To stay updated on PLI and COVID-19, click here.

PLI Give
PLI Facebook     PLI Instagram     PLI Email_LB
PLI Give
PLI Facebook   PLI Instagram   PLI Email_LB


PLI is devoted to empowering leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their ministries. Learn more about our vision and process here.


Life is better connected. Connect with others to experience life-giving community and build authentic relationships. We have several learning communities. Find the best fit for you.


We provide a number of resources and materials to educate both our participants and the general public on effective leadership principles.


Interested in how PLI can impact your ministry? We'd love to get to know you and learn how we can empower your ministry.

Identity! Capturing Freedom to Lead and Live

Every person I know risks fastening their identity to the wrong thing.

That’s alarming given the fact that Identity might be the most fundamental of leadership building blocks.

The Flourishing in Ministry study funded by the Lilly Foundation interviewed thousands of pastors. Their results showed that placing your identity on the wrong thing is one of four fundamentals to avoid a lifetime of life-depleting ministry. It’s true for the rest of us, too.

Clear, correct, gifted by God, biblical identity is essential. Leaders too often drift for decades being damaged by no clarity of identity.

Let me illustrate from my Nebraska farm boy roots. Here’s what I learned:

  • You can’t plant corn when you hook your tractor to a plow.
  • You can’t cultivate corn when you hook your tractor to a mower.
  • You can’t harvest corn when you hook your tractor to a manure spreader.

(Tell me if I’m going too fast!)

When leaders attach their identity to the wrong thing it…

Delivers a wrong result.
Offers an elusive promise.
Builds on a ground of shifting sand.

Your identity? You are an heir! Adopted! A baptized child of God!
My guess is you know that. My guess is that you’re not living that. Not leading out of that.

Leaders that live and function with this identity…

Live with grace.
Possess quiet confidence.
Are comfortable with who they are because it’s imbedded in them Whose they are.

They’re ..

Free to be bold
Free to follow where God leads
Free to challenge
Free to risk failing
Free to love their family, friends, neighbors, roommates
Free to accept what comes and free to adapt

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God….the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship…we are God’s children…heirs of God. – Romans 8:14-16

Leaders hitch their identity to any number of implements.

  • Approval – Do they like me? Will they still like me?
  • Comparison – So, what difference are you making?
  • Success – Titles. Accomplishments. Positions. Degrees.
  • That Would Be “It” – If we had that car, that house, that vacation to post on Facebook…

For me? It was approval.

In my early years it made it difficult to deal with conflict, address staff issues, confront bad behavior in the congregation.

Better for me to play to an audience of One for approval. Much more grace to be had there!

You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. – Matthew 3:17

I wish I could have overheard for myself: You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.

I wish that for you!

Do whatever it takes to get this one right. Not just saying it right. But living it. Leading with it.

One Response

  1. thanks Jock, I agree. I have had a similar journey. I tried to find my identity and worth in performance. Not only in my job, but in my relationships as well, including my marriage. Even though we preachers of Grace speak it from our mouths and work hard to help others practice living it, we often fail in living it ourselves. I discovered how I was even basing identity and worth on my accomplishments in helping others understand God’s grace. How hypocritical is that! Thanks for sharing this important topic with all of us. speaking words to our heart helps our hearts truly believe God’s truth. “I am wholly accepted and loved right now by My Father in Heaven because of my Savior Jesus.” Thank you Jesus. Today is a great day – and I am free to be bold!

Leave a Reply

I’d like to receive PLI E-news

PLI enews is a weekly publication containing our leadership and ministry blog as well as free content and important news.

Contact Information