Any kind of organizational dysfunction will eat talent for breakfast. It will take any potential and destroy it. Everything was primed for success with the Lakers. Magic was coming back, they were locking in LeBron in free agency, they were sizzling on social media. And then came missing the playoffs, leaks about trading half the roster, and Magic resigning in a press conference without telling his boss.
It's no different in churches. Dysfunction destroys vision. Dysfunction destroys optimism. Dysfunction destroys mission. Dysfunction destroys fellowship. Dysfunction, when left to fester and grow, will spread like a cancer throughout an entire church. You don't have to feed dysfunction for it to grow. It does it on its own.
If we're going to push back against dysfunction in the church, it starts at the top with clear communication, convictional leadership, and accountability for fruitfulness and faithfulness from pastoral leadership. One of the many hats that pastors wear is that of culture narrator. It's possible for a pastor to shape the culture by what's shared, communicated, valued, celebrated, and reinforced. Dysfunction happens when there's really no rhyme or reason for how things happen.
There can be a number of other contributors to organizational dysfunction, but if we as leaders aren't willing to look in the mirror and acknowledge our part in it, we're never going to see improvement.
A second way we can push back against dysfunction is for there to be clearly established roles, responsibilities, and lines of accountability established. Dysfunction happened in the Lakers when there wasn't clarity of roles and spheres of responsibility. When we onboard a staff member, we communicate clearly what is expected and who they are responsible for and to. When members join, we train and equip and deploy them into a ministry or group so they know where they thrive. Committees operate with a clear job description. Most of this I've learned the hard way.
A third way we push back against dysfunction is that we set an expectation of health. In sports this is called a "winning culture." That's why the same teams pick late in the draft, and the same teams pick early in the draft. Some teams have an expectation of health. Churches can too. We can have an expectation of reaching our communities, an expectation of fellowship, an expectation of growth, an expectation of service. Or we can just slosh through the motions and hope something good happens.
A fourth way to push back against dysfunction is to make sure that not only are there roles and responsibilities but that the right people are in the right seats. Ministry is not like an assembly line where you can plug in someone and the job just continues. There's a need to carefully assess giftedness, calling, character, skill, chemistry, and more. We have to make sure we're putting people in the right place so they can thrive. No one wants a grouchy children's worker who doesn't like kids. And you can't have a Luddite working with your technology.
How do you push back against dysfunction?
A couple weeks ago Carrie and I saw that one of our favorite TV shows was coming back with new episodes. If you’ve never seen Restaurant Impossible on Food Network, it’s worth checking out. The premise is that failing restaurants contact celebrity chef Robert Irvine in the hopes that his crew can overhaul the restaurant and give them a second chance. They normally overhaul everything: the menu, the appearance, and sometimes even the staff. After 48 hours they unveil a reveal where the restaurant reopens to a full house.
It’s really special. But then you see the success rate for these restaurants is less than 50%. Food Network Gossip has the list of restaurants that have aired, and 105 out of 144 have closed. Restaurants that were family treasures, a life’s work, or that were an effort to live the Dream… gone.
The overwhelming reason many of them close is that the cost of change was greater than the cost of losing everything. Churches and ministries do the same thing. When faced with change or death, many times they choose death (intentionally or not). We can, and should, learn from Restaurant Impossible. The carryover value is immense!
Desperation Leads to Quality Reduction - “CANNED!” is one of Irvine’s common things he screams when tasting the food. When restaurants get desperate, they start cutting quality. They get canned food, lower quality products, and skimp on the details like cleaning. Churches fall into this when they go into survival mode. They cut budgets way back to missions and ministries. They start into deferred maintenance. And they start and stop initiatives like they’re throwing spaghetti on the wall.
Hard Truth is Hard to Hear - In the show, the owners have to confront the hard reality. Many of them are in denial of how close they are to ruin, or how poor their food is. Sometimes they even threaten to stop the renovation because they don’t want to hear the hard truth. Churches and ministries sometimes need to hear hard truth that things aren’t working. It’s hard to eliminate ministries that don’t accomplish anything anymore. It’s hard to hear that things aren’t going well. But we can’t live in an echo chamber.
Lasting Change Starts Small - If you really think about it, what the crew does in Restaurant Impossible isn’t that much. They repaint, they get some new furnishings, they put some new items on the menu, and they open with a bang. It’s small. But it provides a spark. Churches that find themselves on the brink sometimes just need a spark, a small victory. Kotter calls it gaining momentum, Rainer calls it low hanging fruit. Sometimes if you want to see lasting change in a church, it can start as easy as decluttering closets or weeding the flower bed. What’s been missing in many of these churches and restaurants is hope. Starting small can give that dose of hope.
