John MacArthur

Audio Tape

"19 Characteristics of Leadership"

-  Taped in the Fall of 1991 as presented to the incoming class at The Master's Seminary in Sun Valley California. MacArthur admits right up front that he will not do an exposition of a Bible text, but will speak from "my experience." This tape is worthy of analysis, because it gives us some insights into MacArthur's philosophy of ministry, and thereby, an indication as to why there are so many ongoing contradictions between the "talk" and the "walk" in his ministry. (It also is a cause for pessimism for those of us who have prayed that MacArthur would make positive changes, particularly in the personnel area. After hearing this tape, we have little hope that any real change will occur.)

-  MacArthur lists what his experience has shown him to be the 19 characteristics necessary for effective and godly leadership, with a definition of each and how he applies each personally in his ministry: (Those items without comment were not pertinent to this discussion.)

(1)  Loyalty

(a) "Devoted to people at all costs ... I need to be loyal to them, then my subordinates will be loyal to me."

(b) "If you're loyal to me, you owe me your disagreements."

(c) "Do not demand loyalty from them, give them loyalty. And what that means is that if somebody comes to you to complain about somebody else on your staff or your team, you will not hear that. You will defend that person to the very end, whether or not the criticism is right or wrong."

(d) "I need to be loyal to the people under me in terms of doing everything I can to meet their needs, facilitating their efficiency ... and when I am loyal and committed to them at all costs, it's much easier for them to be loyal back, because they feel the sense of not only example, but obligation."

(2)  Courage

(3)  Stamina

(4)  Empathy

(a) "What people feel ... ability to appreciate and understand the feelings of the people around you."

(b) Need to be sensitive to others feelings, or else will have large turnover "people aren't allowed to be who they are ... a leader will always be dealing with people who can't move as fast as he does or they would be in his place."

(c) "That is what builds loyalty. Sometimes people will say to me, 'You need to deal with that, and you need to deal with that immediately.' And I say, 'Now wait a minute; there's a person here. And there's a long-term relationship. And there's an issue of loyalty here. And I'm not ready to violate all of that just for the sake of the speed of the process. If the process has to take a little bit longer to salvage the long-term loyalty here, then I'm going to have to defer to that' ... We want to ... give space for them to come along and understand where we're going and why."

(5)  Anticipation

(6)  Competitiveness

(7)  Accountability

(8)  Credibility

(9)  Tenacity

(10) Dependability

(11) Self-discipline

(a) "Ordering your life to get the main things done."

(12) Vision

(a) "Keep people apprised of the big picture."

(13) Sacrifice

(a) "Let somebody else take the credit."

(14) Intolerant

(a) Be intolerant "of anything that threatens the ministry [which probably includes criticism] ... anything that threatens to cause ... disunity."

(15) Negotiation Skills

(16) Able to Delegate

(17) Don't Deny Defeat/Rebound

(a) Acknowledge bad decisions and make new ones.

(18) Teachability

(19) Humility

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