Join us today for Part 3 of the Interview with Dr. Gary Brown from E2 Effective Elders...

This is Part 3 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 share why Christians must recognize their influence.  I also ask him to define leadership and share some of his top leadership resources.

Join in on the Chat below.

00:00:00 Thanks for joining us on episode 626 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,
00:00:30 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. It's going to a lower place. It's being the servant. It's deliberately thinking less often of ourselves, less often, not less of ourselves, but less often of ourselves.
00:01:04 So if I want to be a person of influence, what are the principles necessary for me? Number one, I have to have a hunger and insatiable hunger to be near. God. 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,
00:01:27 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 so that you can Impact the word. In today's interview with Dr. Gary Johnson, I asked Gary to share why Christians must recognize their own influence. I also ask him to define leadership and share some of his top leadership resources.
00:02:02 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, 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.
00:02:23 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 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.
00:02:56 He now leads for 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, 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,
00:03:35 Jared and Aaron who are both serving in the ministry. His pursuits outside of church life include running, mountain climbing, 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. If you struggle with seeing how you actually influence others,
00:04:03 then this could help. Gary, would you talk a little bit about how within the body of Christ as Christians, how we need to recognize that we are all influencers and why this is important? Yeah. Uh, Jesus told us that we are, for example, he said a sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter five. You are the salt of the earth.
00:04:27 That's influence. Uh, just stop and think about some of the properties of salt. Uh, here in Indianapolis in the winter time, we put salt on the roads and it melts the ice. Uh, if, uh, we put salt on our food, it flavors it. Uh, if we, uh, do some canning, we might put some salt in to preserve,
00:04:53 uh, the food that we're trying to enjoy later in the year. Uh, if we cut our hand while we're preparing a meal and salt gets in it, it burns like crazy. So you see salt is caustic, it burns and whatnot. It's flavorful. As salt of the earth. Jesus says, we as his followers, we can bring flavor into relationships.
00:05:17 I can influence somebody when they see me, hear me, etc. They might say, I want what you have, you, I want who it is that you have. If you have this Jesus in your life, I want that. Similarly, if somebody's got a hard cost, they heart a bitter heart. Just a salt melts the ice, the hard ice.
00:05:42 I can influence that person with a bitter hard heart to soften his or her heart towards the Lord or the things of God. So these properties of salt, even that one about burn, burning. Uh, but by the way that I live my life, and let's say somebody is determined not to live a life that brings honor and glory to God, it can cause some caustic,
00:06:09 uh, difficulty. Uh, similarly that issue of preservation. You and I, as followers of God as salt of the earth, what are we to do? We are to preserve morality. Uh, we are just slow. We are to slow the moral decomposition of our culture so that, uh, we have all the longer period of time in hopes of bringing increasing numbers of people to Jesus before his second coming.
00:06:39 So influence, absolutely. We are called to be an influence. Even Jesus when he says you're the salt of the earth. Paul the apostle, first Corinthians, chapter 11, verse one, follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. So by the way, you and I choose to live, we can be a positive or a negative, a good or a hurtful influence on those around us.
00:07:10 So over the last few weeks, we've talked a lot about leadership. Um, but I never actually asked you to define the word for yourself. So how do you define the word leadership? Well, I, I, uh, I reached back to one of the earliest statements of John Maxwell when he defined leadership just simply as influence. Leadership is influence and why I like that.
00:07:37 And I've just stuck with it all these years. Just stop and think whether it be when somebody says, Oh, I'm not a leader. Well, are you married? Yeah. Well, you're a leader. Are you a parent? Oh yeah. Well you're a leader. So many people, they take themselves off the leader list when they fail to understand leadership is just simply influenced.
00:07:56 You have an influence over your children, your grandchildren. You have an influence over the people who work beside you. You have an influence with your neighbor across the street. You can be a person of influence every day that the Lord your God gives you the breath of life. Now step up to the plate and lead. Now obviously leadership then there are different levels and it may be just like you,
00:08:20 you are leading a ministry that is a different leadership demand on your life. But as a husband, as a parent, you are a leader. Nobody gets a get out of leadership free card because the leadership has just simply influenced. Cause even if you're living on an Island and literally there's no one else living on the Island, you still influence yourself. So you're still self,
00:08:49 self leading. Uh, yeah, John Maxwell is actually one of the, one of my mentors. Um, I've been by him, uh, and uh, you know, I, I agree with you. That's honestly one of my favorite definitions of leadership of all time. It's just leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Um, let's, let's not make it complicated.
00:09:09 So when speaking of influence, if someone really wants to develop their influence, what are one or two principles or resources, tools, mindsets, um, that they should focus on learning and developing? Okay. I'm going to just give you two. Is that all right? That's perfect. Number one, a hunger for God. I believe that the, the greatest,
