December 22, 2006

90% of Your Leadership

90% of your leadership is below the water level...like an iceberg. Things like character, values, beliefs, and self-confidence. I would also include in that 90% the disciplines that go on behind closed doors. These things make you who you are, but chances are no one will ever see them!

Here are some disciplines that I value as a leader:

1. Be a learner. The world is constantly changing. If you are not growing and learning, you are being left behind. I believe that leaders, especially pastors, must continue to challenge themselves. As a college student I started a discussion with my pastor about a theological issue and some of the developments that were taking place. I was shocked to learn that he had never heard of it. I was even more shocked to deduce that he probably hadn't read anything worthwhile for quite some time. In fact, when he retired he gave me much of his library. I discovered that there very few new books in it, and if there were the spine hadn't even been cracked. Keep learning and growing. This, I believe is the foundation for everything else. Read good books from different areas, write, think big thoughts...learner, grow, and stretch yourself.

2. Spend time with God. The disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, memorization, journaling, studying, silence and solitude, serving, and fasting are vital to my life as a leader and pastor. Without them I would wither up and die. Pastors are spiritual leaders...which means we must be spiritual! I have found that all the marketing, business-speak, and theological stuff that causes so many arguments seems to fall into perspective when I am keeping my eyes focused on God.

3. Take a Sabbath! Here is the point as simple as I can say it, "God can do it without me!" My day off is not just about resting and spending time with my family, it is about realizing that everything seems to carry on without me. If it doesn't then I haven't done my job of preparing people for the ministry of the Kingdom.

4. Invest in my family. There are times when the family will give way to the responsibilities. But as a general rule, my family is my first ministry responsibility. There are some who say that the family should never take second-chair to the ministry. I don't believe that is possible. The entire family, like it or not, is called into the ministry. But I do believe that we are to invest more into our family than in our ministry. God will make it clear when those times are necessary.

5. Have fun. Most people, especially driven people, need to loosen up and have a little fun. Laughter and distraction, while being..um..a distraction, can also increase productivity.

This post inspired by this article at Leading Blog.

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