Join us today for Part 1 of the Interview with Dr. Gary Brown from E2 Effective Elders...

This is Part 1 of the interview I had with speaker, pastor, and teacher Dr. Gary Johnson.  

In today’s interview with Gary Johnson, I talk to Gary about his self-development process of a life map.  I also talk to Gary about ministry leadership and self-leadership and why they are so important to all of us.

Join in on the Chat below.

00:00:00 Thanks for joining me on episode 616 of the inspired stewardship podcast. Hey friends, my name is Dr. Gary Johnson and uh, I serve as the executive director of effect of elders. I challenge you to invest in yourself, in others, and develop your influence while impacting the world by using your time, your talent, your treasures, to live out, your calling,
00:00:29 having the ability to grow yourself through self-leadership is key. And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend Scott Mader. And just think with me a map. What does a map do? It guides us to a destination. So my life map guides me to a preferred destination on December the 31st every year.
00:01:14 Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling and the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact The world.
00:01:46 In today's interview with Dr. Gary Johnson, I talked to Gary about self development and his process of doing a life map. I also talked to Gary about ministry leadership and self-leadership and why both are important to all of us. One reason I like to bring you great interviews like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books,
00:02:17 but if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read, and that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible. Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from and instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there.
00:02:44 That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books. The same way you're listening to this podcast, Dr. Gary Johnson has served in the preaching ministry for four. He now leads for effective elders as the executive director full time coaching pastors and elders nationwide. He holds numerous degrees in ministry and church history. Gary has taught as an adjunct professor for several seminaries including the Cincinnati Christian university and TCM Institute,
00:03:20 a seminary that serves Europe and Asia. Gary has been blessed to travel overseas for the purpose of training elders and pastors in cross cultural settings on over a hundred mission trips and Gary and Lee and Lee have been married over 40 years and have married sons, Jared and Aaron who are both serving in the ministry as pursuits outside of church life include running mountain climbing,
00:03:45 racquetball cycling and backpacking. Still one of the greatest joys in life for Gary is being called grandpa. By his six grandkids. Welcome to the show, Gary. Well, thank you Scott. It's a privilege to be invited. So we just talked in the intro. You've had this long career of helping church leaders in how they grow their own leadership when it comes to ministry,
00:04:09 church leadership, uh, these sorts of things. What are some of the unique challenges that ministry leaders face? Uh, great question. Uh, I think that there is one, uh, overwhelming challenge right now, um, facing leaders all across the country and literally around the world when it comes to leadership within the body of Christ. And that happens to be,
00:04:34 um, uh, what I call a leadership pipeline crisis. You know, uh, I've been to Alaska many times through work with our partner churches there. And, uh, when I go, I, I have taken people with me. Uh, for example, I've got a group of guys from church and we, uh, have gone to Fairbanks to help build a church building.
00:04:58 Uh, we went three summers in a row. Uh, it's a church plant and, um, we go outside of Fairbanks just a few miles to show these, uh, gentlemen the pipeline. The Alaskan pipeline. Now, what's interesting, the trans Alaska pipeline, uh, is, uh, hundreds of miles in length and it goes from the North slope,
00:05:22 uh, Crudo Bay down to Valdez. And when that pipeline opened back in the 1970s, it was flowing at a hundred percent capacity and it took on average four days for that oil to travel, those 600 plus miles. Now it takes 14 days. And the reason, uh, that pipeline is running at about a third capacity. So all of that extra oil with all of that extra heat is gone.
00:05:51 And one of the pipeline company officials told us if that capacity continues to drop, uh, it will, it will become critical because then the permafrost and the ground, uh, along with, um, uh, just a, a dwindling amount of heat in that pipeline will slow the oil so much that it could rupture the pipe. Well, and when he told us that,
00:06:15 I got to thinking there is a leadership pipeline crisis. We do not have record numbers of young people going to a Bible college seminary. Uh, they are not answering a call of God on their lives to be the next generation preachers, missionaries, uh, et cetera. And the same is true when it comes through volunteer leadership within the church. Uh,
00:06:42 we have a, you use the word challenge and I use the word challenge as well. And that challenge has become so grievous. Uh, it's becoming a crisis. The need to recruit, the need to equip, the need to onboard and empower what I call next generation leaders. That to me is one of the greatest challenges facing the body of Christ today.