00:09:34 greatest need, if I'm going to be an influence on others, I have to first and foremost have a hunger for God. Whether it's James four, eight, draw near to God. He will draw near to me. Whether it's blessed are those who hunger and thirst. There's that word, hunger, hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled as it says in Matthew five,
00:09:57 the beatitudes of Jesus. Uh, also in the sermon on the Mount, chapter six, seek first seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. And all these things will be given to you as well. I believe that I have the hunger for God. Uh, I have, uh, many favorite verses in the Bible, but there's one that's at the top of the list.
00:10:22 In Psalm 73, verse 28, uh, says that, uh, but as for me, it is good to be near God. I want to be near God. I want to hunger for God. And then the second one is the humility of Jesus. Philippians chapter two, the Christological statement of Paul. And he says that Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death,
00:10:53 even death on a cross. You know, humility in Greek, it is a word that means to go to a lower place. Well, Jesus quite literally did that. He left his throne in heaven being equal with God, positionally equal with God. He humbled himself. He came to this earth and he became a servant even to the point of making his life a ransom for many dying on the cross.
00:11:20 Uh, the word humility going to a lower place. It reminds me of, uh, Nick will lender, does that name ring a bell? That will lend a family high wire Trapeze. Yeah, exactly. So Nick Wallenda a few years ago, he did an event going across Niagara falls. He did an event going across the grand Canyon. The guy is always Mike,
00:11:43 he has a remote microphone and uh, the guy is also our brother in Christ. He's a very devout follower of Jesus, very and so many times, uh, when he is in those events and he's got this wireless microphone on and he's talking to the crowd, in the case of Niagara falls and the grand Canyon, it was telecast live. My wife and I watched both of those events and several times he made comments that were clearly prayers.
00:12:13 Thank you God for the ability to God be my protector, et cetera. When he is done, this is very interesting. He was interviewed and somebody asked him, how do you handle the pride? Look at all these people wanting your autograph, how do you handle the pride? And he just smiled and he laughed and he said, you know, for me,
00:12:31 pride goes before a fall. That's pretty serious in my business. Pride go before our fall, takes a whole new meaning over the grand Canyon without a doubt. What He said next. Really, I hope I never forget. He said, after everybody leaves, when I've given my last autograph, said I go out to my car and I get boxes of trash bags and I come back here where all of these thousands of people were,
00:12:58 and I pick up their trash. I pick up their chicken bones, I pick up their cans of pop, I pick up their leftover hotdogs. I pick up their trash. That takes me hours. It takes me hours. He said, and here's the key phrase. He said, I have to move into humility. It's going to a lower place.
00:13:18 It's being a servant. It's deliberately thinking less often of ourselves, less often, not less of ourselves, but less often of ourselves. So if I want to be a person of influence, what are the principles necessary for me? Number one, I have to have a hunger and insatiable hunger to be near God because I can only do this in the strength of the Holy spirit and be an influence.
00:13:45 And secondly, I must humble myself, uh, in order to be like Jesus, then I will be an influence, hopefully, hopefully, And hopefully a positive one. Um, so as someone who has done a lot of training, a lot of speaking, uh, you know, both in as a pastor as well as now, you know, doing the,
00:14:08 the two, uh, effective elders, what are some specific tips that you have for people that want to build their influence by speaking? Sure. Well, I taught, uh, homiletics for about 20 years, uh, in seminaries as an adjunct professor. And, uh, so I could give you about a five hour mini course right now on public speaking,
00:14:32 but I'm not going to do that. Yeah, let's keep, let's keep it down to at least, you know, an hour and a half. How's that? What I would do, Scott? Um, I would just tell a person who wanted to increase his or her skills in public speaking. Literally write out your talk word for word, just like a chapter in a book.
00:14:54 Whether you are delivering a sermon, whether you're delivering a lecture, whether you're doing a motivational talk, no matter if it's 10 minutes, 20 minutes, however long it is, write it out word for word, then read through it out loud a few times. Become so familiar with it, read through it a few times. Then practice it. Literally go out to your garage,
00:15:24 go to, uh, your study, close the door, whatever. Put a timer up so that you can see the time passing in front of you so that you can get a right pace. Nita, a right pace and delivery is very important because listen to this statement, people listen with their eyes, not their ears, only know with their eyes.
00:15:48 So how we dress can be a barrier. If I need an all my audience before I'm speaking to that audience and I need to dress like they're addressing. If I've been asked to speak to some business executives and they're going to be at a luncheon, I had better wear a suit and a tie. Uh, if I'm speaking to some high school graduates,
00:16:10 I had better wear my shorts and my uh, grandpa t-shirt and maybe some tennis shoes. I need to match my audience because you see, if I wanted to speak to those high school graduates and I'm wearing a suit and a tie, that's a barrier already they're listening with their eyes and go, who's this airhead? Why would I want to listen to him?
00:16:33 Also to people listen with their eyes and they see our hands. Our hands need to be moving appropriately. So when I'm practicing in the garage or wherever, I need to be thinking just like I have a large screen TV, maybe a 48 52 inch screen TV in front of me and that's the arena where my hands can move. I don't want to be over expressive.
