Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on April 12, 2019

I picked up the book Dare to Lead by Bene Brown last year when our Lead Mentor, Dr. Jason, recommended it on his personal Facebook page. I believe his comment was that this book was as good as A Failure of Nerve which was another book I was highly impacted by. After seeing his recommendation, I bought and read it during our small break after last summer semester. Since then I have gone back to it a few times through the new app I use Blinkist which gives you summaries of popular books. This book, and in fact all of the authors reading, is a unique a refreshing style that many people today are obviously resonating with. Bene Brown’s books are top sellers and her Ted Talks rank among the highest. Many people today recognize and are flocking to the vulnerable style of writing and example that Bene Brown promotes in her book.


I’m writing about this blog, from a book I read 6 months ago, and listened to the summary of 2 more times, and reviewed a few summaries and blogs before writing this post. And by happenstance this last week I was working through Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast which this week’s topic was about a leader’s vulnerability. His lesson which was titled, How to be real and not weird, he addressed a question that I have worked through with many of my students, and that is, how vulnerable should a leader be.


Between Bene Brown’s example of the upside of vulnerability, and Craig Groeschel’s wisdom from experience in pastoral experience, we have some great insight for what vulnerability and leadership should look like for Christians in pastoral leadership. One of Craig’s main points was, ““Telling the truth means what you say is true. It doesn’t mean everything true needs to be said.”[1] At first this sounded like how kids try and hide what they actually did but saying things around the truth and are in fact intentionally misleading. I think the difference between that childish cowardice, and this is the heart behind it and wisdom involved in knowing what is maleficent to leave out and what is loving to leave out. If somethings were said it would only breed anxiety with no actionable information.


Craig also clarifies times when sharing in complete vulnerability is not wise,

  • “At the wrong time. Choosing when to be transparent is wise, not deceitful.
  • To the wrong people. Not everyone needs to know everything.
  • In the wrong way. If your emotions are high, your judgment is generally low. If you are wound up, wait before you call, meet, tweet, or hit “Send.”[2]


And lastly Groeschel covers three times when vulnerability is import as leaders,

  • Transparency is appropriate when we want to show people what we know
  • Transparency is appropriate when we want to show people what we see
  • Transparency is appropriate when we want to show people what we know[3]



I agree with Groeschel on these points.


Brene Brown brings up a lot more depth than Groeschel, and of course back it up with a lot of research and emotional intelligence. Her workbook, which is available as a free download on her website was especially helpful, and I think I will continue to go through it slowly, after my devotions, like I did with the Deep Change workbook.


In the end, with all of this content to sift through, here is the answer I tell my students in regards to vulnerability. Here is a good guiding principle. Model vulnerability and trust, but never go to the people your leading, with your emotional needs. So therefore, ask yourself the question, “why am I wanting to share this to my team?” Is it because you have an emotional weight that you need to get off so you can feel better? Then you are just displacing your own discomfort and perhaps guilt and it down onto them. If instead, you are self-differentiated, and are removed from the anxiety of it all, you can share with confidence your own failures, short-comings, and dweeby-moments with those you are leading. While its still completly possible to teach with moral authority and show the example of how you are an exemplar in a topic, the appropriate sharing of vulnerability can be very endearing. It shows a leader who has nothing to prove and is comfortable with their own limitations.


A second question I ask, is this the right timing to share?  Often times its easier for a leader to share about past-tense vulnerability, but a leader who is still going through something, may set themselves up for an unmanageable amount of scrutiny by sharing something premature. Whether this is god-sized dream or an off the wall new idea, not everyone is ready to hear it. Consider Joseph who got into a bad situation because he shared his dream with the wrong people. While most people are busy competing for the ordinary ideas and results, an extraordinary idea is intimidating for them and uncomfortable.



Works Cited

Brown Brené. Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. New York: Random House, 2018.

Groeschel, Craig. “Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.” No SVG support, April 2019. https://www.craiggroeschel.com/leadershippodcast.


[1] Craig Groeschel, “Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast,” No SVG support, April 2019, https://www.craiggroeschel.com/leadershippodcast.


[2] Craig Groeschel, “Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast,” No SVG support, April 2019, https://www.craiggroeschel.com/leadershippodcast.


[3] Craig Groeschel, “Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast,” No SVG support, April 2019, https://www.craiggroeschel.com/leadershippodcast.

