Craig Groeschel leads one of the largest churches in America, but that doesn’t mean the journey has been easy.
In this interview, Craig talks about the hard side of life and leadership – How the early mistakes of a rookie leader can almost sink you, where to find God in the midst of it, and how Craig has experienced God in the midst of personal disappointment and suffering. This interview is a powerful and personal conversation.
Welcome to Episode 228 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Thank you for all the encouraging words about my latest book Didn’t See It Coming. I’m grateful for all the feedback. If you don’t have your copy yet, check out the reviews and grab one for you and a friend today!
3 Insights from Craig
1. Pain is a catalyst in leadership
Early in his ministry, a wise mentor advised Craig that as a leader “when you do more, you’re going to hurt more”. Leaders experience different levels of challenges – whether brought on by outside sources, the brokenness in the world, or self-inflicted pain. All are difficult to work through, but it seems the hardest to process can be self-inflicted wounds because they bring so much personal regret and shame.
Those difficult times are often the catalysts that mold incredible leaders and shape them to become who God wants them to be. God doesn’t cause pain, but he absolutely can use the hurt to create a more effective leader.
2. Self-awareness and honest friendships matter
Many leaders struggle with self-awareness. It is a continuous fight. Lying to yourself can be so easy and often the more people you have around you, the harder it is to be sure you’re hearing honest feedback about who you are and what you’re doing.
Surround yourself with people who can speak openly into your life. Honest friends will make all the difference to keep you on track as long as you remain open to listening to them.
3. Transparency in hard times still ministers to others
Leaders must remember that they are children of God first and leaders of people second. When that order gets mixed up, healthy leadership deteriorates.
That order is crucial when it comes to dealing with personal hurt. Grieving publicly isn’t easy for leaders, especially in ministry. Most people don’t take into consideration that a pastor has to process hurt, doubt and pain just like everyone else.
Being transparent in those vulnerable times not only allows people to minister to you, but it also ministers to them. They gain a better understanding of the fact that a pastor experiences hardships in life just like everybody else. They get to see someone they respect wrestle with the same questions they have while still clinging to God when times are hard.
Quotes from Episode 228Those God uses greatly he breaks deeply. @craiggroeschel Click To Tweet If you're not hurting, you're not leading, because the more responsibility you have, the more complications tend to come with it. @CraigGroeschel Click To Tweet Self-inflicted pain, mistakes, failures—those are often the catalysts that shape us into the leaders God wants us to become. Click To Tweet We have to fight for self-awareness. We have to fight to tell the truth. Because it's so easy to lie to ourselves. @CraigGroeschel Click To Tweet We enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know him intimately in the valleys. @CraigGroeschel Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss: Didn’t See It Coming Will Help
If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.
I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:
“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church
“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ” Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong
“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries
“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author
“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange
“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author
“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author
Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author
“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.
“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY
Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.
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Next Episode: Larry Osborne
Larry Osborne has been in ministry for over 4 decades and at his current church for 38 years…and he loves it.
Larry talks about how to thrive, why he’s never had to take a sabbatical, why he never uses an alarm clock (unless he’s travelling), shepherd leadership, and why raising up gifted, talented young leaders is so wonderful but still personally hard.
Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 229.