7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders - #1 Follow
7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders - #3 Manage

7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders - #2 Lead

LeadAlthough there is to be one mission and one direction for each church, there are many expressions or ways that these are outworked. Like a highway with many lanes, a growing church provides opportunity for many different and unique ministries to thrive and flourish within the context of its overall purpose, as long as there is integration and alignment between them.

When it comes to your ministry, you need to lead with excellence (Rom.12:6-8). Most ministries rise and fall on leadership. Overall direction and broad parameters will be given to you, but the vast majority of the details of what your ministry becomes is up to you. Our desire is to create an empowering culture where many strong leaders can find ministry fulfilment working together towards a common goal.

Leadership is not just occupying a position. It is about creating “movement” (Deut.1:6-8; 2:1-3). God is a God of movement and he calls us as leaders to be his “change agents” to bring about his purpose on earth. Leadership is not easy. There are many challenges to be faced and obstacles to be overcome. However, great leaders take full responsibility for themselves, their ministry and the people they lead. They don’t make excuses or blame others when things aren’t going well. They look at themselves and they make adjustments. They find a way even when there seems to be no way. 

First of all, leadership involves giving people an example or model to follow (2 Thess.3:7-9). People catch who you are – your spirit. It is more than programs and events or even ministry activities. It is about a spirit and an atmosphere of life, energy and joy that you impart to people.

Second, leadership also requires having a vision and giving people direction (see Prov.29:18. Hab.2:1-2. Zech.4:1-2. Acts 2:17-21. 1 Cor.14:8). A leader has to define reality (the way things really are) and then to paint a picture of a preferable future (the way things could really be). Only then can you begin to move people to where they need to be. See things as they truly are not as you wish they were. Don’t fool yourself into thinking things are better than they are or that they will get better on their own. Recognise the reality and then launch strategies and initiatives to help make things better.

You’re in charge and therefore responsible. Like a coach of a team, you need to know what is happening right now (this “play”), in the context of this quarter (the “score”), this game, this season (year) and the history and future of the team. This includes an understanding of the game, your players (new and old, strengths and weaknesses) and the opposition. These different perspectives assist you in making the right decisions and calls right now. 

Putting Legs on It:

* Avoid being a leader who is not following (overly independent) but also avoid being a follower who is not leading (overly dependent). You’re the leader!

* Spend time in prayer, contemplation and reflection on God’s Word, as well as observing other leaders and ministries. Evaluate the intensity, clarity and size of your vision.

* Get with your team and do a SWOT analysis of your ministry (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and create an improvement plan from it.

* Articulate your vision then get others passionate about making it happen. Lead by energising others, not by an out-dated autocratic style of leadership (‘command and control’). Create internal motivation. Energise, excite and inspire.

* Live with a sense of urgency. Don’t waste time through indecision. “Pounce” every day and be willing to work hard to make the vision a reality. Leaders need great energy and an ability to spark excitement and achieve results. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo.

* Involve everyone and welcome ideas from everywhere. You don’t have a monopoly on leadership – or good ideas for that matter. The hero is the person with the good idea. If your ministry has to rely on you for all its good ideas, you’re finished. Get ideas from everyone, even the quietest people.

Leadership occurs 360 degrees around us. We give leadership downwards to those who are looking to us but we can also give leadership sideways to our peers and upwards to those we are responsible to. Each of us can lead or influence others positively from the middle of the pack.

[Habit #3 - Manage]