If you want to grow a church or organization, grow the leader! The following power principles maximize effectiveness, based on my more than three decades of church and marketplace ministry.
By far, one of the greatest death knells to gifted leaders is their lack of focus! I have found that the more gifted a person is, the more they are tempted to accomplish more things than they have capacity to properly manage. Most of the time, less is more! Most people are only going to excel at a very few things. To be effective, focus on your strengths and delegate the rest and remember to always “keep the main thing the main thing”!
Branding is almost as important as content and quality! You are no good to the world if no one knows why you exist!
For example, it is important that all itinerant speakers be known for specific areas of teaching based on their expertise, even if they can speak well on other topics. All marketing strategies should employ strategies to connect your name to your primary calling and assignment. For example, years ago, if I thought of a faith teacher immediately the name Kenneth Hagin would come to mind; if I thought of cell groups, it would trigger the name David Yonggi Cho; presently, John Maxwell comes to mind when I think of leadership. In my circles, regarding strategy, John Kelly comes to mind.
As a local church pastor I have had to teach on many different things but as an itinerant minister I will only travel out of town to minister if I can teach either on the Kingdom of God or on leadership development. Consequently, I have now been branded with my life message (the lordship of Christ over all spheres of life) because of my articles and that the first four books I have written are on the Kingdom of God (which was my intention). I can teach on numerous subjects from Scripture but I would usually not fly half way around the world to teach if I could not teach topics based upon my primary assignment in life.
3. Incorporate a Think Tank
The more responsibility and opportunity, the more an effective leader will have to incorporate either an informal or formal think tank in regards to future decisions and opportunities. The Book of Proverbs teaches us that in the abundance of counselors we make war! King Rehoboam failed because he did not have a seasoned and wise think tank around him (1 Kings 11)!
I have found that, the more opportunities that arise, the more efficient my capacity must be to match those opportunities or I will eventually become the bottleneck of my own assignment! The best way to streamline future decision-making processes is to have in place various committees and/or circles of advisors that can help you discern whether an opportunity is wheat or chaff.
4. Belong to a “Power Community”
Every leader needs to be continually inspired, encouraged and even challenged by others. One of the best ways is to find a small community of like-minded leaders (friends) with a similar trajectory who are called to partner and/or collaborate with you. The importance of this “power community” cannot be overstated for long-term success. Lonely and isolated leaders usually lack the long-term passion and knowledge needed to fulfill their purpose.
5. Recruit a Benefactor Team
Without money a leader’s vision is nothing more than an unfulfilled dream! As we read the Book of Acts, many of the people who traveled with the Apostle Paul supported him financially. In Luke 8 we find that a group of wealthy ladies followed Jesus and supported His itinerant ministry. Every leader has to recruit a benefactor team made up of people gifted with wealth creation and business acumen so the leader can focus fully on the implementation of their vision instead of wasting emotional energy worrying about having sufficient funds.
6. Sharpen the Axe
If an axe is dull, the person wielding it will work very hard with little results! In the same way, an effective leader needs to take time out for spiritual, emotional and physical renewal. We need to keep our core values of faith and family at the center of our lives and never neglect them for our work. We also need to have a healthy balance of work and play so we do not experience emotional burnout and work related fatigue. It is good to be “weary in the work” but it is never good to be “weary of the work”! Many leaders are so busy their bodies are continually trying to catch up to their souls while they are running on emotional fumes! Leaders like this usually start off great but have a difficult time finishing the race!
7. Prioritize Integrity
Leaders are called to build their lives upon character and integrity and never merely upon their gifts and abilities! The more trustworthy a leader is, the more other people will trust them, which will increase their overall influence and impact! It is vital in this day of scandal and hypocrisy that leaders integrate their private faith with their public persona and service. When a leader speaks one way and lives another way their dualism will eventually damage their work and family! Only transformed leaders can truly transform their surroundings!
In this context, humility means to think of your gifts, abilities and calling in a realistic way. Humility is not putting yourself down or thinking of yourself higher than you ought to think, but to be honest with yourself. Hence, the more humble a person is, the more self-aware they become. Only self-aware people can truly focus properly since they do not suffer grandeurs of delusion and are not legends in their own minds; they are able to spend time effectively and selectively in the areas of their calling.
Conversely, proud and presumptuous people are constantly running around trying to please and impress every person who “blows in their ear”!
An effective leader is going to live their life based on living a just life. This means, they will be fair to everyone under their influence and/or in their organization. They do not allow ungodly prejudice and bias to sway their emotions and distort their treatment of others.
By justice I do not mean egalitarianism or forced equality and entitlements because, when we give someone something they don’t deserve, they don’t appreciate it and trample it under their feet!
The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13 that the greatest of all the attributes is love! Love is patient, kind, is not boastful, not arrogant, is not self-seeking; without love we are nothing and have nothing no matter how successful we are in the eyes of the world! Therefore the greatest power principle of all in regards to leadership is love. Hence, it behooves all leaders to continually integrate the love of God and neighbor into our every word, deed, action and goals so that, at the end of the day, we will hear the voice of the Master say to us “Well done my faithful servant”!
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