Culture > Renovation - It’s cool to see the renovation finished, when there are tears of joy and the credits roll with a full restaurant and a busy kitchen. But once the cameras are off, culture sets in. Culture is what is expected from the leadership. Culture is what pushes through when the initial rush settles. Sadly, many of the restaurants that close are because they go back to the same habits that got them in trouble. Churches without a healthy culture won’t see lasting change. That starts from the pastor setting the tone. Is it a culture of intentional health, growth, mission, and discipleship? Or is it a culture of laissez-faire?
What other connections would you make from the show to ministry?
We love baby steps. Whether it's with something like Dave Ramsey to get out of debt, the three-bite rule (whenever we have something for dinner the kids have to take 3 bites), or exercise programs like Couch to 5K, we try to make things easy for people to follow when they get into something new.
For Christian parents, even though our faith is central to our lives, it can be hard to begin having spiritual conversations in our families. We know we should. We've heard about it. We watch our kids spend their idle time knocking over angry birds or building stuff on Minecraft or whatever Fortnite is. And we know that what matters most is our kids' spiritual health. But how do we take baby steps?
1. Start by asking what they did in church - As easy as a question at lunch or dinner after church. Just ask the kids what they did at church. Talk about the Bible lesson. If they got handouts or take-home materials, walk through them. You can even read the story from the Bible as part of the asking. The joy of curriculum is it's written for comprehension at their age.
2. Bedtime prayer time - Those moments before bed are often the quietest moments with kids, no matter their age. And even if you have older elementary or teenagers, popping in to check on them or tell them goodnight offers a chance to ask them to pray. And in doing so you can pray for them specifically but also find out who they know or other situations to pray about.
3. Roses & Thorns - This is one of our favorites. We use this to talk at dinner about our day and find out what went really well and what didn't. We try to use the language of thorns instead of "what made your day bad?" because we want to frame the discussion so our kids don't fixate on the negative. But by asking them what went well and what didn't about their day can be a nice and easy way to encourage or pray.
4. Grab a Devotional Book - Even if your kids are too young to read on their own, you can still grab helpful devotional books to read along with them. For older kids, the options are almost too many to count. Check out CBD's options here, and Lifeway's here. One we have really enjoyed is a book called The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New. Along with that is Indescribable, written by Louie Giglio.
5. Parents, read a good book - I think it's really worthwhile for parents to read something helpful. I'm a fan of Age of Opportunity for parents of teenagers, Paul Tripp on 14 gospel principles for parenting, Give Them Grace, Shepherding a Child's Heart, Instructing a Child's Heart, Grace-Based Parenting, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, Sticky Faith, Sacred Parenting, and Family Worship.
Remember, these are baby steps. Don't try to tackle everything. Start small. And if it doesn't work out immediately, step back and punt. Remember, doing anything to help shape your family's spiritual health is better than nothing.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the Four Types of People Never to Recruit to Leadership. The flip side of that is to think about the four types of people that we want to recruit to leadership positions.
The Encourager - Encouragers to a team are like air fresheners in the room. They make even difficult situations better. They're optimists. They can carry a worn out leader or team. The Encourager is the guy who meets you at the door with a kind word, and when they say they're praying for you, you know they mean it. The Encourager isn't The Yes Man. The Yes Man won't ever be honest with you. The Encourager will be constructive and helpful even when having difficult talks.
The Builder - Builders will work to construct healthy teams, healthy systems, healthy ministries. They're different than The Critic, who always points out flaws and faults. Builders will work with what they're given and bring people together, they'll work out policy and procedure, they'll do the hard work of taking what they see as broken and repairing it. Critics will just point. Builders will fix what they see as broken. You know with a Builder that when they point out flaws they'll match it with effort to fix what they see.
The Unifier - Unifiers will work on bridging gaps between people. Not everyone in a church is going to think alike on issues or ministries. But unlike The Divider (or Pot Stirrer) who will make divisions wider, the Unifier tries to find common ground. The Unifier knows that we have much more in common than we realize. Unifiers are incredible for leadership because they'll join the work of the Builder to bring people to a solution.
