Leadership series: Craig Groeschel

“Critique of Craig Groeschel SEU Leaderhsip Forum 2010”

  • Right from the beginning, Craig Groeschel wanted the room full of leaders to walk away from the presentation aware of one thing. Groeschel said it once and reiterated it through each example, “a leader’s constant companion is pain.” Groeschel was able to take this idea and make it tangible and real to the audience. Everyone in that room who was a leader, immediately perked their ears to this statement and became intrigued why someone in such a level of tangible success would make such a statement.


  • I really was enlightened on this idea of “purposeful pain,” that Groeschel kept referring to. Throughout the presentation Groeschel explained that a lot of leaders are scared of any kind of pain, and that often it cannot only effect their public life, but also their private life. Groeschel explained that as a leader you will face a lot of criticism. Most people want everyone to like them, but the reality is there will always be someone who does not like what you are doing. The speaker challenged us to “increase our threshold of pain in rejection and criticism.” Criticism is healthy in a lot of ways, because it keeps you accountable, dependent upon God and genuine. A lot of leaders today do not have enough accountability and as a result they fail emotionally and spiritually, when all they needed was someone to watch them and tell them what they were doing was unhealthy. As leaders it is vital that we have a dependability on God, if we start thinking that we can do everything without him, and that we are as good as we think we are, then we are headed down a slippery slope. Lastly leaders need to be genuine. Leaders today run the risk of fake personas more than ever because of twitter and facebook and so many social outlets. It’s easy to pretend to be one person and then turn out to be another. Eventually without that criticism both good and bad, a leader can lose his/her identity very quickly.
  • Another thing that Groeschel said that struck me as unfamiliar was the quote, “if you blame yourself for the decline you’ll take credit for the increase.” This statement is really powerful. Most leaders want to wallow in self-pity and don’t want to look at “pruning” that may be taking place. They want to take everything bad and hide it and try not to admit that they are weak and do fail. Then when they have risen above the trouble they credit themselves instead of God. A true leader recognizes errors and mistakes and tries to learn from it, thanking God that there is a lesson to be learned instead of simply looking at the problem as something to hide and run from. Most leaders do not like this idea because it entails what most would consider “weakness,” but it is better to admit you are wrong and be perceived as weak then to hide from wrong and grow in false pride.



  • The most helpful part of this presentation for me, was Groeschel’s ability to explain pain as something good opposed to always being bad. There is “growth” that arises out of  “purposeful pain.” Groeschel kept explaining that you have to “lead through pain, not stupid pain.” Pain is meant to be something that we grown and learn from, needless and stupid pain is pain brought on by ourselves in our own selfishness and pride. God doesn’t want us to go through the pain of pride and adultery and other detrimental acts. God allows us to go through healthy pain because with it there will come growth and movement. This is not to say that leaders who make mistakes such as money laundering, adultery, or other acts can’t be reconciled back into God’s wonderful plan for their life. It’s simply saying that life holds enough pain and trials through human connection, why add needless pain?



  • “Often the difference between where we are and where God wants us to be is the pain we are unwilling to endure.” This is powerful, Groeschel was challenging the room of leaders to stop avoiding the “tough decisions.” Leadership has a lot of duties some are fun and some are terrible, especially when it deals with the confrontation of another individual. A leader is someone who is not afraid to confront someone when they are wrong, or harming the company/organization. Sometimes God has a great plan in store for us, but we are unwilling to let go of the thing or place we currently feel we are in possession of. Leaders become comfortable or even scared to move forward into the unknown, even when it is something as simple as confronting someone. Sometimes one person within an organization can become so unruly that they can hinder others from reaching their “purposes” as well. The leader must be willing to confront these people, even when it is uncomfortable, and demand change in action form this individual. When a leader becomes stagnant in one place and never looks forward, they will drag everyone under them down the same “pipe.” Leaders have to endure the pain of the “unknown,” without it they struggle with the idea of faith. On that note, I end with this quote, “sometimes a leader will be stung (hurt/ injured) and be hesitant, they will lead to avoid pain, instead of by faith.

Check out Craig Groeschel’s latest book:



5 responses to “Leadership series: Craig Groeschel

  1. I took the leadership forum on DVD form and I loved all of them! I really did enjoy Craig Groeschel and everything that he had to say. I learned so much! I LOVED the quote that you stated in your blog post. I wrote it down in my notes while I watched it! “if you blame yourself for the decline you’ll take credit for the increase.” This was such an insightful thing to say. I have never viewed it that way, but it is so true! I am really glad that you posted something about the leadership forum that I could relate to! It was a phenomenal experience!

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  4. I also attended the leadership forum this year, so I was excited to see this post! I don’t know about you, but I thought the entire Forum was absolutely incredible. Craig Groeschel was one of several great speakers.

    I like how you talked about his quote “If you blame yourself for the decline, you’ll take credit for the increase.” This wasn’t something I had ever considered before he said it, but it makes a lot of sense. I always thought that taking credit for the decline yourself was actually a noble act, because you own up to your own mistakes instead of blaming somebody else. However, Groeschel made a good point—if you think everything is all about you when things are going wrong, you’ll probably have the same attitude when things start going better for you, too. Groeschel’s words of wisdom are important to remember during both the good times and the bad times.

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