Free to Lead – The Ripple Effect
Welcome to the Free to lead podcast with your host. Troy Maxwell from Freedom House Church.
Troy Maxwell: Hey, welcome to another episode of free to lead. My name is Troy Maxwell. And I just want to thank you guys for joining in with us today. It’s been about a month and man I’ve got an exciting episode to share with you today. I’ve got my good friend Pastor Marcus Mecum from Seven Hills Church in in Kentucky Florence, Kentucky, right?
Marcus Mecum: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah,
Troy: Right next to Cincinnati.
Marcus: Yes, sir.
Troy: So, Marcus and I have been friends for a long time, we’re CrossFit buddies we’re Pastor Buddies, we work out together, we compete against each other in many different ways
Marcus: A hundred percent.
Troy: But he’s also one of my favorite people in the world because he just has a way of thinking about things that’s totally different than me and also the way he brings stuff to the table specifically around leadership and leadership in churches just amazing and they have an incredible church. Tell us a little bit about your church.
Marcus: Yeah, like you said we’re ten minutes from downtown Cincinnati, so we consider it’s considered the Cincinnati, Ohio Metroplex, but we’re on the Kentucky side. You know, I’m into I guess I’m about through my 13th year as a pastor there, the first few years I did take over an existing church that was in decline we had some issues that we had to work through. So, the first few years was pretty much us wrapping things up, closing what was there and then we relaunched Seven Hills this November. So, I guess this month were in November, huh?
Marcus: Is 11 years ago and so — a good church, solid church, healthy church, growing, great leadership.
Marcus: Yeah, we try to not mess it up, I love this team.
Troy: I’ll honestly– he may not consider me, but I consider it a sister church of us.
Marcus: Yeah hundred percent we definitely in a relationship.
Troy: We love what they’re doing, and we learned so much and today is going to be amazing because he just shared this thought with our staff and I was like man, we got to get this recorded because I know it’s going to help you. I really feel like it’s going to benefit you as a leader and so no matter what whether you’re in church or whether you’re on a church team or whether you’re a pastor or even a business person, we want to talk a little bit about the ripple effect of leadership. Why don’t you just kind of unpack that just a little bit when you think about ripple effect
Marcus: Yeah, you try to revisit it and give them some more facts to maybe help build up what it was that you were trying to say and then they misunderstand that. They reorder things, they exaggerate certain parts of the conversation. They add things they have convenient memory lapses and ultimately at the end of the day you cannot manage someone that is just going to lean towards confusion. They’ll end up being mad at you even though you try to help them. You know, they get angry with people they should be happy about and you know, you can’t manage confusion so
Troy: Wow, so there’s a few others, that I think are really important.
Marcus: Yeah. I mean we can we can go through them
Troy: Yeah let’s do them.
Marcus: Just kind of have a little teaching session here. You can’t manage contention so James 3:16 says ” where they’re strife there’s every other kind of evil work. So, you can’t manage that second Timothy 223 says that you should ignore conversations that create strife, the Bible even indicates that we shouldn’t have dinner with people that create division, which I think sounds extreme.
Troy: Why dinner I mean, what about having a meal with somebody, I know the Bible’s very specific than that when you have a meal of somebody you’re inviting them into your world, you’re telling something about that person that you’re that you’re having a meal with.
Marcus: Yeah, I mean, I think that contentious people usually need affirmation and agreement.
Troy: So true
Marcus: And a meal is usually a public display of affirmation so with the Bible is trying to give on a practical level is trying to basically say, hey be cautious to not publicly give credit for really those people sake, you know, and for other people sake as well, you know, you just got to be cautious to not try to publicly affirm that you know, and I guess enable them to continue in those contentious ways.
Troy: How does it how does that flow on a team though? Like give me a picture of that on a team because I think this happens a lot of times where I know we talked a little bit about this whole loyalty and unity deal because this fits into that category because you know, let’s say for instance somebody walks off the team they leave the team and we all know it was awkward. It was not pleasant even some of the high-level leaders know that that this was a bad situation. They made accusations, they criticize they brought all these very hard things against the organization but yet the people on the team are still hanging out with them. How does that affect the team? And what should people do about that?
