All in Leadership
"You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia." - Acts 20:18
Leading a healthy team requires living in healthy relationship with the people on your team.
When the Apostle Paul met with the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20 he was able to speak out of the depth of the relationship he had built with them. Paul was not the kind of leader that barked orders out of isolation, but a pastor who "lived among" his people.Unfortunately, many of us are trying to lead teams in the absence of any real relationship.
Pastoral ministry can be lonely work for a number of reasons.
Some pastors don’t know how to have meaningful relationships. Others live under the crushing weight of a misplaced Messiah complex that keeps them from connecting with others. Often times church planters, or pastors in new churches are simply isolated and don’t truly know anyone.
Pastors preach the importance of community, but often fail to participate in it. The reality is, every pastor, just like ever other person, needs the right people in their life, in order to pursue health and endure for the long haul. While every pastor would benefit from a deep well of diverse relationships, here are three I believe to be critical…
Another Easter has come and gone. If you work in ministry like I do, then you’re likely still feeling the effects of last weekend. At Redemption, we invested 120 hours of prayer, sent out 600 hand-written invites, held a church-wide prayer meeting, shot daily video devotionals, remembered Good Friday and celebrated Easter Sunday with record attendance.
As a result, I’m tired, our staff is tired, and our teams are tired. Our hearts are full, but our tanks are empty.
You may not be in ministry full time, but we all have certain days or seasons in which we have to invest far more energy than normal. Maybe you’re planning a wedding, a party, a graduation, or other event. There is often an immense letdown after whatever it is that you’ve invested so much in.
How we steward these seasons is critical. If you ignore the fatigue, try to push through, or run on fumes, you will do great damage to your body, mind, emotions and soul. You have to replenish. Here are six ways to refill your tank after Easter (or any other big day)…
Leadership resources are legion in our culture, and for good reason - leadership is vital. We all need to be led and we all lead. Books, blogs, conferences, and podcasts are filled with practical instruction on the defining marks of effective leadership. Things like courage, competency, care, communication, and creativity are all essential to leadership.
Sadly, I rarely read, or hear anything about what I would argue, is the most important and attractive mark of effective leadership:
This should come as no shock to you, but it’s increasingly difficult to be a Bible-believing Christian in our culture. There is constant pressure to compromise our faith. More and more Christians are being labeled as “bigots” for even voicing convictions contrary to the cultural norm.
Gone are the days when our culture held to at least some standard of Biblical morality. Gone are the days when when your faith may not lead to conflict. Gone are the days when being a Bible-believing Christian was socially acceptable.
This pressure leaves us with two options: We can compromise our faith, or we can contend for it. Jude 3 calls all Christians to...
I don’t love confrontational conversations. When I have one coming down the chute it occupies a huge sum of mind-share. I worry about it going poorly. I worry about being misunderstood. I worry about my heart being unclear. I worry about hurting the person.
In short, I’m not a fan of conflict. I actually don’t know any sane person who is. Regardless of my discomfort, conflict remains a part of relationship in a fallen world. If you’re going to relate with someone, a time will come when you have to confront them about something. It may be something they said or did that hurt you. It may be a blind spot in their lives that is a problem. The context will change, but the inevitability of conflict will not.
Confronting someone is not easy and should not be taken lightly. It can easily go south if not taken seriously and prepared for properly. One redeeming factor in my discomfort with confrontation is that I’ve developed a process for confrontation that I've found helpful. If you have one of these uncomfortable but important conversations in your future, here’s how I have a confrontational conversation:
Pastors always have plenty to do.
There is always another meeting to attend, sermon to write, class to teach, decision to make, counsel to give, etc. If we are not careful, our calendars can quickly fill to the point of being unrealistic. This is one reason so many pastors burn out.
What most pastors are not honest about, or maybe even in touch with, is what truly drives our over-busyness. Too many pastors don’t trust the God we preach. We betray our disbelief when we try to be saviors instead of the stewards God has called us to be. In his book The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson cuts to the heart of this over-busyness problem:
“The word 'busy' is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective 'busy' set as a modifier to 'pastor' should sound to our ears like 'adulterous' to characterize a wife or 'embezzling' to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront.” (P.27)
Having a fruitful life and full schedule is a good thing. We should work hard and spend ourselves making Jesus known. But busy to the point of burnout is a problem. It’s a problem for the pastor and it’s a problem for the church.
Busyness becomes a problem when what we CAN do crowds out what we MUST do. We can do all kinds of things, but there are at least three things that must be prioritized in the pastor’s life…
Listening is a lost art. We love to talk, tweet, and tell everyone what we think about everything, but if you’re like me, you find listening difficult.
God’s primary proving ground for a pastor is not his work in the pulpit, but his home. This means that a man qualifies and disqualifies himself in the home before he ever does in the church. No amount of ministry fruitfulness will justify our failure to love and lead the families God has given us.
Yes, pastoral ministry comes with a unique brand of difficulty. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the results are often unseen. But, we cannot let this serve as an excuse for being lousy dads. We can do better. We have a heavenly Father who willingly sacrificed His own Son, so that through faith, we could be saved and faithfully father our own sons and daughters. By God’s grace and through the Spirit’s strength, here are seven ways for good pastors to be great dads…
Every preacher knows the discouragement of looking out on an obviously disengaged audience - glassy stares, confused looks, slowly closing eyes just moments from a nap - it's awful. While some of the responsibility lands in the laps of our listeners, most of the responsibility is ours as preachers.
Our job is to "rightly handle the word of truth" (2 Tim.2:15). That's the command the apostle Paul gave young Timothy - a green, insecure, uncertain pastor in a jacked up situation.
I am part of a tribe that takes this task seriously. We preach the Word week in and week out. We don't play games with God's Word. But, if we're not careful we can make the mistake of believing that faithful preaching means nothing more than mere accuracy. I believe Paul's encouragement to Timothy begs more than accuracy alone.
Here are seven reasons people might hate our preaching (even if it's Biblically accurate)…