Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The 3 Attitudes that Transform Any Organization

Years ago my father, Paul Burleson, taught me three principles that he required his church staff to follow. I have found these principles to be invaluable in keeping working relationships healthy, whether it be in business, personal relationships, or ministry.

The reasons I value them is because, in hindsight, I can see how implementing these principles have enabled me to avoid many pitfalls. In addition, any organization will thrive in its mission where these principles guide the attitudes and actions of its employees. There may be some who wrongly think these principles apply only to Christian people, but I would propose that because they are principles, they'll work for anyone. 

Principle #1 - A Positive Spirit

"I will always be positive about life because I know that no matter how difficult or dark things seem to be,  God is in control. Further, because God's nature is good (e.g. "His name God is an abbreviation of Good), God is working all things for my good through current circumstances.

It is amazing what a deep understanding of God's goodness and sovereignty will do for someone when problems arise.

Principle #2 - A Servant's Heart

"I will work my hardest and do my best to make sure that those around me succeed in life and are viewed by others in the best possible light. For when I esteem others and value others more than I do myself, I live as my Creator designed me to live, and when I don't, I bring dysfunction upon my organization by destroying my purpose in life." 

This selfless attitude prevents "turf wars" where people take ownership and protect all things "mine" or "about me." Being a servant is the opposite of self-absorption. Self-absorption is where someone does what they do for personal identity, promotion, or self-worth. Ironically, God will always ultimately exalt the servant, but He will always ultimately bring low the proud. 

Principle #3 - A Loyal Spirit

"I will neither give nor receive a negative word about you unless you are aware of that which is being said or heard by me."

When someone talks about others rather to others, it breeds disloyalty to, dysfunction in, and destruction of common goals. This little principle, if NOT followed, reveals more about the person who gossips than the one gossiped about. 

An organization with employees who put into practice these principles will find itself transformed for the better. 


Rileydogbarks said...

Just emailed this to my entire staff. Refreshing words, challenging vision.

Anonymous said...

I knew from the first 10 words this was going to be a great post. And it was.

Unknown said...

Great post Wade!

Jon L. Estes said...

Good rules to follow.

It is sad that social media and other means of online communication often is used by Christians to do the opposite... Especially the talking about others instead of to them. I'm including myself in that mix and I wish I wouldn't have to. May I learn to stop. May I guard my heart.

Lord, keep me off the bandwagon.

Rex Ray said...


Have you noticed a ‘Chinese HITCH-HIKER’ (blog is in the Chinese language) that is adding ‘junk’ for the last comment on 10-3-18, 9-27-18, 8-29-18, 9-11-18, and 8-29-18?

Principles #2 and #3 are really good, but I believe #1 has to apply to Christians only. I mean regardless of how much “Positive Spirit” a person’s has if they die lost. If God was in in control of all things, there be no need for the “Great Commission”.


Good comment.

Rex Ray said...

Sorry, 8-29-18 should be 9-19-18.

Wade Burleson said...


I have - it's a Chinese BOT that injects Malware.

Blogger needs a better filter (in my opinion).

I may need to give you my password so you can send the illegal immigrant back home.


Tanner Riley said...

Hi Wade!
Good post. People often lose sight of the call to love and serve, instead getting caught up in 'the task at hand.'

One thing I'm curious about, though, is your claim that the word 'God' "is an abbreviation of Good." I don't mean to nitpick--I'm wellmeant. As far as I can tell, the word 'god' comes from the Proto-Indo-European word for "to invoke, or pour" (as in a libation or drink offering), likely connected to words meaning "to call."
Is there another origin?

I really enjoy your blog. Your posts keep me thinking, and I love how God is using your voice to advocate for the overlooked and God's Kingdom ("The Difference Between My Church and His Church" made me cry, it was so good).
Tanner G. Riley

Rex Ray said...


“…give you my password…”

Now, you’re the one being funny.

Judy got a birthday card from her brother today that read; “As we get older, hearing and eyesight begin to fail.” Inside was only very small words: “…so what did you think of your musical birthday card?”

Brad in Ky said...

