When Pastors Lead from their Lizard Brain

Pastoral LeadershipAlthough I’m not a physician, as a pastor I’ve learned a lot about the brain through my youngest daughter’s five brain surgeries. Imagine a tootsie roll pop with two centers. Pretend the inner center is a sweet tart surrounded by the gooey tootsie roll that in turn is surrounded by the hard outer candy. Our brains include three parts, like our imaginary tootsie roll pop.

The inner core, called the reptilian brain regulates such functions as circulation and respiration. It’s on automatic pilot. Let’s say you’re sensitive to criticism about your preaching and in a conversation one of your leaders makes this comment. “I sure wish you’d go deeper with your Bible teaching. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are thinking about leaving because they aren’t getting fed.” I don’t think I’ve ever met a pastor or any leader who hasn’t heard a comment like that. If you’ve allowed chronic anxiety to build up inside, you might immediately react without thinking by sarcastically blurting, “I’m doing my best and if they want to leave, I’d be happy for them and me.” Such a comment threatens you and you adapt to this threat from the automatic process of the reptilian part of your brain.

9 Benefits of being Clear as a Leader

Pastoral LeadershipI’m currently in a coaching relationship with seven other pastors through Will Mancini’s organization, Auxano. It’s a great experience and I highly recommend it to pastors who want to get clear on their vision and want to lead their churches well.

In Will’s seminal book on how to capture and lead through vision, Church Unique, he lists 9 benefits of being clear as you lead your church.

Here’s why he says we must lead with clarity.

  1. Clarity makes uniqueness undeniable
  2. Clarity makes direction unquestionable
  3. Clarity makes enthusiasm transferable
  4. Clarity makes work meaningful
  5. Clarity makes synergy possible
  6. Clarity makes success definable
  7. Clarity makes focus sustainable
  8. Clarity makes leadership credible
  9. Clarity makes uncertainty approachable

How would you rank your clarity using these 9 as a benchmark?

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