Three Essentials for Leaders Who HAVE Leaders (Part 2)

Listen Time ~21 Minutes

The job of second and third-chair leaders can be challenging and involves helping the people under them, while also representing the leader above them. In this episode, Pastor Mark Carter and special guest Melissa Labellarte continue their discussion about the role of second and third-chair leaders and explain how they can help protect the vision when people are having doubts and difficulties.

Three Essentials for Leaders Who HAVE Leaders:

1. Remember that it is Jesus that you’re really representing.

2. Utilize DISCRETION when representing your leader or the organization.

3. Protect the vision when people are having doubts and difficulties.

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Three Essentials for Leaders Who HAVE Leaders (Part 2)


Melissa: You should know the why behind every major what we’re doing, and if you don’t have the clarity around that, like if you’re not sure the exact why from your leader, if you don’t have that, you don’t have any way to help that person understand the real understanding for it.

Carter: Waddup everybody, welcome to the Bible Leadership Podcast. My name is Pastor Mark Carter and today we’re continuing in our conversation about three essentials for leaders who have leaders. Now in the first episode we talked about the first two essentials, these were remember that it’s Jesus you’re really representing. Number two, utilize discretion when representing your leader or the organization and today we’re going to move on to number three: protect the vision when people are having doubts and difficulties. Today you’re going to hear us talk about the benefits of extreme clarity in sharing the why behind the what. We want our people to not only to know what we’re doing but why we’re doing it. And if we don’t know why our leaders made a certain decision, we can’t speak intelligently about it. We’re also going to talk about how to execute when there was a decision made that we don’t agree with. Somebody above us makes a decision, we’re not sure how we feel about it, but we need to act on it or even communicate it to others. Now just to clarify, we’re not talking about sinful decisions, but organizational decisions. If our leader is ever sinning or trying to rope us into sin, the answer is the same as Joab’s was to David when David was thinking about taking a census, Joab was like, long live the king, uhhhhh, but this is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had. And unlike Joab of course, we don’t do it; we’re not going to jump into sin, even if there’s consequences, so we’re talking about organizational decisions. And finally, we’re asking the question do I even need an opinion about this decision? There are some decisions where the enemy may be trying to just rope us into some unnecessary conflict or dissension and sometimes the very best way to operate when we have a leader is just to say I don’t even know that I really need an opinion about this. Now like in our last episode, the audio is a little bit lesser quality than we are used to. I promise that will be different for the next one, but I appreciate your patience as you flow with us. I think we’re gonna learn a ton so let’s get after it. Here’s the conclusion of my interview with my assistant Melissa Labellarte. We’re gonna pick it up with a few additional thoughts about discretion. Let’s do it.

Carter: Anything else that you would recommend to our listeners of how they can maybe, you know, increase the value of discretion in their own heart and in their own role?

Melissa: Similar to the last point of just ask Jesus, and if there’s something that you need to tell your leader or tell, you know, and obviously confess to Jesus that you that you did where you’re like, “I don’t know that I used enough discretion in this situation…” or even just asking your leader, okay, so this situation happened, I felt maybe a little bit cornered, this is what I said, maybe I could have used more discretion, but now you know that I said it, so you know that the information is out there.

Carter: So much better. Yea I’d rather hear it from you than hear it from them later on because then I’m in an awkward position, like, gosh, what else did she say, you know, so yes, it’s awkward I’m sure for you to share that but it’s way better that I hear from you than somebody else.

Melissa: I think you have a lot of trust with your leader when you’re doing this again, like, you know, you’re going to be met with grace. But also like your leader believes that you’re really doing your best, it’s just going to create more relational equity later; I know that you think that I’m doing my best and that’s helpful.

