A couple of weeks ago I invited my readers to share their own answers to the leadership questions I had been asking other leaders. I have some great leaders reading my blog…some of whom I have never met. This has been a great experiment. I’m learning from some leaders who weren’t on my radar previously.
Here are 10 questions with leader Eldon Kelley:
When you were growing up, are you doing what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?
Growing up I always wanted to be a missionary in Brazil. I always loved hearing the stories that these men and women had from the field. Then I changed my focus and wanted to be a cop. I went to school, trained, tested but I never passed the tests. The problem was, those were things I wanted to do, not exactly what God wanted. So no, I never dreamed of being a pastor.
What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?
Every job I have ever had was way different than pastoring. Each job was one that you could see the work being done…stocking shelves in a store, restaurant work, working FedEx…everyone of them I could see the work being accomplished through out the day. Although I don’t see the “work” being accomplished as quickly now, these past jobs have taught me that the work is still being done and that I must stick to it. Don’t give up.
Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?
Hands down, George Beers. He was a my pastor many years ago and has now continued to be a mentor to me now that I’m a pastor. He has taught me so much. Without him I would have been sunk in the mire of my self-absorbed life. George has shown me that the perspective of scripture is the only source of perspective that I need to be concerned about. Not what others think and certainly not even what I think.
Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?
“If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat” by John Ortberg. This one book continues to challenge me. If I want to encounter Jesus face to face like Peter did, I have to move. It challenges me to encourage others to do the same. As I see those around me wanting more, but not willing to move more, I can share the simple truths from this book. I don’t want to be one of the 11 still sitting in the boat. I want to see what would happen if all of us got out of the boat and started walking. Wow, a revolution that would start.
What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?
Oh My Goodness!
No, just kidding….Relaxed, Real, Willing.
What is your greatest strength in leadership?
Humor. It may sound strange, but being people to feel relaxed and comfortable, you can speak so much more into their lives. Whether it’s from the stage or from across the coffee cup. Being able to do this with any age group is something God has blessed me with. I’m not a stand-up comic, but just able to make people relax. God can use anything about us if we are willing to let Him.
What is your greatest weakness in leadership?
Self-doubt by far. I second guess myself at every turn. Am I truly called to do this or that? Am I really the one who should be leading? Shouldn’t someone else be doing this? Maybe I should second guess God on this vision He has given me.
This doubt can not only destroy the leader, but will eventually destroy those he leads…including your family.
What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?
Leading those who are older and wiser than me! Some of these people have been following Christ longer than I’ve been alive. Leading them through scripture and through life can be a real challenge. Pointing out areas that may need to change in their well established lives is rough at times. The key is, remembering that I am the one God has called to lead (not in arrogance), and that I will be doing those saints a disservice if I don’t.
What is one misconception about your leadership position you think people may have?
That the money is good! Nah, just kidding.
I think the biggest misconception, if you will, is that I do things differently than other leaders they have been used too. The misconception comes when I am expected to do things in a way that has been the norm of the past. How I do things still works, still has a positive outcome, and is still Biblical…it’s just different.
If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?
Hold tight to the word that God speaks to you. Write it down, never forget it, make it who you are and how you do things. Don’t let anyone steal it from you. 10 years ago God called me to be His torch bearer…every part of who I am has been to become that.
Who is a leader I may not know that I should be talking to these days?