Guest Post: David Hertweck served as senior associate pastor of Trinity A/G in Clay, NY for over eleven years. He served as the lead pastor of inside-out student ministries and element young adults ministries and as a worship leader. He is an ordained Assembly of God minister. He presently serves as the District Youth Ministries and Chi Alpha Director.

One of the most difficult tasks for any leader is when it comes to owning up to their own mistakes. We’re frightfully proficient at deflecting blame and intuitively skilled at protecting self. We carefully craft our words or strategically choose silence to avoid owning up. If you’re anything like me, you have an “inner lawyer” that can readily defend your actions and motives. But everyone loses when leaders don’t own up. Churches and organizations need leaders who own up.

What are the benefits of owning up?

1) The team you lead will be attracted to your transparency and more likely to trust your leadership.

2) Your honesty gives the team a better (and safer!) starting point for the necessary learning and growing conversations.

3) You’re modeling for your team how to humbly own up.

Where do we find the motivation to own up? The same place we find the motivation and power for all true spiritual growth: the Gospel.

The Gospel frees us to own up by giving us a true starting point: we’re sinful beyond belief. Recognizing our own depravity and tendencies keeps us from placing ultimate hope in our leadership skills or in our abilities to make things work and make people happy. When I place my ultimate hope in being “The Leader”, I will be dangerously busy maintaining that image and I’ll find myself becoming unusually angry or down when I fail. The reason? I’ve made my leadership status my true god and when I fail, it has no power to forgive me. It will only crush me. The result? I’ll never own up.

The Gospel also frees us to own up by giving us a true resting place: we’re loved beyond hope because of Jesus. As your heart rests and rejoices in that unchanging truth, you won’t be a slave to approval or achievement because the cross is the source of both of those things. Your true worth to God is never at risk when you make mistakes. The result? You’ll be humble in all your wins and you’ll own up to all your mistakes.

Question: Why is owning-up difficult for you as a leader? Share your thoughts and let’s learn from one another.

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