Archives For Leadership

Ever watched a really good idea crash and burn? Me too.

Here’s some brutal honesty… entire movements have gone down in flames because of boneheaded approaches to good ideas. This isn’t to say we can’t afford to make mistakes. In fact, the only way to know we’re taking risks is to make mistakes. We can’t afford not to make them. But we also can’t afford to ignore timeless principles of leadership effectiveness.

In honor of our most fatal leadership mistakes, here are my “from the hip” ways to kill great ideas (warning: sarcasm ahead)…

  • Form a committee. In this way, you’ll be able to devote more time to keeping minutes and electing officers and less time to solving problems. Also, we’ll be able to prevent a single great leader from running with the idea without feeling the need to check with several people with different opinions before proceeding.
  • Be sure to control it. Before you even start executing a good idea, be sure to write plenty of rules and parameters so that no one feels the freedom to run too fast with it. Freedom is the enemy when we’re trying…

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Too many churches are led by wounded pastors and leaders who can’t really love people or be vulnerable or focus on the future because of past rejection and hurt. But there is healing for wounded leaders!

There are a lot of things that wound us in life.  Maybe you were wounded because somebody lied to you.  Maybe a promise was made to you that was broken. Or maybe you were in a conflict with a church member or fellow leader. In that conflict some angry words were said and you were deeply wounded.  Maybe you were wounded by a betrayal, by rejection, or by being misunderstood.  You may have been wounded by being devalued, overlooked, or not valued enough.  And you can be wounded by loneliness.

There are a lot of things in life that wound you, but God says, I need you to let go of these things.  Get them out of the garbage bag and throw them over the cliff so you don’t have to deal with them any more.

David said in Psalm 109, “My heart is wounded…

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1. Minister to the needs of your membersbusiness_main

Okay, so that may seem obvious, but one of the critical roles of a small group leader is to shepherd the people in your group. Does the word “shepherd” scare you? It shouldn’t. God has provided you with the gifts and abilities to care for those in your small group.

In a healthy small group, the members, as well as the leaders, must be “healthy.” In fact, I would say that the success of your small group depends on its health. A healthy small group integrates all 5 biblical purposes into its life, but it’s the leader’s job to establish the biblical purpose of “fellowship” within the first few weeks of your group’s existence.

As the small group leader, you need to pray for and “love on” each member of the group. That means making sure people feel connected with other members in the group, being attentive to what people say in the group – perhaps, for example, you may sense after the first several meetings that one couple in the group is struggling in their marriage. Your job as a leader is to pray…

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Jesus StatueMy heroes in the ministry are those men who have stayed at the task of ministry for decades.  Several years ago, I met a man who had Pastored the same church over 40 years. His name was Erastus but everyone simply referred to him as Brother Rastus.  One day, I asked him how he had managed to stay at one church for such a long time and he replied, “I just stayed longer than my opponents.”  But then he shared with me that over the years there were many times when he wanted to quit and just walk away.  But something always kept him from doing it.

Like most Pastors in their mid-40′s I can make a list of several guys whom I started out but are now no longer in the ministry.  According to  a recent report by  there are over 1700 ministers leaving the ministry every month in the United States.  While some are leaving the ministry due to moral failure, the vast majority are simply giving up and throwing in the towel.  The loneliness, frustration, and discouragement that are a natural part of the ministry have simply become…

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RelevantEveryone is talking about relevance lately, and when it comes to the church, it’s a conversation we need to have.

The world is changing faster than it ever has before, and without sacrificing the Truth of the Gospel, the church needs to change with it. The good news is that there are things pastors and churches can do to make sure they don’t miss opportunities to minister to people in the midst of a changing culture.

Here are five things pastors and churches should know.

1. Church Networks Are Your Friend

A pastor friend of mine named Rob Ketterling is the master of using church networks to add value to himself and his community. He is a part of several different church networks and doesn’t see these commitments as a distraction from what he is doing but as an integral part of his role as a pastor.

His involvement in networks outside of his own church community helps keep his mind sharp and gives him eyes to see the change that is happening in the full scope of the Kingdom. It helps him bring fresh vision and ideas back to his community.

2. Social Media

This point is so important…

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Ninety and Nine

Being loud doesn’t make you a leader. Neither does being popular. Leadership is influence, and influence means taking people in a direction they wouldn’t otherwise be going – hopefully forward. Ambition isn’t enough to qualify you to lead. There is more to the equation.

