As I read through this book with a ministry filter, so much was useful. There are times when we think, even as a leader, that we can’t do much about the decline or the issues in our churches. Granted, there are many folks helping to lead, there are lots of personalities and opinions, and there are lots of options and possibilities. But the church is God’s and as stewards, we must desire to make His great name known in the communities around our church. The church should be outstanding! Your church can be outstanding!
I picked out five practical ways (from the 47 in the book) that leaders can take a step forward and become exceptional. I hope you find these helpful today.
Succeed With What You Have
Most churches I know are always stretched. They could use more volunteers, more space, more leaders and more resources. Don’t let this become an excuse. You succeed with what you have. You work with what you’ve been given and you do your best. Strategize all you want for the future, but make sure you’re not giving up on now. Don’t wait to begin a new worship service or develop new leaders or create a new plan for ministry to children and youth. Work with what you’ve got now and with excellence, and a positive attitude, make something happen.
Leadership is highlighted at every turn and it is important. But leaders who have risen to the top are all good managers. They have learned to manage their own self disciplines, their own finances, and the people with whom they are given charge. They take stock of the small details, calendars, and day-to-day details of their lives and organization. Too often in the church world, I hear leaders run around saying they are the big picture people and other people must do the details. But who is equipping, managing, and working with the detail people? Exceptional leaders are good managers. Help your church staff and team leaders become good managers of themselves and other people. [Read: How To Get Outstanding Performance From Your Church Staff]
Someone Needs To Be The Boss
Take responsibility for your leadership. Churches are multi-layered when it comes to leadership and control, but someone still must be in charge. The pastor of the church must take responsibility for the growth and/or decline of the church. Church staff and ministry leaders must realize they have authority over their area of ministry and must welcome the responsibility for the success or failure of their department. Teams and committees are important and have their place, but no matter how much people try, there must always be a boss. The buck must stop somewhere. Embrace your role, lovingly lead and make sure you confidently serve your people as their boss. [Read: Four things everyone needs from their boss] [Read: Ten ways to be a better boss]
Don’t Stagnate: Embrace Turnover
Turnover in ministry is inevitable, so embrace it. When turnover in your staff happens, it’s usually a mixed bag of emotions, but make the most of the new opportunity for fresh perspectives and ideas. Too much turnover is a sign of trouble, but don’t sweat it too much when transitions come. They are great moments to regroup and refocus your team roles and goals. The other, possibly more heart-wrenching for ministry leaders, is the turnover that comes within the church members themselves. It’s always hard when someone leaves the fold, especially if there are any issues surrounding it. Hang in there. Every pastor and ministry leader goes through it. There isn’t an easy answer. Hearts are always broken. The quality of leadership is always questioned. But something can always be learned. And we have discovered that at times when it seems the back door is wide open for people to leave, there is a whole new group of people who are entering with a new passion for a new season of ministry. Embrace those times and be ready to watch God move. [Read: 5 Good Things That Can Happen When People Leave The Church]
Remember, People Want To Win
I learned this lesson many years back during an all-church staff meeting. The custodian was there and made a comment about wanting the church to grow and how he tried to make sure his part was done well so it wouldn’t hinder growth. This was the same guy who at times made it seem like he’d be happy if no one came in the building so it could stay clean. But deep in the hearts of most church staff, leaders and church members is a desire to win – to see God’s kingdom come about in mighty and powerful ways! They desire for the church to move forward, to accomplish the work of Jesus and his gospel and to be successful in its mission to their community and region. Pastors, don’t assume that you’re the only one who wants to see things change and grow – your people do too! Give them credit and start with that end in mind as you lead.
Pick up a copy of this easy-to-read book: Outstanding! I like books where the chapters are just one or two pages.