What Makes a Leader Strong and Tender-Hearted?

tender-hearted When I was a kid, it used to make me uncomfortable when my father would cry in church. The pastor would share something moving, and my dad would get out his handkerchief to catch the tears running down his face.

But when I look back on those moments now, I am proud of him. He was a strong man who could fix or build almost anything — a man who changed the world. But more importantly, he had a tender heart.

As I am getting to know many of our top leaders, I am finding that they are a lot like my dad: strong yet tender. Time after time I have seen them get tears in their eyes as they commit their hearts to our mission.

Recently one leader shared stories about the children whom he and his family have sponsored. He paused several times, his voice cracked, and tears welled in his eyes. It reminded me of my dad in church.

I am proud of this leader.

Jesus is like this: wonderfully strong yet tender. We are told time and again that Jesus had compassion on the people — like the time His heart went out to the grieving widow who had lost her son.

Jesus loved little children and held them in His arms. He wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. He was the very picture of a person who is strong yet tender.

I want to become strong yet tender like my dad, like our ministry leaders, and like King Jesus. I have felt the strengthening and the softening of my heart. I’m glad for it.

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35 (NIV)

Prayer: Father God, I pray that You would send Your Spirit on us to make us more gracious and tender-hearted. Thank You for the way You moved in my dad’s heart. Thank You for the way You are moving in our hearts and in the hearts of our leaders. In Jesus’ name I pray.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Greg Boyer is Compassion’s Organization Design and Development Director. Greg works ministry-wide to improve cross-group alignment and productivity, and organizational culture. When he is not keeping the rest of us on track, Greg likes to ski-bike and climbs 14ers with his wife, Anne.

4 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Darryl E. Trimble May 1, 2011

    I really like that! That’s honoring your Father and blessing Jesus!
    thanks, my Brother!
    Darryl Trimble

  2. Michael Patterson April 30, 2011

    I was very surprised to have checked the blog today and seeing the back of my bald head as I hug the LDP student, Juan David I sponsor with my coworkers. I have visited him a couple times, and it’s always emotional for both of us. He tells me I remind him of his father who died when Juan David was just 4 years old. A man’s tears are a sign of passion and compassion. Great message!

    1. Darryl Smith May 1, 2011

      Michael – I was in the DR to hear this young man’s testimony and it was probably the most powerful moment I’ve witnessed that shows how sponsorship changes lives. What an amazing time we had on that trip!

      And yes, great message too!

  3. Steve April 30, 2011

    This is a very good article. Christ was strong also yet had a tender heart. This article describes things very well.

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