Marcus: Sure, I mean, I think it goes back to the old thing we’ve heard a million times, you know, the rock gets thrown in the pond and then there’s the ripple effect and the concept is, really a lot of times people think that their life is only impacting maybe them or a small segment of people but just like the proverbial rock in the pond, you know the rock hits a small area but the ripples, the concentric circles that work their way out from where the impact was, affect the stability of the whole pond and so is our life, you know, we, have a far-reaching influence many times in what we see or directly what we know and that’s a ripple effect and the Bible teaches us in Romans 5:17 that Adam through his sin and disobedience had a ripple effect and his life affected the world as we know it. So, sickness, pain, you know all that, then Jesus showed up It says right after that and his life and his death and the price that he paid and the way that he lived had it had its ripple effect. So, our lives do have a far-reaching influence and not just was right with Adam and not just with Jesus, but you know, we must manage that in ourselves to
Troy: Yeah, so it’s it comes really down to stewardship, you know stewarding the gifts that God has given to us, stewarding our influence, stewarding the platform that he’s given us regardless of where it is and even I think and this is what you shared today that I thought was so powerful is it extends through the relationships that we have, right? I mean, that’s where that’s where it really gets down into the nitty-gritty of leading people is, because leadership is relationships it’s about navigating relationships, managing relationships and whether you should manage or not manage them right? I mean that’s kind of what it comes down to.
Marcus: Yeah. I mean, you said it, the kingdom of God is what Jesus taught us , most of the parables he gave us were about management many of them at least were, there’s the talents or The Vineyards or another one it’s hey, the master comes and gives you so much he pulls back ,he eventually returns wants to see how you did, if you did well with it then he gives you more. How did you do with it? How well did you do? What did you do with it? He just wants to know. He’s going to take inventory, he’s going to look at the results and if you did well he gives you more, if you didn’t manage it well then obviously he’s not going to give you more.
Troy: Yeah, that’s right
Marcus: So that’s the kingdom and what we talked about today and staff was that it’s not just the kingdom of God is not just about what you manage. But sometimes it’s also about being cautious to not try to manage what you’re not supposed to manage or really not maybe what you’re not supposed to manage but what is unmanageable. So, there’s certain things that you just can’t manage.
Troy: It’s almost like what you’re saying is there a part of your role in leadership you shouldn’t be responsible for. But you’re still trying to be responsible for it. Right.
Marcus: Yeah, it’s a drainer, it’s a distraction because they’re just some things you can’t manage like in the animal kingdom, you know, there are certain things certain animals, I guess in the animal kingdom you can’t domesticate you can try and people can say that you can
Troy: So, you mean I can’t I can’t have a tiger in my house.
Marcus: I mean you can try but then you’ll be on ‘When Animals Attack’ and you’ll be showing everybody how nice the tiger is, but you’ll be you know dead
Troy: But they’re so cute, man. I mean I just want one.
Marcus: Yeah, they are cute, they are cute, but they can’t be domesticated. You can’t do that you can feed a white shark a great white shark you can love it, you can pet its fins, but it’s never going to love you back. You know, so, you know, you can take dominion over those things. You can stay out of the water with blood around a white shark. You trying to save your life, but you can’t domesticate it. You can’t make it love you and so there are things you can manage but there are things you can’t you just can’t manage their out of out of– they’re just unmanageable.
Troy: Then you shouldn’t do it you shouldn’t even attempt
Marcus: 07:05 [inaudible] I mean, well, you must discern quickly what you’re dealing with and do your best to again create the right environments to where it’s going to not damage your life, your future, other people
Troy: That’s good, so let’s talk about a couple of those. I think you have a few that we need to try to stay away from
Marcus: Yeah, sure. Well, I mean you can’t manage crazy you know that’s one not in a clinical sense. But what the Bible calls foolish, you can’t manage somebody that’s non-sensible, irrational, erratic, unsound, impulsive, you know, you can’t try to rationalize with someone that doesn’t have a rationale. You just can’t manage that you can’t manage someone that loves drama no matter how peaceful an arrangement is they only feel alive if there’s drama you try to create a—
Troy: I think I know a couple people like that
Marcus: You think so , I mean some of us are striving for stability,, for consistency ,for health we like to build on things we like there to be a foundation and then we like there to be a framework but the end of the day we’re trying to go somewhere and create something stable and healthy but they, you know crazy people they don’t understand that. That sounds like death to them that sounds horrific, that sounds boring.
Troy: They love instability.
Marcus: Oh, they love it they thrive in it and they’re going to keep coming back at you as long as you feed it. So, you can’t manage it you can just take the keys away from them. You can create boundaries if you will, love them, pray for them, believe in them, but you should limit them to necessary access and necessary exposure.
Troy: That’s really good, what else, what else are some things we shouldn’t manage?
Marcus: You can’t manage confusion, 1st Corinthians, 14:33 says God is not the author of confusion but he’s the author of peace. So, you can’t manage someone’s confusion. Confusion I got a definition here is a mental state where someone’s not clear or orderly in their streams of thought and so someone that’s confused they’re usually disturbed in their orientation to life. So, for them, they can only function by causing confusion. It’s because it’s just how they’re oriented so they resist things like structure they hate instruction, they refuse correction they despise direction; when you try to give them instruction, for example, like hey, we should probably do things this way and this is why we have some history, we have some experiences here ,best practices would say we should do things like this. They don’t they don’t understand that, they complicate it, you know, it’s like being on the Merry-Go-Round when you’re eight years old, you’re just spinning and spinning and spinning and that’s fun when you’re eight. But when you’re 38, it’s you know, Merry go make me throw up it’s not fun it’s not enjoyable as you age. So, confusion is something you know where people butt procedures they can’t stand protocol. They’re always going around people, they misunderstand things you say something, and they hear you say something other than what you say.
