If you love to learn, improve and grow, think back on who helped to ignite that fire within you.
A mentor in my late teen years, Ray Crowell, was the first person to inspire me to grow as a person. He taught me to think, and he challenged my thinking. From philosophy to human nature—oh yeah, and girls—we talked about everything. My world became larger because of Ray.
John Maxwell is my longtime friend and mentor in life and leadership. I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary thinking I was ready to pastor and lead. Little did I know—and it’s a good thing John was there. From attitude to relationships, he poured into me as a young leader. My life would never be the same.
Everywhere I go, I hear that song playing. It’s on TV, radio, at ball games, in convenient stores—all over.
It’s gotten stuck in my head. So I started thinking on the title and reflecting on past experiences and conversations.
I started thinking about how many pastors stay up late Saturday night working on their Sunday morning message, hoping to get “lucky.” Hoping they will deliver and come through with excellence. Friends, it doesn’t work like that.
“They have eyes, and yet they don’t see.”
Many leaders don’t see the fruit that is about to manifest in those around them. All they can see is the tree. A tree can look strong, weak, ugly or handsome, but that’s just the tree. The real test is what will it put forth.
Especially in a small town, I’ve found there are three kinds of people (trees) that I have to constantly be on the lookout for in order for our church to go where God intends it to go. They are:
Leadership is hard and every decision a leader makes is subject to opinion—lots of different opinions. Every hard decision a leader makes excites some and upsets others. At the same time, most of us who have positions of leadership want people to like us personally and in our role as a leader.
That leads many leaders into becoming victims of people pleasing. When we fall prey to pleasing people as a goal, we seldom lead people into what is best and are led more by opinion polls than vision.
Every pastor and leader I know agrees that people pleasing is not a good quality for a leader. Talking with hundreds of pastors every year, however, I’d have to say that this has to be one of the most frequent weaknesses pastors admit to me. For the pastor, when our aim is to please people, many times we are motivated more by what people want than even what God wants for the church. That’s dangerous. Hopefully I don’t have to build that case.
Did you know there is a very common word that is used in our culture that you cannot find in the Bible? It is the word competition. Jesus never talked about it, but He did talk about the opposite of that word.
What is the greatest catalyst that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn’t prayer, though this is important. It isn’t good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn’t good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons.
This is the fourth blog post in a series (intro, Part 1, Part 2) regarding pastors developing healthy boundaries in their ministries. I’m sharing four key points in the process, thinking of them as four fence posts around a healthy ministry.
The next may be the hardest to implement in our culture. Also, I imagine it will generate the most disagreement. However, I think it demonstrates a biblical approach to the shepherding of a congregation, rather than turning the church into a place where a group of customers demand their area of interest be paramount.
The third post supporting a healthy ministry is guarding your flock, even if it is from other Christians.