Carter:  I think maybe even just from a spiritual perspective, I know that I don’t face this in the same way because I’m supposed to know most of the information that I know, but just praying over my mouth, you know, Psalm 141:3, Lord, place a guard over my mouth, that I wouldn’t say anything I’m not supposed to. And I know, because like most pastors and folks in roles like mine, you know a lot about a lot of people and so, you even just need the Holy Ghost, tell them not to say certain things that clue in that you know, certain things around people that aren’t supposed to know those things at all, you know, making sure that you’re using discretion, and everybody gets their stuff guarded by you, and you just need a lot of Holy Spirit help to do that from time to time. And so, just even that simple prayer, Lord, help me respect everybody’s stuff and their privacy and not stupidly just spit something out that you shouldn’t have, or you’re in the wrong context to do it. Sweet. Melissa, these are really good. Any others that you share with our listeners with regard to how they can lead in their own right, as someone in a second chair or third chair, helping their leader, but also doing what they need to do in the organization?

Melissa: You know, I think in my experience, this might not be for everybody, but in my experience, I don’t think of myself as somebody who’s close to the center, but I am, I actually am; I do have a role like that, where I am in a lot of rooms and conversations, sometimes as a fly on the wall, but I am closer to that center. And I think sometimes that makes you kind of like a safer place for someone to bring you something. You don’t want to necessarily go all the way to the top, but you’re kind of close, and you’re nice so people want to talk to you about something. Sometimes it’s a doubt about a decision that the organization is making. Sometimes it’s maybe more spiritual warfare involved in that, like, sometimes it’s accusation, sometimes it’s even slander and so, I do find myself in situations like a tension of I want to convey my leader’s heart to this person’s like, I want to represent them well, I want to represent Jesus well. And yet, there’s like kind of this attack coming from this person about, you know, whatever decision we were making, or whatever, because change is hard, and people struggle with that. And so, I find that sometimes when I’m in a situation where I need to convey my leader’s heart, but still passionately defend the vision, still passionately defend the unity of the organization, it’s not super easy. I’ll be honest with you; I find myself in situations like that and a lot of times I just don’t say much. Sometimes it’s better to say less. I think in those moments, I’m relying on the Holy Spirit to give me words to help that person understand that they’re loved and heard and loved and heard by my leader, because really, they’re coming to me, but probably whatever I say, they’re going to infer that my leader thinks a similar thing, because they kind of associate you with that person. I think it took me a long time to realize that like, oh, I’m in this situation, I’m Mark’s proxy in a lot of ways and I think it took me a couple of years to really nail that through a lot of trial and error.

Carter: What’s an example of when that’s gone not fun for you like, without being too specific, what would be an example… and their names and where do they live?

Melissa: I’ll just tell on my own personal circle, my own family even, a few years ago, we as an organization had to kind of make a really hard decision to cut a ministry that had been a part of our organization for a long time. There were a lot of right reasons, a lot of really good reasons to do this, but it was a ministry that was so closely tied to my family and closely tied to a lot of other people’s families, there is a lot of love for these people and what they were doing and passion for what they were doing. And so, even though it was the right decision to cut that ministry from our organization, it was still a really hard pill to swallow for me. And so around that time, you know, change is hard for everybody, and so because I’m close to that inner circle, I ended up in conversations of like, why would they make this decision? Who would like, but don’t think I understand X, Y, and Z. And so, I think in that situation, it was important for me, first of all, just to say less, a lot of times people are just looking for you to hear them and so, it’s not always as malicious as maybe it kind of sounds like not everything is an attack, like some things are an attack; and sometimes people are just trying to tell you about something that matters to them. And so, in those situations, I tried my best to defend the vision to help them understand the why behind the what.  I feel like one of the things that’s really important to me, and I feel like probably should be important in a lot of ministries is you should know the why behind every major what we’re doing. And if you don’t have clarity around that, like if you’re not sure the exact why, from your leader for why you cut this program, or why you have the music that loud or whatever, if you don’t have that, it’s almost like you don’t have any way to help that person understand the real understanding for it. Otherwise, you’re just going to kind of give them something flimsy, and you don’t want to give them something flimsy, you want to give them the pre-determined why for why you’re doing it.