Troy: You try to misconstrue everything.
Marcus: I mean a contentious person is normally going to be at odds with leadership and they’re also going to normally be at odds with anybody who’s trying to be a peacemaker. So, if you try to bring peace to the situation they’re going to make you pay for it. So a lot of times you think that people are going to eventually turn, you’re going to get them to cooperate or maybe they’ll work things out if you talk to them long enough, but you have to know that contentious people they don’t want to work things out, they don’t want things to improve they don’t want to do things to get better and so we kind of have a saying on our team that unity is more important than loyalty.
Troy: Unity is more important than loyalty
Marcus: And for someone that like myself that I consider myself an extremely loyal person almost to a fault
Troy: Yeah me too I’m the same way. That’s like one of my standards that’s one of the filters that I filter life through is loyalty.
Marcus: I’m the same way, you know the way I grew up that was a that’s how you survive and but as you evolve, you know as you evolve as a leader as a human being, you know that street, you know credit that street approach doesn’t necessarily function in higher levels of leadership because sometimes I’m being loyal to someone but they’re dysfunctional, they’re causing damage, they’re causing destruction and I’m trying to act like I’m being loyal to him by staying in relationship with them or continuing it’s definitely in public demonstrations of hey, we’re still good we’re still and but I’m still trying to survive on a team that they’re actually hurting and it’s not that they’re bad or evil, but you should be able to let them know. Hey men. You’re doing these things, you know this is the damage you’re causing. You need to work on making that right. That’s loyalty to me, now as I’m more evolved is say, hey, man, you got to make peace with that. You got do that, right, you can’t just keep going in that direction and if you are unwilling to do that the unity of the team that I’m on that responsibility is more important than you think and I’m loyal to you. So, my disagreeing with you is not disloyalty. My- saying to you hey, you got to not carry this around is my way of trying to say, hey I care for you. What’s the Bible say faithful are the wounds of a friend, so —
Troy: It actually is more loyal to say man you are destroying not just the people around you but man you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run and I care about you enough to make sure I tell you this, but I also care about you enough to let you know. I’m not going to participate in this with you and so you have to decide really to like are you going to repair this issue that seems to be happening over and over and over again or we’re just not going to be able to hang anymore.
Marcus: And you’re going to see that most of the time they have a string of those kind of things because no one likes to hang around with a 41-year-old at still throws temper tantrums. It’s exhausting when somebody throws you under the bus, when somebody has a problem in their life and they blame you for that problem when you weren’t in the general hemisphere of when the problem occurred or what the problem is about, so that’s where contentious people ….you can find out if their contentious by just pretty much trying to lead them to a place of peace and if they start to kind of despise you for that and you know kind of throw you under the bus for that then you kind of you kind of know that you probably can’t manage that.
Troy: Alright yeah, let’s do one more we got time for one more. Give us one more good one.
Marcus: Well, you chose, cheats, critics. What do you want?
Troy: I like critics because I think we all have criticism, we deal with criticism and your real keen on the fact that we need to manage criticism, but critics are unmanageable.
Marcus: That’s correct.
Troy: So, explain that.
Marcus: Well criticisms is a gift, you know because we all have blind spots, you know we all need to be stretched. We all have things that that need to be challenged and so when someone’s authentically willing to bring light to an area of your life that’s off or it could be better, it could be improved man you gotta … that’s a gift. I mean that’s a precious thing because in the world that we live in people know that most of the time that means the end of a relationship when they bring something up that’s maybe not comfortable or enjoyable. So, when someone’s willing to do that.