00:07:07 Yeah. So I'm a, I'm a Methodist and I go every year to the annual conference. And two of the things that happen every year at the annual annual conference is we celebrate retirements and we honor the people that are entering into the ordination process. You know, becoming an actual minister leader through ordination. There's other types of leadership within ministry, but that's a specific one.
00:07:32 And for the last five years, you know, the number of retirees has been at least four or five times the number of people entering ministry. So, just as a very tangible, visible number, you know, that I see every single year and I'm actually involved in a lay ministry leadership and bringing up, uh, lay ministers and lay leaders within the church.
00:07:57 And, you know, we've seen the same thing there. The numbers have dwindled on the, on the lay side. So I've seen exactly what you're talking about. I would agree a hundred percent what, uh, you know, what, what do you see as, cause I think that's actually even a broader issue within, uh, within companies as well.
00:08:16 And you know, the secular world as well. Uh, there's always a challenge with bringing up new leaders effectively. What, uh, what have you seen as some of the ways to introduce people within the body of Christ to this idea of, of serving a calling through leadership? Well, uh, whether through the local ministry, that of which I've been a part.
00:08:38 So for example, I've spent 30 years as a senior minister of this church here in Indianapolis. It's a church of a few thousand in size. And we had to be very intentional, uh, with looking at people, uh, to see if they exhibited what we call the leadership gift. It says enrollments chapter 12 in verse eight, that if your gift is leadership,
00:09:01 then governed diligently. So we would look for people who exhibited traits of leadership and then we would, uh, ask them if they would like to enter into a time of leadership's study. And we would literally take them on a journey to discover what it means to be a leader in the body of Christ. Now, this ministry that I'm leading called effective elders,
00:09:32 uh, this ministry was started about nine years ago. Uh, myself and two colleagues, uh, the three of us were teaching, uh, some graduate courses at a seminary outside of Vienna, Austria. And, uh, the three of us have been friends for years. Uh, all three of us have served on faculties of seminaries. And while we were there,
00:09:53 we said, you know what, uh, the three of us, uh, between us, we, we've got lots of degrees. And, uh, we just said, you know, ministers, they can, they can go to conferences and seminars. They can get this master's degree, that doctoral degree, et cetera. But when it comes to volunteer leaders in the church,
00:10:11 particularly in our tribe, elders, elders are the spiritual leaders of the church. Nayana nothing available, no books, no literature, no, uh, seminars, et cetera. So the Holy spirit really convicted us while we were there, uh, teaching that summer and we came back to the States and we made a covenant to each other that we would begin,
00:10:34 uh, by God's grace, a ministry. And now, uh, that has happened. And I have handed the Baton off, uh, in senior leadership at the church after about 40 years of preaching ministry. And I'm leading as the executive director effective elders. We, in the last seven years, we've already spoken to over 7,000 elders across the country and around the world.
00:10:58 We've published 10 books on leadership. And, uh, what we do, uh, our mantra is to coach elder teams to win. Well, whether we're in Texas or Indiana, wherever we are, uh, universities, they recruit athletes to play on a team. The NBA, the NFL, they recruit players on a team in the local church. Scott,
00:11:25 we have to recruit people to be leaders. We look for talent and then we onboard that talent. We develop that talent, we train them. And once we feel confident, then we release them to use that leadership skill for the glory of God in the body of Christ. It has to be intentional. It does not happen by, And it certainly doesn't happen by accident.
