As before, he is submitting this blog post to fulfill an assignment for one of his classes - this time an Administration class. If, after reading, you would be willing to fill out a short questionnaire regarding this post, please let me know either here or on Facebook, and I will send you the link!
How Are You Leading?
I certainly do not claim to be an expert but I have watched people over the years and have recently learned a lot in my college studies. If this helps no one else, maybe it will serve to remind me of what and what not to be.
What are the marks of a good leader, and how do you measure their success? You might get about as many different answers as people you ask, but I want to look at a few that I think can be useful.
Integrity is defined as “the state of being complete, unified”; this is when you are who you say you are no matter where you are or who you are with. If you have integrity you will not be divided or pretending, for that would just be duplicity and hypocrisy. To me this is actually kind of funny when you watch people who are different depending on what is going on; it seems like some will go along with the “crowd” when with them, but when at home you cannot get them to budge. If you don’t want to change why act like it when you’re around the “crowd” if you are not going to allow or implement it in your area? This sets a bad example to people that are watching. Keep your integrity at all cost so that people will know who you are and what to expect out of you.
You also need to have a vision and a plan to reach it. It is not good enough to just say, “I want to grow my church or Sunday School,” but how are you going to do it? I have now worked in route sales for a couple of years and I can tell you they are always looking to grow and developing plans for it, and they will ask you how you plan on doing that. You must have a plan of action or you will most likely not grow - or if you do it will not be much and not because of any effort. I heard someone say to find one or two areas that your church can focus on and then go for that. Not every church can have a nursing home ministry, or a children’s ministry - find something that will work for you and that the people will get excited about and involved in and then focus on that. If you take on too many projects you will run out of steam fast, and your crowd will get discouraged.
Going along with those is that you need to lead by example. Don’t find a plan and then sit back and expect others to do it for you; people will do as people see. I have heard people say things like, “Well, they don’t seem to concerned with it, so why should I be?” Obviously their “leader” was not leading by example. Some of the most effective leaders in the world are those who will get down with their people and do what needs done. They have good and dedicated followers because they know where their leader is going and they know that they will get involved in the task too, if need be.
Finally, I would ask: Are you moving forward or standing still? If you are standing still you are probably slowly dying out.
Let me try to apply this:
I love to play the games Monopoly and Risk (I have both of them on my iPad and will play a few rounds sometimes in the evening to wind down.) But I have learned what I think is a very valuable lesson; when I first got the games and started playing I would lose quite a bit, probably more than I was winning - ‘til I finally discovered how to win! How you win is to keep moving - keep reaching out, keep trying to gain more territory. If you simply try to hang on to what you have, you will die out and lose the game, but if you strive to reach out and gain more and take a little risk you can win most of the time. I have gotten now to where I will let the computer randomly select the territories and then see if I can win with what I have been given and most of the time I win.
I think this can be applied today in our churches and such; I hear people saying, “We need to preserve and hang on to what we have," and that is true, but if we do not reach out in some way to someone how will we ever grow? You cannot build anything by just holding on to what you have. Try to build a house by getting the lumber and just hanging on to it because you are afraid to use it; try to grow a garden without letting go of the seeds. To build anything up in life - not just a church, but anything - you have to push beyond what you have. Over the years I have watched people and heard them talk about how bad things are and things are just dying out, and then I watch and they seem to never do anything to correct the problem. Even worse, I have seen where sometimes someone will try to do something and will get stopped because that is ‘not how things are done‘. Again I refer to sales: we are always running new promotions and putting up fresh marketing material to catch peoples’ eye, because if you leave the same thing up all the time people will just overlook it. Sometimes, to catch people’s attention you have to do something a little different. In the end it is all about building the Kingdom and I think we should be willing to at least listen to and even try any idea (within reason) that might work to get people in.
Like I said, I am not an expert - I just have been observing and trying to learn, and it seems like if churches, Sunday Schools, Youth groups, etc. are not growing then we need to look at what we are doing and be willing to try something different if it will help grow the Kingdom.