Join us today for Part 2 of the Interview with Dr. Gary Brown from E2 Effective Elders...
This is Part 2 of the interview I had with speaker, pastor, and teacher Dr. Gary Johnson.
In today’s interview with Dr. Gary Johnson, I ask Gary to talk about leadership as a Christian. I also ask Gary his view of mentorship and how the life map activity helps us focus on both building ourselves and others.
Join in on the Chat below.
00:00:00 Thanks for joining us on episode 621 of the inspired stewardship podcast. Hey friends, my name is Dr. Gary Johnson and uh, I serve as the executive director of
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. We're not pitting one church against another church, et cetera. It's just the kingdom of darkness. Now you want to play on this team or not? Well, of course I do.
00:01:02 Well, you want the team to win. Of course, I'm on the team to win. Well then you have to let me speak into your life. Will you allow me to speak into your life? We have to get their permission and it's always in the context of it's for the glory of God. Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast.
00:01:26 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. In the inspired stewardship podcast, we'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence Pact, the world. And today's interview with Dr. Gary Johnson. I asked Gary to talk about leadership as a Christian.
00:01:53 I also asked Gary his view of mentorship and how his life map activity helps us focus on both building ourselves and others. 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, but if you're like most people today,
00:02:18 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. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible
00:02:47 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 decades. He now leads
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 Lei and Lee have been married over 40 years and have married sons, Jared and Aaron who are both serving in the ministry. His 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, correct, For most of us. So when, when people, you know, have a, a biblical view of serving others, the interesting thing is a lot of times people get stressed out about this idea of helping other people,
00:04:15 serving other people, keeping that balance between self and others. Would you talk a little bit about what servant leadership means, especially to those of us that are followers of Christ? Sure. Uh, I believe that, um, just what you said as a follower of Christ in Mark chapter 10, it says in verse 45 and Jesus is the one who made this statement.
00:04:41 He said, the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give us life as a ransom for many. Well, when you and I look at that and when we add to it, other verses, like in first John chapter two, it says in verse six, uh, if anyone claims to be a follower of Jesus,
00:05:03 he must live or walk as Jesus lived or walk. So Jesus was a servant. And if I'm going to say I'm going to be a follower of Jesus, I need to live like he lived. I must be a servant of others. And uh, I, I honestly believe that will happen when we emulate the humility of Jesus. In Philippians chapter two,
00:05:31 uh, beginning in verse five, going down through verse 11, we have what is called the Christological statement. And this is where the apostle Paul said, your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who even though he was in very nature, God did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped, but he made himself nothing.
00:05:51 Taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness, being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. So as a follower of Jesus, I need to follow his example. Now think with me when he says he humbled himself. Humility is an attitude. It is something that happens within us.
00:06:18 It's how we think of ourselves. Jesus thought in a very lowly way of himself. He humbled himself and how we think determines how we live, how I think determines how I live. Jesus, he thought with humility, what did it do? It took him to the cross. He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
00:06:41 So I believe if I'm going to be a servant to others, I got to get that, that in my very core being in my soul, that I want to emulate the servanthood of Jesus. For that to happen, I have to emulate his attitude of humility and others must matter more than myself. So last, last week we talked a little bit about the life map map activity that you use annually.
00:07:14 And as part of that, you know, you, you talked about having a vision, having a mission, having your core values and the specific objectives. Um, and you know, this is, I would imagine one of the ways that you focus on not just developing yourself and as you mentioned in your objectives, you have objectives about relationship with others.
00:07:33 You have objectives about what you're doing to, to help others. So how can we use this kind of activity to help us keep our focus on God? Others self when in this today's world especially, it's very easy to flip that around. And actually I think that's been universally true. If this seems to be the human condition to talk about self, others God as,
00:07:57 as opposed to the right order. Would you talk a little bit about that In order to, uh, be that servant to others in order to, uh, emulate the life of Jesus as a servant? I think that, uh, it is absolutely fundamentally essential to draw near to God. So the spiritual disciplines are going to take me to a right place if I'm going to consistently day by day,
00:08:26 moment by moment, try to serve others. Uh, to that end, it would be important, Scott, to have a rich devotional life, to anchor myself in the word of God every day of the week. And, um, it would be important for me just as it says in James four, verse eight, draw near to God and he will draw near to me in the songs your word.
00:08:50 Have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against God? I believe that, uh, the discipline, spiritual disciplines are essential to take me to a right, healthy spiritual walk. And if I can do that, I will have every greater likelihood that I will live like Jesus. So that prayer life, I'm meditating on scripture. Uh, all of that is essential.
