Archives For Leadership

Danny Kirk, Grace Hills’ Community Pastor, started a back porch discussion off the other day with this question: what do you think are the basic, essential qualities a leader must have to be an effective church planter?

The more we talked, the longer our list became. And I even thought of Charles Ridley’s excellent list of 13 characteristics of a church planter, which I can’t improve upon. But before I get into it, let me issue this disclaimer to ward off those who will nail me for being overly pragmatic… God can use anyone he wants to use to do anything he wants done. Skilled or not, talented or not, charismatic or not, God can do amazing things through ordinary people.

Having said all of that, some people seem to lead well while others struggle. In general, these are the characteristics of leaders I see influencing growing numbers of people for the kingdom’s sake…

Character in the heart

Every leader’s influence is merely temporary, no matter how large, if there isn’t solid character being developed at the core. Trustworthiness is really the foundational quality of a leader. It’s not the product or the fruit; character is the root….

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A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called 5 Ways To Know If Your Team Is Inconsistent.  If you haven’t read it, would you click on the link and check it out?

Now that you’ve evaluated the team that you lead and you’ve discovered that they’re not as consistent as you’d like them to be…now what?  How do I help them become more consistent?

Well, I’m glad you asked!  Here are five ways to help increase consistency:

  1. Over communicate.  When leading a team, I’m not sure that it’s possible to communicate too much.  I’m sure that it is, but far too many of us woefully under-communicate that an increase in our communication would be welcomed.  But, when we communicate with our teams we are setting expectations.  And the more that they hear from us the more likely we are to adequately shape the culture and that leads to consistency and excellence.
  2. Have a system for development.  Often, one of the main reasons a team is inconsistent is because they lack training.  Especially in any kind of on-going way.  And, if there is training present, it happens haphazardly and without any clear system….

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Do people respect you more or less the closer they get to you?  This is a question I’ve been pondering lately. We all have leaders we admire or respect from a distance. It could be a pastor, a business executive, a non-profit leader, an author, etc. We’ve learned from their preaching, writing, or speeches. We’ve seen the fruit of their ministry or business and admire their impact.

However, we’ve also heard of leaders who looked great from afar but led inner lives of turmoil. Maybe they got caught in an affair, made poor financial decisions, or their staff is exhausted from consistent stress and long hours. These leaders seem like they have it all together – if you don’t look too closely or get into their inner circle.

How does this happen? More importantly, how do we prevent it from happening to us as leaders?

How does this happen? Here are a few ideas:

#1 – We live in a culture that reveres and desires celebrities

We want to follow someone. Look at reality television or the gossip magazines at the checkout counter. We’ve built entire industries around seeking to know the intimate details of people we’ll never…

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The 4 Keys Of Delegation

By Tim Parsons

Any time that we’re working with teams, delegation is going to be central to our success.  As a parent, we ask our kids to clean up their room or make the bed or brush their teeth.  At some point in their lives, we were probably the ones doing those things.  But, we want them to learn responsibility, so we delegate those tasks to them. In business, our capacity or skill level to do everything that needs to be done is limited.  So, we delegate tasks to those that we lead in order to accomplish the mission of the organization.

But, good delegation – whether its with a child or an adult – can require some skill.  Early on in my leadership, I was a horrible delegator.  In fact, I would say that I’m still growing in this area in some respects.  I’m not sure if it’s an introvert thing, but I definitely struggle with giving up control.  I have a mindset that if I want it done right, it’s better to do it myself.  But, I have definitely found some keys that must be present in order to delegate effectively.

1.  Be clear about the…

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Leaders are always defined by self-imposed standards. I’m not talking about standards set by other people, but standards they set for themselves. Great leaders always expect more from themselves than they do from their followers. They put forth more effort as well. That’s leadership.

If you were to look through the New Testament for the phrase “make every effort,” you’d find it six times. They represent six important vows we need to make as leaders. I believe these six vows will lead to an effective and productive ministry.

1) Vow to maintain integrity

“Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. No one is perfect. To be spotless and blameless means to live with integrity. How do you maintain integrity if you’re not perfect? You need to be transparent. A person of integrity is not claiming to have it all together in every area. On the contrary, the person of integrity is willing to be open about their strengths and weaknesses.

Having integrity also means living what you say you believe. You model what you teach. And you tell the truth,…

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Letter of Criticism

“You’re a pathetic leader and pastor. Why God would let you pastor our church or any church is a mystery to me!”

That was just the opening line in a four-page single-spaced letter. Seriously. Of course, it wasn’t the first scathing correspondence to cross my desk, and it won’t be the last, but it hurt. A lot.

Adding insult to injury, this letter came on the heels of some other staff struggles and in the midst of a season of decline in our church. It might not have stung as deeply as it did if I hadn’t already been questioning my leadership. Nothing like getting kicked in the head when you’re down. For several days I wondered what it would be like to sell cars for a living.

I wish I could tell you that I’m so secure that I am unaffected by criticism. I wish I could write a blog about how to put people in their place when they go ballistic on you. Frankly, I wish the awesomeness of my leadership skills and the growth of our church were enough to silence the critics. They’re not.

