There are many temptations that Christian leaders face and which if not guarded against will hurt their ministry. Here are ten that I often think of which are often not paid adequate attention to.
One: Starting to coast on past development in the the middle and later years of ministry. When leaders don't stay sharp and when they don't have an intentional development plan they not only hurt themselves but they hurt the team they lead. If anything, intentionality must be ramped up in the middle and later years if we are going to stay in the game.
Two: Becoming set in our paradigms and losing the necessary flexibility leaders need. The world changes quickly and unless we continue to understand those changes and stay flexible in our ministry approaches we lose our ability to stay relevant. If anything, we ought to become more flexible as the years go by.
Three: Becoming less receptive to the ideas and feedback from others because we feel we have the knowledge base we need. When we stop listening to others, stop asking questions and stop inviting input we become less and less effective.
Four: Getting into a rut by staying too long in the role we are in. This does not mean we necessarily need to change jobs but it does mean that we constantly need to be looking for new challenges that cause us to think, grow and learn new things.
Five: Allowing our time with Jesus to become professional (related only to our work) rather than personal and intimate (related to our heart and life). It is an easy trap to fall into and one that we must constantly fight if we are going to allow Jesus to continuously transform our lives.
Six: Taking too little time for reflection and thinking. Leadership means responsibility and it is easy for the activities we have to crowd out the reflection we need. When we are young we run on energy to a great extent. As we mature we need a whole lot of wisdom but wisdom comes through having the time to think and reflect.
Seven: Taking our staff for granted rather than realizing that they are one of our highest priorities. No matter how good our team, unless we are building into them, encouraging them and helping them grow we lose critical influence not only with them but with the organization.
Eight: Allowing ourselves to become disengaged from the leadership work we do. This may reflect, deficits in some of the issues above but disengagement and autopilot are always a threat to good leadership.
Nine: Not developing outside interests that can feed our lives. All of us need things that allow us to become refreshed and which bring delight to our lives. Leadership is hard. Having other interests actually refreshes us for better leadership.
Ten: Allowing our identity to be defined by our role in ministry rather than by our personhood and identity in Jesus. Leadership is a role we play in ministry but it should not define who we are personally. We are people like everyone else and need to be comfortable outside of our leadership role. It also helps us to not take ourselves too seriously.
Posted from Oakdale, MN
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