The Confidant - Leaders, let's be honest. Sometimes we need a steam release. We hold everything in, our anxieties, frustrations, victories, hurts, and annoyances. If we don't have a way of releasing the steam valve, we'll blow our top. The Confidant is the kind of person who will take what you have to say, absorb it, and keep it to themselves. They won't use your vulnerability against you. But in a more general sense, Confidants make great team members because they will handle sensitive issues with great care. They're trustworthy.
Who else would make an ideal member for leadership?
At the core, most of us in pastoral ministry have a simple belief about numbers:
More = Good
Less = Bad
I know, you're wondering how I got a doctorate with that kind of insight. Sometimes I wonder too. But behind the simplicity of that belief are some underlying assumptions, namely that if a church is healthy it will grow (my friend Angie Ward has some thoughts on this). We believe as pastors that if our churches are healthy and we're doing all our part, they will come. It's an updated version of Shoeless Joe telling Ray in Field of Dreams that if it's built, "he will come."
For the record, I think numbers are incredibly helpful. Numbers are a great barometer. They can be an objective measurement and comparison. They represent people who have been transformed by Jesus and connected to a local body. They become working pieces to navigate when we're allocating resources and monies in a budget.
But they don't tell the whole story. Figures and statistics without context, clarity, and perspective can be like juggling hand grenades. So with numbers going up or down, let's look at some possible explanations.
Numbers Go Up (Attendance or Giving)
1. A church is effectively reaching its community and drawing in lost, unchurched, dechurched, seekers, skeptics, and prospects. Let's be honest, this is what we always hope is going on. We want our churches to be faithful to its mission of bringing the lost to Jesus.
2. The population around our church has grown. In communities experiencing steady or rapid growth, it shouldn't be surprising that most churches are "growing."
3. A church fight down the road could be pushing people to surrounding congregations. Transfer growth isn't bad when it comes from people who have legitimate or biblical reasons for leaving. But sometimes the growth comes because another church in town had a fight.
4. Unique financial circumstances mean your giving is uniquely raised. I remember hearing a story about a church getting a huge check from a member. The church had to be careful how to handle the money, not because they were being controlled by the giver, but because John Grisham had sold the screen rights to a novel and wrote his tithe. It may not be that, but your church could be left an estate portion, or receive a special gift, or have an extremely generous person.
5. You become the "flavor of the week" and it's an indescribable ride. Sometimes, you just have people come because they come. You don't know why. You can't explain it -- there was no mailing, there was no community blitz, nothing. They just come.
Numbers Go Down (Attendance or Giving)
1. It could be a simple equation: faithful attenders and givers tend to be older and no one lives forever. Sometimes numbers go down because people get older, move away to be near family, or aren't able to live adequately on their fixed income. Many churches are running into the phenomena of not seeing as many new faces to replace the ones who die or move away.
2. Transitions can often lead to (hopefully brief) declines. Whenever you bring in new leadership or bring in changes, you're going to have some losses. Some people just jelled with the previous pastor or leader and they don't necessarily have that with you. Maybe it's a new ministry vision and direction that some people aren't totally on board with.
3. Declining Communities often have declining churches. In communities where jobs are drying up and the factories and other employers are closing or moving away, it's natural for people to move to follow the work. And what's left behind are churches wounded and struggling, not because of anything they did.
4. Bad leadership drives people away. Let's be honest... sometimes the declines in our churches isn't because of theological rigor or socioeconomic factors or a new vision. Sometimes people leave because we're incompetent jerks.
5. New members often take some time to transition into faithful givers. Depending on the source, it can take up to a year for someone to move from guest to attender to member to contributor. There might be holes in the giving capacity or in the leadership/serving capacity in churches that are seeing growth numerically. It's the reality of assimilation: it takes time.
6. It just happens. Like #5 in the growth, sometimes it just happens. Pastors are faithfully preaching. Churches are reaching out. People are being discipled. New faces are there. But for some reason unknown to the leadership, they're still seeing fewer people attend than previous years. If this is you pastor, don't lose heart. You're still making an eternal impact. God's scorecard is much different than ours.
Remember, numbers only tell part of the story, not the whole. Use them, and refer to them. Don't ignore them, but don't put too much stock in them either.
Volunteers are the heartbeat of a local church. Think about it. If all of them left tomorrow there would be nothing. Who'd teach classes? Who'd turn the lights off? WHO WOULD MAKE THE COFFEE!
Seriously though, the people we bring into leadership positions and responsibilities as volunteers are (in many ways) as important as who we bring in as vocational staff. Volunteer leaders have more face time with our churches than we do, they're more relationally connected than we are, they're ingrained into the culture of the church. Those are things that most vocational leaders struggle with.