Carter: I think one of the challenges right there is, any time we’re leading people and we don’t give them the why behind the what, man, they’re really going in, ready to get batted around by everything that’s coming at them. I mean, I think people in Melissa’s chair and many others, and anybody I think that represents the organization on a significant level, you’re a little bit of a barf bag for people’s emotional spewing. I think we all know this, people tend to feel their way into thinking rather than think they’re way into feeling so they’re just coming raw, they don’t really understand as much as they think they do and their emotions are riled up, and the enemy’s talking to them and they just have human affections and attachments to certain things. And I’m putting my people in an awkward position, if they have no idea what to say in that moment, or even that that’s really what is happening, it starts to sound like oh, maybe they’re making a good argument. And so, I think even in that situation Melissa, I could have served you better, and I think we might have had a conversation about this at one point with regard to that. But anytime something that’s potentially volatile is happening, to have some kind of a script or language that we’re using to say, I hear what you’re saying, and here’s what I have to say to you without necessarily going deep down into some of the emotional depths that they are trying to sludge their way through. So, me prompting you with a better script to be able to handle I think, would have been helpful and would always be helpful.

Melissa: I think you did, I think  after a conversation like that, I came back to you and was like, hey, could you and again, it’s going back to your leader, because your leaders are really trying to make they’re in a hard position, they see more than you, they’re trying to make decisions that are best for the organization as a whole, you know in my situation with you, you’re kind of on the top of most decisions, you and the elder board and so, you’re seeing a lot more factors than me, and maybe you know down the line are seeing for why we made that particular decision. But it’s helpful to be able to go back to your leader and say, okay, I really want to nail this down, like help me really understand the exact why for why we’re doing this, because what we’re trying to do is help people understand the why, like we’re trying to not just trying to give them an answer to shut them up. We’re trying to help them understand and not everybody will, but if people are brought into your vision you know the why they’ll be able to work through some of those other emotions with the Lord.

Carter: And I feel like one of the things that you do really well, Melissa, and I feel like this is important for people to hear that language itself first the doing it, but then even the way you say it is really important. I think it’s so appropriate and right for the people who are serving under us to be able to come and say, help me understand either the why or help me understand how you want me to talk about this. Because I think some insecure leaders will be like, what’s the problem, like, don’t you believe in this thing, like what’s wrong with you and our people need to be able to come back and say I did understand it, help me understand it again. Because just stuff is hard and people say things and you guys, everybody knows the enemy, the enemy puts stuff in you and he’s trying to like deposit some kind of little grain of hurt or dissension or something like that. And so just having again, I think you need to have a really up to date communication with the people who are close to you in ministry of like, you get to ask again; let’s talk about it again, because I don’t want anything festering and I don’t want you to be like I’m afraid to ask him because he might get pissed at me this time. That’s a stupid thing to be afraid of. Like, we need to be able to talk about it again because we’re always learning and there’s always new stuff that we want to add to it.

Melissa: Yeah, I think that just ups the unity too, when a team of people can have the same language and the same way of presenting some things to the organization because really, those people aren’t going to come to you. They’re most likely a few of them probably will but like they’re going to call go to the people that they know; they’re going to go to the people relationally that’s closest to them to understand this thing. And so, if we’re all saying the same thing, I think that can really up the unity.

Carter: So true. So good. Hey, what about anything else? Melissa, any other you know, next actions, anything else that you would say, hey guys, when it comes to demonstrating the leader’s heart, and yet you still have to say no to people or you still have to say no but, or you still have to protect the limits or, you know, part of your job is shutting things down that are going to distract the leader or get in the leader’s way, but you also still have to be like Jesus, and I know that over the years, that’s just been a tension for you to figure out.  Melissa, anything else that you’d recommend for our listeners, while you’re trying to do that remember this.