00:11:57 Um, so when you think about, you know, one of the things you mentioned is, is inviting people into this period of, of self study and, and learning about, you know, what does it mean to be a leader within the body of Christ? Uh, so, you know, a lot of leadership is focused on this idea of leading others,
00:12:19 right? I mean, you know, kind of the, the, the old joke is, you know, if you're, if you're a leader and you turn around and look and nobody's following you, then you're probably not really doing a good job. But at the same time, there's a, uh, a factor of leadership that includes self development and self leadership,
00:12:36 for lack of a better word. So how does this kind of topic of leadership within the church expand to this idea of self-leadership? So one of the most important disciplines of anybody who's a leader, you are the founder. You are the leader of inspired stewardship. You have to exhibit self leadership. Uh, I'm the executive director of. I have to exhibit self leadership.
00:13:03 Uh, as a senior minister, I had to exhibit self-leadership. It's just this simple. How can I lead a church if I cannot lead myself? Uh, Paul the apostle, uh, when he's talking about the traits of an elder in first Timothy chapter three, he says, for example, you look for an elder candidate who leads his family. Well,
00:13:27 how can he lead the church? Paul asks if he can not lead his family, his home. And so, uh, self-leadership is a discipline that must be developed in the, in the life of a leader. Plato said, uh, the greatest victory is to conquer self. And we literally must develop a plan, uh, for taking ourselves as an individual to a better,
00:13:58 more effective place of leadership. I, um, I taught in an entire course in graduate school, in seminary on the art of self-leadership. It's essential. So one of the areas that I comes to mind immediately is people struggle with this intentionality when it comes to self growth and self development. You know, a lot of times people just sort of respond to what comes to them instead of being intentional in their plan.
00:14:31 And I know that, uh, you use a, a larger process very intentionally to help you focus on leadership and self self development, self growth. Can you talk a little bit about that process that you use and how can people use that to continue to focus their own in a more intentional Way? Absolutely. It's called a life mapping. Uh, and I developed this back in the early 1990s.
00:15:00 Uh, I was at that time finishing my M div and, um, we had been given an assignment in the class about a philosophy of ministry. So I wrote the paper and then I got to thinking why, why should I put all this time, energy and effort in developing a philosophy of ministry and just put it up on a shelf? So what I did,
00:15:21 I developed it into a very practical document and it quite literally is just simply a trifold. And I, I have one for every year of my life. And now just think with me a map, what does a map do? It guides us to a destination. So my life map guides me to a preferred destination on December the 31st every year. And,
00:15:50 uh, uh, in it, in my, uh, tri-fold, whether it's a, a hard print or whether it's a PDF, digital, uh, uh, when you open it, I have my personal vision statement. And a vision statement is a dream that you want to come true for your life. You're always pursuing it. And, uh,
00:16:14 to me it needs to be short so that it can be memorized. It needs to be a reflection of scripture. It needs to be scriptural and it needs to be measurable. Um, and for example, my vision statement just says simply providing help for today. Hope for tomorrow. And I can measure that. Uh, you know, here I am in a,
00:16:37 an interview with you. I'm hoping to provide some practical help for people who are subscribed to your podcast. Uh, I am hoping to provide some practical help on this topic of stewardship. So, uh, hope you know the preacher in me. And it's not just because I was a pastor all these decades, uh, my early years right out of undergrad,
00:17:00 I was a banker, a commercial banker, loved the bank, and I've often said if I get laid off in the church, I'm going to go back to the bank. I love the bank. And so it doesn't matter what moniker I where as in vocation, I want a pride, provide people for hope or with hope for the tomorrow of not only life but eternity.
00:17:21 So that's very easy to pursue, easy for me to remember, easy for me to measure. It's a reflection of scripture. Now then in my life map it says my mission statement, the mission is how the dream comes true. It's how the vision becomes reality. And I'm going to pursue providing help for today. Hope for tomorrow in three ways. Here's my mission.
00:17:45 That's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to invest relationally, number one. Number two, I'm going to equip biblically. And number three, I'm going to love unconditionally. So when I look at the life of Jesus, he did all three of those things, invested in relationships with people. Not only 12 disciples, but all of the people around him.