I've always advocated for bringing FAT people into leadership roles. People who are Faithful, Available, and Teachable. If you can get those, you can do a lot with volunteer leader development.
But who should you never recruit into leadership? I think there are four types
1) The Yes Man - Pastors don't need cheerleaders. If you're in ministry and you need people to tell you how awesome you are, as John Crist would say, "check your heart." Yes Men make poor volunteer leaders because they'll never disagree or give constructive feedback. I'm so thankful for the times that our volunteers and leadership team have stopped me from doing some stupid idea I had.
2) The Critic - The Critic is the opposite of The Yes Man, in that The Critic is always going to point out flaws, problems, and generally give "suggestions." Pastors, you know what I'm talking about. The Critic makes a poor leader because they're usually not on board with the vision, and they're generally toxic people to be around because they constantly find the negative.
3) The Divider - The Divider is also known to his family as The Pot Stirrer. The Divider is a poor leader because he's not going to be a unifier. He's going to work to divide people. Paul's greatest concern in the New Testament was for the purity of the church (theological & ethical), but his second greatest concern was for the unity of the church. Dividers end up creating factions, cliques, and in-groups.
4) The Gossiper - Gossip is a cancer in any organization. Famously, Dave Ramsey has a policy of firing gossips because it's so toxic. Gossips make poor leaders because they're not trustworthy. One of the hardest things of leadership is the value of discretion. Sometimes things are discussed privately, or are brainstormed, or are discussed with a level of vulnerability. That means that leaders who participate in long-range planning, vision, or the needed sensitivity of ministry must be reliable and trustworthy. Churches can and should be transparent as much as possible. But by nature of some aspects of ministry and organizational leadership, sometimes information is protected. The Gossiper talks a lot, and in doing so creates confusion, stirs up trouble, and creates factions.
Who else would make a poor leader in the local church?
Whenever we think about growth in the local church, we typically think about it in two threads: Transfer & Conversion. There's a third as well, which is what I affectionately call "The Great Commission 9 months at a time" where families in the church add through children. But for purpose of this let's think along the Transfer & Conversion.
Transfer is where someone from another church attends and joins yours. They have already made a profession of faith, they've been baptized, and they come with a "letter" (if your denomination practices that) affirming their membership in good standing. These are folks who have been Christians for years and may have served in a number of areas. Their reasons for changing churches could be a relocation for work, they wanted to attend closer to home, they have family in your church, or there may have been a reason to leave their previous church home.
Conversion growth is where someone is brought into the membership through salvation (and baptism) as a result of a personal connection, invite, or some other introduction to the Gospel and to the church. Conversion growth where people are discipled from spiritual infancy, are mentored, and many times are introduced to the culture and practices of a church.
All conversion growth is good. It means your church is reaching into its community and sharing Jesus with neighbors. It means you're doing your mission. At the same time, not all transfer growth is bad. Sometimes you'll have people join because they want to be part of a church doing something. Sometimes they'll join because they got mad and left. Sometimes it's because they can't make the long commute. Sometimes it's because they lost a power struggle. Not all transfer growth is bad. It can be really good.
Perhaps the best way to draw the analogy is to look at college basketball (I'm from Kentucky, if you're not from there you have no idea how big it is). In basketball, a team can get new players two different ways: graduate transfers and recruiting classes. Graduate transfers are players who have finished their degree at a school and can transfer for one year of eligibility at a new school. Recruiting classes are the players brought in as freshmen who coaches have built relationships with for years. Both help a team, and both carry over into church growth.
Graduate transfers can immediately contribute, and so can transfer growth - What I love about transfer growth is that it brings in people who know how churches work, who have a heart for ministry, and who many times have years of experience in previous contexts. They can, in many cases, be an immediate help to meet needs. In the same vein, graduate transfers don't have to learn college officiating or unlearn AAU tendencies. Many times, they immediately start and can contribute.
Recruiting classes are hard work, so is conversion growth - The thing that sets apart college sports from pro sports is that in college, coaches recruit. They can build their team. And many of them spend more time & money on recruiting trips and visits than they do on practice and game prep. Not every player recruited will commit. Some will back out. Others will sign with a rival. Sometimes a coach will spend months working on bringing in a player only to lose out. Conversion growth is hard work. Sometimes people will reject the message. Other times they might not want to talk further. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to get them to make the first visit to your church. One thing I've noticed is that it can take more than a year to assimilate from conversion to active membership.
