Archives For Leadership


Perhaps the autopsy metaphor is not the best choice. After all, the person is not deceased. But the pastor who is burned out feels like life is draining out. Unfortunately, I have spoken with too many pastors for whom burnout is a reality or a near reality.

What lessons can we learn from those pastors who burned out? Allow me to share 13 lessons I have learned from those who have met this fate. They are in no particular order.

  1. The pastor would not say “no” to requests for time. Being a short-term people pleaser became a longer-term problem.
  2. The pastor had no effective way to deal with critics. I plan to deal with this issue more in the future. What types of systems do effective leaders put in place to deal with criticisms so they respond when necessary, but don’t deplete their emotional reservoirs?
  3. The pastor served a dysfunctional church. Any pastor who leads a church that remains dysfunctional over a long period of time is likely headed toward burnout.
  4. The pastor did little or no physical exercise. I understand this dilemma, because I have been there in the recent past.
  5. The pastor did not have daily Bible time. I continue…

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Never Persuasive When AbrasiveYou can’t lead a church, evangelize a community, or do business without communicating. And the better you become as a communicator, the better you become as a leader, and the better the team you lead becomes as a result. That means to get ahead you’ve got to continually work on your communication skills. Probably 75% of the problems we face, at home, at work, and at church are related to poor communication with family members, church members, your clients, or your coworkers. Poor communication is also the most frequently mentioned problem in marriage counseling.

Here are three things you must give up in order to grow as a communicator. As you lead…

Give Up Your Assumptions

We get into trouble when we start assuming we understand the meaning of what people say to us. The truth is – everything you hear goes through a filter. Your filter is determined by your past experiences and your unique personality. You may not be hearing what they are really saying. Therefore, it’s smart (and safe) to ask for clarification. There are 6 possible messages every…

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Team Doing RightBecoming a better leader is one of those daunting lines on your to-do list. It’s in there with “be a great father” or “get closer to God.” It’s a noble item, to be sure, but it’s a hard one to check off.

It feels large and intangible and like you will never quite know when you’ve arrived.

But here are five tangible (to-do list friendly) things you can do to work on your leadership: 


There is always more to learn—about leadership, about God, and about how to run a great team. The quickest way for any of those areas to become stale is for you to stop learning about it.

Whether you’re naturally a great reader or not, start to weave reading into your life.

Rotate the kinds of books you read and be willing to explore books you may not have otherwise picked up—you never know where you will find wisdom. But the more you’re learning, the more you have to draw from as a leader. By continuously learning yourself, you’re modeling the same for those who follow you.

Operate in your strengths

There are some tasks that bring us…

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Lead Like ItLeaders rally people to go places in their lives they would never go on their own. Perhaps they would have never thought about going there or been willing to go by themselves.

Isaiah 42 is a prophetic chapter about Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Even though ultimately about Jesus, it does share some powerful truths for any leader. God can teach us more about leadership than anyone else and He knows all about the future! Isaiah 42:16 says,

“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.”

Think with me about this passage.

Think about what God does for Us

Personally, this is what God does for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus takes us to places that we would never go on our own. They are uncharted waters in our lives. In those moments of uncertainty, Jesus shows…

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Foster CreativityIn recent decades, churches haven’t been known as hubs for creativity.

Instead, churches have been known for doing things the same way—the same kind of worship, the same songs, the same bulletins, and the same style of preaching for years on end. There hasn’t been much room for those with creative talents to come in and splash some color around our fellowship halls.

Too often we have resigned our bulletins to some guy who knows how to use Microsoft Paint and our website to whoever did it 15 years ago, stressing that “art” was a luxury we couldn’t necessarily afford.

Recently, that seems to be changing.

Churches are opening up the way they do things and allowing creatives to come in and make their mark on the way we teach, lead, and worship. We’re so lucky to have them.

So how do we, as the pastors of our churches, continue to cultivate an inviting space for the creatives among us? How do we create an environment that allows them to contribute their gifts to the congregation?

Here are four thoughts:

Look for opportunities

If you’re looking for them, you’ll see creatives everywhere.

