Make no mistake, I made a lot more than 5 mistakes over the last 5 years but I think there were a few of more consequence to the progress of our church than others.
1. I processed potential decisions by myself instead of with my team
I get a lot done when I’m by myself, and that includes making decisions. The problem is I walk into meeting and inform my team of a decision instead allowing us to process a potential decision together. Even in the times when I would throw out an idea and want feedback, my team can tell when I’ve already made up my mind and am just giving them a courtesy. I’m learning that once you have the right team around you, you need more debate and more passionate conversations to make the right decisions, and more importantly get more buy in.
2. I prioritized perfection over development
I am a perfectionist, especially when it comes to church programming. I made the mistake of only putting the best or most talented people on the stage instead of developing future talent and future leaders. I was convinced that any drop in quality would hurt the churches momentum, but I’m learning the momentum created by people being developed and finding a place in ministry endures long beyond the momentum of a good service.
3. I didn’t prioritize prayer and fasting enough
Sunday just keeps coming week after week. Every time we meet a goal we can barely celebrate before setting our eyes on the next goal. We get so busy learning and leading that we forget Psalm 127 “Unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain.” I know I forgot that, and still do sometimes. We have found that church wide prayer and fasting does more for our church than any strategy and promotion we can do. When I’m praying and fasting I pastor differently. I pastor more spiritually. More spirit led than strategic. Prayer and fasting brings a passionate spirituality that can’t be manufactured.
4. I didn’t have enough meetings
You read that right…more meetings. Because my meetings in the beginning were so bad I assumed the answer was to have less of them. I was wrong! A once a month staff meeting where we tried to address any and everything that needed to be addressed was really inefficient because everything seemed equally important, and people who had no interest in the topics being discussed would check out. We’ve now moved to weekly check in meetings, weekly one on one meetings, monthly review meetings, and quarterly strategy meetings. When meetings are done right they create amazing momentum and clarity for our team.
5. I didn’t cast enough vision
I assumed I had talked about vision enough that everyone knew and understood why we did what we did, and how we did it. I’ve learned that people with “regular” jobs and “normal” life don’t think about church or church vision near as much as I do, and if I haven’t talked about something 50 times they haven’t really heard it or recognized how important it is yet. I’m also learning to present truly important things in a different way and tone than things that matter but aren’t most important. Labor Day fireworks can’t be as important as Easter, and every sermon topic cant be the most important thing the Bible talked about. I lose credibility when I present what’s next as what’s most important.
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