photo by Extra Medium
I was reading timothy the other day and I noticed some great information Paul had written about church leaders and some of the guidelines for choosing them. So here I want to look over them, because I think they hold a powerful and convicting message for many today.
Let’s begin by looking at 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Here is the passage below:
“ 1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
Now, there is a lot being said in these verses, so let us go back and look for the key points. Paul begins in verse two by saying that an overseer or church leader must be above reproach. That alone is powerful. Are you, as a leader, living your life so that you are above reproach from those around you?
Paul continues in verse two by listing a few characteristics. Go back and reread them and then think about what your life looks like. I know I need to work on a few of these. Are there any characteristics of leaders listed here that God is impressing on you that need to be changed in your life?
In verse three Paul is basically saying that a church leader should not have any addictions, whether to money, alcohol, or anything in this world. Further along in verse four Paul also says that a leader should manage their family well first, because if they cannot even manage their family, how can they oversee a church? What does your family look like? Are your family affairs in order? When we have family problems, it distracts us and takes our attention away from other activities such as overseeing a church. So Paul is trying to say that to avoid a split attention, make sure your family is in good order before you start taking on leadership roles in a church. Also as an example to others you should be leading your family well. If you cannot lead a small group like a family it will be hard to lead a larger group like a church.
About a year ago Buddy preached a sermon on Father’s day where he created a family from the audience. A father a wife and two kids. He was referring to the fact that many men are comfortable leading a group of 10 or 20 or more people at work but these same men walk into their homes are intimidated to lead the family spiritually. Without any preparation he had the father read a small devotional, ask some questions of his family regarding how the passage applied to their lives and pray. Many people mentioned how it challenged them that leading your family spiritually can be easier than one might think if they have not been in the practice of doing it.
Finally, in verse seven, Paul says that a church overseer must have a good reputation with outsiders. Paul says this because the overseer is basically the figurehead, or at least one of them, for the entire church, so if they have a bad reputation with outsiders, then the outsiders will assume the rest of the church has a bad reputation.
These are some of the key points from verses 1-7 of 1 Timothy 3. You might want to go and read the whole chapter because there is so much more there that God has for us as leaders.
photo by ailatan
We know we should not do it but we do anyway. What is it? Procrastination. How often have you had something you needed to do and then you just decided to put if off for a little while or you got caught up doing other ‘important things’.
- Take on only what you can accomplish – If you have so much to do that you cannot get any of it done on time then cut back and focus on a few tasks that you can do on time. A key part to fixing procrastination is simply managing your time and energy well. Look at all the activities and tasks you have, and then try to see if you can actually accomplish them in the amount of time you have. if you need to reorganize your life, then do it. Sometimes it takes some change in other areas before you will see change in this area.
- Structure your time – set aside time for doing the things that usually distract you. If you like to take a break from accomplishing things by visiting your favorite websites plan a time to do that or use it as a reward after you have accomplished something important.
- Tackle the hardest thing first. Often we put off the hardest task and do things that are less difficult in their place. Many times we never get around tot he really important things. If you tackle the important things first the rest of the day will go much easier. I have quit responding to my email in the morning and have started leaving it until the afternoon. I’ll check to make sure there are no emergency emails but then I get started tackling projects and answer email later in the day when I have less project time.
- Don’t get distracted – when you set out to do something, then keep doing it until you finish. Don’t let friends or other things distract you. Be sure that you set aside enough time to do the task in the first place.
- Just do it – get your tasks done when you think about them, don’t but it off. If you think about another task while you are in the middle of one, then write it down and continue on your current task.
Photo by greekadman
Many leaders fail every day. They fail for lots of reasons. But there are seven key reasons that you should know to help you avoid failing as a leader.
1. They Lose sight of their vision – when a leader stops setting goals and forgets their vision they will soon fail. They fail simply because they have no objective, no reason for leading. Every leader must have a reason for leading. As soon as the objective is accomplished, or the leader stops making goals, the leader will be unnecessary. So always be aiming for a goal, and always have a vision of what you want to do in the future and where you are leading.
2. They fail to communicate their vision and goals to others – as important as it is to have a vision, it is also important to effectively communicate that vision with those under you. If a leader stops communicating, their followers will become disconnected and will soon quit following. Always be clear and communicate often what your goals are with those under you. Make sure they understand what you are saying and what you want from them. Clarify anything that might be unclear, go above and beyond to ensure you are effectively communicating.
