Last week I attended the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit. Sounds impressive, right? Well, I almost didn't attend. Full disclosure – I had forgotten how helpful those things can be. Here’s what happened to me on Thursday morning of the first day of the Summit…
I woke up and remembered that my wife needed the car on Thursday afternoon for an appointment in Sioux City. We live 45 minutes away. So, instead of going to the Summit, and then driving back at lunch time to pick up my wife (an hour and a half round trip!), I decided I just wouldn't go on Thursday, but maybe go on Friday.
Then I got the tweet. The tweet with a Bill Hybels quote – sent out in real time. He said this: “everybody wins when the leader gets better.” In that instant, my decision changed. I knew I needed to set aside my plans for the morning and go get better as a leader. I asked my wife how quickly she could be ready to go, we hopped in the car, and I arrived during the lunch break. The afternoon speakers were extremely challenging and encouraging to me!
So, “everybody wins when the leader gets better.” If you’re a pastor, you’re a leader. How are YOU doing Mr. or Mrs. Leader? Are you better or getting better? Before the afternoon sessions started, I jotted down four areas I need to get better in as a leader:
Differentiation – this means that I can take a well-defined stance on an issue, position, or decision – even when followers of my leadership disagree, and still stay connected in meaningful relationships with them. I do not have to be controlled by their anxiety over change or direction, but can actually be a non-anxious presence that diffuses the anxiety of others.
If I am well differentiated, I am not controlled by another’s judgment or opinion of me, but can differentiate myself from them, while still remaining relationally connected to them. I am not drawn in to their drama, but help to create stability and progress. I can always be growing in this area. If I do not lead myself first, I abdicate the control of me to others, and thus lose my leadership influence and effectiveness.
Spiritual Health – I think that most of us can improve in our spiritual health. Do we ever really arrive spiritually? Probably not. I would like to at least always be in a state of arriving. The alternative is to have the car parked in the garage and not even be on my way yet!
I want to love Jesus with all my heart. I want that authentic and genuine friendship with him. I want to grow in my obedience to him as well. I want to be getting better spiritually, and be influencing everyone around me in the same direction.
Prioritization – I want to become a better prioritizer of my time, resources, and relationships. I think of the four quadrants that Stephen Covey talks about in his book, First Things First. I need to get better in Q2 – the area where things are not urgent, but they are important. The important things in life that are not urgent, often get overlooked. Things like relationships, exercise, sleep, financial investing for the future, planning ahead on projects, reading and learning, etc. In this area, I want to get better.
Self-Awareness – Why do I do what I do? What makes me tick? Why do I have the problems and challenges that I have? Why am I good at the things that come easy to me? What is the very next thing for me to do in order to get better? I want to be better at understanding me. Only when we understand the why, can we change the what.
There are so many more ways I want to be better as a leader, so that everyone around me will be better. Those are just a few. How are YOU doing Pastor? What is the very next thing you need to do in order to be better, in any or every area of your life?
Hybel’s quote, tweeted out, shook me up! It caused me to move, to act, and get better as a leader. As we lead and serve, and love and shepherd in our 200church ministry, we get to make everyone around us better. You and I can grow as pastors and leaders. We need to, because our church, no matter the size, matters HUGE in the Kingdom of God!
Do you dare to share the one area you need to get better in? Let us know…
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