This Sunday will be 2 years since I took over as the Lead Pastor of Glad Tidings Church. It has been an incredible journey of transitioning an older church into a new generation! There is a rich 80 year old history here that we indeed honor… But if the church wants to be around for another 80 years, a lot had to change. So the church did something they had never done before… Hired a 31 year old Pastor… Give him 500 people and said lets move forward… And that is indeed what we have done!
I have learned a lot of lessons the past few years… Some are good. Some I learned the hard way. There are many… But here are 10 you need to know if you are starting on this journey as well!
1. It doesn’t matter how talented to are… You can’t do it alone.
You can’t spend all day long strategizing on how to move the church you lead forward… And thats not a bad thing. But are you spending JUST AS LONG in prayer? You may be good at a lot of things, Communicating, Strategizing, Planning, etc… But you will never take the church to a place that you haven’t gone to yourself. You need God. HE is the one who makes his church grow! If you try it alone, it will certainly lead to burnout.
2. Your Spouse is the single greatest asset you have.
I would not be in Ministry today if it weren’t for my wife. I would have quit a long time ago. It’s tough. But she has been by my side the entire time. Encouraging me. Supporting me. Laughing and Crying with me. And most importantly Praying for me. She knows more than anyone else the emotional turmoil I go through and silently spends time with God on my behalf. Thats huge! You must have that support system at home.
3. You’re going to feel like giving up… Don’t!
I have felt like throwing in the towel many times within the past two years. Wondering if people are even paying attention to what I am saying. Dealing with the same battles over and over. People trying to point out what they think is wrong with everything. It wears on you. You want to quit… But for every person that is hard to deal with… There is someone else who comes to the knowledge of Christ for the first time… And that makes it worth it. When times are tough… Don’t quit. Look around. There is good everywhere!
4. Nothing is more important than the people you serve.
Nothing! They are the reason you are where you are. You have been given an assignment to lead people. And its hard to lead people who don’t know you! Get to know the people you serve. Take them to lunch. Hear their story. Take off your mask and allow people to know you. The real you. That is the very reason I started blogging. There is no way I will able to personally take everyone out in our congregation. But this is a platform for them to see me. Get to know me. And it has already made a huge difference in my relationships with others.
5. Don’t hire anyone who you wouldn’t want to spend time with on the weekend. No matter their talent level.
You spend an insane amount of time at the church. Hosting events, setting up for big weekends, and not to mention the work week. If you don’t like the people you work with, it can be miserable. You need to find people that you gel with. And sometimes that means hiring someone a little less qualified. If they are teachable and likable… Grab them… They won’t be on the job market very long!
6. It’s not enough to be a great communicator… You must have business sense.
You may be an incredible preacher, a loving pastor, and a great leader… But if you can’t read an Aging Report, Profit/Loss sheet, and run a proper Business Meeting… You are in trouble. And these aren’t the classes they teach you in seminary! You are expected to have a good idea of the way EVERYTHING is going in the organization. The buck stops with you. And yes… I have a Financial Admin. on staff, but I get reports every Wednesday so I am prepared to give an answer at any time.
7. People love the idea of change… until you change.
People will stand with you as long as you don’t change the things that they want. The problem… People all want different things. So when you do change a schedule, or stop a program, or paint a room, its evidentable that someone is going to get mad. Yet you can’t let fear stop you from what you know needs to be done! I keep a quote in my office from Henry Ford… He said “If I would have asked everyone what they wanted… they would have said a faster horse!” He gave them a car. Something they didn’t even know existed. And that’s your job… To take people into a place they had no idea even existed.
8. You will be hurt by people who are hurting. Hold lightly to comments and forgive quickly.
People will say mean things about you and your family. They will say hurtful things about your ministry and the way you lead. They will even make things up about you that are so far from the truth that is comical… But the fact is they ALL STING. No matter how you try to laugh them off… It hurts. And I had a hard time with this, and I am still working on it constantly. The truth behind it all is they are hurt as well. Whether it’s by family, friends, job, or life circumstances… Their is something deeper going on within these people and it really has nothing to do with you. So I am on a journey to hold lightly to comments. Both good and bad! And to forgive quickly the hurt that I have experienced through the hurt of others!
9. You need a Mentor or 2 or 3. People who have been around longer and can keep you from making the same mistakes they did.
This has been awesome for me. I find myself in the room with people that I never thought I would. A 2 time CNO of the U.S. Navy, A New York Times Best Selling Author, A guy who has successfully transitioned a church and is now sought out after all over the U.S. for help! I am truly blessed to be able to sit with these guys and learn so much about life and leadership. They have kept me from making many mistakes in this first 2 years. They have encouraged me to take risks. And they are quick to call me out on stupid things… And for that I am grateful. You HAVE to have guys like this to walk with you.
10. You’ll never arrive! There will always be something to learn.
Leaders are learners. You will never fully arrive. The more you do… the more you realize you are clueless. You must be on a journey to grow. You just be willing to learn from anything and anyone. Keep your eyes open. There are lessons everywhere.
This has been a wild 2 years. I am thankful for everyone I have met and all I have learned so far on this journey. But I realize now more than ever… I can’t do this alone… I desperately need God to walk with me. And I still have so much to learn.
What have you learned through leading others? I’d love to hear from you!