Like virtually every other male Christian leader, who doubles as a professional football fan [and there are a lot of us out here], it’s hard for me to endure yet another Tebow-less NFL season. The now 29 year-old, 250 pound, perfectly sculpted physical specimen and Heisman trophy collegiate quarterback, has not yet been given a real shot at proving himself as a team leader in the pros. The Broncos, Jets and Browns each took turns blowing it by either trading or cutting Tebow from their rosters. Their rationalizations? He can’t throw. He’s not a good practice player. He’s a distraction.  Please!

Here’s the thing. Legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi used to say, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” So the main question to ask and answer when evaluating your quarterback is, “Can I win a championship with this guy?” Tim Tebow has been a proven winner throughout his life. He led a team that won the state championship in High School. He led a team that won two National Championships in College. He led a team for most of his first year in the pros that won a Division Championship in the NFL. Sports writer Steve Matoren has observed that leadership is a matter of “limitless heart, an insatiable will-to-win, strong character, an extraordinary work ethic, humility and leadership skills.” He calls these the “off-the-charts intangibles.” And Tim Tebow has consistently demonstrated these intangibles in every area of his life, from his sexual self-discipline to his countless charitable efforts. His iconic leadership has not been limited to professional football [or baseball]. A foundation that bears his name is now responsible for making grants to and establishing partnerships with hundreds of churches in a worldwide outreach to mentally and physically challenged kids called “Night to Shine” where those with special needs are the guests of honor.

So, what are the top-ten leadership lessons we can take away from the Tim Tebow story?

  1. Keep a positive, winning attitude even when you are unnoticed and overlooked.
  2. Keep the head and heart of a winner even when you are victimized by injustice.
  3. Keep working hard and doing your best even if you are not rewarded with recognition/promotion.
  4. Be patient and supportive of others even when you find that you are “on the bench.”
  5. See God’s hand in the no’s as well as the yes’ in your life and leadership.
  6. Take hold of what is in front of you and discharge it faithfully even if it’s not what you may want to be doing.
  7. Realize God’s vision for you may eclipse your primary dream for your life.
  8. Remember character counts more than achievement.
  9. Remember moral authority is your most important authority in life.\
  10. Remember your investment in people is more valuable, in light of eternity, than name recognition, money or fame.

A Pastor’s Number One Fear

A Pastor’s Number One Fear

Dealing with fear is part of being human. It’s why there is a whole list of phobias detailed in the dictionary from ablutophobia [the fear of bathing] to zoophobia [the fear of animals] and a lot of others in between! In my own experience, and in nearly 50 years of conversations with pastoral peers, student pastors and pastoral leaders in churches small and large, rural and urban, national and international, my experience has been that our number one fear is the fear of failure. It is the reason some church leaders do not lead forward. They are often haunted by one of three dimensions of this singular fear:

What if I blow it? Some do. No question about it. Personal failure by a pastoral leader is usually in one of two areas. Either he is not walking consistently in devotion or he is not walking daily in obedience. When church leadership is undertaken in the flesh, the law of entropy sets in. Things will gradually run downhill. There is a slow descent into disorder. The spiritually “flat-lined” leader does not have the bandwidth to generate perpetual renewal in himself, let alone in others. Or when there is secret sin in the life of a leader, there will be the absence of God’s blessing. God’s wrath against sin is laced into the human system. His blessing cannot abide where His will is disregarded or disobeyed. To arrest this aspect of fear, a leader needs only to live in the light of God’s presence daily and to live out the Lordship of Jesus daily.

What if people leave? Some will. No question about it. No pastor has ever led a church in which 100% of the people stayed! Not one. So just do your best to win them, welcome them, disciple them, involve them. Then intentionally push back on your own insecurity every time you think it’s up to you to keep them all in the fold.

Paul, the world’s greatest missionary, testifies to being abandoned by friends/coworkers. Even Jesus did not keep 100% of his disciples.

What if I don’t make a difference? A big part of our calling into ministry leadership is our desire to make a difference in the lives and destinies of people and ultimately, in the world. So much of our own assessment of whether or not we have made a difference is based on cultural indicators, bigger buildings, and budgets, better visibility and press more people and production, books and recordings. Jesus modeled doing good works in secret, sometimes requesting that those who received a miracle keep it to themselves. He would often withdraw to a solitary place on those days when he was most celebrated. Listen, if you are faithfully sowing and reaping, you will make a difference. If you are unselfishly, even sacrificially, investing in God’s purpose for His glory, you are making the most important difference you can make, regardless of who or how many know or notice.

Hey, we preachers have all said it. “There are 365 ‘fear nots’ in the Bible.” [I’ve never personally counted them] One for every day of the year. So, what do you say? Let’s heed our own counsel and courageously lead onward and forward!

A Personal Word from Ken


In June of 2016 The Solomon Foundation added a new position to further strengthen its already strong field team. Because of an ongoing commitment to the health and growth of the churches of the Restoration Movement nationwide, Ken Idleman has been called to serve as Vice President of Leadership Development. In this role he will be available to consult with TSF related Christian leaders in all areas of church life.


Dear Brothers & Coworkers I want you to [briefly] know my story, so here goes. At age 10 I was baptized into Christ, along with my parents, at the St. Joseph Church of Christ in St. Joseph, IL. At age 16 I committed my life to fulltime Christian servant leadership at Hanging Rock Christian Camp in West Lebanon, IN. At 18 I enrolled in Lincoln Christian College to prepare for vocational ministry. At 21 I married my lifelong ministry partner, Kaylene Conover, I was formally ordained and began serving my first church as a lead pastor. [That was a huge year for me!] At 25 I completed grad school and was called to teach at Ozark Christian College in the areas of preaching, practical ministry and Bible. From ages 25-30 we became the parents of 3 children who are all involved in Christian leadership. At 31 I became president of Ozark. In this role, for the next 28 years, I traveled widely preaching and consulting with churches new and established, large and small, urban and rural assisting pastoral leaders with everything from crisis intervention to staffing to strategic planning. At 59 I retired from Christian higher education and answered the call of Crossroads, a mega-church in southwest IN, serving there for ten years before accepting the challenge to serve you as a “pastor to pastors” with The Solomon Foundation. My greatest passion in this season of my life is to add value to the lives and ministries of you my colleagues in church leadership. My heart is to serve Jesus and His church all my life. So I will take gladly take your phone call anytime night or day. I will Facetime or Skype. I will try to answer your email the same day I hear from you. I will schedule an on site visit to preach or consult. Confidential counsel is something that is second nature to me. I will touch bases with you weekly online through a brief leadership piece called, “Solomon’s Porch.” [A physical location that Jesus, and later His disciples, frequented for teaching and answering questions.] I look forward to what the Lord will do through our partnership!

Author Thom Rainer recently identified eight common mistakes made particularly by younger pastors. Number four on the list was. They often don’t ask for help. Number six on the list was. They don’t seek feedback or coaching. But, from his ongoing research Rainer also identified the six areas where contemporary pastors need help most frequently:

  1. Feedback on sermons
  2. Dealing with staff/elder issues
  3. Understanding church finances/stewardship
  4. Time management
  5. Life and family balance
  6. Practical ministry skills

If you need help, you need only ask for it. If you want feedback or coaching, TSF will come alongside to be a helpful resource for your life, family and leadership ministry.

Ken Idleman’s leadership development theme verse: “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28-29 [NIV]

Ken’s Bio

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