00:09:15 Yeah. And, and you know, again, we talked last week about how stewardship is more than money. One of the things that I put into that realm of stewardship is having, having a regular set of spiritual disciplines that you do within your life. Because you know, again, as you said, if it's hard to live it out, if you're not actually doing it yourself,
00:09:37 you know, interestingly, I know people that will talk to other people about spiritual disciplines but don't actually do them themselves. And it's like, that's, that's contradictory. Walk, walk the walk if you're going to, to talk about, so one of the activities that, uh, within the leadership, uh, that people are called to do, this happens within the church.
00:09:56 This happens in the secular world. Doesn't matter. You know, as a leader, you're often called to mentor others. Um, that could be an up and coming leader. That could be somebody who's going to replace you down the road. But it also could just be mentoring, you know, young people or people within the church. Would you talk a little bit about how,
00:10:17 how we can be more effective in mentorship? And I will tell you that the single push back that I always hear from people when you ask them to do mentorship or development is, but I'm not ready yet myself. So anything you can do to answer that complaint because that's always the complaint. You bet. Absolutely. Well, first of all, uh,
00:10:38 let, let me just mention some years ago there was a book that I read called the lost art of mentoring. And if I recall the author, Ted angstrom, was the author of that book. And I, I think I still have it on my shelf. And I do believe that mentoring is a lost art. And I would even call it a discipline.
00:10:58 And we are called to mentor one another. So let's say for example, somebody in your sphere says, Oh, I'm not ready myself. There are different types of mentors. I don't know if you're old enough to remember the promise keeper movement. And I can remember in the 1990s that the promise keeper said every man needs three men in his life. He needs a Paul,
00:11:23 somebody older to speak into his life. He needs a Timothy, somebody younger into whose life he will speak. And then thirdly, he needs a Barnabas, somebody with whom to walk beside. So if you've got somebody in your community there of inspired stewardship, they say, Oh, I'm not ready then be a Barnabas. You can be a brother or a sister of encouragement is his name.
00:11:49 Barnabas. In chapter four of the book of acts, his name was Joseph, and he was of the tribe of Levi. He was a Levis. And then it says whom the disciples called Barnabas, meaning son of encouragement. So he had a nickname. Barnabas was his nickname, a term of endearment. And what was his nickname? The encourager. Anybody can be an encourager.
00:12:14 You don't have to have a degree in whatever to mentor as a brother or sister of encouragement. So if somebody says they're not ready, it's a cop out. So what I would say, uh, for sure everybody can start there. That's mentoring one-on-one. Now, secondly, everybody has got somebody younger in his or her life into which they can invest.
00:12:42 For example, uh, my wife and I, we have two sons. They're both grown. They're both married in our sense of, provided us with six grandchildren. Uh, later today I'm going to be mentoring all of my grandchildren. Uh, I spend time every week with them. They, the oldest is a senior in high school now graduating the youngest is five.
00:13:09 And I literally have, it's called grandpa Bible class with them. Uh, and case in point, my two oldest grandsons, they have memorized Matthew five, six, and seven sermon on the mound. It's a part of, uh, the mentoring. I, every week I spend time with my grandchildren just speak into their life because, and I tell them over and again,
00:13:34 just promise me two things. Number one, you will learn to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. The first and greatest commandment of Jesus. And I'll say to my grandkids, you know what? If you learn to love God, I'm going to venture to think you will live for God your whole life. If as a young person,
00:13:51 you will love God, you learn to love God, you will live for God. When you go off to the university, you will live for God. When you enter the military, you will live for God. When you're married and a newlywed, you will live for God. If you learn to love him. Now as a child, as a teenager,
00:14:07 please. And then secondly, tell me that you will love your neighbor as yourself. These are the first two greatest commandments that Jesus gave us. And, and I have to mentor them, teach them how that happens. Everybody's got somebody younger into whose life they can invest. Uh, and then, uh, am I teachable in spirit? Is somebody speaking into my life and you see to to Scott,
00:14:34 we want people to understand mentoring. Uh, is is different. What I do with my grandkids, I would call intensive mentoring, intensive mentoring. I am engaged in a relationship with them. Uh, and it may be that some of your listeners are intensive disciplers mentors. They meet once a week, they meet every other week. They are on Skype or zoom or whatever they meet in a coffee shop.
