Friday, September 16, 2005 | |

The Leadership Blog Interview: Bob Russell

Bob Russell

Bio: At just twenty-two years of age, Bob became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church. Today that small congregation of 120 members has become one of the largest churches in American, with 18,000 people attending the four worship services every weekend. An accomplished author, Bob has written over one-dozen books, including "When God Builds A Church".

Church: Southeast Christian Church

The Leadership Blog Interview Questions
1. Bob, what gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Bob: "Without question the greatest joy is to see lives that are changed. My first joy would be to see unity and the joy I have for my own family. But if you mean joy of ministry it is to see lives that are changed...people who really get it. I looked out the window today and saw the wife of a prominent figure mowing the grass at church. She's really grown as a Christian; she sees herself as a humble servant. WhenI see people go from being a new Christian to becoming a mature Christian, that's really gratifying to me."

2. What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
Bob: "My pet peeve is the antithesis of that: people who don't grow at all-people who have gone to church all their lives and they never get it. These are those who never seem to transfer Biblical principles totheir daily walk and attitude. I'm talking about people who go to church all their lives and they are still selfish, people who have gone to church for years and years and get a divorce over the flimsiest of reasons, people who have been to church all their lives and they sue the church or they have a sour attitude. My pet peeve is people who have exposure to the Lord's teaching but aren't transformed by it."

3. Who made the biggest influence in your life as a leader?
Bob: "My leadership emanates from my preaching ministry. I see myself first as a preacher and then a leader. And, I think preaching gives credibility to lead. So the people who have influenced my leadership are those who have influenced my preaching: Fred Craddock Chuck Swindoll, Charles Colson. Local heroes to me would be: Butch Dabney, Bill Gaslin... people who have encouraged me in ministry."

4. What books have changed your life?
Bob: "Charles Colson's book, Loving God; Recently Frank Peretti's book, A Wounded Spirit; All of Warren Wiersbe's commentaries have been really helpful."

5. What's your biggest challenge as a leader?
Bob: "The biggest challenge is to keep the big picture. Dealing with so many people there will always be problems and there will be criticism and it's hard not to get discouraged and allow those problems to blind you to all the good things that are going on. I think the biggest challenge is not to get discouraged or to feel overwhelmed from the magnitude of the problems and the responsibility that we face and to keep trusting in God for His blessing in spite of imperfection. I've often said that 95%of the church is great; 5% is not so hot; and1% of that is down right nasty. If I'm not careful I tend to focus 50% of my time on the 5% -trying correct it - and I lose the big picture. To keep the big pictureand to stay upbeat is a challenge for every leader."

6. What goals do you have as a leader?
Bob: "To be a Godly husband, father, grandfather and honor the Lord in thatway and then to lead as many to a growing personal relationship with Christ as possible. More recently I have a goal to finish strong."

7. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Bob: "I've not had, ever, a lot of personal goals other than to try to be obedient to God's leading day by day. I haven't been a big visionary but God has done more in my life than I could ever ask or imagine. If God allows me to keep living I'd love to be teaching the Bible to beginners and mentoring ministers 10 years for now in a way that is helpful."

Bob, Thank you for taking time for the Leadership Blog Interview! There is some great wisdom in what you've said, that we can all learn from. I HAVE to make it to one of your Saturday services since I now live less than an hour away.