Summer Break

On this Memorial Day weekend I wanted to say thank you for your readership and input of Leadership360. I am just getting back to the office after a 3-month Sabbatical and am going to put my focus on reengaging there for this next season. As such, I will be taking the summer off from blogging. Look for new posts in the fall. Blessings.

-Eric

To Hire Relatives or Not: The 4-Step Checklist

5.24.16 - hiring relatives

To Hire Relatives or Not: The 4-Step Checklist

Several years ago, we had a performance problem with a well-liked employee that led to her departure from our staff. That occurs on occasion when necessary at Christ Community and really shouldn’t have been a big deal. However, in this particular case, the employee was also the wife of a board member, so it turned into a big deal. While we have many dismissed staff still attending Christ Community Church, in this case the employee and the board member, her husband, decided to leave.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the biggest problem that arose from the incident. After their departure, the decision was made that we couldn’t hire family members of other staff or board members any longer. That privilege had been revoked for the sake of a non-nepotism hiring policy. Fortunately, the family members that were on staff could remain on staff.

While I understood why the decision was made, I didn’t agree with it. I felt like we were throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. As a result, I decided to do some research about what was happening at ministries around the country. The result of that search led to additional discussions and the following 4-step checklist when interviewing and potentially hiring family members of staff or of board members.

Step #1 – The family member candidate must be the best candidate. This means the best overall – competency, capacity, cultural fit, etc. Poor nepotistic decisions seem to be made when a family member is chosen over a clearly more well-suited candidate. When that favoritism occurs, it is noticed by all involved.

Step #2 – The family member candidate must have a great relationship with the family member already on staff. This may seem overly basic, but it is critical. If there is a brother-sister relationship that is strained or a parent-child relationship that is the midst of a crisis, it would not be a healthy decision to have them on the same staff team. This can be checked out with pointed questions and reference checks if necessary.

Step #3 – The family member that is on staff has to be a highly valued staff or board member. One of the greatest problems with hiring family members comes when the initial family member is dismissed from the staff team. If there are any concerns whatsoever with the existing employee or board member, then we do not pursue the family member candidate.

Step #4 – The family member candidate cannot apply for a position that would report to the family member already on staff. You’re probably thinking that just makes sense. Well, sure, it seems to. However, there are times when there’s a perfect fit and the only problem is the reporting structure. It might be possible to get creative with the structure, but more than likely the answer is simply not to move forward. Having a family member report to another family member is a disaster waiting to happen.

There is A LOT more that goes into a family member policy and implementation. These 4 steps, however, will set the groundwork for a healthy team. When these steps are followed properly, some of your best employees can be family members of other employees. When these guidelines are discarded, it can spell disaster. By the way, these policies also work well for “hiring” volunteer roles as well for the most part.

I look forward to your thoughts!

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

The Case for Hiring Outside of Your Organization

5.16.16 - The Case for hiring outside your organization

The Case for Hiring Outside of Your Organization

You can’t go to a conference, talk to a ministry professional or read a book or blog about hiring without some reference to the best hires being from within your organization. I’ve said it myself in training sessions at my church and with church leaders from around the country.

I get it – I really do. The typical reasons for the inside hires are that:

  • They are a known quantity in their skill set.
  • They know your DNA as an organization.
  • They will have a high rate of cultural and chemistry community connectedness.
  • They probably cost less to hire.
  • Their learning curve will be faster due to the relationships already built.

Again, I get that argument and in many ways agree with it. However, what I have seen happen over the last decade is that too many churches and organizations are dismissing outside hiring altogether or only using it as a last resort. This, I believe, is a critical mistake that could hurt ministry advancement.

Here is my case for hiring outside of your organization.

Reason #1There are simply some positions that need a higher level of education and/or experience than are available in your organization. There are times when departments or ministries simply need someone with experience to lead them out of a funk, tough season or to a new level of effectiveness. If this isn’t discerned by leadership, then it can lead to a long season of ineffectiveness as new leadership learns OTJ.

There are also some positions that need education. At Christ Community, we strongly believe that the person in charge of our discipleship needs to have formal biblical training. This is important in writing, curriculum selection and evaluation and overall wisdom in leading the spiritual growth of our church family. Most often, the level of experience and education needed in examples like this cannot be found within your organization or church.

