DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

If You Are Called to Lead….LEAD!!!

Written by: on October 13, 2016

There was a room in my church immediately off the foyer.  It was carpeted, with giant shadow boxes and faded Assemblies of God mission’s posters in them.  The furniture was a collection of new and what was left over.  There was an infamous lounge chair that had matching duct-tape to hold the seams together on the side.  This room would be one of the first things you would see if you came into the church.

As I came into my third month of ministry, I decided to have a month dedicated to missions.  The strategy was simple.  We will support missionaries, missionary projects and church planting.  With this in mind, I decided to take that room off the foyer and renovate it to become our mission’s café. It would reflect what we do around the world and therefore it must be excellent.  As I cast the vision of what we were going to do, my point person for the project pulled out all these designs and brought them to my door.  As I went through the pages and the pictures, I asked, “What are these?” She stated, “These were all the pages I pulled for ideas on this room.”  I continued to ask questions and found out that there was a planned remodel of this room.  As a matter of fact, it was going to be very similar to what I had in mind.

As we discussed the plans, I found out that it would probably only take about $1800 to finish the project.  I also found out that the project was never finished because the senior pastor had people give their own opinions on what needed to be done, so he stopped the project because he was afraid someone would get their feelings hurt.

Call it naiveté or being in a honeymoon period, I cared less about people’s feelings and more about creating a space that would point to where we were going.  It took us two weeks and $2100, and we finished the room, and no one complained or left the church.

There have been many moments like this one.  Some of the indecisiveness nearly sunk the church financially.  As I enter in the second year of ministry, many people have asked how the church is doing or what was the main problem with the church? My answer is always the same.  The church’s problem never had to do with the people, the church’s problem had everything to do with the leadership or lack thereof.  The church which I have been stewarding needed someone to come in and lead and not be afraid.  This is the whole essence of Edwin Friedman’s book, Failure of Nerve.



Drawing upon the example of Europe before the enlightenment, Friedman explains that leadership, creativity, adventure and decisiveness go hand in hand.  In other words, current leadership models focus on safety and security that lead to quick fixes, but never lasting change.  Friedman calls upon leaders to not to accumulate data, but rather be willing to act with strength, stamina and responsibility.



There are so many real-world examples that tie into Friedman’s work.  I will point out one thing that our friend Aaron Cole told me before I took my position here at my church.  He told me that if I was afraid of losing my position here at the church, then I would become an ineffective leader within the church.  In other words, a person who opts comfort will sometimes fail to do what is right for the organization.  That has stuck with me, and I think it applies a great deal to Friedman’s book.

Leadership is not for the faint of heart.  Leaders at times have to make very unpopular calls for the good of the organization, family or nation.  If one fails to make those decisions and opts for an easier route, then it will inevitably lead to stagnation, decline and ultimately death. Leaders must lead.

About the Author


Jason Kennedy

I am a pastor of a thriving church in Grapevine, Texas. With two little girls (5,8), and a wife that is a medical doctor (family practice), life is non-stop.

7 responses to “If You Are Called to Lead….LEAD!!!”

  1. Jason,

    Great words on leadership. Have you ever had to deal with the sabotage of your leadership in this new location? Have it been from a colleague or has you strength of leadership be embraced because of the lack of it in the past? Hope all is going well on your complete remodel of your sanctuary. Love to see the before and after of this exciting journey. Our friend Aaron is a bold leader that has lived what he told you to do. Continue on!! God Bless


    • Jason Kennedy says:


      I have on a small scale. Two people that were not influential have tried. The recent past at the church was so bad, people wanted strength in leadership. Those who did not, left.


  2. Hi Jason. Thank you for your story and for passing along the wisdom of Aaron Cole. I agree with him and I am glad you got your mission cafe remodeled. I really enjoyed the book. What do you think is inside of you that you were able to move forward with the project and not worry about people’s feelings? Besides Aaron’s advice, do you think effective leaders possess something intangible that allows them to get things done like that?

  3. mm Phil Goldsberry says:


    It has been amazing and invigorating to watch you this first year of pastoring in Grapevine. You have stepped up and stepping in with “Friedman”-authority.

    Have you had to field the accusations of being “strong” in a church that had a vacuum for leadership? How have you balanced the demands?


  4. Claire Appiah says:

    I like the title of your blog; it carries so much meaning in relation to one’s true purpose and mission. It looks like your present situation is a good fit for you in terms of vision, strength, and overall growth and development. Glad you’re heeding the advice of our friend and brother, Aaron Cole.
    What if any specific nuggets were you able to glean from Friedman’s book that have direct application to your church context or the way you aspire to lead?

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