When you are in the middle of the ‘day to day stuff’ of ministry, there are very few easy answers to getting ‘unstuck’. These questions suggested by Tony Morgan are helpful IF they create the basis for a conversation about practical steps that can be pursued to bring about change.
I would recommend you take the top five most relevant to your situation and make them the basis for a ‘half-day’ retreat. Our Leadership Team found that a solid, four-hour, focused time can be extremely productive. Give it a try!
11 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking
Nearly every pastor of an evangelical church looks for ways to “make disciples”. It is one thing to have a mission statement that declares “discipleship” as the means of growing the church; the “how” of discipleship is much more complicated.
Some churches establish very detailed classroom environments with set days of the week where they share plenty of scripture and often times a component of teaching. Perhaps the participants interact around that scripture as well. However, some of the most effective churches in “making disciples” (based on the level of participation in all areas of the church’s life) have embraced the model where almost everything happens in a small group….
“What’s one thing you can know for sure about a turtle on a fencepost?”
I first heard this question my freshman year in college. It’s a question that is intended to inspire a journey into a multitude of questions and infinite unknowns. The question makes you wonder about meaning, purpose, and sacrifice. The answer to the question, however, sounds like a punchline to a joke, and, like so many other punchlines, it holds deep meaning.
“So, what is one thing you can know for sure about a turtle on a fencepost,” you ask?…
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
Proverbs 1:5 NIV
If we are to lead others effectively, we need to be committed to be lifelong learners. When you limit your learning, you limit your growth in every area of life. But with so many avenues available for learning, leaders do not have the time to learn just for the sake of learning. Collecting random knowledge may allow you to beat the average person on Jeopardy, but it will not translate into seeing your unique God-given gifts emerge. Instead, the best leaders focus their learning on the things that set them apart.
I have had the opportunity to serve as an executive coach to a number of senior leaders in a number of different organizations. My goal was never to identify their weakest areas and turn them into strengths. If a visionary leader has a messy office, it is a waste of his or her time to focus their learning on how to excel at planning and organizing.
When weaknesses are so distracting that they threaten to derail a leader, they must be mitigated. However, it is a futile exercise to try to turn weaknesses into strengths. Instead, executive coaching is best focused on how a leader can take the strengths that have propelled them to success and develop, leverage and maximize those strengths….
One of the things that voracious learners do, is to find and follow closely trusted and proven leaders who are both older and younger, than themselves. (At this point, the second part is easy for me!)
It also helps when you find other leaders who have similar values, priorities and goals as you do. At times, I don’t mind reading things from folks that see the Kingdom differently, but when you get too much of that, you rarely move your own vision ahead.
Here’s a recent post from Tony Morgan, a younger leader who is ‘down to earth’; but creative and hungry to do the will of God. I found these questions were thoughtful, if not profound.
Leaders Influence People. Great leaders don’t just influence people to follow them; they create more leaders who influence others. When you are leading people, you can affect their ultimate path. They follow your leadership and accomplish goals or reach destinations they wouldn’t have achieved on their own. When those goals or destinations are reached, you can say that you’ve done a good job as a leader. The problem is that everyone has a limit to how many people they can lead effectively. However, when you stop creating followers under your leadership and start creating or developing leaders, the number of people you can influence will grow exponentially.
Every church leader wants to see his or her congregation grow. Spreading the Gospel to all people is what we are called to do. Jesus said to “go and make disciples”. If all a church leader does is make disciples, it won’t be long before he finds the limit of how many disciples he can care for on his own. At that point, there are only a couple of options. A leader can either hire someone to share the load or he can learn to make disciple-makers instead of just making disciples. Churches don’t grow because the Senior Pastor is a great preacher or the worship experience is phenomenal. Churches grow because they are actively making disciple-makers….
One of the more recent debates concerning our economic condition is the “anemic” or very slow growth that we seem to be experiencing. Almost everyone agrees that 2% growth over the long haul does not make for a strong and vibrant economy.
In the same way, if we settle for incremental personal growth over the long haul, we will seldom see the breakthrough that we deeply desire in our own sphere of influence and calling. In my experience, it may not happen often, but at occasional moments one must be willing to step out on the platform and pretty much “take a risk,” make a “bold move” or simply “take a stand” in order for a greater vision to emerge….