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What it Means to Lead With Your Life

Written by Chuck Olson

I can remember those days as if they were yesterday—building high-end homes in the suburbs of north Dallas to support my family during the grad school years. Pounding nails one day and studying theology the next.

While I had always enjoyed building things as a kid, my first day on the job was an eye-opener. One of my first discoveries was that I had a very limited set of tools. My small gun-metal gray Craftsmen tool box didn’t quite make the grade. I was outmatched and outsized by journeymen carpenters who had to call on a one-ton pickup truck to transport their tools to the jobsite.

No debate—tools are essential.

A carpenter needs a hammer. A plumber needs a wrench. An accountant needs a calculator. A surgeon needs a scalpel.

But what about the LEADER?

If you’ve been at the leadership task for any length of time, you realize more and more that a leader’s greatest tool, his greatest asset, is his life. Leaders ultimately lead with their lives. The undeniable pattern is inside-out. God works IN you and then He works THROUGH you.

I love how this reality is showcased in the lives of Peter and John, a couple of first century leaders, in Acts 4. The religious VIPs of the day were shell-shocked by the boldness that Peter and John displayed. At first glance, they accurately took note that they were ordinary men without many bullet points on their curriculum vitae. But that wasn’t the whole story. On closer examination, they recognized them as “men who had been with Jesus”. That is to say, there was something about their relationship with Christ that was reflected in the weight of their lives and

That’s worth thinking about. What happens to you when you are around leaders, who “have been with Jesus”? Chances are good that you are encouraged. Refreshed. Challenged. Blessed. Inspired.

Reggie McNeal in his book A Work of Heart nails it when he says: “Great spiritual leaders are great spiritual leaders because they enjoy exceptional communion with God”.

So here’s the bottom line: What do people say about YOUR leadership? Would the focus of their assessment be about your resume or your strengths or your accomplishments? Or would they say, “There’s a person who has been with Jesus”?


Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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