So what did I learn…

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Revitalizing a church is an ongoing process and experience, beginning with the pastor and continuing with the church. Without pastor revitalization, there will be no church revitalization. Both pastor and church are in need of continual revitalization.

We never arrive. Church revitalization is about the church becoming stronger and healthier. It is about penetrating your community and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Crisis is Real

The vast majority of the 51,094 churches and congregations that comprise our Southern Baptist Convention are in need of revitalization. In 2013, LifeWay Research released a graphic that illustrated that no less than seventy-four percent of our churches are either plateaued or declining.

In many ways, all of our churches are in need of ongoing revitalization. In today’s world of endless change, it is inescapable. We have to experience seasons that involve brutal honesty, leading us to re-create our churches and restore the hope that God can use our churches to reach our community.

9 Strategic Principles for Revitalizing Your Church

1: CATCH the Power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ      

Catching the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our ONLY hope for revitalizing…

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I’ve had the opportunity these last thirty years to be with Rick Warren as he has personally taught well over 400,000 leaders what it means to be a healthy, purpose driven church. In that time I’ve been able to observe some things about how to take the principles of being a healthy church from a philosophy into practice, from something you’d like to do to something you are doing. I’ve learned from watching these thousands of leaders that it takes four things to put principles into practice: message, method, models and mentors.


This one may be obvious, but it also must be stated because it is so important. There are a lot of ideas out there about how to grow a church. Many of them will work in one context but not in others or will work for a times but not for the long term. The key to picking the right idea to build on is in looking at the foundation of that idea. While we can learn much from the worlds of business or sociology about how to build a church, those learnings cannot serve as…

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You can’t study leadership in the context of the Bible and not fall on the story of Moses. From his call until his death, he is leadership wisdom embodied. What he did right provides powerful wisdom to young leaders and experienced leaders alike. What he did wrong helps us understand our own mess ups and begs us not to repeat them.

I love the story of the call of Moses.

When God called Moses, he didn’t seem like a good candidate to lead the nation God had called out and separated for Himself. However, God in all his wisdom chooses Moses. As he’s telling Moses about the call that He wants him to complete, Moses begins to make excuses. During this quick exchange between God and Moses, we can see 3 things that God says He’ll do for Moses. I think He’s still telling us leaders today, “I’ll take care of these, you just go.”

Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will…

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I recently quoted Dr. John Maxwell in my post 24 Things Successful Leaders Are Thinking when he said, “99% of great ideas never become a reality. They just stay in the mind. It’s not the thought you have in the shower. It’s what you do with it after you dry off.”

Sadly, many leaders have an inability to effectively follow through. We will never know how many dreams God placed in leaders’ hearts which went unfulfilled.

One of the primary reasons leaders do not act if FEAR. This may surprise you but recently, Bryan Miles, co-founder of MAG Bookkeeping, discussed this topic in detail. The following are his thoughts:

Feeling great about a new idea is awesome. Dealing with the feeling of impossibility about your new idea … well, that isn’t so great. And that is where a lot of great people with great ideas get hung up and never jump (aka take the leap).

If you’ve ever balked at an idea that you felt passionate about … you won’t like what I am about to tell you.


That’s it. A decision. A decision to act. To…

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West Angeles Charles Blake

I recently had the privilege of honoring one of America’s great pastors –  a wonderful co-worker in ministry, a powerful force for good in the city of Los Angeles, and dear friend of mine. Bishop Charles Blake has pastored West Angeles Church in the heart of L.A. for forty-six years! That’s what you call “putting down roots” in a congregation and city. There aren’t many pastors who’ve cared for one congregation for that long. (One of my 6 mentors served his church in Dallas for 50 years.)

A big reason why many churches are plateaued and declining is because they change leaders every few years. There’s no way a church can grow healthy and strong if the office of the pastor has a revolving door. What would happen to a family that got a new daddy every 3 or 4 years? The children would have massive trust issues from not knowing who they count on, and all kinds of emotional wounds, including a fear of abandonment, poor self-esteem, and a suspicious attitude in every relationships. When so many pastors move around every few years (or…

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Affirming Words

Want to change the whole world with small, bite-sized steps? Affirm people. We’re starving for it. We live in a highly critical age when civility has been replaced with sharp-tongued sarcasm. We celebrate witty criticism far more than we celebrate affirmation, but affirming people is a missing ingredient to deeper relationships, mutual emotional healing, and basically, a better world all the way around.

You can most likely identify with what it feels like to live in a vacuum of praise, where affirmation is hard to come by. Statistically (and hopefully you’re an exception), you probably grew up lacking genuine affirmation from Mom and/or Dad. You’ve probably worked in an atmosphere were correction was far more plentiful than congratulations on a job well done, especially when the “performance review” rolls around. And you may have even been labeled a rebel or a juvenile delinquent by teachers, school administrators, or even the local police.

Let me clarify, first of all, what affirmation is not.

  • Affirmation isn’t empty flattery – words with no foundation in truth.
  • Affirmation isn’t appeasement or agreement, especially with actual error.
  • Affirmation isn’t saying words without action, but saying words plus action.

In other words, correction isn’t always bad….

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