PODCAST: The Textbook on Persuasion, Part 6 (Strategic Christian Leadership #69 with Daniel Whyte III)

I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, and this is the “Strategic Christian Leadership” Podcast, Episode 69. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help Christian leaders understand how planning and strategizing is important to carrying out the Great Commission.

Our Bible verse for this episode is 1 Corinthians 12:12 which says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Our quote for this episode is from Beth Revis, who said, “A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine books: “Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders” by Aubrey Malphurs, “Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less” by Dave Browning, and “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of these books from our website podcastpulpit.com.

Our topic today is part 6 of “The Textbook on Persuasion” from “Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership” by John Dickson. He continues as follows:

Professor Richard Bauckham of the University of St Andrew’s, Scotland (recently moved to Cambridge), is a pure polymath, comfortable in eight languages (a few of them modern), author of more than thirty books and competent in adjunct fields of historical enquiry that, I am ashamed to say, I hadn’t even heard of before reading his works (onomastics, for instance—the study of ancient names, their distribution, derivation and social significance). When our crew arrived at the beautiful St Mary’s College, where his office was, we were taken aback by Bauckham’s offer of tea and coffee for the entire crew. It’s a small thing perhaps, but other than Hengel, it was the only offer of refreshments we received during the filming.

What’s more, after Bauckham took our orders—tea, white with one; coffee, black, and so on—he disappeared for some minutes. We thought it was to arrange the order, but he returned with a tray, having made them all himself. He handed them out to the members of the crew and then sat down for one of the most erudite interviews of the documentary. At one level, this was a simple human courtesy—nothing to make a big deal of. But it was not common, and there is something beautiful about someone at the top of their field choosing to treat you more like guests than filmmakers looking for a big name interview.

The effect of meeting Hengel and Bauckham was completely unexpected. Months later as I was working on an academic project, I reached over to the bookshelf to consult Hengel on some contentious detail and I found myself strangely persuaded by his viewpoint. Yes, this was largely because of the cogency of the argument (the logos), but if I’m honest, it had also to do with my experience with the man. His thoughts on a complicated topic were more compelling to me than those of others, including some of the other scholars I met and interviewed.

I had exactly the same experience days later reaching for Richard Bauckham’s recent tome. In it he offers a controversial argument about the way ancient people preserved important traditions by memory rather than in writing (this is called “oral tradition”). I have to admit I found myself more readily convinced by his case than that of other equally credentialed dons. Again, I don’t think it is simply because I had met the man, as I have not noticed the same “background credulity” toward all of the scholars I met during the filming. Only when reflecting on Aristotle’s ideas about character and persuasion did I become fully aware of the “bias” I had toward agreeing with Hengel and Bauckham. The effect comes not simply from meeting them; it derives from my impression of these two senior academics as thoughtful, caring, humble human beings—“good-hearted”, in Aristotle’s language.

In Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, former White House speech writer William Safire tells of a certain fifth-century BC Athenian orator named Pericles. I haven’t bothered to verify the story, partly because I don’t want to know if it’s false, but apparently Pericles, (pe-ri-kleez) a renowned speaker in his own right, once compared himself to the great lawyer and statesman Demosthenes (de-mos-theenz). “When Pericles (pe-ri-kleez) speaks,” he said of himself, “the people say, ‘How well he speaks’. But when Demosthenes (de-mos-theenz) speaks, the people say, ‘Let us march!’ ”

Real persuasion is invisible in its artistry; it just moves people. My contention in this chapter is simple. Whether in the military, business, sports or academia, humility is part of what moves people. It is not the only factor, of course—and you’ll be glad to know I have managed to find things to disagree with in the writings of Hengel and Bauckham—but humility in the leader does exert a powerful, if intangible, influence on those you lead. This is not rocket science. When people trust us, they tend to believe what we say, and few are considered more trustworthy than those who choose to use their power for the good of others above themselves.

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— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.