00:16:52 Similarly, my facial expressions speak volumes. Similarly, if I'm standing rigidly in one place, it's going to be a distraction. I need to be comfortably moving in a box, maybe a box that's five feet by five feet. And so I would say to somebody, if you want to become more of an influence through your speaking ability, write it all out,
00:17:16 read it, become familiar with it, and then practice it a number of times now. And here's the icing on the cake. You will become exceptionally effective when you speak completely free of notes. And, uh, I learned to do that back in the 1980s when I was first ordained in the early 1980s. And, uh, for me, all I want in my hand is the word of God.
00:17:46 And I want nothing else around me. I don't want to pulp it, I don't want to lecture and I don't want a music stand. I want nothing to interfere between the listener and myself. I want to close that gap as effectively as I can. So when you're out in the garage and if you've written it all out, so you have one continuous flow of thought and you know that you're not,
00:18:10 you're not using an outline. If you use an outline there, you're not going to have flow of reasonable related thought. Plus two. If somebody said, Oh man, that was so incredible today, that motivational talk you gave. Can I have your, uh, material, uh, to remember and, and I email that person and outline and there are all of these blank white spaces in between the lines.
00:18:34 I'm not going to help him. You know, you, you said you're preaching in many places. If you were to email me and say, Hey Gary, have you ever preached, um, the uh, rich person with many barns out of the gospel of Luke and Scott? I appreciate that. Somebody in time More than once, I'm sure. And you'd say,
00:18:52 Oh, can I, can I have some of your material? I'd say, absolutely. And you know what I would do? I can look in my Bible and I am an identification number system for every sermon I've written. Then I go into my computer and I look up the actual manuscripts of every one of those sermons. I attach them to the email to you and when you open them,
00:19:10 you're reading an actual manuscript word for word that reads just like a chapter in a book. How can I help you? If I'm just sending you a nebulous outline. So if I want to be a better speaker, I'm going to take the time to write it out, word for word, including every illustration, then I'm going to read it out loud.
00:19:31 Then I'm going to practice the actual delivery, invite somebody to critique you in that practice moment and then I'm going to memorize it so that I can be free of any encumbrance in its delivery. And, and you know, that last step of free of notes, uh, can often be very, very intimidating. And I w the one thing I would say is if this is something that you're first starting out and you don't get there,
00:20:01 that's okay. You know, keep going, keep practicing. Um, you know, And here's a little cheat sheet. Take a little post it note and on that post it note, put whatever primary points you want to put and put that in your Bible wherever the text is. Or if you are giving a motivational speech, whatever, you can have that little post it note someplace and be less and less and less dependent upon big sheets of paper.
00:20:31 Yeah. And I've done both. I've preached from a sheet of paper, uh, you know, when I first started out and I done it where I've done it with almost, you know, with pretty much nothing except the Bible. Um, but it does take some time to get to that point. Usually it's a practice. It's a skill. Yeah.
00:20:48 Like everything else. And so I just want to, I just want to say that so people don't immediately throw that up as a barrier while I'm not there yet. So I can't start. No. Yes, you can start. Yeah. Well, I have, uh, friends who are very gifted speakers and they read their sermons, but you would never know it.
00:21:08 Right. They have practiced and they have polished their delivery, reading a manuscript, and they have written and, and it is incredible their giftedness in their delivery. So you gotta figure out what works for me. Sure, sure. So, Gary, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener? Uh Hm. Yeah, I, you know,
00:21:37 I think that, um, something that has really helped me, um, my mom and dad were, uh, 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, both uniquely to each of them that has been beyond monetary value.
00:22:08 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. Mom was adopted by her grandma,
00:22:33 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 Reinhart gave her a way, uh, in the wedding, kind of like a,
00:22:59 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. And by the time my mom was 22 years of age,
00:23:30 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, but what I inherited from my mom's Scott was this in indomitable ability to see what is right with life.
00:23:56 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 than 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. I never once heard my mom complain.
00:24:12 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 confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
00:24:38 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, and I can be confident of this. And then verse 14 says, wait on the Lord. Be strong. Take heart and wait on the Lord. And that has changed my life.
00:25:00 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. And I, and I would just say to people,
00:25:22 please let 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, all I have to do is look for them.
00:25:52 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. 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.
00:26:35 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:

  • Why Christians must recognize their influence... 
  • His definition of leadership...
  • Some of his top leadership resources....
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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It's being a servant.  It's deliberately thinking less often of ourselves.  - Dr. Gary Johnson

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