I’m thinking today of the two men who’ve most influenced my life as a minister—the best leaders I’ve known. Here’s what I remember about the way they talked:
- I never heard them speak poorly of others. They could have, as they knew a lot of people and saw the “underbellies” of churches and denominations – but they didn’t. They either built up others or said nothing.
- I never heard them say anything off-color or immoral. Ever. Not even close. Others around them may have moved in that direction, but I never heard them follow that route.
- They quite naturally told others about Jesus. Evangelism wasn’t a program for them; it was a lifestyle. They seldom missed an opportunity to talk about what Jesus meant to them.
- They readily said, “thank you.” No matter what position they held, they knew how much they needed the help and support of others. Saying “thank you” was quite natural to them—and genuine.
- They talked about how much they loved their family. I don’t ever recall being with these men without their speaking about their spouse and children. In fact, I seldom thought about them apart from their families.
- They loved preaching—and were good at it. Give them a Bible and a group to listen, and they were in their element. Because you knew they were genuinely men of God, you wanted to hear what they had to say.
- I never once questioned the veracity of their words. It never even crossed my mind they might be fudging facts or exaggerating stories. The integrity of their witness meant too much to them to risk it.
- They always deflected praise. You can tell by this post that I think they were worthy of honor, but they never let praise settle on them. They knew how deeply they needed the grace of God.
- They never failed to encourage me. Even when they confronted me about something, I came out feeling loved and supported.
Truly, these men were some of God’s gifts to me. I pray I can talk like them today.