Reason #2Fresh faces are good for organizations. One of the reasons that businesses, organizations and churches hire consultants is the fresh perspective they bring. They often see things that we miss because we see it and live with it every day. New staff members to your organization bring that same fresh look. We have grown so much as an organization because of our mining of this fresh look perspective that comes from hires outside of your organization.

Reason #3Learning from other places can help staff people excel in new environments. I’m a big baseball fan, and I’m always amazed at how major league managers often flourish at their second or third jobs. The reasoning is always that they have learned from their successes and failures at their previous stops and are the better for it. I see this all of the time in ministry. It was the case for me as well. I am a much better leader and manager now than when I first got started years ago. When you don’t even consider outside talent, you potentially miss out on some well-oiled new staff!

Reason #4Close relationships can sometimes cloud our objective talent evaluation. As much as we try to be objective, we sometimes can miss significant flaws right before our eyes. I’ll use other posts to talk about hiring internally, hiring family and hiring for character over skill. However, for this point, I’ll just say that it’s important to keep others in the loop and realize that maybe, just maybe, your judgment could be clouded.

Reason #5 – It’s easier than ever to fund good talent. If you want to do the work yourself, you can use web sites such as churchstaffing.com. If you want to hire a search firm to find that outside hire, you can use a search firm such as Vanderbloemen. It does take work to go through the process, but it’s easier than ever to find the talent if you do the work one way or another.

Reason #6This is your reason. Would you add a sixth reason to why you should hire outside or add to the reasons that you should just focus on internal hires? I look forward to dialoguing with you!

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

6 Crucial Values for the Perfect Hire

10.29.14 - 6 Values to the Perfect Hire image

6 Crucial Values for the Perfect Hire

One of the key aspects of my job is making great hires. I look at our staff of 120-plus employees and I thank God every day for the stories behind the people. While a lot of elements go into hiring, I have found 6 overarching crucial values that drive hiring.

  1. The Right Power
  • Hiring managers think they are the ones that are making the hires “happen.” The key reality comes to us from Zechariah 4:6 – “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” It’s not our own power that leads to the hire; it’s the power of the Holy Spirit. Make sure that you are reminded of this at the beginning, middle and end of the hire.
  1. The Right Plan
  • I can’t tell you the number of hiring managers I talk to that have no real plan going into a hire. They have a general idea of what they want but feel that they will “know it when they see it.” Do the work. Have a developed job description. Have buy-in from those who will be interacting regularly with this hire. Know the type of person you feel is going to best fit on the team. Have a plan!
  1. The Right Process
  • Similar to not having a plan or direction, make sure that the steps are laid out in the process. When should you talk about money? When should you call references? If you’re bringing someone in from out of town, when is the right point in the process to go to that expense? A thought-out, streamlined, agreed-upon hiring process can save time, money and grief.
  1. The Right Position
  • Too often, organizations and churches simply look to re-fill the same job description when a position opens up. Wise churches and companies will thoroughly evaluate the landscape of the organization to make sure this is the right position for now and into the future.
  1. The Right Person
  • In many cases, the right person is right under your nose. It may be a person in another role on your team that God has uniquely prepared for this open position in this season. It could also be a person that is a friend, colleague or in your network that you would already have chemistry with and that would already know your culture. If not, work with and stick to the process to lead to the right person.
  1. The Right Passage
  • The first 90 minutes, 90 hours and 90 days are crucial to your new hire having the best passage possible into the new role. Be very purposeful and prayerful as you work through the passage season. Establishing good relationships, understanding, networking, expectations and goals will also ensure that the passage leads to a long and successful tenure.

In each of these steps and values, be sure to also seek and involve wise counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What’s the most important value for you as you make key hires?

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

 

My 2 Greatest Leadership Mistakes

My 2 Greatest Leadership Mistakes - 5.2.16 - 2

 

My 2 Greatest Leadership Mistakes

 

My wife and I watched the movie Creed last night. It wasn’t quite as good as the original Rocky movies, but it was still really good.

I won’t give away anything for those of you that haven’t seen it, but there’s a point in the movie where Rocky says something really stupid. When he realizes it, he sits down and says, “What have I done?”

We’ve all been there, right? We say or do something stupid, and at some point it hits us and we say, “What have I done?” Well, I’ve done that so many times I can’t remember or count them all.

Today I’m going to reveal two of my greatest mistakes as it pertains to overall leadership. Please learn from them and share your own!

#1 – Thinking I’m Super Pastor. It doesn’t matter if you’re an usher, senior pastor, small group leader or youth pastor – we can all get too prideful and dependent on our own strength, wisdom and power. That’s what I did. I thought I was the bomb and could fix anything that came my way and grow the best ministries ever known to man.

That was a HUGE mistake. It took God putting me in a situation where I had no control, where I had very limited success and where I was highly scrutinized to realize that I was not Superman or super pastor and that I was way too prideful. One of my top two leadership mistakes!

Zechariah 4:6 says it’s “not by might nor by power by my Spirit says the Lord.” I was trying to lead by my might, by my power and really, for all intents and purposes, without God’s help. Wrong (insert buzzer wrong answer noise here)! As ministry leaders, our job is to raise up, train and equip others for the work of the ministry. Don’t believe me? Then read Ephesians 4.

 

#2 – Not Trusting God. Ok, this one is tough for all of us at times. But ministry life and leadership is tough. It’s not dollars and cents or quotas or even deadlines that are tough. The tough part is the people.

I often think (and sometimes even say) ministry would be easy if it wasn’t for the people. But, it’s all about people! My mistake (that I’m still learning to overcome) is to trust God. When a 10 year-old dies from cancer, I struggle with trusting. When a key leader commits adultery or is caught in a pornography addiction, I struggle with trusting. When there’s a situation that’s so difficult I can’t see a good solution or any solution, I struggle with trusting.

I keep a prayer journal a few times a week. I have a line down the middle of the page from top to bottom. The prayer requests are on the left and the answers are on the right. Some requests have been “open” for years. I have yet to see God’s answer. However, most of them have answers in the right column, and I can see God’s crazy faithfulness in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I keep that to help me with this big leadership mistake.

However, as much as that tool helps, I still forget. I feel like the Israelites in the wilderness – God continued to save them by parting the Red Sea, giving them quail and manna and providing water from a rock, and yet they continually lacked the ability to trust God. That’s just like me! What a huge mistake that is because those you lead pick up on that fear and lack of trust and faith. We serve a sovereign God! He is large and in charge! I pray that I learn from my mistake of lack of trust in the years ahead! I pray that for you as well.

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What about you? Any of your top mistakes that we all can learn from?

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

4 Ways to Fail Forward as a Leader

4.25.16 - Fail Forward

 

4 Ways to Fail Forward as a Leader

We have all failed at something … and most likely it was today. We fail to get up on time. We fail to kiss our spouse or kids good-bye or good night. We fail to return a call or an e-mail. We fail at knowing what to say. We fail at being on time. We fail to share our emotions. We fail to be honest. We fail at our diet and exercise plan.

Failure is just a part of life. As Henry Ford said, “Failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

Failure happens in life, it happens in leadership, and it happens in ministry. What are we to do when we fail? We need to seize the opportunity, learn from it, persevere and then pull up our boot straps and try again.

Leadership360 Fact – Failure is just an opportunity to grow, develop perseverance and achieve new successes.

Here are four ways to fail forward in your ministry leadership.

#1 – Rely on God. Yes, that’s the Godly thing to say, but it is a really important point. I can’t tell you how often I rely on my own abilities and fail miserably. God is sovereign, and He does have a plan for your life. Something good can and will come from your failure. Pray, seek His face and model seeking God in times of failure for those you lead.

#2 – Over-communicate. A huge percentage of the time a failure is a result of a breakdown in communication. Learn to over-communicate and share your heart. Learn to ask questions if you weren’t communicated to well. You can fail forward in great strides by learning better communication from each failure.