I like 1 and 2. It depends on how 3 is applied. After all, "disloyalty in Nazi Germany was punishable by death. "

Christiane said...

Hello Brad in Kentucky,

I agree with your comment concerning 'how loyalty is applied'. It's a complicated word, 'loyalty'.

I've thought about it some and I decided that the best 'loyalty' there is a kind of sense of solidarity with all other human persons on Earth, of our own 'kind', of 'humanity' itself;
which of course seems too inclusive for the topic of Wade's post.

And how would that 'solidarity' be expressed? Likely, in 'kindness' towards others, not because we benefit from them or from the relationship with them; but because they are, like ourselves, human persons formed from the same elements of the Earth and possessing of life breathed into them by the Creator.

Yes, way to 'general'. Way too inclusive. But still, there is something in this definition that also says:
can I be 'unkind' to others as a result of being 'loyal' to a more specific allegiance?

That is where it gets tricky. How far into our own humaneness does our loyalty to our own kind go? What CAN we abandon, turn on, or even destroy of our own kind as we begin to narrow our 'loyalty' to a specific entity other than the Creator of all?

I'd say, if loyalty is asked of us on the conditions that we give up our humane-ness to achieve it, we would be asked to betray something of ourselves that is integral to who we are.

It comes down to 'conscience'. It's a matter of each person's conscience in the end, because we have responsibility to God for our willful actions and failures to act. 'Loyalty' is a good word. But only if applied conscientiously towards what is good and away from what is evil.

Rex Ray said...


It seems another religion had the same problem as Southern Baptist had with Patterson in that he couldn’t see’ the sins of a ‘favorite person’.

On Friday October 12 the Herald Democrat newspaper had what Chico Harlan wrote in the Washington Post:

“Pope Francis recently announced that he will summon bishops from around the world to discuss clergy abuse prevention in February.” [2019]

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick rose to become one of the most prominent figures within the global church. He is accused of sexual abuse of both adults and minors. At one time he was strongly advised not to travel, and not to appear publicly, so as not to provoke further rumors about him.

Carlo Maria Vigano, former ambassador wrote a letter that much of the hierarchy, including Pope Francis, had for years protected recently-resigned McCarrick. Vigano said he told Pope Francis in 2013 that McCarrick was a “serial predator” with young boys.

Shawn said...

Too often forgotten or overlooked, loyalty is a two way street, it goes both directions. Such is the essence of Servant Leadership.

Christiane said...

Hello Shawn,
thank you for sharing that link; 'servant-leadership' has been a great theme expressed both by Wade and his father, Paul Burleson

speaking of 'fathers', there is a comment under your post by REX RAY who wrote about his own father's service during the War:

"My father, David W Ray in World War II avoided a corner of the road and drove across land that was marked a mine field. When the convoy saw his jeep was not blown to bits, they followed his tracts. The Germans were miles away, but their shells were hitting vehicles on the corner they had marked. Their shells continued to fall but on an ’empty corner’. Only God knows how many lives were saved. Another time, he was covered with blood from wounded soldiers by carrying them to safety. He was never under orders as he was a Chaplin."

Shawn, your example of a soldier coming to the aid of a wounded soldier who survived, and yet the one who came to help him perished . . . that is something that speaks to "the love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best.
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice." (Patriotic hymn)

I expect at the heart of the good kind of 'loyalty' is a love that is given without thought of self. And the ultimate inspiration of that kind of 'loyalty' is Christ, the greatest Servant-Leader. His own example of Servant-leadership comes down to us through the millenia: the only time He was raised up higher than those He served was on the Cross.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the post. Love your mom and dad. He was my pastor in Ft Worth, still my mentor today. My wife and I have been with them on a Double Honor Retreat. I vividly remember him sharing these principles and I applied them in ministry and the military. Blessings

Steve Miller

San Antonio TX

Shawn said...

Indeed Christiane, indeed Jesus is the ultimate expression of that servanthood, that leadership, that loyalty, that love.

I have seen it more often understood and exercised in a military full of heathens than in some major Christian organizations run by 'heroes of the faith.' Sadly.