Melissa: I’m often in a position where I’m asked to do something and almost all of the time, I think it’s a great idea. Like you and I are pretty much on the same page with pretty much everything. Occasionally there’s a thing we’re doing or just a decision that came down that I was like, um, I don’t know that I’d make that particular decision. And I think just the freedom from the Lord to be like, yea okay, like I’m not in that position, I didn’t have to make that decision, so like, that wasn’t even my call to make anyway. Also, like, I don’t have to agree with everything, or understand everything, to honor my leader and obey, you know, and I don’t know that I’ve ever had like a smack down from you of just obey Melissa, like, I don’t think you ever said that to me. And sometimes it’s as simple as I wouldn’t have gone with this particular graphic for something, or there’s a whole spectrum of those types of things. But I think it’s sometimes it’s worth saying that, you know, like, it’s important to know the why and if you don’t understand the why you should ask for clarity. If that doesn’t help you, you could probably ask Jesus for some humility, and that’ll for sure help. And then I think if there’s, you know, if that doesn’t help, and you still can’t be unified with your leader, I think sometimes it’s worth asking the question, am I really behind this thing? Is it time for me to maybe exit this area or exit this team because sometimes there’s just not unity around something and it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad but if you really can’t reconcile those things, then maybe your season on that team is done? And that’s okay, like the body of Christ is big. There’s a lot of places to go and serve and probably that’s the Lord leading you out of that situation anyway at least in my opinion.

Carter: I think that’s really good and a couple things come to mind. First, I think it’s healthy to remember that you don’t need uniformity to have unity. So in other words, I don’t feel like in our relationship, Melissa, that there’s been many times where it’s like, well look, you need to see it this way or else, like there can just be  freedom in the body of Christ to be like, you know, I’m for my leader, even though we don’t agree about everything and I think that’s an important thing to be able to say across the organization. Hey man, there’s one vision here, we’re all in we don’t all have to agree but we’re all in agreement. That’s two separate things. I think one of the things that you’ve helpfully asked, and I just want everyone to hear, I don’t think and Melissa, you can out me right here. I don’t think our relationship has been characterized by just shut up and do it. Like, I don’t think that’s ever been a part of it but I do think there’s been times where we’ve even had a helpful language, like there’ll be something that’s a little bit bugging you, and I’ve heard you say, do I just not even need an opinion about this? And it’s kind of like this self-corrective; like, maybe the enemy’s trying to get me to really get militant about this thing that is irrelevant for me to have an opinion about, because, like, whatever, we’re still going to do it and it’s just distracting me now. And I think there’s, there’s probably been a time or two when we’ve had the freedom in our relationship for me to even ask the same question like, are you sure you even need an opinion about this? Or is this just a distraction, is the enemy trying to stir up something that honestly, like, just let it go? It doesn’t matter, we’ve got bigger fish to fry, so to speak. I feel like you’ve really grown in that, and I see you self-correct with regard to that stuff, and it’s super encouraging and it gives me a lot of freedom. And we’ve already said this, but it’s so helpful to have people on your team that aren’t just bristly and pissy about everything, like, dude, we do not have time for any of that and Melissa, that’s not your personality. But I’m just saying, I’m so glad to have an assistant where there’s not a bunch of crap that we have to work through first, before we can even work through the actual Kingdom stuff. Kid, you’ve been super helpful to our people today, anything else that you want to share before we sign off?

