A couple of months ago, I posted a blog on my website titled “3 Essential Skills for Leaders.”
While flipping through an old Moleskine this morning, I found some of my scribbled notes that described not three, but four skills all pastors must discover and constantly develop for the rest of their lives.
Here’s a remix of the original three, plus a fourth.
Here in America, we emphasize equal rights and fairness. Nobody gets special privileges because of where or to whom they were born. Nobody gets to cut to the front of the line.
If you get to pick first today, it’s only fair that I get to pick first tomorrow. It’s a level playing field for everybody because nobody is better or more privileged than anyone else. It’s a great system.
The problem comes when we transfer this way of seeing to the Creator of the universe. We sing, “Jesus is my friend.” And He is. We celebrate that “Jesus is the servant of all.” And He is.
There are few vocations that can engender burnout like the pastorate. The demands on a pastor’s time, emotions and energy can be overwhelming. When I was a pastor, I often felt at least the symptoms of burnout.
I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout, and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries.
So I asked them the obvious question: What did you do to reverse the dark spiral of burnout? The question was open-ended, so they could respond with as many answers as they desired. When it was all said and done, I tabulated 12 different responses from the 17 pastors. Obviously, many of them gave similar answers.
Read any leadership book today and within the first few pages you’ll hear about the critical function of vision in your organization. To lead effectively without a shared vision is simply not possible.
But sharing the vision takes skill. And sewing vision into the hearts of those I lead is a skill I continue to refine.
Recently, our fpKIDS team worked together to craft 5-to-6 simple, vision-driven phrases. Why? It’s because our greatest opportunity to connect with volunteers and parents is on the weekend … amidst the hustle and bustle of church services.
Any church that doesn’t change in response to the change in culture, community or context will eventually cease to exist. Any church that wants to stay around and keep its doors open will make constant and subtle changes along the way.
How should that change take place?
1. In response to a new “God vision.” God cares about those perishing in your community far more that you and your church do. So God is all-in for the changes necessary to see as many as possible come to Him. He will give a fresh vision to accomplish that to the heart of a humble and passionate leader.
“I know better.”
It’s a simple message backed up by simple behaviors and a better knowledge of life or pursuit. In many contexts, you wouldn’t think twice about it.
A mom says it to a naïve child mesmerized by red-hot fire. Tiger Woods addresses you on how to get lift from a golf ball in a sand trap. B.B. King shows you a trick to get the guitar sound you want. Bill Gates says, “I have a new technology idea.”
The normal response in the face of greater knowledge and insight is to listen, learn and apply. Their knowledge transcends your own, and only a fool would deign to say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I got this one.”