Early in my ministry career, I served as a church ministry intern, student pastor and college pastor. I would not trade those seven years of experience and learning for anything, I loved what I got to learn and the people I had the opportunity to serve along side. It was during those seven years of ministry that God put on my heart to plant a church and become a Lead Pastor. Now as a Lead Pastor, I realized how much harder and challenging a leadership position.
I had much repenting to do from all of the judgment that I had brought down on former Lead Pastors and co-workers that I had served with and criticized in my mind. It was in those moments that I realized how divisive I had been and how I wish I could have gone back and done things differently as a staff member on the team with those Pastors. Please if you are on ministry staff at a church, learn from my mistakes.
Over the last ten years as I have served as a Lead Pastor, it has been such an incredible journey and learning experience for me. I have had some great successes and some great failures, but one of the biggest leadership mistakes I made early on was trying to run after those who were never going to stay with me. You know who they are; they are the people you have to burn up so much time trying to convince but nothing you share is quite right. They are the ones who are always trying to make you feel like your church doesn’t offer what “their family” needs. Especially this is true for church planters who have very few staff, limited ministries, and virtually no money.
Don’t make one of the biggest leadership mistakes that I have made and continue to see pastors and leaders making. It is chasing after someone who will never buy in to your vision. When you do this you are missing the new people God is bringing who are trying to purchase the vision you are selling. Don’t be to busy trying to please people who will take you sideways and miss the people God is bringing to move you forward.
As a leader you must have a clear calling, vision, and focus or you will get eaten up by the vision stealers and never accomplish what God is calling you to do. Don’t let them steal the vision, but stay committed to God’s call in your life and go with those who are with you and those God brings who are buying into the vision God has called you to.
A few takeaways that I have learned:
- Pray for God to give you discernment on when to move on from someone
- Go with the people who are with you
- Don’t allow those who leave steal your joy
- Some people are church hoppers and will use the next pastor/church too
- Satan will try to bring vision stealers to come rob your church
- Focus your mind on things above and celebrate those who are with you
- Remind yourself of when God called you to this work and what He told you to do