I always felt better after time being in her presence. Whether it was our one on one coffee meetings, during our weekly leadership team meetings or in the midst of huge events at our church under her leadership, I walked away with my shoulders back, confidence boosted and a clearer picture of Christ. She was my leader and is my mentor. Her name is Mary Ann. She’s a leader who is a thermostat, not a thermometer. She could change the environment simply by walking into the room.

There were times in women’s ministry leadership that not all of the women on our teams were easy to lead (myself included). But Mary Ann always changed the temperature of any situation. It could be facing budget cuts, relational conflict or the unending details of a huge event that led to opportunities for Mary Ann to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.

A thermometer leader comes into a situation and reflects the temperature that’s already happening. So if you have relational conflict, a thermometer leader may find themselves too afraid to enter the mess to actually change the temperature by walking through the conflict toward resolution. However a thermostat leader changes the temperature. I remember Mary Ann willingly walking into conflict in such a way to honor God and those involved. The end result? The temperature of the team or relationship was reset … conflict resolved … hearts softened … God honored.

As you lead others, is there a conversation you know you need to have with someone you are mentoring in leadership. You know their choices are going to harm them and they need to make some changes. Will you be a thermostat and just allow them to stay where they are? Or are you willing to have some loving discussions about how God wants them to grow through changes to their reset temperature? As a thermostat leader, we need to get good at speaking truth in a way that is affirming and loving. Mary Ann was the kind of thermostat leader that would paint SUCH a picture of what COULD be in my life or leadership that I couldn’t help but want to change my temperature by changing my behavior, choices or mindset.

There are endless ways God will use our leadership to change temperatures. Does a team you are leading need a dose of hope? Is there a bitter root in your ministry somewhere that God can use you to pull up? Has your staff become divided and in need of unity?

Often I forget as a leader the capacity I have to influence and reset temperatures. What leadership challenges do you face today that God wants to use you to turn up the heat or cool it down? It could be as small as a simple smile, well written email or prayer time before a meeting. I’d love to hear what leadership challenges you face in the comments below. Will you be a thermometer leader or a thermostat leader?

1 Timothy 4:12 – “… but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Share this:


  1. Wow, what a powerful visual! Thank you so much for this insight and reminder. I don’t know if I’ll ever enter a meeting without thinking of this. Lord, make me a Thermostat that helps others to regulate their temperature so that you can move and work!

Comments are closed.