Our Greatest Leadership Moment


Pastor Derwin Gray gives six reasons leaders fail at their greatest leadership opportunities.

Leaders, what is our greatest leadership opportunity?

How we answer that question is life-shaping.

My greatest leadership opportunity doesn’t present itself when I train pastors or when I preach to auditoriums filled with thousands of people.

My greatest leadership opportunity happens in the ‘everydayness’ of being a husband and father.

As you and I know, preaching for 45 minutes on a stage is easy compared to actually interacting in the messiness of real life.

It’s my prayer that my marriage would be a testimony to God’s grace and the ability He’s given to me to be a servant-leader.  If I can’t lead and serve my wife and children, how can I authentically lead anyone else?

If you aren’t married, apply the principles your life.

So, leaders here are 6 reasons I think that we, as leaders, fail at our greatest leadership opportunity.


Our culture trains us to live on the surface.  We’re like icebergs — only 10% of an iceberg is actually seen.  When we’re “Surface-Livers” we never really let Jesus, or people, into the deep places of our hearts because we want to keep up the mirage that we’re okay.  Often as leaders, we feel like we can’t let people ‘really know us,’ even our spouses.

The cure for surface-living is to experience Jesus at a deep level.  When we realize that He completely knows us and completely loves us, then we can go below the surface with Him, our spouses, our children and the people we serve.


Over the years of mistreating each other, we deposit into our spiritual bank account the number of times we’ve been wounded by our spouses. Those wounds turn into sores that never heal.

People with spiritual sores are hurt. And hurt people hurt people.

If we keep an “eye for an eye” mentality, we end up blind.  How quick are we to forgive our spouses?  Our ability to forgive quickly is directly connected to our understanding that Jesus quickly, forever forgives us.  How can we lead people into healthy relationships if our most important relationship is riddled with the poison called unforgiveness?


I’ve been married nearly 21 years, and from experience I know it’s easier to not deal with marital problems than to work through them.  So instead of doing the emotional hard work of nurturing our marriages, we begin to idolize the kids, especially when they’re young.  As a result, when the kids leave the house, they are handicapped by feelings of entitlement.  And worse, you realize that you and your spouse don’t even know each other because you spent so much time idolizing the kids instead of working on your marriage.

My wife and I have come to realize the greatest gift we can give our kids is a Christ-soaked, Christ-exalting, conflict-resolving marriage.  We work hard through the grace Jesus provides to have a beautiful marriage.


When we come to Christ, we are new creations. This is called the doctrine of regeneration. We’re alive with God’s very own life. Just as a child learns to walk, we too must learn to walk in this new kind of life that we have in Christ. This is called the doctrine of sanctification.

Often times we neglect the reality of how our family of origin influences how we live today. Recently, I sat down with the gentleman at Starbucks who explained to me that his father was a great preacher in public and everyone loved him. But in private, he was a mean, miserable man. Now, as a follower of Christ, this man is exhibiting the same characteristics of his father.

The only way to move past our old family origin influences is to, by faith, embrace our new identity as God’s beloved children.


I’m realizing that I do a lot of self-medicating. As a leader, there’s always a crisis; there’s always someone in need; therefore, my mind is always moving. I realize that I self-medicate by eating late at night instead of going to Christ, and instead of prayerfully talking to my wife, I look for food to eat. What do you do to self-medicate? Whatever we’re doing it’s called idolatry. The only One who has the proper medical prescription for us is Jesus.

Leaders, if you’re married, your greatest leadership opportunity is found in loving your spouse and children.

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