Recently I had the opportunity to meet leadership expert, author and super blogger Michael Hyatt at his book signing.

This was cool because I had been inspired to write this post after listening to his fantastic podcast  on the topic “The Importance of the Leaders Heart”.  If you’re in any kind of leadership role, I highly recommend listening to it.

Michael Hyatt

Meeting Michael Hyatt !

The Leader’s Heart

” …people have to show up at work with more than their education, experience, and skills. They have to come with their heart.”

The state of your heart is important. Throughout God’s word He speaks of his concern for your heart condition. These scriptures for example:

  • Out of the overflow of your heart your mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
  • And it you’re hurting, take heart because “The Lord is close to the broken hearted”  (Psalm 34:18)

Here’s my reflections on “The Importance of the Leaders Heart”  in the context of worship and church leadership.

1. Your heart is who you really are. 

Hyatt says:

 Your heart is your authentic self. It’s the core of your being. It’s that part of you that makes you, you. …. Unfortunately, the focus in our world is too often on the image, that external self, the self you project to those around you. It’s not our authentic self.

This can be so true in church worship world where everything has to be presented so smoothly and “with excellence”.

We lose the imperfections that come with regular people being who they are. People are messy.

There can be a high cost to putting on a good show. We can be in danger of losing not only our personal authentic self, but also that of the church. When you rub all the personality out, you lose your humanity.

“Your heart is either healthy or it’s unhealthy.” – Michael Hyatt

2. When a leader’s heart is unhealthy.

The heart condition of the leader profoundly affects those he is leading. As John Maxwell says, “everything rises and falls with leadership.”

The healthy heart exudes an open and bright spirit.  An unhealthy heart is closed.

Hyatt describes the leader with an unhealthy heart:

it looks like you’re distant and aloof. You’re lost in your own problems. You don’t connect to people. Communication shuts down. You leave people to fend for themselves. You focus on what people are doing wrong. You become critical and demanding, and people feel oppressed. The result? Possibility dries up in the organization, and your influence begins to die.”

So, I have three questions for those of us in worship ministry:

  1. Do people experience you as that guy or girl with the unhealthy heart or closed spirit?
  2. Do you work under a pastor or leader with a closed heart?
  3. Are you trying to lead worship for people with a closed heart?

An unhealthy leader or leadership culture leads to an unhealthy organization. Unhealthy organizations decline and die before their time.

When people feel oppressed, they lose enthusiasm for the mission. If it doesn’t improve eventually, in a church, they will vote with their feet and leave.

3. When a leaders heart is healthy.

“When your heart is open, it looks like you’re fully present and accessible. You’re focused on others. You connect to people. Communication is wide open. You’re a resource to your people. You may focus on what’s missing, but not on who is wrong. That’s an important distinction. You’re affirming and encouraging, and people feel free, not oppressed. The result? Possibility flows through the organization, and the organization grows and develops.”

Led by a healthy leader, people flourish.

Creativity, affection, care, concern, love and commitment overflow from a healthy worshiping community.

4. An encouraging word: lead by example. Be “All In.”

For the worship leader, it all starts with your heart. There is a battle for your heart and mind. Discouragement and disappointment come with the territory.

When people aren’t fully engaged, when you get criticized for one thing or another, or maybe you’re just battling that inner critic who never seems satisfied – these can take their toll on your psyche.

Don’t lose heart.

Do what David did, he encouraged himself in the Lord. (1 Sam 20:6) This is what you must do, as Hyatt says, “your most important work is keeping your heart healthy and wide open.”  

To lead others, first lead yourself. Let the Lover of your soul restore your soul. (Psalm 23: 3)

Then lead from your whole heart. Be “all in”.  Bring the energy of your personality into leading your people. This is the Davidic principle. God has your back.

Bring it.

Question: Have you ever felt close to losing heart? What advice would you give? See you in the comments.

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