A leader must be emotionally secure.
I’m not a big “sports guy” but I’ve been watching Alabama football all season with my wife Heather (@HeatherTeis) all season. Roll Tide! Though I know all of the rules to football, learned through hundreds of hours of playing Techmo Super Bowl with Matt as a child, I’ve just never been that big of a fan. (I know, I’m a nerd) However, I’ve learned a few things this season.
One thing I’ve learned is the importance of the Offensive Line. The most famous players tend to be quarterbacks, wide-receivers, and the occasional running-back. Hardly do you hear the praises of an offensive lineman. Yet, it’s pretty obvious that the quarterback would be unable to do his job if he didn’t have the offensive line blocking every attack.
Here’s my question, who is your offensive line?
Who do you have in your life that will block you from the promised attacks (Eph. 2:1-3)? A wise leader will surround himself with a network of individuals that will love, support, challenge, defend and sharpen him. A wise leader will cultivate these relationships knowing that they are utterly unable to do their job without these people in their life.
These are people you look up to and admire. They do what you do and one day you’d like to be like them. They give you a target to shoot for, a goal to live up to. For the Christian leader our first, and most important model, is Christ (Heb. 12:2-3). He is our example of love, humility, patience, kindness, grace, and truth. For those who follow Christ there is still room for other models in your life. They may be current leaders or historical figures. Men or women who stand out from the crowd and accomplished something great. These models remind us from afar that those who accomplish great things are often greatly attacked and endured tremendous difficulties. Who are you modeling your life after?
These are models to which you happen to have access. They coach you and invest in you. I watched as my father was mentored by a man named Sumner Wemp, an old baptist preacher from a bygone era. He taught my father how to evangelize. He taught my father how to love his wife. He taught my father how to disagree and remain friends. He challenged my father, encouraged my father, and at times, rebuked my father. At times of emotional upheaval my father could talk with Sumner and be restored to the necessary calm. Sumner is dead. He is in heaven with our Lord. Now my father has become the mentor and guides, encourages, and challenges me. I genuinely feel bad for men who have either rejected their mentor or never have been given this incredible gift. My mentor and I don’t always agree. I guess its common for Padawans and Jedi Masters to see things differently. (I told you I was a nerd) But we have an unspoken agreement: he never discourages me and I never disrespect him. (Prov. 11:14)
The life journey of a leader can be lonely… don’t travel alone. These are people who are closest to you and are partnering with you in life. My deacons come to mind. God has given me four godly men each of whom have a godly wife. I have heard the horror stories of deacons who believed it was their responsibility to discourage the pastor. God help the pastor who has to deal with such villains. I thank God for these men who pray for me, love me, support me, challenge my thinking and ultimately follow my lead. God has also provided a group of young pastors who I have drawn very close to. These men keep me accountable and remind me of the great thing we have been called to do. They are my partners and they lift me up when I am down and speak into my life kindness when I am emotionally drained. I love my partners, my friends and would not be emotionally secure without their love. (Prov. 27:17)
IV. Inner Circle
These are the ones who know the truth about you, but they still love you. They are partners, yes… but more than partners. They are the ones who should leave you when they see your human frailties but choose to love and support anyway. In this group you will find family and friends. God has given me a pretty cool family. My brother Matt, and my three sisters are still some of my closest friends. We all know this… no matter what happens in life… we five still have each other.
Heather is my closest friend in my inner circle, followed by Fred Murray (@fredmurrayjr) , Jason Coombes (@pastorcoombes), and Steven Miller (@pastorsteve82). These four people remind me who I am in Christ and what my mission in life is all about. I am their leader, yes. But they are also my Inner circle. They have seen me in my most vulnerable moments. I have seen them. I need them and have become dependent upon them. It’s interesting to note that even Jesus had an inner circle in the form of Peter, James and John. I believe the reason some men are emotionally unstable is because they have never opened themselves up to an inner circle. (Ecc. 4:9-10)
Emotional security is a must for every leader. If you find one of the above categories lacking then be diligent in building it up. Don’t convince yourself that you are strong enough without these people in your life. Without this network of individuals you’d be as worthless as AJ McCarron without his offensive line.
