Getting as old as I am, I get a chance to look back on my ministry and leadership. A few weeks ago, I shared about “making mistakes.” We all make them. What’s that saying, Hindsight is 20/20? It’s true! There are many times I could have done things better and, yes, even differently.
I call them my lapses in leadership. The word lapse means a temporary failure. I like that. In other words, it doesn’t have to be permanent. We can all change and improve our leadership. Here are a few of my lapses in leadership over the years.
1. I relied too much on my own strength. Nothing is accomplished apart from Jesus. He gave us the promise, “I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:18). Two important takeaways – it’s His church and He will build it. If we forget that, we fail. There were times when I tried to keep things going on my own will power. I often reminded myself — this is NOT my church and I can’t make it grow, only God can cause the increase (see 1 Corinthians 3:6)!
2. I didn’t listen enough. Communication is always two-way. It’s crazy how I have thought “saying something” would get everyone on board. I assumed people were with me when, in reality, they either didn’t understand the vision or simply disagreed with it. Slowing down and asking questions would have helped my ability to lead. I’m still learning the skill of truly listening -to find out what people are thinking and genuinely seek their input.
3. I did too much on my own. There is a real propensity for me to do it myself. But ministry is not about me. It is about empowering others. Someone said that you know you are leading when people aren’t looking to you for the answers, but multiplying other leaders around them. The real test of our work is what happens when we are no longer there. It is never a good sign if people are wondering, “how can things go on without you?”
4. I didn’t have enough confidence. This may look like a contradiction to relying on my own strength, but I was too hesitant to move forward. I tended to wait too long to make the needed changes. I wish I had a stronger “holy boldness” to go for it. We all need to resist the urge to stay the same.
BEFORE YOU GO
So from this list, which do you need to guard against? What are other “lapses in leadership” you see in the ministry? I’d love to hear from you!