We are discussing here Recently I spent the day thinking about my awkward attempts to lead our
growing church. To say that I did not feel prepared for my current mission is an understatement … the meeting of the Three Compares and Forrest Gump seems to be a more
precise image. While my initial list included three pages, here are four things I
I would like someone to tell me before my boat leaves the dock:
Some time ago, I was going through one of the most difficult periods I have ever known in the ministry. I was facing a difficult relationship with the staff, a new land agreement, financial constraints, a clarification of vision, and a dozen other issues that never seem to leave the office of a church leader. I had important decisions to make and I could not find the direction I needed from God.
Gain altitude and clarity
In the midst of all this, I decided to board a plane for California to attend a church conference. In fact, the plane itself was a divine rendezvous. By throwing somewhere over Oklahoma, I felt God impress my heart. Look out the window and notice how you can see on the horizon. When you spend time with me, I will help you gain altitude and clarity.”
You wouldn’t think you’d have to suggest to leaders of growing churches that they spend time with God. On the contrary! Spiritual entrepreneurs are doers by nature. I hear ministers complaining all the time about working too much. But honestly, I don’t remember a single time when I heard a minister say that he prays too much. You would think it would be the opposite. As leaders, we must remember that our primary role, first and foremost, is to be a divine listener. How can we expect to know what to do next if we don’t take long, quiet walks with the Father?
Recently I the
That’s why, no matter how exhausting my schedule is, I’ve learned to block time for long seasons of uninterrupted prayer and meditation. I find that these times are more essential for knowing what to do next than everything I do together. In fact, sometimes someone will ask me where I’m going as I walk through the door and I will say, “I’m going to get higher.”
Make good decisions
The perception that most people have of the leaders of growing churches is that they are nuts that take risks and throw caution to the wind and move forward. While this may be true for some, it is not necessarily the case for the very good. On the contrary, I have found that truly great church leaders are not great because of their personality or their intelligence but because they are great decision-makers.
After thinking about all aspects of a decision, thinking about all possible scenarios and outcomes, and beating a decision to death, they will table it and approach it again another day just to be sure. Why? They know that the margin of error is much smaller in a growing church than in another that is not. What makes matters worse is that sometimes you don’t find out how bad a decision is until it’s too late.
We quickly analyzed the potential sites and found a showcase that we could renovate. New churches were doing this successfully across the country, so I assumed we would follow suit. Two years of low attendance and low morale almost killed our church and me. It was the right decision for the wrong church. I learned at that time that if I had spent a little more time thinking about this decision, we could have avoided an almost fatal leadership collision. It will be the same for you. Kingdom leaders charged with discerning the leadership of a growing church must approach critical leadership decisions with great apprehension and deliberation.
Resist the need to fill in all the blanks
I will never forget to sit down with a seasoned church planter of another denomination who received my direct mail and offered to take me out for lunch for further encouragement. I proudly presented my mission, vision, values, strategy, and a host of other things that people told me that I needed at church growth conferences. Halfway through lunch, he smiled and said, “Please.