Troy: But you don’t give that gift to everybody because there’s some people that fall into that critics’ category, but I know for me there has been times where my wife, you know, she did say the me all the time she goes you’re not handling criticisms very well. Yeah, and so but you don’t want to give that gift to everybody right? I mean I don’t want everybody criticizing me inviting every bit of criticism in do I
Marcus: Yeah, I mean, I think the first probability that someone is a critic. Is that they are trying to bring criticism into someone’s world that they’re not in relationship with you know, so it’s just going to basically throw shade on a situation. It’s not going to actually fix it because they don’t know you or they’re not close to you so, you know criticism is weighty thing, you know, and it has to cross the soul, the emotions of the person the way the person thinks is what you’re trying to change. So hopefully to change the way they think about something, so you change the outcome that they’re getting a probably an unwanted outcome and don’t even know why. So, criticism’s like hey I’m going to challenge the way you think but that’s a weighty thing. It’s like trying to send a 10,000-pound truck across the bridge that only has the capacity for 2,000 pounds. It’s going to break, so relationship is what creates the bridge. To be able to even bring criticism so for someone that needs to bring correct ….and I think for me have they done the necessary work to let me know to say a hard thing. They’ve done the work that lets me know and they really love me as much as I’m not enjoying this
Troy: Now talk about that in relation to the critic because the critic is different
Marcus: A critics different because a critic they haven’t done the hard work that we just talked about t to have the voice have the right to take something weighty to you. A critic is usually harsh they’re usually mean-spirited. A critic usually is unfair in their judgment, they are fuelled by envy and jealousy. They don’t like to bless you on your life, they to favor, they don’t like something you have that they think that you shouldn’t have. Or maybe they think they should have or someone else should have and if they don’t like you no one else should in their mind, and normally a critic is unfulfilled in their life. If you’re fulfilled, you don’t have a ton of time you’re focused. Your energy is being poured in very clear places. You don’t have time to think about people that aren’t in your direct world, and so —
Troy: You don’t spend a lot of time comparing yourself to them, you don’t have time to be jealous, you don’t have time to be envious because you’re working on what God called to you what your purpose is, what your destiny is, you’re in your lane and you’re not even concerned about switching lanes. So, you’re not looking over your shoulder back and forth looking in the mirror seeing who’s around you no man you’re just focused on what’s ahead of you and then when you start doing that is when you start becoming that voice that you think everybody should listen to because you know everything
Marcus: Yeah, I mean and you can’t manage that because even if you were to say march to the beat of their drum and you were to give them everything that they think that you need to give them, you know that person usually has an unrealistic expectation of their wisdom or their potential or their abilities and that’s what gave them permission to elevate themselves to the position of critic to begin with, so a critic is usually chosen to not understand they’ve chosen to get stuck caught up on like one or two points that they can’t get over they’re usually unsophisticated in their thinking, your life is chess ,their life is checkers, their life is focused on bringing you down their life is focused on things that that are just about subtracting from your life and that’s ultimately what a critic’s about and they want you to make decisions, but they don’t want to live in the consequences of those decisions. Their an expert on what you do, but they’ve never done what you do and so again criticisms a gift but a critic you know, and I watch this a lot and maybe this is wrong, but especially in the social media world. I watch people I highly respect answer what I would call a critic and that just brings attention to them and you start finding yourself like checking out who this person is and I’m not saying that the person’s doesn’t have a valid point of view, but the response to them validates them you know exactly and when I was in Bible College, I had a professor tell me to never answer a critic and I’ve lived by that and it has really worked well, you know, we live in a world and again criticisms one thing but a critic, you know, you just got to be cautious with that and to answer it, it’s just not manageable. So, you’re wasting your energy your time and really to be honest you’re lessening the ripple effect in your life because Jesus didn’t in the scripture we read earlier in Romans chapter 5 Jesus didn’t try to go back and manage what Adam had done wrong, he just managed his life what he did right and the Bible actually
says that there’s the appearance that what Adam did is equal to what Jesus did, but the Bible says don’t know misunderstand that what Jesus has done in Romans 5 is actually greater will actually overtake. So, if you want to overtake the confusion the criticism the crazy best thing to do is manage that all those things and you let your life be dropped into the pond as strong as possible to have a greater ripple effect, you know,
Troy: I think and just to just kind of kind of put the period on this. I think one of the things that we do often in leadership is we begin to think that we can help somebody when we really can’t we think that because of the gift of mercy the gift of grace that we walk in especially as pastors. I know I do this often is I’m trying to help them when in reality I’m not the one to help them and God has gifted me, gifted you, gifted us as leaders and this is something you guys that are listening need to understand is that and it’s an important thing to understand you’re called you have gifts, you’ve got incredible value and you don’t want to just expend that value on somebody that doesn’t appreciate who you are and what you carry and I think that lessens the weight of the rock that you throw into the pond when you basically, mismanage that influence that you have and what we want to do as leaders is we want to create as much weight as we can and when we hit that pain man, the waves are huge and they don’t just affect a small amount. They affect a lot for the kingdom of God and so man Marcus, thanks, bro.
Marcus: And thank you. Thanks for having me.
Troy: Yeah, buddy. Yeah buddy
Marcus: Wishing you all the best.
Troy: Yeah. So, hey listen, don’t forget to share this podcast with a friend, subscribe we’re here every month Free to Lead and we have lots of great time ahead of us. We got some great guests coming up and especially for the end of the year next month. I got a great friend that’s going to be on here. It’s a surprise so you got to make sure you listen next month. So, subscribe tell us about tell this to everybody that you know, share it on social media. Don’t be a critic. Don’t be crazy. And don’t try to mismanage. Look the influence of God’s given you. Thank you, guys, for listening and we’ll see you next week.
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