I am from the South.
We southerners have a lot of traditions.
One long held New Year's Day tradition is to eat as many turnip greens as possible in hopes of coming into more money in the coming year. I think the rationale is that life will somehow reward you for the punishment of having to eat turnip greens! Either way, it's always seemed a bit silly to do something like that "in hopes" of anything.
Pastor, instead of hoping for great things for the church you lead, why not decide to become the leader your church needs to do great things?
Your first step in becoming that leader is assuming the correct posture. Adopting some beliefs, mindsets and attitudes that guide you. Below are 5 leadership choices you need to make to guide you into your most fruitful year ever.
Have a Legacy Mindset
Ecclesiastes 3:14 says "I know that everything God does will last forever...". Solomon wisely refrains from saying "everything I do will last forever." Your church is a lot bigger than you. It will remain long after you are gone. With that in mind, be a legacy leader. A legacy leader builds things for future generations. Begins with an end in mind and carries a kingdom vision. Makes decisions for tomorrow rather than today. Legacy mindsets build stronger teams and empower leaders. Legacy leaders lead teams who do work better than they can do. Lead with the perspective that success is still being successful long after you are gone.
Keep a Humble Spirit
Most pastors receive their fair share of spotlight and praise. Let’s be honest, it’s an honor! It's fun! It makes us feel good! And that is normal. That said, admiration left unchecked can chip away at humble intentions. So accolades cannot drive you, calling must. Do not going to read our own press. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Compliment other churches in our city rather than compete with them. Aggressively pray against arrogance, and seek accountability to ensure it's absence. If talent scored you a seat at any table, your humility is what keeps you worthy of that seat. Look for more towels to take up & more feet to wash in 2017.
Work with a Startup Mentality
Success lulls churches to sleep. Make your efforts this year reflect a renewed hunger, desperation and scrappiness to get it done. Exercise extreme creativity in problem solving. Do more with less. Never believe the myth that you have arrived. You may see record attendance this year, but stay as hungry as a church plant. Risk momentary failure for Kingdom success. Stay desperate to reach that one person who’s life is far from God.
Feel with Human Hearts
Possibly the oddest sounding. Sadly, sometimes to least leveraged. Lead with a heart that beats for people. Pray with hearts broken for the lost because God searches with a heart broken for the lost. Walk slowly through your church on Sundays connecting with people. Remember that the story of an individual matters. Simply be nice to people. Work extra, sacrifice more and abandon what's comfortable to reach that one life. Handle the important moments of a person's life well. Be Jesus with skin on for people who need it.
Adapt with Agile Attitudes
The superpower of leadership is agility. You can be strong, but if you're not agile, you're extinct. Businesses, churches and denominations have proven this. Our culture and people’s needs change a lighting speed. Get comfortable with change. Get comfortable leading change. You cannot take new ground with tired methods. Do not be slow adopters. Do not fall in love with your style. Only tolerate attitudes as positive as your changes. Resolve issues quickly and face to face and never with passive aggressive hallway conversations. Think more new thoughts. Remain emotionally nimble, mentally flexible and operationally open-handed.
There are 365 opportunities ahead of you. Make them count.
I cannot wait to see what God does through you!
Kevin is a coach for couragetolead.com. He is also Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia, and the founder of LeadBravely.org. Kevin specializes in strategic thinking, financial health and developing teams. He lives in Augusta, GA, with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters.