As Mountain Lake Church approaches our Tenth Anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on our church planting experience. God has DONE so much; and I have learned SO MUCH! As I reflect on everything that’s happened in my life and the lessons I’ve learned, here are my top 5:
1. The most difficult person to lead is myself. As a pastor, the tendency is to think we need to spend al of our time changing the world by changing everyone around me and leading them. I must do that. However, what I’ve learned is that the best way to change the world is to change me and lead myself. This includes what we call at churchplanters.com: “Nurturing Vitality” Paying close attention to my own physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational vitality. Mountain Lake has grown as I have grown. Discipline is probably the most important characteristic of the spiritual leader in a church. Mountain Lake will continue to grow as I grow. I must lead myself.
2. It takes extraordinary courage to be the leader. Followers make suggestions. Leaders make decisions. The Sr. Pastor has to possess a measure of courage and confidence that can only come from God. We must relentlessly protect the vision of the church, and not allow it to be high-jacked. At churchplanters.com, we call it “being mean about the vision.” I’m not talking about being mean to people. Jesus wasn’t mean to people. He was mean about protecting the mission Jesus had given Him and would not allow anyone or anything to get in the way or sidetrack Him! We must also be willing to have courageous conversations and make tough, sometime unpopular decisions with our church and our staffs, if we are going to go where God is leading us. A leader must be secure in his own skin and be willing to please God OVER people no matter what. The Sr. Pastor must choose daily to be respected over liked. That takes a TON of COURAGE!
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this post.