Your next-door neighbor may…

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20140609-092838-34118729.jpgFollowing is important and we know that Jesus said, “Follow me!” Jesus discipled others by moving them through a process (“I Do, You Watch; I do, You Help; You Do, I Help; You Do, I Watch”) from being followers to leaders. Leadership is influence and moves the follower forward through different levels. First, we must watch, listen, and learn. Then we begin to act upon the learning we have received. Many are trained way beyond their level of obedience! Thirdly, the follower begins to lead others intentionally. Next, they not only lead but focus on developing other leaders. Average leaders lead followers while great leaders lead leaders.

Leadership is basically the process of pouring into others to multiply ministry effectiveness, expand Godly influence, and reproduce spiritual leaders. There is an old saying, “If you want one year’s prosperity, grow grain, but if you want ten year’s prosperity, grow men and women.” A focus on leadership development focuses on building a simple reproducible system to ensure that our practice is able to catch up with…

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My son is 7 weeks old. For the last 2 months we’ve had to keep him inside and away from other people. After his 2 week hospital stay because he was 6 weeks premature, we’ve had to be careful about sanitizing our hands and being sure people don’t breathe too close to him when they come over.

The reason for my wife and I turning into semi germophobes?

Germs pass from person to person. It’s not that it’s the air that is outside or even the air he breathes inside that could be harmful to him, it’s the germs that people carry with them when they’re around him that cause concern.

Passion, for pastors, leaders, and anyone else excited about something does the same thing… at least it should. Good and healthy passion does 3 key things. These things are important to healthy organizations and people…

Passion Propels

When we’re passionate about something, it moves us forward. In fact, the very idea of passion means that we can’t contain it. If we’re passionate about a cause, we do something to help with the cause. If…

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I wrote last week about four big mistakes that lead to ministry burnout. One thing I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t just give us the causes of our problems in life. It gives us cures. When Elijah faced burnout in his ministry, God helped him do four things that are just as applicable to our lives today as they were in Elijah’s era.

If you are discouraged and on the verge of burnout, you’re depressed, or you’ve got the “blah’s”, and you want to be like Elijah and just run away from the responsibilities in your life, then you need to do these four things.

Step #1: Rest your body.

Relax. Take care of your physical needs. That’s the first thing you do when you’re getting emotionally burned out. When Elijah was at the point of burnout, the Bible says, “Then Elijah lay down under the tree and he fell asleep. All at once after a while the angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat’ and he looked around and by his head there was a cake of bread baked and hot coals…

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Solomon SeductionKing Solomon is known for many things, but let’s not kid ourselves; it’s the women that blow our minds.  The man had a mindboggling 700 wives and 300 concubines. I’m pretty sure that no one who reads this article is ever going to have a thousand wives and mistresses, but many will be tangled up in an illicit romantic relationship, or at least heading in that direction. Consider these 5 illusions and take them as a dire warning. They are at the heart of every church leader’s descent into sexual sin.

Illusion #1: That which seems harmless is actually dangerous.

What seems harmless?

Married people do it all the time, sometimes with body language, sometimes with seemingly casual, yet not-so-innocent touches, sometimes with suggestive comments, and sometimes with just a look.

Challenge a flirtatious person and you’ll likely be laughed out of the room  And yet, every illicit sexual affair in the history of the world started with flirting. I can’t think of anything a person can do that has more danger wrapped up in it than flirting with someone who is “off limits.”

Illusion #2: That which seems perfect is deeply flawed.

What seems…

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Coffee Cup

One of the issues that we sometimes address here at is the issue of ministry burnout. And when we do address it, the responses are overwhelming. It’s a big issue. Why do so many Pastors burn out in ministry? It’s because of faulty thinking. Our thinking controls our emotions and our emotions control the way we act.

The problem is, when we’re at an emotional low, we typically make four common mistakes. Next week I want to talk about how to overcome these emotions and prevent burnout, but today I want you to become aware of four of the most threatening internal causes of burnout in ministry.

Mistake #1: We focus on our feelings rather than the facts.

Emotional reasoning is dangerous. Emotional reasoning says, “If I feel it, it must be so.” If I feel like a failure, I am a failure. If I don’t feel close to God, I must not be close to God. If I feel like a lousy pastor, I must be a lousy pastor. The fact is, feelings are not always facts. Your feelings will tell you that you’re helpless and hopeless, but those feelings aren’t rooted in truth.


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