Graduate transfers are short-term, recruiting classes are long-term - As much as I love good transfer growth, it's not sustainable. You can't constantly depend on others to drop in your lap. A college coach can't chase the graduate transfer route year after year. They aren't able to develop a healthy culture or long-term success. Conversion growth in the church is the sustainable option. Churches that engage in mission, that have people sharing Jesus with their friends and neighbors, that are baptizing regularly, are churches that see long-term fruition.
Losing people is hard, but you pick back up - Graduate transfers are a zero sum equation. If your school gets a player, another school has to lose a player. Transfer growth in the church is like that as well. If someone joins your church, they left another. If someone joins another church, they leave yours. It's tough. Sometimes you'll spend months or years investing in people and they get a job transfer or something happens and they decide to leave. It's hard for a coach when a player decides to leave the program. But they can't delay, because the season is around the corner. In ministry, we can be sad when people leave. But it doesn't take away from our responsibility to serve and minister and invest in our community.
How have you seen transfer growth help your church? How has your church been blessed by continued conversion growth?
One of the biggest frustrations for pastors & church leadership is when people visit and we don't have any information on them. What had been promising as a first-time visit may not materialize into a ministry opportunity because, like Cinderella's glass slipper, we may not even have caught their name.
We all have them. They're the cards in the pew/chair. And when we get frustrated at not getting information from people, we're so quick to say "The cards! they didn't fill out the card!"
Maybe they didn't. And maybe there's a reason they didn't. Let's think about 3 questions on why no one is filling out your visitor cards.
1) Do they even know about the card? - It's so easy to fall into the Christianese customs where we talk among ourselves about things only we know about. When someone is a guest to our church, they're not familiar with our culture, lingo, and where the bathrooms are. When a guest sits down, they may not even be aware of the cards in front of them. Or if they see it, that they're supposed to fill something out. That's why we need to communicate it to them that the cards are there and that we'd love for them to fill it out. You can do that by
-Announcing it from the platform during announcements or welcome
-Personally invite someone to fill one out
If your greeters are doing their job, not only will they be a friendly face and an extension of your church's desire for guests, they'll take the next step of encouraging them to fill out a guest card. Follow that up with reminders from the platform. Our music minister holds up a copy of our card so people can not only hear it but see it.
2) Do they know what to do with the card? - So you've gotten a guest to fill out the card. Now what. They need to know what to do with the card. Maybe your offering is over and there's not a way for them to put it in the plate or basket. Again, we cannot overemphasize the importance of communicating processes to those who are unfamiliar. As your cards are handed out or emphasized, give the next step. And include multiple options for the next step. Here are some ways to take the next step, and make sure people know they have a way they can leave their card.
-Put in the offering plate/basket
-Hand to a staff member or volunteer (hint - this is why name tags or signage are important!)
-Leave in the seat
-Direct to a designated Visitor Center (if your church does a goodie bag for visitors you can swap the bag for their card)
However you do it, make sure it's communicated.
3) Are your cards stocked neatly? - You need to make sure that your cards are adequately stocked with pens/pencils to use. No one is going to fill out a card that's not there. Nor are they going to fill out a card without a way to write. Beyond making sure it's stocked, we have to double check to make sure it's neat. If your seat backs are stuffed full of gum wrappers (double bad if the chewed gum is in the wrapper), crumbled grocery lists, or other trash, it's not a good first impression on a guest. Details matter in our impressions on guests. Likewise, are you throwing out cards that have been used as a kids doodle sheet or a scribble pad? It's a small thing, but what we communicate to our guests is often more unsaid than said.
What has your church been able to do that has helped you in getting contact information for follow up?
Full disclosure: I read this book on the beach. Perks of living in Florida. You can hate me if you want.
Dean Inserra has, over the last couple years, become one of my favorite Twitter follows. Dean pastors City Church in Tallahassee, and his book The Unsaved Christian is one I would highly recommend to pastors and church leaders.
For years I've often said that the hardest place to do ministry isn't in the Northwest or New England, it's in the Bible Belt. Sure there's some overt issues and hardships that come from being a Jesus follower in those regions, but in the Bible Belt you'll find something more difficult: people who have been vaccinated by the Gospel. They're gripped with a cultural Christianity that is powerless to save, and they don't even know they're lost. They've gotten just enough of the Good News to think that everything is ok and they have no need of repentance (that's what bad people have to do, and I'm not bad) and faith (after all, I believe in God).
