Saturday, June 22, 2024
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: Keeping Your Buckets Filled

HEALTHY CHURCH: Keeping Your Buckets Filled

Leading on Empty is a book by Wayne Cordeiro, but it can also be a reality in your life. How do you keep your tank full and your passion renewed? There are four buckets Hal Seed says need to be kept full — spiritual practices, character strengths, relational skills and ministry experience. My last article (see the Aug. 23 issue) focused on the first two, so today we will cover relational skills and ministry experience. As a leader, you must not only lead yourself well, you must also lead others well. Your intimacy with Christ will enable you to leverage influence for Christ. You are called to live like Jesus and lead like Jesus.

• Relational skills are paramount in leadership. It is because of the importance of team building, problem solving, time management, resolving conflict, communicating well and then executing your God-initiated plan. In building your relational skill set, you must know yourself to lead yourself. You must be willing to evaluate how God hard-wired you. Are you more of an extrovert or introvert? Are you more people-oriented or task-oriented? What are you passionate about? Are you more bent toward working on a team or do you prefer working alone? Knowing yourself means you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

Emotional intelligence cannot be overlooked in leadership. An effective leader knows Christ intimately, knows what they need to know through instruction and knows themselves and their inclinations. If you are walking with Christ, receiving the instruction needed for the task ahead and you have no self-awareness, it will usually produce much frustration. Three markers in developing your relational skills are self-discipline (knowing Christ), self-development (knowing the right stuff) and self-discovery (knowing yourself). Everyone has blind spots, and you need to spend time with the Lord asking Him to show you yours.

How do you develop relational skills? First, love people the way Christ loves you by valuing them. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Think about what number you place on someone’s value in your life and ministry. Is it a six, a seven or some other number? Here is the reality — they will never surpass the value number you assign them. Go ahead and give them a 10 because if you find yourself always busy doing things you are not gifted to do, maybe it is because you are not equipping, empowering and deploying others.

God has sent people to you to help you on the journey and to help your church address its deficiencies. Relational skills are required in leading the church to where God is guiding it to go by creating a climate for change. By loving and valuing the people around you, you can then begin building a team that challenges, encourages and esteems one another. Focus on the coalition of the willing and remember that you will always have the Sanballats and Tobiahs around (See Nehemiah). Make sure you are not being overly swayed by the vocal minority or the squeaky wheel, but also be willing to minister to them as best you can.

Your relational skills will become crucial whenever facing trials or leading change. Sometimes they can be the same thing. In a lot of churches, the word change is almost a cuss word. In a recent Healthy Church Solutions training, BMA Global President Dr. John David Smith reminded us about empathy. When leading change that is God-initiated, learn to empathize with those who are struggling with that change. Every time there is change, someone will see it as a loss. Make sure you explain the reason for the change. If people believe in the why, they will accept the what. Have you slowed down long enough to carefully explain the why?

• Ministry experience is the fourth bucket. Here is what Hal Seed has to say on this: “We put most of our personal development attention on collecting ministry competencies like preaching and leading, but somehow, it’s never enough. We still have problems, and our churches don’t grow. Ministry expertise is more than the competencies of being a pastor. It’s the wisdom that comes with learning, experience and reflection so that, with broad knowledge, you can do the right things to see your church grow.” Maybe you have no ministry experience, but there is someone out there who does. Go find them and learn from them.

Leadership requires passion and discipline to accomplish our God-initiated vision for the ministry where He has placed us. Here is a great description from Dr. John David Smith of what passion and discipline need to look like:

“Passion sees the vision; Discipline translates it into action. Passion attracts a team; Discipline builds the team. Passion makes good decisions; Discipline implements the decisions. Passion establishes values; Discipline lives out the values. Passion envisions a healthy culture; Discipline makes it happen. Passion describes the goal; Discipline forms the strategy to reach the goal! Passion creates priorities; Discipline executes the priorities. Passion generates ideas; Discipline turns them into reality. Passion challenges people to grow; Discipline helps them do it. Passion drives innovation; Discipline drives implementation!”

Paul was passionate, but he also had a plan he followed that was given to him by the Lord. When thinking about these buckets that need to be filled — spiritual practices, character strengths, relational skills and ministry experience — make sure you are not having a pep rally without a game plan. What steps do you need to take in each of these areas to become a better leader? Make a list and begin working on them today.