“Can I interview you about leadership?” I was once asked this question by a college student assigned to interview leaders.
- I was encouraged that she thought of a pastor as a leader. Not everyone in our culture thinks of pastors as leaders. I said, “Sure, I’d love to!”
- One of the questions on her list was this: “What characteristics are needed to become a good leader?” Here is my response:
Six ways to lead in Renewal
- You never stop being a student. There will always be the temptation to take shortcuts, whether it is sermon preparation or leadership insights. The demands of time will pull you away from deeper learning.
- Good leaders are intentional about blocking out time to read the books, attend the seminars, and pay for coaching. Whether you are in your first decade of ministry or your third, good leaders never stop learning.
- You are not building an empire; you are serving the mission. You are serving the people who will come alongside you to accomplish that mission. Most importantly, you are serving God.
- As soon as leadership becomes about you, you have failed the mission. Call me petty, but I refuse to read any book whose author’s picture is on the cover. It’s not about you.
- I highly recommend the book, Extreme Ownership, written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. (Their pictures are not on the cover.) The audible version is narrated in the rugged, raspy voices of the authors. They are former Navy Seals who bring hard lessons from the battlefield.
- There are no excuses and no shortcuts. When things go right you give your team the credit. When things go wrong, you take the blame. If you don the mantle of leadership, be ready to take full responsibility. Do not blame your circumstances or the people you lead. Own it! It is the only way you will get better.
- People are messy. Investing time and energy in discipling, and mentoring your key leaders is essential for effective leadership.
- The Church Renewal Lab is one of the best tools I know of to help equip you as a leader. We study how to grow in delegating, creating ownership, and working through conflict.
- Good leaders do not wait for someone to tell them what to do. When they see something needs doing, they get it done or find someone who will.
- Initiative is more than seeing things that need to be done; it is seeing things that need to be done that no one else sees. It could be things like setting goals or walking across the street to talk to a neighbor.
- Good leaders think in systems not tasks. Ministry is full of daily tasks that need to be done. When we develop systems, we develop people and processes that complete numerous tasks again and again.
- It is the difference between you personally scrambling to post a Facebook ad every Easter and developing a Digital Ministries Team. The team then formulates a plan for your digital presence and empowers people to maintain that presence throughout the year systematically.
Maybe you have characteristics you would add to this list. I would love to hear them. I hope this list encourages you in your leadership today.