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Brian Sanders “Leadership in Christian Radio” Part 2

interview-briansTHE WHY AND HOW OF MISSION

President Clinton’s second White House Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta, tells an amazing and true story.

The Clinton administration was working hard to get its signature Crime Bill through the congress.

Panetta kept reaching out to Barbara-Rose Collins, a representative from Michigan.

The White House needed her vote but she kept refusing the Chief of Staff’s calls until one day she called and said she’d like to meet.

Panetta tells the story,

“Bill Richardson, then a congressman from New Mexico and a supporter of the crime bill, offered to host the meeting, and we gathered in his Capitol Hill office.  I asked what I could do for Collins, and she informed me that Jesus had spoken to her in a dream the night before.

“Really?” I asked calmly, as a few of my colleagues did their best to compose themselves. “What did Jesus say?”

“He told me I should consider supporting the president,” she answered, then added, “I think God will allow me to support this bill if I get a casino for my district.”

“I’m glad to hear that Jesus is flexible,” I responded, while Richardson, standing behind Collins, rolled his eyes in amazement.”  (from Worthy Fights, ps.144-145)

I just returned from CMB’s Gold Member’s summit on Leadership where Mark Miller, a Chick-fil-A executive said, “No one drifts toward greatness.”  


And when we don’t, and our ministry and station struggle, much like Congresswoman Collins, we blame God.  We’ll say things like, “The Lord has called us to be faithful, not to be successful.”   That’s nothing more than hiding our failures behind spiritual platitudes. 

Miller is right.  No one drifts toward greatness.  The same is true for your station.  It won’t drift to greatness…you must lead it there.

Last week, I encouraged you to grant amnesty during your weekly staff meeting.  Encourage the team to use candor and tell you everything that is broken and wrong. No one gets fired.  You need to face the reality of what is. Immediately fix three things.  It will build trust.   


Even if there’s just five of you on your team, set up smaller teams to begin tackling the other problems.  Give your team the opportunity to create solutions for what ails the station.  By doing so, you give them ownership.  They’ll trust the solution if they had a hand in crafting it.

Throughout this process, you’re building trust.  As a leader – your currency is trust and the next step you must take will use up a bunch of that trust.

Your next step is alignment.  Getting everyone on the same page and heading in the same direction. 

I could ask if your station or ministry has a mission statement, but I won’t.  Instead, I’m going to ask this – are you and your team passionate about the mission?

Your mission is why the ministry exists. 

Do you live and breathe it? 

Are you talking about it?

Do you use the mission as a filter through which you make decisions?

If the answer is yes, congrats.  You can skip the rest of this blog.

If the answer is no, it’s time to get to work.

The easiest way to recapture this passion is to craft a new mission statement.  BUT DO NOT DO IT ON YOUR OWN.  Include your team.   Hash it out.  Have arguments.  Debate the reasons why the ministry exists.  It may take several meetings but that’s good.  The more you discuss it – the deeper the mission gets in the DNA of the team.

Before agreeing on a mission statement, ask yourself and the team this question…does it inspire?  Will it make me want to get out of bed in the morning and come to work?    If not – keep hammering at it.

A clear mission statement informs and inspires the team as to why we do what we do.  It aligns the team.   Everyone is now on the same page. 

Now the fun begins!

Ask your team, how do we do the why?  

How do we fulfill our mission?  

Settle on a path. 

Equip the team.

In each staff meeting and gathering, find a way to repeat the mission.

No station drifts toward greatness.

Get some candor going.

Solve some problems.

Build trust.

Get the team aligned through a clear mission statement.

Begin to brainstorm how to fulfill the mission.

Now you’re not drifting. 

Welcome to being intentional. 


Be a leader.

By doing so, you no longer have to blame God for a lack of leadership on your part.

Now you get to thank Him for using you to create something amazing!

(Note: The Crime Bill passed the house 235-195.)

Want to continue the conversation?   Email me:  brian@parfm.com

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Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.

PAR has five brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV.

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