Dr. John Townsend addressed the crowd tonight, speaking about “Boundaries in Leadership.” After giving the example of Jethro encouraging Moses to create a boundary for himself, Dr. Townsend encouraged us as ministers to set and keep healthy boundaries for ourselves.
Boundaries are like property lines. They set what is my responsibility, and what is not my responsibility. Boundaries are based on our values and they define who we are, what we prioritize, and what we can accomplish. Boundaries also protect us–from many of the pitfalls in life.
Boundaries help leaders bear good fruit by increasing our capacity to love. They give us self control so we can control ministry, not have ministry control us. Boundaries help us confront and solve problems. When we exercise good boundaries, our people around us grow up and take responsibility.
Often boundaries can produce certain problems in leaders. First, they can cause a leader to experience isolation. People see leaders as not having needs. We need to ask for help and encouragement. Second, they can cause a leader to have guilt. Guilt keeps us from speaking the truth. Sometimes guilt means that we are taking parental responsibility for the emotional needs of others. In setting boundaries, we need to get past this guilt and know that we are doing what is best for everyone.
Here are practical steps in creating boundaries:
- Establish a support base.
We must receive emotional and spiritual support from people, not just God and our spouses. Find people who we can be authentic with.
- Commit to being honest.
Telling people the truth is difficult, but we are serving them best this way. Keeping the truth from others can cause more problems.
- Begin to study the value of truth in the Bible.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. –Psalms 101:7