3. They try to work on their weaknesses more than their strengths – we were each created with certain strengths and weaknesses. When a leader starts to try to do things they aren’t good at, they will fail. A leader must recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and then use their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. There will be times when you might have to do something that is not a strength. That is fine, you just do not want the bulk of your life or work to be focused on areas that you are weak in.
4. They have weak team members around them – the people a leader brings around them will have a great impact on the effectiveness of that leader. Many good leaders have failed simply because they gathered incompetent team members around them. To avoid this, carefully evaluate each person you hire or bring in to work with. Be sure that they are a good team member. And, of course, make sure you set the example by always learning and always increasing your abilities and effectiveness. Hire slow and fire fast. You do not want to make a bad hiring decision so take it slow. Once you realize that you need to let a member of the team go make sure you make it happen fast. If you are have worked with a person and tried to find areas of strength where they could add to the team and that still does work make the firing decision quickly.
5. They become prideful or headstrong – when a leader stops taking suggesting, stops listening to council, and starts doing everything on their own, it is only a matter of time before they make a bad choice and ruin themselves. Every leader needs to take advice from others; every leader needs people around them to give council and help. Pride is often a key reason behind ignoring others advice. When you become prideful, you think you are better and smarter than everyone else. Do not go down this path, instead, have a good mentor or friend who can keep you humble and on track.
6. They do too much – a leader must know what they can handle and what they need to pass on to others. When a leader takes on every task, they become busy and ineffective at accomplishing any task well. They do a lot of work, but it is all poor quality. Eventually, a leader heading down this path will become tired, stressed, and burned out. To steer clear of this, carefully look at every task you accept. Ask yourself if you can devote the necessary time to do a good job. if you can not then delegate or just say no. it is better to be focused and accomplish a few tasks very well then to do a lot of jobs poorly.
7. They do not keep their relationship with God fresh – if a leader stops relying on God, stops connecting to God, they will run into difficult times and have nothing to turn to, no one to help them. If you are experiencing tough times in your relationship with God continue to pursue his heart. Many times leaders do not want to draw near to God unless they feel like it. Draw near to God and the feelings will follow. Just this morning I was reading 2 Chronicles 312:31b ”God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” As people grow in their relationship with God it seems that everyone goes through a season where things are not as easy, fun or fruitful. Usually these times are tests to see if the leader will renew his hunger and thirst for the Lord. Let your dry time be a stepping stone to a fresh experience of your relationship with God.
If you have any other thoughts on why leaders fail please feel free to leave a comment.
photo by BUR?BLUE
When you do a word association with humility, leadership probably does not pop into your head. A leader should be great, glorious, and confident right? If their confidence leads them to be prideful well then so be it. It’s probably OK for someone to be a little prideful if they have earned the right to be prideful. Well not according to Jesus and many others in recent history who have studied truly great leaders.
Take a look at the example Jesus left for us at the last supper. On the night before he was crucified, Jesus did something extraordinary; He got up, got a towel and water, and began to wash the feet of each of His followers. In that time only a servant, and the humblest of servants at that, washed people’s feet. Yet Jesus did this to show us what a leader should really look like. He showed us that a leader needs to be thinking and serving those who follow them. They need to put their follower’s needs ahead of their own. A leader has incredible responsibility, and one of them is to make sure that the needs of those entrusted to him or her are taken care of.
When a leader is humble and takes time to look after the needs of those following them, then the followers will be more willing and able to follow and do whatever needs to be done to accomplish the goal at hand.
Especially today, humility is not a popular trait. Somehow William Bennet left it out of his best seller The Book of Virtues. Maybe there were not enough stories of a humble protagonist, or maybe humility does not sell. :-) If a leader does not continue to pursue humility it is likely they will soon become prideful and fall into traps caused by the sin of pride. A humble leader accepts the council of others and grows from it.
I once heard the phrase that humility is not thinking less of yourself it is not thinking of yourself at all. President’s Lincoln and Reagan both modeled this characteristic of humility well. Nancy Reagan said of President Reagan that he had no ego. He was not concerned about himself. Though many great leaders are attributed with the quote “You can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit.” It was certainly an opinion that Reagan voiced often and probably helped to keep him humble as he made his way up the ladder of success.