00:15:07 They, uh, go out. They, they are intentionally, intensively mentoring somebody. Now to the opposite end of the spectrum, there's passive mentoring. Uh, if somebody reads this book, uh, too much living with less than the land of more and suddenly they follow, uh, the principle that I share in there about getting out of debt, cutting your mortgage in half without spending an extra dollar in fees or interest.
00:15:35 If they put that into practice, I have mentored them, but I've never met them. That's passive mentoring. You and I have read umpteen books, umpteen books that have shaped our lives the way we live. Those authors were passive mentors to us. So I believe that mentoring is the investment in the lives of other people. It is essential that we do that.
00:16:01 And when we do so, we follow the example of Jesus. Well, and yeah, and looking to the example of Jesus. I mean, again, he mentored many people and in many different ways, not just the disciples, but even into the larger community. And then now, you know, again, reading the words and the parables today, you still get the mentorship there as well as active and passive,
00:16:26 both And Paul Paul to Timothy Paul to Titus that that would have been younger and older, uh, that from, but what about Paul to Luke or Paul, the Silas that might have been more the Paul like a Barnabas, the lateral. So, well and, and I would also encourage people when you hear the word younger, um, don't just think of chronological age.
00:16:51 Exactly. Think of development within skill. Think of spiritual age, think of walk with Christ. You know, if somebody is beginning their path and you've been on this journey for 40 years, regardless of your age, uh, you know, cause they could be beginning the path and actually they're 60 and you're 40 and you can still mentor. So it's not just chronological age either as younger in development,
00:17:18 in whatever area your mentoring relationship falls, whether that's a spiritual mentorship or whether that's something else. So, um, cause I know I've had the opportunity a few times to mentor someone who was chronologically older than me, but in a particular area where I was mentoring them, I had more experience, more knowledge, more skill in that. Uh, so it is,
00:17:42 it is more than chronological. So talking a little bit more specifically about church leaders and ministry leaders, but I actually think this, this is a broader topic, uh, that that falls out into, again, into the secular war world as well. One of the challenges that comes about with leadership sometimes is leading volunteers as opposed to an employee, you know,
00:18:04 um, and how, how is this different? So what advice do you have for leading volunteers effectively? And how is this different than leading an employee, a family member, other people like that? Yeah, leading volunteers is a, um, one of the most challenging, uh, responsibilities in, in leadership circles. Think with me for a minute.
00:18:31 If I'm in the military and I have a soldier that is misbehaving, et cetera, that soldier can be court martialed. Right? If I'm the professor in the classroom and I have a student that is not performing, I can fail that student. If I am a supervisor, a boss, uh, within a company and I have an employee who shows up late who does not perform,
00:18:53 I can terminate that employee. There are, uh, certain repercussions when you are dealing with somebody on a staff, et cetera, military or whatever. When it comes to the church and you are working with volunteers, if that volunteer shows up late to serve in the nursery, what are you going to do to lay him off? What are you going to do?
00:19:13 Cut their pay. So that's why dealing with volunteers is more demanding. And this is how I, over the years and especially even now articulate this, uh, we have to create a team environment. And for example, in football or basketball, baseball, et cetera, the coach wants the team to what? To win. Well, in order to win,
00:19:43 uh, the coach has to speak into the lives of the players. Uh, do this, do that, execute this, play whatnot. Whether to move the ball down the field or down the court to hit a home run. This is what it's going to take to win the game. Now those players, they have a choice to make. Will I listen to the coach or not?
00:20:06 And if that player does not listen to the coach, they're not going to be on that team very long. They're going to be off the team because why? The coach wants the team to watch, to win. So as a leader, what you have to do with volunteers, you must create a team environment and you have to say to that team,
00:20:25 we want, we want our team to win and our team is team Jesus and we are, we are playing against one enemy, the kingdom of darkness, period. End of discussion. We're not pitting one church against another church, et cetera. It's just the kingdom of darkness. Now, do you want to play on this team or not? Well,
00:20:44 of course I do. Well, you want the to win. Of course I'm on the team to win. Well then you have to let me speak into your life. Will you allow me to speak into your life? We have to get their permission and it's always in the context of it's for the glory of God. We want his church, the bride of Christ to be at her best,
00:21:09 particularly against the one and only opponent, the kingdom of darkness. And if they don't get it, they're not going to be a good team player and I wouldn't want them on my team. Yeah. And, and my, my, again, I'm within ministry leadership myself on the, on the lay leader side, but still within ministry leadership and I've been part of the conversations when you have to let them volunteer,
00:21:35 go and uh, never a fun, easy conversation. I've also been in the corporate world and let people go as an employer employee relationship. It's still not fun. Neither one of those is a lot of fun, very painful. It's very painful. But there are times where the way I look at it as if it's come to that point, that separation is better,
00:21:55 not just for you as the leader, but for the individual as well. Because usually if they're struggling that much, if they're having a difficult, they're there, they're not a good fit for what you're asking them to do. There may be a better place to use them. There may be, you know, a skill that they need to develop and it just may not be time for them yet.