#3 – Shed the fear. I’m reading through the Bible in a year right now and just got through the book of Joshua. His mentor had just failed – Moses didn’t take the Israelites to the promised land. He fell short of the goal. It was now Joshua’s turn. Over and over and over again, the Lord tells Joshua to not be afraid and to have courage. Notice that many of your failures were the result of fear or anxiety or the like. Take God’s advice to Joshua in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

#4 – Keep your Integrity. A major failure for ministry leaders all over the world is with their integrity. Yes, we read or hear about the sexual falls and, more recently, the falls from pride. But there are ministry leaders that lie about expectations, stretch numbers, share gossipy prayer requests, and the list goes on and on. These failures cut at the heart of God for those of us in key volunteer or staffing roles in ministry. Memorize Scripture in your area of weakness. Share your weaknesses with an accountability partner or small group. Fail forward by keeping and growing your integrity on a daily basis.

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What about you? How have you learned to fail forward? Let us know and add to this list in the comments!

Leadership360 Fact – Failure is just an opportunity to grow, develop perseverance and achieve new successes.

 Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

The 5 Most Important Methods for Training

4.18.16 - training

The 5 Most Important Methods for Training

 

“Oh no, it’s a day of training” is what too many people say as they head to trainings all around the country. Why? Because they aren’t good, that’s why!

Leadership360 Fact: How you train is as important as what you train.

  1. Diversify in chunks. If you’re using PowerPoint and talking for 3 hours, heck, even an hour, it’s too long. The average person’s attention span varies greatly. Google adult attention span and you get everything from 8 seconds to 5 minutes to 25 minutes. Note that none of them says 90 minutes! Break up your training into chunks of time by using different topics, modes of presentation, different speakers – whatever different strategies you can employ.
  2. Get people talking. One of the best ways to learn is to talk it out. Make sure you include group discussion, 1 on 1 discussion and/or small group discussion so that people can talk it out and ask questions. The training connectivity will skyrocket.
  3. Just do it. I’m not a huge role play guy because sometimes role plays are just laughable. However, they do get people doing something rather than just talking. If you can do role plays that are applicable and done well – go for it. If you can do actual training, all the better!
  4. Can you watch me? People need to not just be thrown into the deep end of the pool when leading a small group, ushering, teaching kids, etc. They need to be allowed to put a few toes in and given feedback. Then they put their legs in and are given feedback. The key is giving feedback. Make sure your training system allows for feedback.
  5. On demand. The huge recent shift in training is on demand. It’s great to talk about and go through scenarios and needs on the front end. However, there is nothing like having ready-to-go training in the moment. Whether it’s a YouTube video of how to deal with the EGR – extra grace required – person in your group or how to handle a student that comes to you with an abuse situation at home, it’s huge to have a right-then-and-there reference to help your paid and volunteer staff with on-demand training.

This is just a highlight list of training method helps. What would you add to the list? What 1 idea do you need to add to your next training? Let us know in your comments to the Leadership360 community below!

Remember to live the life yourself as well – a life modeling your training and living out Godly character. As Luke 6:40 says, “A student, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.” Make sure that’s a good thing and a God thing!

Leadership360 Fact: How you train is as important as what you train.

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What has been the most effective training method you have used yourself or that you have learned from? 

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

The 5 Most Effective Environments for Training Your Staff

training - 4.11.16

The 5 Most Effective Environments for Training Your Staff

 

If you’re in ministry work, you have heard Ephesians 4:11-13 many, many times. You know that your job as a church worker is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.”

In this two-part blog, we’re going to look at the environments and the methods that are most effective in training your volunteer and/or paid ministry staff. This post will look at the five most effective environments for training your staff. Next week’s post will look at the most important methods to employ when you execute your training.

Leadership360 FactEffective training begins with an effective environment.

#1 – On the job. I’ll get into the other training venues that are important in a minute. In ministry, however, there is nothing like just digging in and getting your hands dirty. Excuses for not being prepared and not qualified began with Moses in Exodus 4 where he told God that he couldn’t speak. God’s response – “open your mouth and I’ll fill it.” In ministry we have the resource of ALL resources – God Himself. Don’t shortchange how He can use you even if you don’t have all of the answers.

#2 – Somewhere else. There is something special that occurs in training when you get out of your normal routine and schedule. Go to a conference. Go to another ministry or church and learn from them. Hold training away from your normal location. Get away and the training will stick a little more.