If you want to pursue humility it helps to keep your focus on Christ who was humble despite being God. It helps to give away all the credit you can. It also helps to receive encouragement and praise with a simple “Thank You.” or “Praise God.” A false humility that says, “Oh it was nothing.” Simply causes the giver of the praise to have to offer more or justify their original statement, whereas a thank you or focus on God causes the attention to go back to that person or to God.
Achieving your goals can be full of speed bumps and road blocks. Are you having a hard time being productive? Always remember “Track + Action = Traction.”
Who are you really serving? Are you serving God or are you serving yourself? It’s important to check who you are really serving because as Christians, our lives should always be about serving Christ. This short clip will give a couple tips on how to figure out who you are really serving.
Photo by tricky ™
In a recent survey I read, businessmen were asked what they thought was the most important quality of a leader. The overwhelming response was integrity and honesty. We hear about so many business leaders and even Christian leaders who have shown by their poor choices that they have lost their integrity. It would seem that the idea of integrity and honesty had been lost, but as it turns out, it is extremely valued maybe even more so as it seems to be more rare these days.
When a leader has integrity, it means that they set a good example in all aspects of their life. Whether they are at work, home, on vacation, or even alone, they live and act honestly and responsibly. They set an example for others to follow without even trying to, and people will follow.
The good news about integrity, or maybe the bad news for some, is that it is something you can work at and become better at exemplifying and thus, also lose if you stop trying. It has been said that it is something that takes a life time to build and can be lost in an instant.
You gain integrity through a lifelong process of being honest in every aspect of your life. Yet to do this on our own would be impossible, it takes God’s transforming power to help mold you into a more Christ-like person.
God wants you to have integrity and to live an honest life in everything you do.
This reminds me of a story my dad told me about a coworker of his who was extremely honest. This coworker worked for the US Government and had a desk and office with office supplies like pens and paper available for his use. This man was so honest that he actually had a separate pen for taking personal, non-government notes. So whenever he wanted to write something down that was not related to his work, he would use his own pen.
Now this might be a little extreme, but this does show this man’s passion and integrity. He wanted to make sure that he did nothing even remotely questionable, such as using government ink for personal purposes.
So are you honest in every aspect of your life? Are you willing to let God help you become a man or woman of integrity and honesty? Are there areas in your life right now where you have been lacking integrity. If there is something nagging against your conscience, do not sweep the thought away but take some time to think about it, talk to a friend who will be upfront with you or bring the issue to God.
Photo by hockadilly
Priorities are essential for a leader because he or she must be able to focus on a few key areas that are most important to accomplishing the vision or goal of the organization. When a leader has priorities, they are able to determine what tasks they should be doing, and what tasks they should pass on to others. Priorities also help those serving under the leader to see what the goals for the organization are and how they are getting accomplished.
If you have not set any priorities, you may become distracted and lose focus on your vision. Organizations that lose track of their vision become misguided and unproductive. To avoid this, take the time to set a few priorities. Priorities will help guide you and help to ensure you are working on the things that important and not just the things that are urgent or bouncing from one idea to the next without ever really accomplishing anything of last value.
When you have your God given vision you can set a few priorities that will help you reach that vision. Your vision will help guide the decision that you make. Take your priorities and just focus on two or at the most three. If you have more than three priorities you do not have priorities because everything will start to compete for focus. For each of your top priorities list out the tasks that you can do that will help those priorities come to life.
Now that you have a few priorities in your life, it is time to see if they match up with God’s priorities. Yes, God wants your priorities to be aligned with His. If they are not, you will probably struggle and have a tough time succeeding because your desires will be tugging against your conscience and the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life. .
The good news is that God wants your priorities to be the same as His. And he has outlined His priorities in the Bible. Now that you have your priorities, pray about them and see what God has to say about them. It might be that they are what he wants you to do, or it might be that they are not. Or possible, he might want you to wait for a little while.
If you feel like you are having a difficult time discerning what priorities God wants you to focus on, do not hesitate to seek the council of a pastor, friend, or mentor. Ask their advice, and ask them to pray with you.
Your priorities have a large impact on the direction of your life, so if they are not aligned with God, then you will not be aligned with God either.
So when you are making priorities in your life, remember this important key: make God’s priorities, a priority in your life.