00:18:13 He was people rich in his time on earth. Number two, what did he do? He shared the word. He even said, uh, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. And then a shazamm. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was always, uh, presenting truth. So I want to equip people biblically.
00:18:37 That's the anchor. That's the source of what I teach. Uh, the help I provide the hope, um, for tomorrow. And then number three, loving people unconditionally. So that's how it went. When I lean into those three things, the dream comes true, the vision. And then I have four rank ordered core values. So vision, mission,
00:18:56 values, and these values are like the operating system, the computer that you and I are both using right now. We can't hear nor see the operating system, but we know that it's going on because we can hear it now. So I have four rank order core values. Number one, I value biblical authority. Number two, uh, God honoring unity.
00:19:20 I believe that we honor God when we, when we strive to be peacemakers, to be people who unite. Number three, Christ's like humility. And number four, spirit, Holy spirit led urgency. Those are the four operating values in my life. Now, all of those appear in my life map every year because that's who I am. That is my DNA as a person,
00:19:44 as a child of God. Now then what happens is every year I set clear objectives, specific objectives in my life personally and in relationship with others in my life professionally in ministry. And I hit print on that life map. And if I follow that life map, I'm going to reach on December the 31st every year, my desired, uh, destination that I will be different at the end of the year than when I began the year.
00:20:21 And I've been doing this, as I said, since the early 1990s and it's been a game changer. And, and the list, regular listeners of the show, we'll, we'll hear some echoes. Um, we talked last year at the end of the year I talked about my annual review process and the way that I've been doing this for, again not quite as long as you,
00:20:42 but for several decades now that I've kind of done the same process. And you know, a lot of the things you're talking about are in that same core of identify, you know, mission, identify your vision, identify your core values and then break down specific objectives in different areas. And how do you review, reflect, revise, you know, always kind of stuff.
00:21:06 Um, cause the idea is I, as I tell people, don't aim for perfection. Aim for just a little better today than you were yesterday. And if you can, if you do that every day, then you ended up in a pretty good place usually. So, you know, kind of on the topic of stewardship, uh, one of the books that you've,
00:21:26 you've got out is called too much living with less in the land of more, by the way, I love that title. Um, I started laughing whenever I read it. I'm like, boy, that is our app description of our world today. Uh, so would you talk a little bit about, you know, how that mindset and what that book is about in terms of the biblical principles that have outlines and how,
00:21:49 how can, recognizing, you know, that this is, we are living in the land of Moore and yet sometimes that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also not necessarily a good thing and how we can help adjust our mindset to be in a more healthy relationship with them. Yeah. Um, so having been, uh, uh, a pastor for almost four decades,
00:22:12 um, uh, it was very important to preach about stewardship. Now, stewardship is not, not, not, not just about money. Um, and you know, many preachers don't want to preach about stewardship because they're afraid of what the people are going to say, right? And we have to preach and teach about money because everybody deals with money every day to put gas in the car,
00:22:37 food on the table, keep a roof over the head. If you cannot rub two nickels together, you are going to be in trouble. So, and when there are over 2000, 300 verses in the Bible about money and the things that money can buy when Jesus, uh, an enormous number of his parables were about money and the things that money can buy,
00:22:56 and never once did he make an apology. Oh, people, I'm so sorry. I've got to talk about money right now. Please forgive me. He never wants it. So it was a preacher years ago. I said, I'm going to preach the whole counsel of God. God wants us to have this aspect of our life in a good place,
00:23:12 right? Uh, and so at the church where I've been for many, many, many years, every year in November, we would preach about stewardship for four weeks. And we would often use a book as supplemental material alongside the Bible for life groups, Bible study groups, et cetera. So, um, I dunno, a few years ago I decided,
00:23:38 well, I'm going to just write a book about this and hence the book too much. And then the living with less than the land, more. My wife and I have been married 42 years and we have lived according to this equation, practices plus principles equals real profit. And when I say real profit, I mean husbands and wives who do not argue over money,
00:24:10 where children do not hear their children or excuse me, their parents biting, uh, with escalating, uh, screaming going on when children do not grow up in fear of being, um, uh, put out of an apartment or a house, uh, having to move in the middle of the night. When we look at the word of God and discover these four principles and we add them every day to four practices,
00:24:39 we can sleep well even in the deepest of recession right now, COBIT 19, uh, uh, as of the morning news today, 30 million Americans are now unemployed. I believe that if we have our financial house in order, we survive moments like this. Now you want me to give you a very quickly the four principles and the four practices? Okay?