You need to be led before you can really lead. This one is tough for eager leaders, but in order to lead well, you must first be okay with being led. One of the greatest leaders I know who was in charge of 350+ staff in a well-known megachurch said, “I’m a man under authority.” If you don’t know what it’s like to follow or if you’re unwilling to learn from those ahead of you, you’re not quite ready to lead.

You need to love people before you can really lead. You can lead and love self, but the end result is pretty pitiful. Great leaders love those they are leading. Good shepherds have a tendency to lay down their lives for their sheep, and great leaders are always thinking about how to move their followers to the next level.

You need to become a servant…

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Because people matter to God, they matter to us.  This past Sunday we saw an incredible example of what happened when this truth captured a nine year old girl’s heart.  She was moved to give!  Please take three minutes to watch this inspiring video!

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NoYou’re an interim pastor looking for the next call. A potential client church is toying with the idea of retaining your services. After the first consult you get a gut feeling that something’s not right.

If you don’t dig further or if you jump in because you need the job you may wake up one day in a mess that’s going to leave a bruise, maybe even a permanent scar.

Interim pastors should have a predetermined way to screen potential client churches. Having these questions answered ahead of time minimizes the likelihood of making a bad decision under the duress of needing or wanting a job.

In my years of vocation as an interim pastor I’ve developed my own disqualifying list. From personal experience and that of my colleagues I’ve learned that there are certain churches that don’t make the cut.

There are at least 10 churches I would not serve as an interim pastor:

  1. A church that will not contractually give me the needed authority (if it is an autonomous church)
  2. A church whose executive will not give me the needed authority (if it is not an autonomous church)
  3. A church that will not cover my expenses and pay…

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BackpackHave you ever considered as a church member, all that your Pastor is packing on his back? Besides carrying the load of the church as Senior Pastor or the load of a ministry as a Staff Pastor, every pastor has a personal life and family that impacts him dramatically.

In Recent Months

In recent months, looking around the room during one of our monthly Ministry Team meetings, I surveyed the audience. There were around 40 people present, men and women who lead our specific ministries, along with some personal assistants. Among that group of not more than 40 people:

*Four of them had lost one of their parents in the past four weeks

*One of them had just lost twins through a miscarriage

*One of them had lost a 30-year-old son six months ago, which also meant another one of our staff members lost their son-in-law

Therefore, imagine this room of around 40 people — seven of them had suffered dramatic, life-altering loss in recent days.

Pastors Pack Personal Pain And Challenge Daily

Church members often forget the personal life of a Pastor. He experiences real pain, suffering, and loss just like them.

Dr. Keith Thomas, one of my dear…

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BestGreat leaders expect the best in people and bad leaders expect the worst.  Rinse and repeat. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of leaders who think leadership meansconstant criticism, ordering people around, snarky comments, and humiliation.  Those leaders (although I don’t think they’re real leaders at all) actually expect the worst in people, and that’s why they treat their teams so badly.   These leaders respond to everything as if you’re trying to cheat them.  They use exclamation marks in all their communication.  They’re always upset about something.  But guess what?   You get back what you put out and your team will start responding in the same way.  You’re actually creating a culture of distrust and deception.

On the other hand, study after study, along with expert advice and lots of experience tells me that people respond far better to “aspirational” leadership.  That simply means leaders who expect the best in people, are the leaders are actually get their people’s best.

Stop the snark.  Cut the criticism.  Being a bully doesn’t work.  If you need to be a jerk to jack up your ego, you need to get out of leadership and find…

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Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching)Jesus was definitely an iconoclast, continually challenging the conventional thinking of His day. Twenty different times Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said… but I say to you…” And even today, his thoughts on leadership go against the grain.

Most modern books on leadership, whether Christian or secular, give the same advice – be confident, never admit fear, maintain control and be composed, be convincing and never show weakness. But Jesus had a different style altogether. Instead of leading from a position of strength (lording authority over people), Jesus led from a position of weakness, becoming a servant.

The fact is, everybody has weaknesses. And our weaknesses are multi-faceted. We have physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual weaknesses. The question is, what do you do with your weaknesses? While most people deny, defend, or excuse their weaknesses, Christian leaders can embrace them and ask God to use them! When God works through weak people, His power is shown more clearly!

Let me define what I’m talking about when I use the word weakness. I’m not talking about a character flaw that can and should be changed. A weakness is any limitation…

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