About the Author

Kyle Chalko

17 responses to “Dare”

  1. Mike says:

    Congrats on making it this far! I looked at your Blinkist and wish I had seen this at the beginning of this degree program.
    While I get what Brown and others are saying about being vulnerable, this is nothing new to good leadership, just packaged and presented in a new way to younger leaders who have not been around as long as some of us. I like the basic Matt. 5:37 “let you yes be yes and your no be no” and James 1:19 “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
    As I grew up in leadership models we did not call it being vulnerable but were encouraged to share our feelings and thoughts about whatever the matter was before us that could be a good teaching point or leadership moment. The only person I am completely vulnerable to is the Holy Spirit, everyone else is still connected to the sin world and will likely be used and influenced by principalities and powers.
    We are called to reflect Christ Rom: 8:29, called to stand firm Eph 6:11, called to confess our sins to one another James 5:16, offer the other cheek Luke 6:27-36, be humble Phil. 2:5-10, and be strong and courageous Deut. 31:6. I don’t see any explicit verses on vulnerability.
    Great post Kyle…thanks for sharing about Blinkist.
    Stand firm,

  2. Jay says:

    Hi Kyle,

    I appreciate your Blog! I have watched and listened to Craig Groeschel many times, most recently at last year’s Leadership Summit after the Willow Creek fallout with Bill Hybels. I felt he handled it well and go back to this short video often,


    Just want you to know I am grateful for you being in this program, and I look forward to our wives meeting in London!

  3. Jason Turbeville says:

    Your second question asked “Is this the right time to share” is a great one for leaders. Far to often I have seen pastors crash and burn because they put themselves out to far to soon and it harmed the vision. Being prudent in your timing is something we all need to focus on. One thing we talked about in my earlier seminary days was the concept of being to vulnerable and open with students can sometimes give the illusion that said activity would be ok to indulge in, know your audience and how they will take the talk is something I remind myself often. Do you take this same approach with your students?


  4. Jean Ollis says:

    Hi Kyle! I appreciate you dicing through the vulnerability piece – the whens, wheres, and whys. For me it’s really about authenticity….not sharing every detail, but being willing to share insecurity, doubts, and fears. I love Mike’s take on humans harming you with your disclosures – I’ve seen that happen in ministry.

  5. Hey Kyle,

    Thanks for your post which brings up good points: timing of vulnerability, and having the discernment to know whom to share with.

    I typically am quite vulnerable, and have learned that sometimes my timing is off and I share too broadly. I’ve regretted that later… I have had to learn to be more selective and discerning.

  6. Dan Kreiss says:


    It is a fine line when it comes to recognizing the right time and the right place to be vulnerable. It is good that you are teaching this to your students. Too often we just assume that those in ministry will intuitively understand. The biggest issue I have found with my students is that more often than not they fail to demonstrate any vulnerability at all, too afraid that it will undermine their leadership. Jesus demonstrated vulnerability at several points in his recorded ministry. I teach my own students about the need to establish boundaries but also how critical it is to have what I call ‘non-optional friendships’. These are deep and dynamic connections with people with whom you can be vulnerable. I think many of the public failures of Christian leaders occurred because they did not have people with whom they could be real. How do you encourage students to develop those relationships when they find themselves in a new ministry context?

    • Kyle Chalko says:

      Good point Dan. I always encourage them to have outside people, frineds and mentors, who are not affected by their decisions. This way they can know that that person really has their bes interest at heart.

  7. Greg says:

    I like that you are always reading, listening and growing in your knowledge. I am not familiar with Craig Groeschel but will need to look this up.
    Loved this advice, “Model vulnerability and trust, but never go to the people your leading, with your emotional needs”. So often we hear of leaders that shared their burdens in a very unhealthy ways looking for excuses or sympathy rather than finding those not on our team to unload our burdens on. I do know that church leadership can be very lonely and finding those we trust to speak with can also be difficult. I think finding a trusted friend can be one of the most challenging aspects of ministry. Your second question is an important one. We all get excited about a dream or are overwhelmed with problems that we want to share…many times prematurely. Good words brother.

  8. Trisha Welstad says:

    Kyle, I like your mash up of both Groeshel and Brown. In particular, I thought Craig’s advice on sharing too much when emotions are high was helpful. I found myself doing that recently and have had to both be more quiet and apologize for oversharing. I typically am not overly transparent as I have learned my lesson through doing so too much when I was younger, but when something really big hits it can be tempting to want a lot of support from others. I am glad you are coaching young people on this. It is a huge deal to have good emotional intelligence in this area and could mean their ability to minister in safe and effective ways.

    • Kyle Chalko says:

      Thanks Trish, yeah its important to find safety in who you are vulnerable to. I know that same draw that you are talking about, when you are craving extra support. It pushes you to open up to people you normally wouldnt… but once the cat is out of the bag, you can’t go back to your co-workers or your followers not knowing what you shared. Theres many times I wished I had kept more privacy.

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