00:25:02 Let's please, when we look in the word of God, uh, Gratta and I'm going to give you the four principles. So gratitude, trusting God, humility, humility. And um, we have to stop and think through humility, contentment, trust, Oh, those are contentment, contentment, humility, trust in God and gratitude. When I add those two,
00:25:33 here are my four practices, budgeting, saving, giving and debt-free, living, paying cash. When I add those practices with the principles, I'm in a much better place with real profits. So for example, how can I bring the whole tie, the end of the storehouse to Jesus? If I don't trust Jesus in the first place, right? How can I be content with what I have,
00:26:09 um, reflected in budgeting? See, for example, I will never budget and just say, I'm going to live within my means. That'll never happen unless I'm content, right? Because there are people who buy into the myth of more all the time in America, shiny or newer, faster, more stylish, more for them is never enough. So,
00:26:34 uh, uh, and I didn't learn this, um, in a seminar. I just, my dad was a humble factory worker, has empire life. My mom was a stay at home mom and I watched my dad manage his limited income. He had a business on the side, uh, and we never went without. Um, so Yeah, it's,
00:26:59 it's interesting cause again, um, the, so one of the things that I do as a coach within the stewardship realm obviously is financial coaching. And in first off, as you said, stewardship way more than money, you know, which is why we talk about time, talent. We talk about all the dimensions, but the, I, you know,
00:27:16 this idea of what I found is for a lot of people, money is a big stumbling block that holds them back from stewardship so that we end up spending a lot of time there a lot of the time. Um, and you know, everything that you're echoing there is, is exactly up up the alley. And what's interesting is having clients that I've been working with for awhile and then we come into this covert 19 situation and universally,
00:27:43 every single one of them is like, I am so glad that we were working together for six months before this all started. Because as you said, they have some sense of, doesn't mean everything's working perfectly, but they still have a sense of peace around it because they've got control, they understand, you know, they're, they're able to react in a productive way.
00:28:01 Um, and so, you know, if you're not in that situation, uh, reach out and get, get help from somebody because it is possible to live that way. It really, And my encouragement to preachers, please, please have the courage to talk and the discipline to preach about this very important part of life every year, every year. Because you see teenagers today,
00:28:26 they may not be learning anything about this in a public school system or wherever they attend. They might not be seeing this practiced by their moms and their dads because their mom and their dads did not learn this. Right? We have to do this for the wellbeing of generations that are coming after us. I believe that, um, uh, FPU financial peace university has become so very popular because people have been so desperately in need of it.
00:28:50 Right? Uh, and so, uh, churches, dozens and dozens of churches have used this book of mine. I have a life group curriculum that goes with it for four weeks. Uh, I have a videography that ministers can use on a jump drive to help them prepare the four week series. So, uh, dozens of churches have used this.
00:29:12 And I can remember the president of a bank, uh, in, uh, Kentucky, their congregation used it and he contacted me and he said, even as a president of the bank, uh, I want dozens of these books to give to people. It's just so practical, number one. And number two, it is rooted in the word of God.
00:29:30 Right? So, yeah, it's interesting cause I, I've actually been invited several times by, by pastors to come in. Uh, and I do this around the state Texas mainly. Um, though I'd be happy to go somewhere else. It's just that that happens to be where I'm better known, uh, both for workshops within a church or leading sessions within a church as well as just coming in and preaching.
