Category Archives: Uncategorized

6 leadership mistakes most pastors make by Margaret Marcuson

Are you making any of these church leadership mistakes? If so, you’re in good company. I’ve made them all, and you probably have too.

  1. You take responsibility for things that aren’t your responsibility.  

Many church leaders do this. It’s called overfunctioning. Pastors and other church leaders do this both on behalf of the congregation as a whole, and for individuals (staff and members). Then they get frustrated because others aren’t responsible enough. Here’s the guideline to remember: those who are under-responsible (underfunctioners) don’t step it up until those who are too responsible (overfunctioners) step it down.

  1. You get caught in triangles. 

This is a variation of number one, in which you take responsibility for other people’s relationships. You can’t change a relationship you aren’t a part of. You can only work on your relationship with each of the other parties. Here’s a post that explains more about relationship triangles in ministry.

  1. You don’t disconnect enough. 

But with today’s technology, it’s harder and harder to find quiet time and space. But constant availability is not good for you – nor for the people you lead. They need to figure things out without you. Take Jesus as your model – if he needed time alone, so do you. Try this: wait at least 30 minutes after you wake up to check your phone.

  1. You think the answer is out there somewhere. 

Sure, there is plenty to be learned from others. But remember to value your own creativity and the ingenuity of your people. What ideas do you have for making a difference in your own situation? No one else knows your ministry setting the way you do. Try this: take a current challenge and generate a list of 20 possible ways to solve it. Pick the top two or three and try them.

  1. You get infected by the anxiety of others. 

People say to you, in effect, “Pastor, you should be upset about this because I am.” It’s easy to take that on. Yet just because someone is anxious doesn’t mean you should try to calm them down (and go away more anxious than you were). This rarely leads to productive thinking. Think it through: is this really your responsibility? Can you take it a little less seriously? Is there some way to push the anxiety back?

  1. You take the short-term view.  

We’d all like a quick fix, and we live in a society that wants instant results. But the things that count take years to develop. And many of the things we worry about don’t matter much in the light of eternity – and won’t even matter in a year, or a month. How can you extend your vision: five, ten, thirty years?

You can start today to remedy any one of these mistakes. Take a deep breath, find a little space, and prayerfully think through your role, your responsibility and your vision.





3 steps to shift from success to significance by Gerry Lewis


I wish I had paid better attention as I was growing up. There are so many lessons I had to learn by trial and error as an adult that happened right in front of me as a youth, but I wasn’t interested.

I expressed that thought to my stepfather in a recent conversation. One of those handy guys who can figure out how to fix just about anything, he could have taught me a lot in those early years. However, I was too busy and didn’t see the relevance of all that stuff, so it was faster and more efficient to do it himself. Unfortunately, the pattern continued and my grown-up son is having to learn things that I didn’t take the time to teach him either.

I’m not experiencing any regrets or angst over this; just acknowledging lessons I wish I had learned earlier. I think I learned—and passed on—the things that matter most. But, if I had it to do again …

There are other lessons I wish I had learned earlier, especially as a young pastor. Now that I spend time coaching and consulting pastors and church leaders, I am trying to pass on some of those. I think they are also applicable to a broader vocational spectrum.

Everyone I know wants to experience vocational “success.” We want to achieve and be noticed. We want to be “in.” I am at the point in life where the desire for success has been replaced by the desire for significance. As I’ve been thinking about that today, I’ve thought of a three-step sequence of significance that perhaps seems a little counterintuitive, but stay with me to the end.

To be a part of the significance IN crowd:

Step 1 – Make yourself IN-dispensable. Become the go-to person, the one who can be counted on. Exceed expectations. Under-promise and over-deliver. Demonstrate integrity and build trust. Someone will be watching you and learning.

Step 2 – Make yourself IN-cognito. Getting noticed feels really good. It can be intoxicating, but those who remain IN-dispensable risk fatigue and burnout. They can become control freaks who never elevate those around them. The idea of making yourself IN-cognito is that you are elevating and empowering those around you to the point that you are giving leadership, stepping in when necessary, but sharing both responsibility and recognition.

Step 3 – Make yourself IN-visible. You know your effectiveness as a leader when success may be accomplished without your presence, when recognition goes to your team, and when those you have taught advance beyond your abilities.

Second Timothy 2:2 (New International Version) says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 

Our lives matter so much to God that He wants us involved IN His eternal purposes. That’s a good crowd to be in.

Question: Where are you currently IN-dispensable?  IN-cognito?  IN-visible?


Gerry Lewis

How to lead with confident humility

By Bob Russell

God will bring people and experiences into your life that will keep you humble. Instead of resenting those people, welcome them, laugh about them—or, better still, listen to them. They may be just what you need to keep you from becoming arrogant and self-centered.

Stay close to Christ. The Scripture records that every time someone saw the Lord in His glory, their first reaction was fear and self-loathing. “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” said Simon Peter. “I am a man of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of people with unclean lips,” Isaiah cried.

The closer you are to Christ, the more aware you are of your own sinfulness and inadequacy. That’s why the apostle Paul wrote, “I am the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15) and “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

There’s a balance that’s needed here. Some go to the extreme and don’t take advantage of the leadership role God has given. When Joseph was promoted from the prison to the palace in Egypt, he accepted the perks that came with the position and used them to lead effectively. He wore Pharaoh’s signet ring, linen robe, and gold necklace. He rode in Pharaoh’s impressive chariot with its security personnel. He didn’t confuse humility with reluctance. He recognized that God had gifted him and equipped him to lead.

When Esther was selected as the queen, she didn’t refuse to reign or take advantage of her lofty position.  She acknowledged that God had brought her into the kingdom “for such a time as this” and used her influence to save her people.

A general needs to wear additional stars.  The orchestra director needs to be the only one with a baton.  The President needs to be surrounded by Secret Service.  There’s a place for proper dignity, authority symbols, and leadership perks.  The High Priest in the Old Testament days was to wear distinctive clothing.  The Bible does say we are to respect those who are over us in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:12).   A local preacher needs to be esteemed and loved.  The idea of leading from behind is mostly a myth.

Spiritual leaders are most effective when they feel comfortable in their own skin and yet lead with a servant’s heart. The great stage and film star Sir Laurence Olivier was once asked what it took to be a great actor. He responded, “Humility enough to prepare and confidence enough to perform.”  That’s the balance that’s needed in ministry. Enough holy fear to remain dependent on God every day, yet enough confidence in our divine call that we remain strong and courageous no matter how challenging the assignment.

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7).

Excerpted from After 50 years of Ministry: 7 Things I’d Do Differently and 7 Things I’d Do the Same by Bob Russell