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September 28, 2014Leadership

Sunday is for Series: Leadership Lessons for Pastors

Pastoral leadership can be difficult, and intentional steps toward wisdom are important.
Sunday is for Series: Leadership Lessons for Pastors

Leading others is not easy. Leading as a pastor has its own unique challenges and difficulties. I have often written about pastoral leadership: how to lead, leadership best practices, and even the pitfalls of pastoral leadership.

Today, I want to draw our attention to a series of posts that focus on the difficulties of pastoral leadership; why some pastors struggle with arrogance, the reasons why some leaders fail and why even pastors need revival. First, lets look at the arrogant pastor and discuss ways to avoid this problem.

Arrogance and Answers

In this post, The Problem with Arrogant Pastors & 5 Ways Not to Be One, I examine the problem of the arrogant pastor. The reason it is so dangerous, especially for those of us in ministry positions, is that it can become a cancer to our ministry. I could, and I guess you could as well, name dozens of pastors whose arrogance and pride led them to a very public, very shameful fall. So I examine 5 attitudes and mentalities of which we should be aware, and avoid.

In brief, here is what to focus on:

1.Elitist Mentality: Your church is the only one you know doing things the right way.

2.Theologically Superior: You won't read authors from outside of your own theological stream.

3.Exclusionary Attitude: You refuse to partner with other local churches on community initiatives.

4.Narcissistic: You are more worried about what people think of your church than what they think of your family.

5.Overly Competitive: You consider the church down the street your competition

Failure to be aware of these attitudes can lead to pastoral failure and embarrassment.

Finishing Well Poorly.

Leadership, and pastoral leadership in particular, is not easy.

In my post, 5 Reasons Some Leaders Finish Poorly, I discuss the sad circumstances when a leader fails to finish well. Most leaders you speak with will express the desire to finish their task well. No one sets out to fall, or plans on failing. Pastors confess their desire to come to the end of their life and hear those words, “well done.” And yet too many pastor-leaders despite their early successes, finish poorly. In this post I examine the 5 reasons that so many fail to finish well.

Here are my 5 observations:

1. They did not trust the very people they developed for succession.

2. They fought over things which were just not that important.

3. Their identities were too connected to their movement.

4. They grew angrier as they grew older.

5. They could not pass on what they helped create.

If we don't examine unhealthy patterns, we—and by that I mean ME—can fall prey to repeating the same mistakes. To be honest, I do find some of those tendencies in my own heart at times—and I don't want that to grow and take root in me (or you).

One key way to avoid failure and burnout as leaders is to seek revival. This leads us to my last post.

Reviving Revival Among Leaders

In this post, Why Leaders Need Revival, I compiled several quotes from notable Christian luminaries on the need for revival among leaders, and pastors. James MacDonald, Erwin Lutzer, Nancy Lee DeMoss and others provide valuable encouragement to those who lead others and may not realize that they need revival to continue leading well.

Richard Owen Roberts puts it this way, “God is unchanging: He still insists that things be done His way. Revival is greatly needed when leaders forget that doing things God's way in the power of His Spirit is the only acceptable way.”

Leadership, and pastoral leadership in particular, is not easy. But if we are aware of our sinful tendencies, and avoid the common temptations of leadership, seeking Christ and personal revival along the way, then we may lead and pastor in such a way as to honor God and serve others well.

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Sunday is for Series: Leadership Lessons for Pastors