00:29:54 Um, you know, cause sometimes having someone from outside come in and talk about it makes it a little easier to at least start the conversation. Cause quite frankly, at the end of the day, I go home and I don't have to look at the people the next day. So it's at least gets the conversation started sometimes. Um, and I've done that several times for,
00:30:13 for churches to come in on their stewardship Sunday and, and speak, um, or, or preach from the pulpit on that topic. I've done Q and A's too. Uh, but you're correct. That's a topic that there's actually only a handful of States that I even have a curriculum, uh, around personal finance. Um, even if they have accounting or economics,
00:30:31 they don't have a personal finance class, which is different. Um, and I think there's five States now, something like that, that actually have personal finance as part of their curriculum. Otherwise it's probably not in public school for most of us. So, Gary, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener? Uh Hm. Yeah, I,
00:30:52 you know, I think that, um, something that has really helped me, um, my mom and dad were, uh, they're, they're both home with the Lord now, but just very common people. And, uh, I didn't inherit gobs of money or acres of ground or stock portfolios for my parents, but I inherited something from my mom and my dad,
00:31:16 both uniquely to each of them that has been beyond monetary value. And here's what I inherited from my mom that I would leave with. Uh, your listeners. When my mom was born, she was the first child. Her mom died giving birth to her. So at birth, she lost her mom. When my mom was five years old, her dad committed suicide by hanging because he could not get over the grief.
00:31:45 Mom was adopted by her grandma, her dad's mom and grandma Ritz raised my mom. And uh, the week of my mom's high school graduation, grandma Ritz died of a massive heart attack at home. And then mom met my dad. They fell in love and they got married. Um, and my mom's uncle, uncle Reinhardt gave her a way, uh,
00:32:13 in the wedding, kind of like a, an adopted dad. Well, uncle Reinhardt right after mom and dad married, he contracted cancer and mom took care of uncle Reinhardt in their little two bedroom, newly apartment until the day that he died in their apartment. And then mom and dad became pregnant with their first child. My sister Mary and Mary lived one day after she was delivered.
00:32:41 And by the time my mom was 22 years of age, her mom died. Her dad died, her grandma died. Who raised her? Her uncle died, who gave her away in her wedding and her first child died by the age of 22. If anybody could be mad at God. It could have been my mom. But what I inherited from my mom,
00:33:03 Scott, was this in indomitable ability to see what is right with life. I grew up, I would complain about something and my mom would look at me and she'd say, Gary, you'd get a life. There are people with far greater problems in you, young man. And she would put me in my place over and over again. And I learned to look for what was good in life.
00:33:24 I never once heard my mom complain. I didn't hear my mom criticized people. She just had this sweet spirit of Jesus where she saw everything that was good in the land of the living. And so Psalm 27 verse 13 and verse 14 have become huge in my life, all my life. And that verse says, but I am still confident of this.
00:33:47 I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. So this side of heaven, I'm going to see God's goodness. When today if I open my eyes, I will see his goodness in my life. This side I haven't been and I'm, I can be confident of this. And then verse 14 says, wait on the Lord,
00:34:09 be strong. Take heart and wait on the Lord. And that has changed my life. Every morning a huge part of my morning devotions. I journal from the last 24 hours item after item after item of how I saw the goodness of the Lord. And, uh, I have journals just full full of all of these. I'm not asking God for anything.
00:34:34 I'm thanking God for everything. And I, and I would just say to people, please lift your eyes onto the Hills and look, you will see God's indescribable mercy, grace, his love for you today. Um, because of his great compassion, we are not consumed. His mercies never fail. They are new every morning for great is his faithfulness.
00:34:57 New mercies today, this morning, all I have to do is look for them. Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoy this episode, please, please do us a favor.
00:35:32 Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate, all one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.


In today's episode, I ask Gary about:

  • His self-development process of a life map...
  • Ministry leadership and self-leadership...
  • Why they are so important to all of us...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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A map let's us find our destination.  A life map let's us know the destination we are aiming for on December 31st each year. - Dr. Gary Johnson

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Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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