Spiritual leadership is careful to do not to adopt an “us versus them” mentality. Leadership commonly makes decisions by majority rule more than consensus. Having the majority means if you agree with us, we win; and if you disagree with us, you lose. The majority means that 51% approve the 100% decision, but consensus seeks 80% to agree with the 100%. This requires a constant revolution of collaboration. The goal is Holy Spirit confirmation that you and those you lead are all on the same page. Consensus requires much more time, energy and communication, but it is worth the investment.
Leadership is not about winning, but being willing to listen to constructive criticism. To be honest, I did not receive any kind of criticism well when I first began the ministry. The temptation is to take everything personally, and it is difficult not to do so. There is a huge difference between a critical eye and a critical spirit. You will have to learn how to discern which one is being expressed, then navigate them. You might say, “consider the source,” but that can sound a little arrogant and seems to imply an unwillingness to listen to their input. A better approach is to determine within yourself to not be defined by criticism.
Leadership is not about winning but being willing to discuss different opinions. When people ask questions, that does not mean they are against it but often that they need more information. The more questions you can answer up front, the more consensus you will have when making decisions. Make conversation great again and remember to keep your convictions but always practice charity. Talk it out and have the hard conversations that must take place to move forward. The local church has everything it needs to help navigate disagreement if you follow the biblical principles given for conflict resolution.
Leadership is not about winning but moving forward with those with whom God has called you to live on mission. Opposition is real and hard to endure, but quite often it is the two or three, not the vast majority. The ones there are on board, and you need to run with them. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree, and you need to focus on staying on course, keeping your head down and listening to the Lord more than those who do have a critical spirit. “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (I Thess. 2:4). You cannot allow opposition to God’s mission to keep you from His mission.
Leadership is not winning, but rather being willing to honestly evaluate your present spiritual health. In the medical field, prescription without diagnosis is considered malpractice. That is why you need people at the table who are processors because they will think through the details, will be cautious and desire to not get ahead of the Lord. You need initiators because they are looking for ways to make the dream reality and always planning the next four steps. You need the challengers because they are willing to challenge the concept not the person, and you need the supporters because they love vision and innovation.
Leadership is not winning but walking the path of leading change. John Kotter suggests these eight steps to transformation:
• Establishing a sense of urgency. You need to know what needs to be changed and why it needs to be changed.
• Form a powerful guiding coalition. You need to consider who needs to be at the table that represents every group in your church.
• Create a vision. Where there is no vision, the people will find something to “cherish” that may not be in line with God’s vision for your church.
• Communicate the vision. Cast the vision, and when you are tired of casting the vision, cast it again. Use every vehicle you can to clearly show the direction and the strategies.
• Empower others to act on the vision. You either improve it or you simply approve it. Do not just inform but also give permission to your team to carry out the vision.
• Plan for and create short-term wins. You cannot accomplish it all at once, and you must decide what needs to be done that will challenge your team but also is realistic.
• Consolidate improvements and produce more change. Credibility gives you the momentum to make necessary changes to keep you on mission.
• Make the new approaches and systems the norm. Leading change is never easy, but it is possible when you have a plan like Kotter’s eight steps.
Leading is not winning but focuses you on what really matters — obedience to God’s mission and vision for your church. If you are not careful, you can make the simple complex and the complex then becomes overwhelming. Your church is not the destination, it is the distribution center. This needs to be verbalized because language helps in changing the culture. Your mission statement is the external words that send people out. Your vision statement is the internal words that draw people into a cause they are passionate about. Leadership is not about winning but about inspiring, informing, equipping and mobilizing.