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

Running with the devils

Written by: on April 12, 2018

Samuel Chand’s Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth is an insightful and encouraging book to finish the 2018 Spring LGP8 Semester.  Why?  Because Chand gives leaders a no-nonsense, “count the cost” picture on how to lead in ministry while following Christ.[1]  I have been a transformational-situational-servant leadership practitioner for many years and  I frequently tell others that “leadership hurts.” Chand’s book helped narrow my focus, increase my vocabulary, and challenged me to “run with the devils.”[2]  This post, as always, will look for ideas, themes, and links to my dissertation research.  In addition, I see added value from Chand to expand my leadership praxis in the process.

How does one learn to run with the devils? Why in such a confused world where everyone struggles to resist Satan would anyone suggest such a thing?  Chand knows why!  I knew I would like this author right away when he boldly challenged Christian leaders with the following statement, “Learn to run with the devils in your midst today, and God will reward you with many more to deal with!”[3]  The devils Chand is referring to are the 10% of the average congregation who cause 90% of the problems in the church.[4]  I did not find any support for his statistic, but I know from my public safety days that we used to use the rule-of-thumb that 10% of the people commit 90% of the crime.  So, if we identified the repeat criminal offenders and increased our efforts towards them, then crime was reduced.  I wonder if the same strategy, increasing our pastoral ministry efforts on the 10% of the congregational devils would reduce their unhealthy influence on the other 90% and improve the witness and testimony of the church?

Are devils everywhere?  My research problem says that the church leaders are desensitized to the idea of a real devil and as a result their response to spiritual warfare is marginalized.  Whole congregations sit week after week being fed love, grace, and happiness but never hear about why bad things happen to good people.    Chand says, “For leaders, there will always be a fight against our culture’s values and our sinful nature.”[5]  I was happy to see Chand quote the Apostle Peter and identify Satan as the predominant threat to each of us.  The Apostle Peter says to stay sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls, stalks, and lurks around you “like a roaring lion” who is looking for someone to devour, consume, and demolish.[6]  In comparison, the Apostle Peter , like the Apostle Paul, encourages Christians to resist Satan and stand firm in the faith.[7]

Who is Chand and how does he compare with other Christian leadership authors?  After reviewing Chand’s notes section, I did not see any citations or references to Christian leadership authors such MacArthur, Blanchard, Blackaby, Stanley, or Lowney.  However, I did see a forward from Maxwell and a quote from Tozer that helped instill some scholarly confidence in Chand.  I felt a little suspicious with his cheesy picture and biography where his publisher used a lot of fancy word-plays like “dream releaser, leadership architect, change strategist, and leadership Guru” words to promote the author of a Christian based servant-leader book.  Nevertheless, after living in Africa and making friends with Christian expats from India, I understand the cross-cultural context and marketing strategy for his book.   Chand has published 12 books and specializes in a Dream Releaser program with four tracks costing $1000 each.[8]

I could not find as many reviews on Chand as I hoped but here is a sampling of scholarly critique on Leadership Pain.  First, Borrett supports Chand’s thesis that God uses our pain, hurts, betrayals, and disappointments for “His Kingdom, for His glory and for whatever is next.”[9]  Borrett felt that the book ended too abruptly and needed a more comprehensive conclusion.[10] Second, Blundell adds the Western context into his review of Chand and says that Christians “have grown up in a comfort obsessed expectation.  We have the idea that pain is bad and comfort is good.”[11]  He supports Chand’s conclusion that growth = change, change = loss, and loss= pain.  Therefore, he agrees with Chand who says, “If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading.”[12]

I guess that might be true sometimes.  For instance, when I served with a missionary aviation organization with 50 expatriates and over 100 indigenous nationals I experienced new degrees of hurting by leading within a diverse cross-cultural context.   Leading volunteers is tough enough, but leading volunteers from other cultures within a cross-cultural context whose world views range from collective tribe to independent family unit can create many a challenges and new types of hurting for the leader.  I used Maxwell’s 360-degree feedback challenge in 2011 within the African cross-cultural context.  It was a very humbling, enlightening, and reflective process for me that I will never forget.

