Thankfulness Determines Leadership Ability (1/3)

“Thanks so much for the phone call the other day.  I’ve actually never had a pastor call me before.”

Have you ever received a word of thanks from out of the blue?  The statement above came from a young lady who’s fairly new to our church.  I wasn’t expecting it, and the context definitely was not something I felt deserving of gratitude.  It was a simple follow up call.  But to her…it was meaningful.


I was reading one of Michael Hyatt’s blog posts today on the advantages of being grateful and it got me thinking.  Some of the most influential leaders in my life over the years have exhibited grateful hearts.

– It was easy to observe their gratefulness for the blessings in their life.

– They would constantly say ‘Thank you’ to those serving around them, especially in the Church.

In addition to the great points that Michael Hyatt makes, showing and verbalizing gratitude also rubs off on others.  This can be referred to as one aspect of discipleship.  Other circles might call it Leadership Development.

“Expressed gratitude helps attract and produce great leaders.” 

Think back.  When was the last time someone you look up to or admire complimented or thanked you?  (hopefully it hasn’t been too long ago)  Do you remember how it made you feel?  I’m guessing appreciation, honor, respect, and value are some feelings that resulted.  So this week, say ‘Thank You’ to someone….anyone.  Try to do this once a day.  You might be surprised at the results.

Question:  Who or what are you thankful for when you really take time to think about it?  Leave a comment below.  

Be sure to check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this topic.

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Thankfulness Determines Leadership Ability (3/3)

“Making an itemized list of everything we’re thankful for can really be an eye-opener.”

This Thanksgiving, try making an extensive list of EVERYTHING you are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time either.  You can even make it a fun challenge involving the whole family.  For example, simply see how many items you can list in 5 minutes or less.

* Note:  Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of this series on ‘Gratitude.’

OK, so how can this list exercise be an eye-opener for us?

– It forces us to think beyond the obvious.  (family, house, job, etc.)

– We are usually surprised at how many things we can actually list.

– Often we will notice things on our list that we recently viewed as trials or difficulties.

I once did this regarding our Anniversary.  I intended to list the top 21 attributes I love about my wife.  You know what happened?  I couldn’t stop.  I ended with many more simply because I took time to really think on the issue.

And this can have a profound effect on our personal lives as well as professional, especially in leadership.

“Focused gratitude allows leaders to not take things for granted.” 

Maybe you’d say to me, “I can’t do this this week.  I really don’t have anything to be thankful for.  You don’t know the year I’ve had.”  While that is true, I don’t know what kind of year you have had, I do know this.  No matter how bad a situation seems, there’s always a deeper level of ‘BAD.’  In other words, things can always get worse than they are.  So, one way to be thankful is to notice all the things have not happened yet and rejoice in those truths.

For me, I can name 3 or 4 things we’ve endured in 2014 that I hope to never go through again.  The pain and exhaustion almost crushed me.  And without God’s grace and guidance, they would have.  But, I choose to focus on the many other amazing things that have blessed me this past year.  When I do that, it overshadows all the negative.

Question:  After making your list, what was your reaction to this experience?  Leave a comment below.  
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Thankfulness Determines Leadership Ability (2/3)

Knowing the difference between being thankful and expressing gratitude will make an impact on your leadership.

Being thankful is the first step.  It’s a heart issue.  When our thankfulness stops there, however, the only people who know about your thankfulness are you and God.

In part 1 of this series on ‘Gratitude,’ I talk about how expressing thankfulness for those around us actually models healthy leadership.  Today, I want to look at ‘being’ vs. ‘expressing.’  There is a difference.

I can be the most grateful husband, father, and pastor there ever was… but without letting others know, my thankful heart benefits no one.

So, what are some practical ways to express ‘Thanks’ to others?

– Say it!  (this is the easiest one)  And me specific.  Say, “Thanks for giving up some time on your Saturday” or, “I really appreciate your attention to detail.”

– Write a Thank You note to them on social media and tag them.

– Email or text them a private, specific word of thanks.

– Post a photo on Instagram of an individual or group and say something about how they add to your life.

– Give them a hug.  (and not an emoji)

– A phone call mid-week, even on a voicemail, can add huge value to someone’s day.

– Write a simple sentence or two in a Thank You card and snail-mail it.  (yes, I mean with stamps. They still make those.)

Gender Issues | If you’re married, exercise wisdom when expressing ‘Thanks’ to members of the opposite sex.  For example, I do side hugs with women, have my wife sign ‘Thank You’ cards with me, and cc my wife on emails that are just sent to individual women.  We simply don’t want to ever send the wrong message, to them or anyone observing us.


“Expressed gratitude clarifies things of value in our life.” 

Whoever it is…whatever it’s for…and however small or large the ‘Thanks’ may be, simply let your heart of gratitude be known.  Start this week of Thanksgiving and let it be ongoing.

Question:  What are some creative ways you have either expressed or received thanks?  Leave a comment below.  

Also, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 3 of this blog series. 

He considers you faithful

No matter where you serve in God’s ministry (greeter, sunday school teacher, grounds keeper, minister, etc.), its likely that you have experienced this before.  Its the occasional season when we tend to take our calling for granted and almost slip into an ‘auto-pilot’ mode regarding our service.  I don’t think we do this consciously, but let’s be honest.  We are human, therefore, we do need reminders now and then to keep us focused.

I received one of those reminders today during our staff ‘Crave’ hour.  After some time of prayer, I was led to this passage.

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry-  1 Timothy 1:12  (HCSB)

Paul took time and found it important to….

…acknowledge Christ

…thank Jesus for strength

…thank God for trusting him — and using him for Kingdom work

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For those of us who are serving in the purposes of God, let us always remain humble, focused, and ready.  May we never regard ministry work as being held prisoner to an esthetically dull cubical plagued with outdated ‘to-do’ sticky notes.  Ministry is anything BUT monotonous!  It is not 9 to 5.  It is not easy.  It is not always rewarding.


It does orchestrate life change in people, both here in this life and in the next life with Jesus.

Two years ago, I had had all I could take with ‘church politics,’ weak leadership, and being chewed up and spit out one too many times.  I was done!  I was on my way to being one of those ‘older than average’ Starbucks baristas into retirement.  Over time God wrapped His arms around me (in the form of the Church), slowly and gently pulling me back to my original call.

Today, read the Timothy verse (above) again….and thank Jesus for trusting you with His work.  Saying ‘Yes’ to God’s work isn’t always rewarding, but remember this.  The creator of the Heavens and Earth considered YOU!