#3 – Where you are. Let me completely contradict my previous point J. While it is important to go somewhere else, it isn’t financially feasible or it doesn’t work with your schedule as often as training is needed. That is why it is important to provide regular training in the venue or environments where the ministry is actually taking place on a regular basis.

#4 – Online. Today’s world lives online. We may not like it or agree with it, but we can’t deny it. Today’s world is also a resource at your fingertips kind of culture. You can Google or YouTube just about anything and learn how to do it. As a leader and trainer, you need to make sure that you provide online assistance and resources for those you lead. They need to know where to turn when issues arise, and it would be most helpful if there were resources available online and, hopefully, available on their mobile device. It doesn’t have to be your customized content. There are a lot of incredible resources ready made in your area of ministry. They just need to be available.

#5 – With a live mentor. Again, what may seem to be a contradiction is actually a supplement. You see, none of these environments works exclusively. All of these environments work in concert with each other. So, while training online is critical, having a live mentor to talk to about challenges and joys is vital. Sometimes, learning best occurs in discussions over tough issues. Having a Godly, experienced mentor leader to turn to is a gift from heaven. These mentoring relationships come out of doing life with people, but they also come from seeking and asking.

Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry is a command for us as ministry leaders. Some of these work better than others for personalities, situations and life stages. Look to combine a few of these areas to best equip those you lead.

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What have been the most effective environments that you have led or learned in and why?

 

Leadership360 FactEffective training begins with an effective environment.

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

The 5 Most Effective Environments for Training Your Staff

training - 4.11.16

 

The 5 Most Effective Environments for Training Your Staff

If you’re in ministry work, you have heard Ephesians 4:11-13 many, many times. You know that your job as a church worker is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.”

In this two-part blog, we’re going to look at the environments and the methods that are most effective in training your volunteer and/or paid ministry staff. This post will look at the five most effective environments for training your staff. Next week’s post will look at the most important methods to employ when you execute your training.

Leadership360 FactEffective training begins with an effective environment.

#1 – On the job. I’ll get into the other training venues that are important in a minute. In ministry, however, there is nothing like just digging in and getting your hands dirty. Excuses for not being prepared and not qualified began with Moses in Exodus 4 where he told God that he couldn’t speak. God’s response – “open your mouth and I’ll fill it.” In ministry we have the resource of ALL resources – God Himself. Don’t shortchange how He can use you even if you don’t have all of the answers.

#2 – Somewhere else. There is something special that occurs in training when you get out of your normal routine and schedule. Go to a conference. Go to another ministry or church and learn from them. Hold training away from your normal location. Get away and the training will stick a little more.

#3 – Where you are. Let me completely contradict my previous point J. While it is important to go somewhere else, it isn’t financially feasible or it doesn’t work with your schedule as often as training is needed. That is why it is important to provide regular training in the venue or environments where the ministry is actually taking place on a regular basis.

#4 – Online. Today’s world lives online. We may not like it or agree with it, but we can’t deny it. Today’s world is also a resource at your fingertips kind of culture. You can Google or YouTube just about anything and learn how to do it. As a leader and trainer, you need to make sure that you provide online assistance and resources for those you lead. They need to know where to turn when issues arise, and it would be most helpful if there were resources available online and, hopefully, available on their mobile device. It doesn’t have to be your customized content. There are a lot of incredible resources ready made in your area of ministry. They just need to be available.

#5 – With a live mentor. Again, what may seem to be a contradiction is actually a supplement. You see, none of these environments works exclusively. All of these environments work in concert with each other. So, while training online is critical, having a live mentor to talk to about challenges and joys is vital. Sometimes, learning best occurs in discussions over tough issues. Having a Godly, experienced mentor leader to turn to is a gift from heaven. These mentoring relationships come out of doing life with people, but they also come from seeking and asking.

Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry is a command for us as ministry leaders. Some of these work better than others for personalities, situations and life stages. Look to combine a few of these areas to best equip those you lead.

LEADERSHIP360 COMMUNITY QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What have been the most effective environments that you have led or learned in and why?

 

Leadership360 FactEffective training begins with an effective environment.

