In celebration of my five years in full time ministry I am sharing my top ten learnings. It began with a post two days ago and concludes today with my remaining 4.
4. Clarity, clarity, clarity. – If you need to over communicate, do it. Do whatever you have to do to be clear in all areas of leadership. Without clarity growth ceases and churches begin to die. Without clarity you have frustration, anger, bitterness, and distrust. Without clarity you’re pretty much screwed. If that means you put every ministry on hold until there is clarity, then do it. The short term pain is worth the long term benefit. Now let me be clear, even in your clarity there are going to be people the gripe and say your not clear enough. Get used to it. As long as their are different personality types you are always going to be failing to meet someones expectations. That being said…clarity, clarity, clarity, clarity. I’m I clear?
3. Love God and love people…intensely. – Such a simple concept and yet for some reason people refuse to grasp it. I posted a blog about this idea sometime last year and I have not been able to stop thinking about the need…and I hope I never do. It is the single greatest commandment – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, everything – and the second is like it love your neighbor as you would love yourself. The idea is, as intensely selfish as we are (which lets face it we are…and leaders are sometimes the worst) we should even more intensely love God and people. You want to be a good leader, lock that into your brain and allow that to drive you. Get rid of your presuppositions and focus on it. Get out of your comfort zone and do it. Do it boldly, humbly, passionately, and consistently. if the worst thing someone can say about you is that your life is guided by loving God and loving people – rock on! We are the hands and feet, we are examples…is there a better example that we can set? I submit that there is not.
2. If God calls you to do something or go somewhere…shut up and do it. – I don’t know if this really needs any explanation but I’m going to give one anyway. I have never been more irritated at myself or at other people then in those times when God calls you to go, do, and lead – but then we do nothing. God gives us dreams, calls us to do things, and because things aren’t “easy” we don’t follow through. Are you freaking kidding me!? Leadership is not easy. If someone told you it was they are not a leader of anything other than their Star Wars collectibles. If God calls you to do something…shut up and do it. Don’t whine and complain because your not encouraged enough, or because it’s hard, or because you have no money, or because you lost your job, or because your hurt, or because people don’t get it, or whatever reason we find to not take ownership of our own lack of trust. If God calls you to move…move! If He calls you to lead…Lead! If He calls you to Africa…learn freaking Swahili and start raising support! If He tells you to stay even if it’s a mess…then stay! If He says sell everything you have and move to Toronto to work with the homeless…then get your Parka and get to going! It all comes back to a lack of trust or the fact you were never called in the first place. For the rest of us its trust. Do we trust God enough to do the things He has told us to do? I will end this point the way I began it. If God calls you to do something or go somewhere…shut up and do it.
2.5. Take ownership – Own up. If you screw up take ownership. Don’t blame the church because you have failed. Don’t blame people because you don’t know what the word “boundaries” means. You are going to fail. Every leader fails. If you are not failing your really just maintaining which ultimately means you’re not leading. When you fail, fail forward. Take ownership of it and keep moving forward. It is not fair to the people you are leading, to your friends, your family, your ministry, yourself, or the Kingdom of God for you to be a coward and pass the buck to someone else for your screw up or failure. I get that it is our nature to protect ourselves, Lord knows I have screwed this up in my life plenty of times, but if we are unwilling to take ownership of our faults and failures then understand you will not be leading anyone…mostly because no one will trust or believe you.
1. God’s sovereignty is liberating – Period.
So there you have it. My top 10 list of things I have learned in the past 5 years. There are plenty of other things I have learned as well but these were the majors. I hope this list is something that you can relate with. Maybe it even challenges you. Either way, in leadership we need to be aware and constantly learning, how else are we going to grow? I for one do not want to be the same person year to year and I hope you, dear reader, share that sentiment.