I am excited and grateful you are reading this blog, as we continue with the second part of our four part series.
1. You are responsible for your own growth.
I know that I am the only one this happened to. I became a theologian in seminary, then I got to the church and found out I did not have many of the leadership traits I needed. In order to become a better leader, I had to take matters into my own hands. Frankly, I never got much practical leadership and ministry help from conference pastor’s events. So I decided to do the following:
a. Read at least one book per week. I didn’t always make it, but it kept me reading. It’s true what they say, leaders are readers.
b. Go to at least one conference per year that would help me grow as a leader. I remember going to a John Maxwell conference when he was first starting out. If continuing education funds were not available I paid for it myself.
c. Go to at least one church that was doing it right. It inspires you, and shows you it can be done.
2. Publish or perish.
Most pastors that I talk to have a book in them. I listen to many sermons and I am impressed at the level of depth and insight they have. Too bad no one will ever be blessed by it because you are either too busy or too lazy (I am exaggerating, I know) to write it down. I started writing a weekly small group lesson back in 1996. In 2007 and beyond I put many of them in books; more than 30,000 copies have been distributed. If it wasn’t for the consistent weekly writing, I would have never been able to perfect the craft (something I still strive to do). Write something every day.
3. If people don’t give you opportunities, make your own.
In 2007 when I spoke to one of the publishing houses about a small group book I had edited and written along with many of my colleagues I was practically laughed out of the building. The words “who exactly are you?” were not said, but implied. With some help from the conference we published the book ourselves. We found the editor, layout professional, publisher and started making cold calls to pastors and leaders across the NAD and beyond offering the resource. Fast forward 7 years and it’s been over 10 books, including the sharing book of the year (shameless plug) http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/failure-is-not-final.html Now I have access to the publishing houses and have a much higher percentage of probability of being accepted. . But if I had given up, it never would have happened.
4. The power of visitation.
This pastoral trait is not very popular. Timberlake brought “sexy back”. I want to bring visitation back. (never heard the song, just thought it would be a nice pun, so please, no letters). Visiting gave me three advantages:
a. Sermon ideas. I want to preach where it itches. Sitting across the table from a member gave me insight into their lives and needs.
b. Personal touch. I had a 900 member church. I could not visit all of them, but that didn’t mean I could not visit some of them. (see point 5)
c. Realistic perspective. Many times, especially when raising money, we tend to look at the congregation and see a crowd that can contribute. Sitting down with people in their homes gave me a realistic view of our finances.
5. Spend 80% of your time with the top 20% of your leadership.
I wish I had done that much earlier! Since everything rises and falls on leadership, your top influencers need you to look them in the eye and share your life with them.
See you all next week. For questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section.