Leadership Advice For Every Decade of Your Life with Gordon MacDonald


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In this episode of the L3 Leadership Podcast, you’ll hear Gordon MacDonald, pastor and best-selling author, share leadership advice for every decade of your life, the importance of rest, and more!

About Gordon

Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for over forty years. For many years he pastored Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, and continues to serve as Pastor Emeritus. He has also provided leadership to influential ministries such as Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which he served as President for three years, and World Relief, which he currently serves as Chairman. Gordon’s best-selling books include Ordering Your Private World, Mid-Course Correction, and, most recently, A Resilient Life. He also writes and serves as Editor-at-Large for Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. When not writing, leading, or speaking at conferences, Gordon and his wife Gail can be found hiking the trails of New England.

Episode Summary:

  • Gordon’s in his 80's, so we asked him to give advice to leaders in each decade starting with the 20's.
  • We talk a lot about leadership and ambition and the importance of rest.
  • Gordon was one of 4 leaders chosen to walk President Bill Clinton through everything he went through in his presidency... it was fascinating to talk about that.
  • We also talk about what leadership succession and beyond looks like.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Ambition in leadership can be positive, but it does have a spectrum that must be kept in check. It’s good to want to make a difference, but “Drivenness must be consecrated daily”.
  2. “Business brings emptiness. I always keep a sabbath.” There are no two sabbaths that are the same. It’s all about getting true rest and being renewed. If you can’t get everything done in 6 days, then you’re either doing too much or are doing it wrong.
  3. About every seven years, your dreams will get tested. This is either because you fail, or someone fails you.
  4. Right now at 81, I am most interested in raising up younger pastors and being a spiritual father to those who will go after me.
  5. For those who are looking for a spiritual father or a mentor, my advice is to start “dating”. Date your potential mentor, take them to coffee, ask them questions, see how you click and whether or not you hit it off. Don’t just ask someone to be your mentor. Take it slow and take time to develop a real relationship first.
  6. Failure always generates humility. Always take full responsibility for your mistakes. Think about what you can learn from them and what you can teach others from them. Never cover up your mistakes.

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