excerpt from Part 2 of The Essential SHIPS every station needs)
Leadership is one of the SHIPS every radio station has to have in
its fleet. Think about your station or organization. Who’s leading?
Someone said “If you think you are leading and no one is following,
you are out for a walk.”
In a lot of stations, we have had the privilege to be in the last
fifteen years, the Leader-SHIP was missing. Sometimes leadership was
missing because the person in the position of leadership lacked
character. General Swartzcoff said, “Leadership is to a great extent
character.” Character is who you are, not what you do. If you watch
a lot of people who are in leadership positions, they may be able to
accomplish a lot, but who they are is lacking in some area. Why in
the radio world we prefer competencies over character sometimes is a
mystery to me? (And sometimes I wonder if we even prefer
Character is very important when It comes to leadership. However
other traits are important as well.
Let me share four major components of leadership that are essential
when it comes to leading a radio broadcast ministry. These are
Integrity, servanthood, wisdom, and passion.
once said that integrity is who you are when no one else is
watching. Webster’s says that Integrity is “The
quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral
uprightness.” That’s a good start at a definition. Integrity,
Webster’s goes on to say, is not being “undivided.”
When I think of that, I think of the question, “Am I sharing my
heart with another person or thing?” Christian Recording Artist John
Waller writes in his song “As for Me and My House” a line that says
“We will not give our hearts to another, We belong to the Lord”. I
think this also helps us understand Integrity.
Integrity is making sure God has 100% ownership of your heart at all
The second characteristic of leadership is servanthood. This,
to me, is the most missing characteristic among our modern day
leaders. I’m not sure when that fact changed. It has been my
experience that a lot of leaders now think that they should be
served instead of being the ones to serve.
We have to look no farther than Jesus Himself as our example of what
it means for a leader to serve.
Author Alan Nelson describes it like this:
What underpins servant leadership is the motivation behind our
actions as leaders. If personal desire was the sole decision
criteria, Jesus would have chosen not to go through the pain and
suffering on the cross. In the garden at Gethsemane, Jesus prayed,
'Father if you are willing take this cup from me, yet not my will,
but yours, be done.'(Luke 22:42) The weight of the burden of taking
not only our guilt but also our sin, had become too heavy. Even at
this point, Jesus could have got up and walked away. Jesus'
leadership modeled servant leadership throughout his ministry. This
will require us also to set aside personal gain, to make sacrifices,
and to put the needs of others above the direction we may prefer for
ourselves. You've probably met people who are highly career minded,
people whose main motivation is to get him or herself in a position
where they will gain some reward. This is the complete opposite of
the leadership Jesus demonstrated.
Many years ago I
was asked to help a non-profit Christian radio station with an
on-air fundraiser to help meet the budget. The station was a
church-owned station and the fundraiser went from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. It
was the first time in my life I had helped with such an event but
Christian music had been a big part of ministering to me in my teen
years and I knew God could use music to change lives. I also knew
Christian radio is primarily supported by listeners.
I walked into the
station and was greeted by the new program director, a guy whose
integrity and commitment have since taken him to a ministry position
much more significant. The reason I say that is because what later
This new program
director told me and the three other men who came to help them that
day that the pastor of the church had fired almost everyone at the
station and that the only person in the building who knew how to do
anything on air was him. The three friends I was with and myself
were all involved in radio to some degree and told him we would make
it happen and for him not to worry. I volunteered to run the board
(pick and play the music, run the microphones, etc) so he could get
a break. All seemed to be going well....until.
The front door of the
station opened and I watched as a man entered followed by an
entourage of people. One was carrying what I later found out was the
man's briefcase. The other two were also carrying some of his things
and were there to just...whatever. With an abrupt entrance,
he came into the studio and introduced himself. It was the pastor. A
few minutes later, he sat down, pulled the microphone up toward his
mouth and handed me a CD and said, “Cut 6.” I looked for the CD
player, found it, hit the eject button and loaded the CD. While I
was doing this, the program director came down the hall and tried to
dialogue with the pastor. It never really happened.
The song faded out. I
slid the pots up to turn on our microphones and the pastor jumped in
on the air. After his ramblings, he said, “and here's another reason
you should support this ministry,” and pointed at me, my cue to
start the CD. Thank God for those moments, I had the gift of mind
reading. Unfortunately, the CD player did not. It miscued and played
cut number seven instead of cut number six.
I only wish I had video
recorded the reaction of the pastor. He went ballistic. I can't
begin to describe the dialogue that followed. It was all about him.
The program director
heard the calamity of the situation and came back down the hall and
the leader of our group asked the pastor to step out into the hall.
I sat in the chair dumbfounded as the church's praise group CD
played out over the air.
This pastor had forgotten what he was
supposed to be about.
Have we as radio
professionals forgotten our role? I see so many of us in the
CHRISTIAN radio world building up kingdoms when I thought we were
supposed to be about building HIS kingdom. If I see this as a
believer as you probably do too, don't you think the lost world sees
this and looks at us as dumbfounded as I did that day?
I'd love to tell you the
pastor apologized, but it never happened. The leader of our team
explained to him that since he had fired everyone in the building
(except for one person who knew how to run everything) that we were
there to serve and help them with their event. I had volunteered to
run the board that day and help raise money for (his) station. I
never did get an apology but a few years later their station went
off the air.
sad that we have missed what servanthood is all about.
Jack Eason is
a partner and consultant with The Heart Share Group. He and Tom
Lewis (co-founders of Heart Share) are dedicated to equipping
ministries to be all that God has called them to be. They work with
Christian radio in the areas of fundraising, non-traditional
revenue, programming, underwriting, and more.