00:22:15 And that's exactly, It may be that they are a round peg in a square hole, right? That their spiritual gifts are not a match for the task at hand. Because sometimes what we do in the churches say, Oh, you've got a pulse. Sure you can be whatever. And not only do we set them up to fail and be, um,
00:22:35 unfulfilled in serving the Lord, but we heard the body of Christ by putting the wrong person with the wrong task and responsibility with the wrong gift set. Right. And, and we do it all the time. All the time. You have to remember that there are basically five levels of conversation in our culture today. There's level one cliche, it's meaningless.
00:22:56 Shallow. I might see somebody in a parking lot and be approaching that person, Hey, how are you today? And before that person can even tell me how they are, I'm already in my car driving off. I really don't care. Right? Level number two, a little bit deeper, the sharing of facts and the sharing of fact is indisputable.
00:23:14 I'm here in Indianapolis today. The sun is shining. It's indisputable that number three, uh, the sharing of opinion. Now this is where real communication begins. This is where I would put an asterisk by number three, the sharing of opinion, because this is where I can be rejected because of my opinion. Somebody might not agree with me politically, spiritually,
00:23:39 whatever, and say you do number four, deeper, still level a, level four is emotion, sharing of emotions. Where we speak, man, you really hurt my feelings right now. Oh, I so appreciate you. Uh, you mean so much to our team? And then finally, level five, complete honesty. And rarely do we ever get to levels four and five because why we don't go past number three,
00:24:07 we don't like rejection. We don't say what needs to be said for fear of conflict. People do not like conflict. So they're not going to say what needs to be said at levels three, four and five. And they stay up in levels one and two. Absolutely meaningless, shallow, unproductive communication. And that hurts a team, especially a team of volunteers.
00:24:32 And, and within ministry, one of the things a lot of the folks that gravitate to ministry leadership because they are, you know, wired in a way that is very pastorial, very caring, very supportive. They like conflict even less. And so it's very easy for them to fear that, that deeper conversation because, because you're right, sometimes it feels like conflict,
00:24:56 even though it may not be conflict, it still feels like conflict doesn't matter because there's a risk involved of putting yourself out there. Um, so I, it, uh, it, it totally off topic, but really not it, it brings me to the idea of, you know, one of the things that people will talk about is, you know,
00:25:18 the sphere of public speaking. Um, you know, again, I preach in churches all over the state and people are like, how can you, how can you do that? How, why aren't you afraid? And I'm like, Oh no, I'm terrified. First off, anytime you do, speaking in public is a little frightening, but I'm being called to speak the gospel.
00:25:37 Right? That's terrifying. That's a responsibility beyond just talking. So, yeah, I'm terrified. And they're like, well, then how do you do it? And I'm like, well, it's not about not feeling fear. It's about recognizing, you know, again, the, the calling that I have to do that, the honor that I have to do that,
00:26:00 the privilege that I have, it's about coming into it with humility and recognizing, you know, at the end of the day, it's not me. You know, my job is to show up and preach what I've been called to preach, but not, it's not me. It's not on me. Um, and, but it's, it's a weird,
00:26:18 similar with conflict conversation. I've discovered that when I recognize the fact that this is not on me, you know, to make this work right, this is, this is a spiritual conversation, then it often makes it easier to have that difficult conversation. So, Gary, is there anything else you'd like to share with listener? Uh Hm. Yeah, I,
00:26:48 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 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,
00:27:12 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.
00:27:41 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, Gramma 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,
00:28:08 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, newlywed 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.
00:28:36 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,
00:28:58 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 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.
00:29:19 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. Uh, and that verse says, but I am still of this.
00:29:43 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 can be confident of this. And then verse 14 says, wait on the Lord, be strong.
00:30:05 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. I'm thanking God for everything.
00:30:32 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. New mercies today, this morning,
00:30:55 all I have to do is look for them.
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We're not pitting one Church against another. So if you are playing on this team will you allow me to speak into your life? - Dr. Gary Johnson
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