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

Obligation to Others is an Art of Leadership

Written by: on April 21, 2015

Obligation to others is an Art of Leadership

April 21, 15

Max De Pree has done a masterful job in defining leadership qualities in

Leadership is an Art. He comes off more like a preacher who is dedicated to people and not things. I admired his passion for those who worked in his company. He got really into whom they were not just what he hired them for. It would be great if church leaders had the same passion for people and not what they can get out of people. There were so many points he hit on that are so important in leadership. One was that he defined integrity as, “A fine sense of one’s obligation.”[1] This really intrigued because we have an obligation to others and ourselves. And when this obligation is looked over integrity is thrown out the window and mistreatment begins. As a pastor it so disheartens to be around leaders who have no heart for others. It is getting more and more noticeable that some leaders lack a sense of obligation to others except when they are in the church. God has called us to an obligation to serve and to have integrity.

Another caveat by De Pree is “liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way.”[2] I think it so important in organizational structures to realize the talent that people have to let them lose to do it. Some organizations are afraid to let this happened because of the fear of them doing something better than themselves. I have had this happen to me so many times. Not allowing people to be free to do what God called them to do is not just a hurt to them but also a hurt to the church. God has created us to be a blessing to each other. Hindering people from doing all that God created them to do is a hurt to the church or any organization. “Thus, the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes obstacles that prevent them from doing their jobs.”[3] This is why I love servant leadership. If you are so great then you should have more to give. I don’t understand leadership that wants people to serve them. I go through the roof with that type of leadership in the church. De Pree was saying this within a business organization. Now if he understood this principle the church really should understand it. Some leaders put obstacles in their follower’s way just so that they can control them. That is so sad. We have an obligation as leaders to serve those that follow us and that is to make available everything they need to succeed. “The sign of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving?”[4] Leaders should master the art of leading people to their greatest potential. We have an obligation to others to do this.

We have an obligation to others at our jobs, schools, churches and organization. Mastering the art of obligation to others is the sign of a true artist, leader, and Christian. May God bless us leaders to master this art!

[1] Max De Pree, Leadership is an Art [New York, New York: Doubleday, 1989], xvii.

[2] Ibid., xviii-xix.

[3] Ibid., xix.

[4] Ibid., 10.

About the Author

Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

10 responses to “Obligation to Others is an Art of Leadership”

  1. Jon Spellman says:

    Travis, your quote “Thus, the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes obstacles that prevent them from doing their jobs.” is an important one. If the leader can unfetter the members of the organization, the organization will flourish and the people will be happy. If people (especially volunteer people in a church) are frustrated by obstacles yet still expected to get their work done, we aren’t leading them well.

    Thanks Travis! Good luck on the essay!

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Thanks brother i have been praying for the grace for the class as well with the essay. Servant leadership is not the norm today in most churches. Many leaders like to be “lord” and they dont understand that they are there to empower, bring to full potential those they lead. It is such a rewarding day when God blesses you to realize that we are to be like Christ who “emptied himself of his divinity” and became like us to save us! Now he is a real servant leader. And he made the way for us to become what he created us to be!!!!!

  2. Brian Yost says:

    Travis, I loved your post. You speak with a true pastor’s heart; not a “pastor” who is appointed to do a job but a pastor who is called to feed and shepherd God’s flock.

    One thing you said that really jumped out to me was, “Not allowing people to be free to do what God called them to do is not just a hurt to them but also a hurt to the church.” What a horrible thing! We are called to a ministry of reconciliation in which a person can be reconciled to God and become the person they were created to be. It is unconscionable that Christian leaders become obstacles to this, yet it is happens over and over again.

    • Travis Biglow says:


      Thank you brother,

      I have suffered from people in leadership who purposely held me back for their own reasons. The good thing is God opened a door 100 times greater. That is funny. But it does happen and its sad that people in church leadership will even conspire to make sure you dont go any further at their church but it is real. Never the less we serve God not man and God sees what we don’t and if we do the right thing he will bless us even more!!!! Blessing brother Brian

  3. Nick Martineau says:

    Travis…Really good stuff. I like how you focused on “Mastering the art of obligation to others.” That is a lost art and our selfishness ends up driving most people.

    One caveat I would make to you is our “obligation to others” actually flows from our “obligation to Christ.” Too often I’ve seen pastors feel obligated to others at the expense of their family. Our obligation to Christ directs our path..

    Thanks Travis. I’m really grateful for you.

    • Travis Biglow says:


      Thank you brother, yes our obligation is to Christ first and then to those we serve. Its a lot easier in ministry when we dont feel forced to do something. When its our duty to do it because of what Christ has done for us you feel more relaxed!

  4. Dave Young says:

    I appreciate how you’re identifying issues in the life of the church “Not allowing people…”, “Hindering people…”. Much of this kind of dysfunctional behavior has been around for millennia. It’s the commitment to control. Church leaders got into their thinking it was actually their job to control people… to forcefully manage God’s church. It seems to me what De Pree highlights is a way of looking at people where you see their best and you’re determine to remove any obstacles to them being their best. Oh… to see and lead like that!

    • Travis Biglow says:

      We are on our way to doing it Dave, I cant stand that type of leadership like I joined the church to be someones pet. I think its important to respect people for who they are not for what they have. There are leaders who only respect you if you are a great tither. You get high positions in the church but if you lose your job your position goes with it. So sad!!!

  5. Mary Pandiani says:

    The passion you write about in this post reflects the kind of leader-pastor you are and continue to strive after to be. Your enthusiasm for DePree’s message sounds like you found a kindred soul. With your experience in business and education alongside your church ministry, you have a great combination of what it takes and means to empower others. Your church is fortunate to have you.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Praise the Lord Mary,

      Thank you so much. I aspire to be. I really can relate to Leadership is an Art. Max De Pree sounds like he is a preacher. But coming from a church background where its kind of make it on your own and when you get big then we will recognize you, I have a passion for helping those I serve not just religiously but in forming true relationships. Its not how big you are as it is what type of quality you are. And that’s something that means a lot to me now!!! Blessings Mary!

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