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Getting Peoples' Attention

  • 24 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Little boy blowing a blowhornSaul’s first recorded royal duty as the new king of Israel was to deal with the siege of Jabesh Gilead (1 Sam. 11). The residents of the city sought a peace treaty with the invading Ammonites. Nahash, the Ammonite commander, agreed. However, he had one condition – the Ammonites would gouge out the right eye of every inhabitant of the city. How did Saul respond to this outrageous proposal? “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger” (1 Sam. 11:6). He promptly took a pair of oxen, cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout Israel with the message, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel” (v. 7).

In this case, Saul used a graphically illustrated threat to get peoples’ attention and mobilize them to take extraordinary action. Now, I wouldn’t recommend threats as a leadership tactic for motivating people. However, sometimes people need to be jolted out of a sense of complacency. Good leaders know how to inspire and incite, as appropriate! Not surprisingly, 330,000 men responded to Saul’s call and they soundly defeated the Ammonites.

Proving Your Worth

  • 23 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Person stepping out from the rest of the crowdLeaders often have their detractors (see my “Some People will Dislike You” blog), people who for one reason or another don’t believe in them. Even though Samuel had publicly declared that Saul was the new king of Israel, some doubted his abilities, at least until they witnessed Saul’s stunning victory over the Amalekites (1 Sam. 11:1-11). Saul proved his worth and the people confirmed him as their king (vv. 12-15). Sometimes, people need to see what we can do before they will wholeheartedly endorse our leadership. It’s a part of the credibility-building process. As Christian leaders, we want to increasingly demonstrate a Christ-like character (this is of paramount importance), but we also want to be competent in our leadership role (or at least growing in our competence). You can read more about what I consider are the seven key dimensions of Christian leadership in my article posted in the Resources section.

"Some People Will Dislike You"

  • 22 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Dartboard with Randy's picture in the middle
When I started out in pastoral ministry, my Lead Pastor told me that at least 10% of the people in the church would grow to dislike me. How’s that for encouragement! Yet, as a young, people-pleasing intern, I needed to have this kind of reality check. At the end of 1 Samuel 10, Saul returns to his hometown of Gibeah with a cadre of valiant men. Yet, we also learn that some troublemakers despised him and openly questioned his leadership (1 Sam. 10:27). I suspect that these agitators were part of Saul’s 10%. Fortunately, God had already brought key supporters into Saul’s life – the heroes I mention in a previous blog (see Surrounded by Heroes). I don’t enjoy being disliked. However, as a leader, I need to accept that peoples’ displeasure often comes with the territory and continue to lead even as God leads me. 

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