Who are your Models? Do you see the importance of Mentors in your life? How does your inner circle build your emotional security? Do you see the correlation of emotional insecurity and lack of successful leadership?
JameeNovember 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm
I think we have an awesome team of leading ladies for the ladies bible study right now. I know that I can go to anyone of the 5 ladies and get biblical advice and sincere prayer. My husband is a great example for myself and our children to follow. He loves God and people and has a strong desire to serve them. I have an amazing group of friends that will drop everything to be there when we need anything. I am so thankful.
Joshua TeisNovember 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm
Jamee, I can see that you have surrounded yourself with individuals that are able to keep you were you need to be spiritually and emotionally. Without this offensive line we are done for.
kennyNovember 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm
I was never that lucky to grow up with mentors, well maybe my grandma she was very wise lady…but she past away when I needed her later in life…from there on I was on my own. Received advice from many other people in life but in my heart it didn’t feel right which I figured later it was terrible advice…which is ok they meant well…I have a hand few of men at SHBC who I look up to of all ages. I feel recently I found a few more…we all make mistakes and bad decisions, but I make allot less with these Godly men…which all comes from scripture and there personal life experiences…They helped build me a to be a better leader at home and at church…. Thanks for the posting.
Joshua TeisNovember 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Kenny, These men that God has sent your way have truly impacted your life. We can’t do it alone, can we? This is why so many men are insecure and unable to lead others. Developing a network of individuals who will love and support you is keep to emotional security. Keep building these important relationships! #brotherhood
James PfeifferNovember 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm
There’s a lot of wisdom in this article –
I never really opened up to people growing up. I had friends (they were more like drinking buddies to be honest) but no really close friends like you describe here that KNEW me and my flaws…I worked VERY hard to hide those flaws, especially from those closest to me! I got to the point where I actually took pride in being able to go it alone, “I don’t need anyone else, I’ve got this!” People depended on me, not the other way around! That thinking worked for a little while professionally but I eventually fell flat on my face with my personal life…
A better understanding and acceptance of who I am in Christ changed that whole outlook…I’m literally a completely different person than I was even 2 years ago! If Jesus finds me worthwhile, why shouldn’t anyone else?! That mind set has changed my relationships for the better with my family and my friends. I have people that build me up now…it’s really cool
I do blame a good portion of that growth as a christian on exposure to Southern Hills though 🙂
Joshua TeisNovember 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm
thanks for sharing. It’s true that to have this kind of emotional support we must be real with those in our network of friends and family. This is truly a difficult thing to do. We always feel as if we have to “put on” for those around us. I will be speaking to this issue in monday’s post that will relate much to this sunday’s message: Villain #7 – the pharisee. Looking forward to seeing you there
Tracy BradfordNovember 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm
Good analogy – and it also points to something you do very well, Pastor Josh.
Ever notice all the pointing and chatter that goes on just before the final snap count?
The linemen are communicating blocking assignments with each other (and importantly with the backfield) regarding the present configuration of the defense vis a vis the play called in the huddle.
In the backfield, the quarterback processes this information, and must rapidly decide whether to audible or to proceed as planned.
That interaction – listening to those led, and making decisions on how best to then lead (serve) – – keeps the leader in front and on his feet.
That is something the pastors at Southern Hills Baptist Church do quite well. Thank y’all for that.
Joshua TeisNovember 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm
Ahhh. communication is the key. I completely agree
AnonymousNovember 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm
Thanks Pastor Teis!
Joshua TeisNovember 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm
You’re welcome my mysterious friend. 🙂
Pastor Steve HarnessNovember 16, 2013 at 5:17 am
Thankyou Pastor Teis. This is a great article… Emotional stability is an essential to effective ministry.
Joshua TeisNovember 16, 2013 at 7:59 am
Thanks Steve, call me Josh. I appreciate your feedback.
MaryNovember 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm
There is no substituted for Godly friends who support and counsel truth and encouragement. But there is nothing like the word of Got to counsel, teach, comfort and encourage. It is such a Blessing to realize that whatever the circumstance or emotional need, He loves us , gave his son for us and will never leave us.
Joshua TeisNovember 17, 2013 at 7:05 am
Mary, What a tremendous statement! The Word of God is the light unto my path! Thank you for adding this perfect thought.