Becoming a Better Leader

April 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

In response to a recent blog post on Kent Fillinger’s Church Size Matrix (in an upcoming issue of the Christian Standard–April 24,2011) I received the following question from a good friend, “How did you become more Administrative? Any books, conferences, best practices?”

I thought there might be others who were interested in my answer. I can tell you that I found it interesting to think it through.

By way of confession, I believe it’s important to let you know that I am an off the charts “I” on the DISC Personality profile.  Last month I tested 19 on Influence, 4 on Dominance, 1 on Steadiness, and 0 on Compliance.

Administration has never been one of my strengths.

Ideas, yes.

Passion, yes.

Influence, yes.

Spreadsheet of master plan, not so much.

According to Kent Fillinger’s research, the preacher’s role at churches from 35-249 members is more of a Pastor/Shepherd.  At churches with 250-499 members, the preacher’s role shifts to more of an Administrative role.  Preachers of large churches (500-999) tend to transition to more of a Leader than an Administrator.

It’s been my pleasure to watch God grow Journey Christian Church from a Small/Medium church to a Large church over the past three years.  We are currently averaging over 620 in our 5 weekend services.

By way of confession, I also have to admit that I’m a much better leader today than I’ve ever been, but still have a ton to learn to be the kind of leader I need to be.

I’ve had to grow along with the church and–despite my personality type–become a better Administrator and now a better Leader.

Now let me try to answer my friend’s question: “How did you become more Administrative? Any books, conferences, best practices?”

And my answers will be random and short….

  • I’ve surrounded myself with mentors and have been intentional about spending time with them.  I pick men and women who are the kind of leaders I want to be and I try to learn as much as I can from them.  Here are some of the mentors who have had a significant impact on my life and ministry: Joe and Sue Sutherland, Prof. Jack Lup, Dr. Mike Chambers, Paul Williams, Prof. Twila Sias, Brent Carter, Alan Kraft (Pastor of Christ Community in Greeley), Delmar Schroeder, and Alan Ahlgrim.  Also, I seek mentors who will tell me what I need to hear and not just what I want to hear.
  • I’ve learned to say “no” to the urgent, so I can say “yes” to the important.
  • I have become very intentional about being a leader who reproduces leaders.  I have several young men who I’ve targeted for mentoring and training for ministry.  In every series we do at Journey three other members of my team will preach–and not just on weeks where I’m not there.  In fact, in our current series I’ve been there each time one of these guys has spoken.  I think it’s good for the people of Journey to see that I need to hear sermons too and I know it’s good for me to hear the gifted speakers with whom I share leadership and ministry.
  • I’ve had to become a much better delegator.
  • I’ve developed the following philosophy of trust: People on my team do not have to earn my trust; they have it.  I surround myself with people I trust–not because they are loyal to me but because they are loyal to Christ.
  • I surround myself with low-maintenance, highly-motivated, hard-working, humble, holy, happy people, who don’t need me to “take their temperature” constantly in order for them to fulfill their ministerial responsibilities.
  • I lead my team with these core values:
  1. Enjoy Ministry
  2. Equip People
  3. Enlist Volunteers
  4. Entrust Liberally
  5. Encourage Consistently
  • I’ve learned to control my schedule and not let my schedule control me.  The larger our church has become, the larger the number of people has grown who want a piece of me and my time.  By necessity, I’m learning to be a better steward of my time.  I love people and am in ministry because I want to help people, but I’ve learned that I can’t help people if I’m exhausted, sick, or having troubles at home because I’m neglecting my family.
  • My first ministry is to my family.  If that ministry fails, my ministry will become vain.
  • I’ve become more intentional about becoming the leader this church needs for me to be.
  • Books that I’ve read that have helped me to become a better leader: Shackleton’s Way, Apollo 13, Failure is Not an Option, The Imitation of Christ, anything by John Maxwell
  • The following podcasts consistently stir my leadership juices: Mark Driscoll, Catalyst, Andy Stanley
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