That's what Dean gets after in his book, to look at the phenomenon of the "Unsaved Christian" or the person who identifies as a Christian in name but in reality has no transforming relationship with Jesus. They have a theistic framework of thinking, a (mostly) biblical worldview on morality, and may have a deep appreciation for Jesus. But as so many of us heard in youth group, they're 18 inches from heaven.
Perhaps the most urgent charge from this book is in the very beginning: it's our responsibility as leaders in the church to make sure people recognize they're lost. In the trappings of the Unsaved Christian's life, they can often find a false security in moralism, in church attendance/giving/serving, identifying as a Republican, or by having a sincere appreciation for the work and ministry of Jesus. Despite all of that, sadly many will find themselves hearing what Jesus warned His followers of in Matthew 7 "Depart from me, I never knew you."
Beyond the Bible Belt, we're living in times where >70% of Americans self-identify as Christian, yet the fruit of that identification is many times difficult to see. Packed stadiums emotionally belt out God Bless America and yet our nation cannot get past its historic sins. Churches will be packed for Easter Sunday and return to being half empty the following week. Small towns hold up a banner of being a "Christian" community yet are rife with issues of sin and addiction they ignore in the name of preserving a vestige of the past.
Cultural Christianity has no power to save. Its only power is to numb the conscience. The only hope is the Gospel.
One of the most famous stories from the history of McDonalds is the failed attempt at the Hula Burger. Company founder Ray Kroc had a meatless sandwich in mind to make money during Lent: pineapple on bread with a slice of cheese. His demand for the Hula Burger came to a head in 1962 when a franchisee in Ohio put his Filet-o-Fish sandwich up against the Hula Burger, with the winner getting the company go-ahead. The final score: Fish 350, Pineapple 6.
The man who had taken a unique drive-in restaurant idea and turned it into the "billions and billions served" fast food giant didn't get his way. And for all of us who have an irrational love for the McDonalds fish sandwich (seriously, where do they find square shaped fish?), thank you Lou Groen.
And if you like the idea of grilled pineapple and cheese, you can get the Hula Burger recipe online.
The takeaway lesson from this is simple: as leaders in the church, ministry, or any organization, we are not guaranteed to get our way. Leaders who demand their way aren't really leading, they're dictators. Our job as leaders is to ensure the best and the right ideas are pursued, even if they're not ours. Those who seek out the best will find more fruit, more buy-in, and more traction than if decisions are shoved into people's laps.
Let me offer five ways we can make sure that the best and the right ideas are both heard and implemented:
1. Listen - It sounds simple, but it's not always so. Leaders spend a lot of time talking, it's part of the job. But if we're going to see the best and the right ideas come to the top, we have to spend time listening. And that listening has to be listening that understands, not listening to respond. Listening to understand hears out the reasoning, it is engaged, and it is reserved in its response.
2. Solicit feedback - A lot of times our way of soliciting feedback is the same way we engage in grocery store small talk. We see someone in the dairy section we know, we smile and wave and say "Hey how are you?" and we're on our way to the bread aisle before they can give an answer. We're not really interested in how they're doing, we're just conditioned to ask empty questions like that. As leaders, what kind of tone are we setting when we ask for feedback? Are we allowing ample time? Are we giving attention to those sharing? Are we making eye contact and engaging? Or are we blowing through an agenda or a conversation so we can move on to the next thing?
3. Be humble - Defensive leaders want their way. They're not humble, they're proud. They think everyone else is there to serve them. Humility flips the script. Humility reflects the attitude of Christ and the call of servant leadership. Humility for a leader can be as simple as admitting we're wrong, or acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of others. Leaders who are defensive, proud, or unyielding are insecure, selfish, and if they're serving in a ministry environment toxic.
4. Discuss ideas, not people - One of my friends in ministry just turned 36, and in sharing that mentioned being told once before by a pastor he served under that you weren't allowed to have an opinion on things until you're over 35. So now that he was 36, he was able to fire away with opinions. When people are the focus of a discussion, or lack thereof, we're not discussing ideas anymore. Good ideas can come from the most unlikely of circumstances. A good idea can come from someone not necessarily in that particular ministry area. And (gasp!) a good idea can come from someone under 35.
5. Celebrate others' victories - When something goes really well, celebrate it. When it goes well, make sure the person who was behind it is recognized and appreciated for it. Leaders who don't insist on their own way will have no problem giving the spotlight to others, and won't take it personal when other people are recognized and valued for their accomplishments.
How have you as a leader helped to ensure that the right and best ideas are championed?
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.