Recently, our Montana church planters had the opportunity to engage in a short video call with Senior Associate Pastor of FBC Orlando, Danny de Armas. In a few minutes he shared eight leadership fundamentals that are beneficial for anyone in ministry to consider. The following is a brief synopsis of these “nuggets.”
- Collaborate – surround yourself with the smartest people you know. Realize that you as a leader can greatly benefit from the experience and expertise of others…also, realize you don’t know it all. Catalyze others to help. As a leader, you cannot do everything yourself and others may even be able to do some things better than you.
- Be willing to go first – when you start an initiative, implement a strategy, etc., be willing to “drive” so you can give perspective. Lead by example by being willing to do what you are asking others to do.
- Run toward conflict – this may be one that is the most intimidating of all leadership principles, but the goal is to solve the conflict, not to win. Make friends out of what appears to be an enemy.
- Love the people before you lead the people. Period.
- Think – take time to contemplate and reason through any situation. Take time to be quiet and get away from the noise. Also, take time to write down solutions. Writing forces precision to problem solving.
- Always be learning. Be someone who reads and continues to learn forever. Read “secular” material such as newspapers, magazines from your area, etc. The people writing those publications and the people for whom those are written are the non-Christians you are trying to reach! This is an essential in church planting.
- Insulate your heart – there is no greater hurt than the hurt you experience in ministry. Christians can be mean. This is a truth that hurts…literally. Protect your heart and keep it soft toward God.
- Be a follower first then lead from there. Jesus is looking for followers not leaders. Follow Jesus first…and always.
The last two fundamentals relate particularly to the health of the planter. Lance Witt in Replenish said, “We will never grow healthy churches with unhealthy leaders.” Just a few pages over he stated some bewildering statistics – a select few of those statistics follow:
- 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.
- 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles.
- Over 50% of pastors’ wives feel that their husband entering ministry was the most destructive thing to ever happen to their families.
So, whether you are a church planter, or you have planted and are now pastoring, take the above list and prioritize the list in reverse order. The main priority in ministry is to be a follower of Christ first and a leader second.