Spiritual Pastoral Leadership

January 15th, 2013

When I came to Grace Church, I told the Staff-Parish Committee that I had four jobs as the Lead Pastor and that I would try to order my life and ministry after these four priorities.

My first job is to stay well. That means staying spiritually well most of all. It means I need time to reflect, read, and rest. I need time for a strong marriage and healthy family. I try to go to the gym regularly and try to stay physically well.

Self-leadership demands rigorous self-awareness. The secret is to not drift into self-absorption. It’s not about becoming obsessed with myself, but rather becoming aware enough of myself that I lead out of my God-given strengths with a keen awareness of my hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

My second job is to preach the best messages I can. I am still amazed at how many pastors put off working on their messages until late in the week. I have built into my life weekly check points that demand my completion of certain parts of my message by certain times in the week so that our communications staff can get worship folders and PowerPoints done on time. I have to have my outline to them by Wednesday afternoon. This keeps me accountable to my message preparation pace.

My third job is to lead our ministry team. Our staff has grown from three full-time and five part-time to more than 100 full or part-time employees. Leading this team is not done by accident or haphazardly. It’s intentional and planned as well as informal. I have come to believe that the single greatest detriment to our church going to the next level is not about facilities, new staff, or new ministry initiatives, though these are important issues, but rather how I lead. I agree with Dale Galloway that with every 15 percent of congregational growth, a leader has to change how he or she leads. That has been our experience at Grace.

My fourth job is to lead our unpaid servant leaders. i spend most of my afternoons meeting with existing and emerging leaders, talking, evaluating, and praying about ministry. As a leader committed to releasing God’s dreams in people, I regularly meet with women and men who are trying to figure out what God’s next step is for them. My radar is constantly focused on the search for Christ-followers who are ready to step into leadership. We have had a dozen or more people join our paid staff because of this commitment to nurture leaders and potential leaders. investing in leaders has paid huge dividends in our church.

These four jobs take up about 75 percent of my time. Add administrative duties and pastoral care, and that’s my week. Let me say it again. If you don’t prayerfully discern your job as pastor, someone else will.

excerpt from: Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World by Jorge Acevdeo. Copyright©2013 by Abingdon Press. Used with permission.

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