the ways that Jesus did, most people would want to be led. Unfortunately, leadership can sometimes come from a place of selfishness and wanting things to be done your way. This principle is a helpful reminder to serve out of a love for people instead of a desire to accomplish tasks. It doesn’t mean that the leader’s agenda rules the day. It’s means active serving your team better.

This principle also helps leaders avoid being “the genius with 1,000 helpers,” mentality Jim Collins mentions in his book Good to Great. This tyrannical approach to leadership doesn’t allow us to fulfill 1 Corinthians 12, because it forgets that the church is one body with many parts.

3. Best Leaders are Humble Leaders (23:51)

In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, he talks about five different levels of leaders. The first level is a highly capable individual; second level is a contributing team member; third level is a competent manager; fourth level is an effective leader; and the fifth level is a humble leader. Jim Collins realized something in common with leaders who truly took their their companies to the highest level of success. They all used the pronouns “us,” “we”, and “ours” in their speeches, took responsibility when their company failed, and extended praise freely to their employees .

When thinking about church leaders who have recently fallen, a pattern of pride can often be traced. It’s the leaders who fight pride and are focused more on the mission than themselves who get to the fifth level. 1 Peter 5 says that God opposes the proud and gives grace and favor to the humble.

Humility, however, does not go hand-in-hand with self-deprecation. You can still have vision and belief that you truly have something to offer. However, you don’t make the mission fundamentally about yourself. A level 5 leader also develops other leaders and sets them up to lead on their own.

4. Books On Your Night Stand (37:50)

Adam is currently reading AJ Jacobs’ book, Thanks A Thousand, where the author thanks every single person involved in making his morning cup of coffee.

Greg is reading Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman, which chronicles a manufacturing company that changed its definition of success from making money to impacting people’s lives.

John has two books on his night stand: Atomic Habits by James Clear and A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. A Gospel Primer is a book he has re-read for years. It discusses that the implications of the gospel is not just sanctification. It reminds that you can lead courageously because your future has already been secured.

5. Does Every Outstanding Organization Need a Tyrant? (41:50)

Greg had just one last question before the end of the podcast. Do really great, enduring world-class organizations need a tyrant-type personality to survive?

John bristled at the word “tyrant,” but he does believe that great organizations must have a person with serious drive to clarify the mission and call everyone to what they need to be about. However, organizations must also have the servant-hearted leaders who will make ideas a reality. It’s important that an organization have both.

Hosted By
John McGee

Sr. Director of Watermark Resources

Adam Tarnow

Cohost of Church Leadership Podcast