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7 Casualties of a People-Pleaser in Leadership

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. read more

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Competition Brings Division in the Body of Christ

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. read more

Elated-pastor

Who Is Your Target Audience for a Specific Event or Sermon?


There is a counterintuitive marketing concept that we, as pastors, should spend some time contemplating: “If you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one.”

When you are promoting an event or sermon series, who is your target audience? Are you focused on a 35-year-old man who works in construction and has two kids, or are you focused on all men who might possibly see your sign or know someone who does?

When you focus your advertising (announcement) on a particular target audience instead of trying to reach everyone possible, you create energy and momentum. read more

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Why Years of Experience in Leadership Can Be Blinding

Many times, as leaders, we are blindfolded by the experience we have gained over the years. We assume everyone knows what we know, but we forget what we once didn’t know.

I feel what I’m writing is elementary in the field of leadership. But what is elementary to one is high school or even college to others.

I’m not at all saying you can stop learning. That’s a dangerous thing for a leader to ever do. I’m saying to be conscious of the fact that if you are a leader, chances are you’ve learned a few things along the way to getting where you are today.

Remember, leader: read more

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Are We Warriors or Are We Tourists?

The local church should be a Holy Spirit training outpost for equipping God’s people to be kingdom warriors of love and servanthood on earth and to destroy the works of darkness. Instead, the local church is often operating more like a cruise ship instead of a battleship designed to equip an army.

I first met pastor Fred Hartley about five years ago when I was invited to be on a city transformation leadership team in Atlanta. Fred pastors a midsize congregation in a suburb of Atlanta and is also the founder of the College of Prayer, an international equipping ministry. Fred has written several books on prayer. He knew little about my work, but as we began getting to know one another, he took more of an interest in what I did. I shared a few of my books with him, but it was almost two years before Fred caught what I was doing and how it could impact his own local congregation. He wrote me this letter: read more

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3 Ways to Stop the Naysayers

“The poor will be with you always,” Jesus said, but I’m sure He could have added, "The stupid vision killers will pursue you always.”

Acknowledge But Don’t React

As much as we would love to send to some of these to Gitmo for vision espionage, we simply don’t have that authority … sadly. But if we give their voice weight, they will keep looking for opportunities to complain.

Naysayers and complainers don’t have a desire to help in what they say. They are looking for a platform that will hear them and respond. It makes them feel empowered. read more

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9 Tips for Resisting the Overwhelming Pressure of Leadership

I am asked constantly by young leaders, “How do you handle the responsibility of leading something like Catalyst?”

Good question.

The reality is, anyone who leads a church, leads a company, leads a community, leads a nonprofit ministry, leads a team or even leads a family feels and knows the pressure of responsibility. And responsibility is part of leadership. Always.

You’ve heard this before: “You’re responsible for what happens. Don’t screw up!” Right! We hear this all the time from our parents, from our boss, from our boards, from our friends, from our spouses. read more

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Why Teams Rarely Rise Beyond the Level of Their Leader

Leaders, if you’re frustrated at the level of your team or vendor’s performance, look no further than the mirror.

Only in very rare cases will a team perform better than the level of their leader. Why?

Because the leader sets the boundaries, deadlines and guidelines. The leader creates the culture and sets expectations. As a result, no matter how gifted or creative a team is, if the leader is incompetent, insecure or inexperienced, the team can only work within that framework. read more

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How to Beat the Slump in Church Leadership

Church leadership is difficult (in case you hadn’t already figured that out).

Some days it is easy to feel discouraged, to wonder why you work as hard as you do. Especially when you don’t receive the thanks you deserve. Especially when you don’t see the results you want. Especially when it’s been a long week or weekend—you’ve preached multiple services and tended to the needs of others, and even after all of that, you look around the room and wonder if it was enough.

Maybe you worry there are people you aren’t reaching, or maybe you see people hurting and don’t have the answers. read more

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How Perspective Can Be a Leader’s Best Friend

Last night I was reading in 1 Kings 12 as part of my daily reading plan. This pivotal moment in a new king’s reign is interesting to investigate.

I mean, we knew based upon a warning God gives to Solomon that the better part of the kingdom would be removed from the hands of his son. But how it happened is intriguing to me.

In the latter part of Solomon’s life, his great wisdom was not on display. In fact, I would argue that in the season his son, Rehoboam, was growing up, Solomon’s focus was on experiencing the pleasures of life. read more

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