Leadership360 – Leading for Him, through you, to all.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

If you connected with this blog, please pass it along through your social media channels. You can do so just by clicking the social media buttons below. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe to Leadership360 and receive weekly leadership topics in your inbox.

5 Keys to Growing as a Leader

5 Keys to Growing as a Leader - 4.4.16 image

5 Keys to Growing as a Leader

 

Would you look at you – you’re in a place of influence and leadership in ministry!

It may be that someone tapped you on the shoulder for the role you’re in, or you could have proactively pursued the opportunity yourself. It may be that you are very experienced in your role on a church staff, as a small group leader, etc., or it could be that you find yourself taking OTJ (on the job) training right now! It could that you are the point person for a ministry, or that you are a number two or number three assistant leader.

Whatever your role is, whatever your situation, one thing is certain – you must grow as a leader.

That leadership fact is obvious to people who are in difficult situations. The small group leader knows that he or she needs to learn how to deal with an EGR (extra grace required) person when they have that person in their group. The staff person realizes that they need to develop volunteer teams better when that skill ranks low on their annual reviews.

But, for leaders who have been doing something for a while and doing it well, growing as a leader may not be quite as apparent. Many find themselves in content world that can seem like a scene from Groundhog Day at times.

Leadership360 fact – ALL ministry leaders must never stop growing! They need to always strive to improve and advance in their experience, skills and character.

Here are 5 quick keys to growing as a leader:

#1 – Dream Big. Seek God in what He is calling you to so that you can make the greatest impact possible in your role. That doesn’t have to mean numerical size, although it may. It may be that your gifts and calling will allow you to reach many more students than you are currently reaching. Your dream may be doubling in numbers. However, it may be that your dream is to really impact the life of the child you work with in class or the usher you lead on Sunday mornings. Maybe there is a big opportunity for impact in their lives. The key is to not just check the box of your current role, but to dream about what it could be. Proverbs 29 tells us that it is important to have a vision or a revelation from God about what is to come.

#2 – Read or Listen a Lot. You’ve probably heard the old phrase that readers are leaders. I believe that phrase is still partially true. Leaders do need to read or, in today’s world, they can listen. If you’re a ministry leader, the amount of resources that are available to you today is truly remarkable. Growing leaders are taking advantage of today’s resources in podcasts, blogs, books, web sites and the list goes on.

If you are taking advantage of these opportunities, chances are you are growing. If you’re not, you’re truly missing out and dropping the leadership growth ball. Warning: you can’t do it all! Find leaders that you trust and that you connect with and follow them regularly. Warning #2: there is some really bad stuff online as well. You can’t read or listen to it all, and you shouldn’t read or listen to it all. But, leaders will listen and/or read a lot to help them grow in their calling.

#3 – Find a Next Level Mentor. This doesn’t have to be a weekly 1 on 1 session with a wise, sage mentor. I have many mentors that I’ve never met. For example, I’ve never met Rick Warren. And while I don’t agree with everything he says or writes, he has been a lifetime mentor for me. I see how he understands the times and the people of the times and what he does in his ministry to care for people and I learn from him. Find someone that you can learn from. It might be your pastor. It might be a staff person in your ministry or church. It might be an author or speaker. It might be someone in your small group. Learn life and ministry lessons from those who have walked your path before you.

#4 – Build Spiritual Muscle. Ministry in any role is a marathon. I sometimes say that ministry would be easy without the people. Well, guess what, there are people everywhere because that’s what ministry is by definition! That’s also what makes it a marathon. Your ministry muscle and your leadership character muscles grow as your Bible reading, prayer and spiritual discipline muscles grow. There is an indisputable direct link between the two.

2 Timothy 2:15 puts it this way, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

#5 – _____________________. No, I didn’t forget to fill in the blank. I want to hear from you. Share in the comments for the Leadership360 community what YOU do to grow as a leader. The 4 keys above are just a start. Let’s hear your thoughts!

Leadership360 fact – ALL ministry leaders must never stop growing! They need to always strive to improve and advance in their experience, skills and character.

Leadership360 is a weekly blog for people in any type of point or assistant leadership in any type of ministry. Please share your comments, questions and ideas in the comments.

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