Rex Ray said...


Thanks for sharing my dad’s stories. As he started across the field marked “LAND MINES”, his assistant yelled, “You’re going to get us killed!” He yelled back, “Maybe the Germans put the signs up.”

In the other story, several soldiers were wounded and couldn’t make it to safety. A Colonel said, “Some of you go with me and we’ll get the wounded. Shells were still falling. Dad was the only one to make several trips with him. A few days later in front of the others, the Colonel awarded him the Bronze Star. He was in Patten’s 4th Armored Division, and stayed on the ‘front’ until the war was over.

Christiane said...

Hello there, REX RAY

I love your stories, as you know, and the ones about your family make me laugh and cry, sometimes in the same story. Your father was a brave man. Thank God for his courage in the face of death so he could minister to the fallen soldiers in their moment of crisis. You have every reason to be proud of him. The whole nation celebrates such men as your father.

I read your comment about Pope Francis, and I agree that to all appearances, he might have acted sooner to rein in some of these predatory monsters . . . but I cannot see him as knowingly allowing any priest to harm a child. That is not in his nature. There is never ANY excuse for the abuse of a child by any predator, nor is there any excuse for people 'looking away' when children are being preyed upon. These predators are criminals who belong in jail. Case closed. As to Francis' critics, I would take a look at who they are and what alliances they have within the Church that are political and what agendas they support. Francis is not perfect. But he IS a serving priest who goes into the areas where poor people live and helps minister to them, still. Some of the changes he has made have angered more 'conservative' forces and the laity are aware of those who hold him in contempt and why. I do not hold him in contempt, no. Not him. He is an old man with one lung left and he is mortal. He serves so the Pope Emeritus can rest from his labors. He does not complain or let up on his travels, even to the difficult places in this world.

I hope he has good counsel. The laity support him with their prayers. Me included. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok. Here goes. I know I'm replying to an older post but I just wanted to mention something here. I grew up somewhere b/tw middle and upper middle class. So thankfully never had to wonder where food or other necessities were going to be there. However, my parents had(and have) deep emotional issues. Both dealt w/ depression although they would never admit to it, and my mom struggled w/ severe OCD. I was left feeling severely rejected by both. Also, my mother's issues heaped burdens on me that no child should have to deal with (or adult). At the age of 12 I literally wanted to kill myself. I was dealing w/ all of this at home and was being mercilessly bullied at school by a boy. I came to realize later in life I have clinical depression - helped immensely by counseling and meds.(and a couple of herbs). I grew up in '70s and in the '80s I could barely function but my husband & I felt I needed to work. By God's grace, I obtained a job at a church in my denomination. All I had to do was answer the phone and take msgs. I could do that. That job was a blessing. My husband and I had a daughter about 3 and to be honest, she was in better hands in a christian daycare than w/ me. Not talking physical abuse; my mental and emotional issues were just so debilitating. No one knew what I was dealing with. I treated everyone as I should. I still struggle and have for some time. I am SO ready to go to my heavenly home. I just do not want to hurt anymore. All I am trying to say is working for that church was a Godsend. I had put ministers on a pedestal but that helped me not to. When you work w/ folks 5 days a wk, you realize they are as human as anyone else. But also, I got to observe some REALLY Godly people and how they let God lead them in not just the big things but also in everyday life. A RELATIONSHIP instead of rules. I was a Christian- got saved by faith thru grace at age 10. But the teaching I grew up with was mostly about the 'do's and don'ts'. Consequently, I arrived at adulthood basically a baby Christian. You mentioned that your dad had these rules for his staff. I was only a receptionist. These rules may really need to apply for staff. I know that I was severely lacking (and still struggle with) a positive spirit and servant's heart. But God used those couple of yrs to help me and grow me. I think as with EVERYTHING, before we make a decision, including hiring someone, to PRAY and let the Lord lead.

Anne@CMM World said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing these meaningful and helpful principles. I wish my previous manager would be able to read this and email this to all the employees.

Anonymous said...

We have fun games. Many waiting for you. Making a profit is just a click away.