Lessons from a Writer on Leading

Lessons from a Writer on Leading

John Piper is a prolific writer and beloved former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist (Minneapolis). A soon-to-be-published anthology of his writings, The Collected Works of John Piper, will be a 13-volume set! Perhaps his most well-known book is Desiring God. The popular Web site DesiringGod.org is named for that book. (You can see Amazon’s listing of all his books by clicking here.) Piper is the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, produces a daily, mini exegetical visual sermon called Look at the Book, he speaks at conferences, and participates in a host of other Kingdom-building activities. Did I mention that he is 70 years old? How does he do all that?

Recently, Desiring God (the organization) produced a short video of Piper called Window into Piper’s Writing. Filmed in his humble home in Minneapolis, the video presents a vibrant and passionate man who shares what his typical day looks like and where his insight and passion for writing come from.

Watching it inspired me to think about my own writing in a different way, including wanting to do more and get far better, but most importantly getting deeper into my Why and being more available for God to execute his plan through me.

As I thought more about what Piper said, I realized the very simple insights that he shared in the video are also wonderful insights for leading. Below are my take-aways from the video about leading. Please take a few minutes to watch the video, then post a comment with your own leadership insights.

Routine–Piper has a disciplined routine to start each day, including a consistent time to wake up, exercise, and eat breakfast. It may seem like a little thing, but I have found that a consistent morning routine (including bed and wake-up times) helps prepare me to deal with daily leadership challenges more effectively.

Time with God–Piper spends time in God’s Word and in prayer every morning. He said he is careful to listen to God. When was the last time you stopped to listen to God? Honestly. I know how easy it is to slip into talk-mode in my own prayers. We have this desire to fill silence with our own thoughts and ideas. I know that God doesn’t talk to us audibly at this time, but I’ve found it is easier to “listen” to God by reading scripture and by journaling what I’m learning.

Intentionality & Purpose–Piper didn’t verbalize this point, but I certainly picked up on it. He does everything with intention and for a purpose. He makes conscious choices that support what God has called him to do. Leaders don’t get anywhere by tripping through the day accidentally. They get into the habit of making choices (not reacting) and aiming at a particular outcome.

Time With His Wife–Piper slipped in a comment at one point about spending his evenings with his wife. He didn’t make a big deal about it, but it was a stark contrast to the many leaders whom I’ve heard say, “After dinner each evening, I spend 20 minutes responding to critical emails, 20 minutes planning the next day, an hour catching up on work reading, then an hour developing a new skill.” No mention of spouse or family. Piper made it clear that his wife is an important part of his day.

What I find interesting about these lessons from this prolific author and leader is that there is nothing surprising or revolutionary in these insights. It is simple. It’s basic and it makes sense.

That makes sense. The most effective people are doing simple things very consistently and very well.

What are your insights about simple things that effective leaders do?

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.

Photo by Luis Llerena. Photo available at Unsplash under CC0 license. Image modified for size and space.

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