In summary, I am inspired to “run with the devils” and focus on the 10% of our congregants who cause 90% of the problems in the church.  I believe that if I can share the Armor of God (AOG) coin ministry and message with the church devils, that they will attract and attach themselves to the ministry of putting on the whole armor of God.  I have seen it work in the 10% of criminals who commit 90% of the crime category and I believe the AOG ministry and coin artifact will find similar success in the 10% of church devils category too.

Stand firm,

M. Webb

[1] Luke 14:28, ESV.
[2] Samuel Chand. Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2015) 35.
[3] Ibid., 34.
[4][4] Ibid., 33.
[5] Ibid., 180.
[6] 1 Pet. 5:5-9.
[7] Chand, Leadership Pain, 180.
[8] Samuel Chand, “Dream Releaser Coaching,” http://www.dreamreleaser.com/ (accessed April 12, 2018).
[9] Mark Borrett. “LEADERSHIP PAIN: THE CLASSROOM FOR GROWTH.” The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership 9, no. 2 (2015): 102.
[10] Ibid., 103.
[11] Dave Blundell, “Staff Blog: Leadership Pain – Book Review,” Hungry for Life, https://www.hungryforlife.org/blog/leadership-pain-book-review (accessed April 8, 2018).
[12] Chand, Leadership Pain, 3 & 15.

About the Author


7 responses to “Running with the devils”

  1. Jennifer Williamson says:

    I wondered if you would pick up on and write about the “devils.” One of my mentors used to say, “Where there’s people, there’s pooh pooh. And where there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of pooh pooh.” This goes along with what Chand was getting at. Growth means not only more people, but more pooh pooh.

    So in tying this is with you research, are you saying that those 10% would stop creating challenges within the body of Christ if they were equipped with the full armour of God?

  2. Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Mike,

    Great “devils” and “devil” discussion. Sounds like you are living out with the 10% what a mentor told me once, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.” Keep that coin ministry going, my Brother.

    Ouch on the four track Dream Releaser program costing $1000 each. Good job using your critical thinking skills to uncover that one!

  3. Mike,

    I see you feel the same as I did about the back flap photo. 😉

    Can I push back a bit on your suggested focus on the 10% who are causing problems in the church? Is it not Satan’s modus operandi for us to focus on him? It seems that by zeroing in ministry efforts to change the 10% we would be just highlighting the divisive work of the devil, and causing attention to flow toward it. My approach would be a straightforward conversation one-on-one with the rabble rouser, but draw the line on expected behaviour. If they continued their divisive antics, request that they leave the church.

    • M Webb says:

      Yes, please push back, I love it! I agree with your “church discipline” scenario. That is a very Biblical approach. I have had good success with the 12-Step Recovery programs that usually have some of that 10% I was referring to. For the solo outlier, who just wants to create problems, then the 1 or 2 member approach you described has good merit. Now, when they push back are we ready to give them the Holy “boot” out the door?
      Stand firm,
      M. Webb

  4. Shawn Hart says:

    I hate the reality of knowing that there may be “devils” in the auditorium during worship, but I too warn my members that “church” is probably the first place they should expect Satan to show up; after all, he already has the rest of the world. It is almost scary how many proud Christians I have heard boasting about the preacher they got fired…as though it was some triumph rite of passage in their life. As a minister, I believe it is important to remember that even in the body of Christ, Satan is working to get at us, so we must always be on guard.

  5. Greg says:


    I know if my context it sometimes in easy to see life going well and “forget” for a while that the are battles that are unseen. I was reminded this week that this area can’t be avoided. In this public blog I will simply say that there in increased observance, pressure and a feeling of what is to come. These are definitely a spiritual issue and battle against all the good and growth in this country.

    I have always wanted to avoid pain so wasn’t overly excited with the “If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading” quote. In overseas work it does seem most of our pain comes from other foreigners trying to seek their own agendas. Sounds like you have experienced that as well. Appreciate your consistent presence and reminder of a life of diligence.

  6. Chris Pritchett says:

    Excellent focused article on the topic of evil that Chand leans into. It is always an important reminder and so easy to loose sight of the fact that the devil is prowling around looking for sleepy Christians to devour. This is why you are focusing on the Armor of God and I commend you for paying attention to a realm that many in the west pretend does not exist.

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