Melissa: You know, we’re five years in now around five years in if that’s the real number, and I think that it’s gotten better over time. And specifically, because you have made it a huge priority to prioritize going slow with me in my mistakes, if that makes sense. Like, I just feel super blessed to be able to be in a situation where I feel truly discipled into a role. I’m never having this question of, if I fail at this, like, am I going to be let go or whatever. I feel like oh, if I fail at this Mark will tell me how to get better; that’s just been super helpful. And so, even as we’re talking about how do you make sure you know, to defend the vision, even if you don’t necessarily agree with your leader, well you do that because you love your leader, like you do that because that leader has sown grace and love into you for a very long time so you trust their heart. And so, it might not be something that you can do super-fast, but I think over time, as you make sure to drill that message into your people, like I care about you as a person first, not what you necessarily do for this ministry, but that you’re a child of God. And that’s really like the first way that they think about you, that you’re not a leader who just wants something from someone, you want something for them, you’re going to give that person the best possible work. It’s just going to be a really good relationship. So, I’ve been very blessed to have that here.

Carter: I think that’s huge and I think maybe everybody needs that reminder that, you know, we hear so much about people failing, and people bullying in leadership and people doing the wrong thing. But I really think you know, from the Holy Spirit’s perspective, nobody’s Jesus, right. I mean, Jesus is Jesus, but I really believe He wants us to have a certain amount of just, I love to serve my leader, because it’s a privilege. I think so many people Invest in me and dude, do they have faults? Oh, for sure, but I’ll tell you what, I’d lie down in the road for them. I mean, I’d drive across country, I’d do whatever, you know what I’m saying, because I believe not only are they you know, in my heart, are they worth it. But I believe it actually is what God wants, like I believe it honors Him I believe we’re supposed to honor those who are over us in the Lord and so, I certainly love having people on my team that make that easy and I think Melissa you’ve given everybody some great advice today. And we’re gonna have a bunch of people that are going to want to email in and tell you what’s wrong with all their bosses, so what email should they reach out to you at?

Melissa:  You can reach me at

Carter: Well my friends, I hope you enjoyed that. If you did, please like and share and comment or even review on iTunes. This really helps get the podcast to others. Don’t forget to pick up some Bible Leadership Podcast swag, like a t-shirt or a sweatshirt or a sticker; they even have notebooks at the website. So go ahead and check out that out we’ll attach the link in the show’s notes description. Even if you don’t get stuff, just go look at it because it’s pretty cool. And don’t forget, if you believe in the Bible Leadership Podcast, you can support us for as low as $3 a month by going to Thank you so much to everybody who supports the Bible Leadership Podcast making this possible. Finally, ladies, don’t forget to sign up for Swordgirl. There’s only 36 days left as of this recording. And you know, I’d really challenge you to invest in yourself spiritually. Now through September 8, tickets are only $80. I’d get a little concerned for people who always want to be like hey, can I have the really unique person discount even though you’re already spending a ton on mochachinos from Starbucks every month. I was challenged early on in my walk to invest in my spiritual walk because it honors God and God honors it. He honors us when we have to travel, He honors us when it’s a little bit inconvenient to pull it off. Why? Because the anointing is costly; you have to drag the river to find the pearl of great price. Like Jesus talked about this, when you find a treasure hidden in a field, you go and buy the whole field just to make sure that you get it, and I get a little concerned for people their concept of Christianity doesn’t include there’s reward for sacrifice. So, what do you do? Go to, grab your tickets for yourself and for someone else. Now for those who stayed until the end, here’s a little snippet of my talk with Mike Bryant from Grace Community Bible Church as we talked about what to do when you’re not feeling fruitful in ministry. This is coming up next week, take a listen.

Mike: And so, you feel almost like Superman in a sense, you’re like if I come in and I’ve got the spirit of God in me and I’ve got his Word, what else do I need man? I just show up and I do my part man and lives are gonna change and people are gonna fall down and submit to the Lordship of Jesus and they’re gonna be like God is awesome! You know, you have this sunshine and rainbows image of what it’s gonna be like because you’ve just seen so much and everything you touch turns to gold in the beginning. And then you get to the second experience, or the second context and you’re like none of that happens?

Carter: So look for that next week. Hey Bible Leadership Podcast family, thank you so much for listening. Don’t just lead today, lead with an open bible and we’ll see you next time.

Posted on August 14, 2019

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