The skills called for in leading a large gathering of people toward a shared goal and a better future seem so at odds with what it takes to sit at a bedside or offer a word of counsel.
And yet, like it or not, that’s what I’m called to do at Good Shepherd. Lead and pastor. Pastor and lead. But here’s the good news: since the subject is on my mind a lot, I’ve had several truths snap into focus in recent weeks.
Perhaps some of these will resonate with your own spheres of influence. So here they are: the top five lessons in leading that I’m currently learning.
1. I am a confident leader of ONE. Meaning: I feel effective at one-on-one pastoral counseling.
I am a confident leader of 2,000. Meaning: I feel at home before a large group, offering teaching, conveying comfort, and spraying vision.
I am a tentative leader of 10. Meaning: It’s the in-between groups where I sometimes feel out of my element. In my world, that means staff meetings and the Church Board.
Recognizing which groups lend to my natural wiring and which don’t is the first step to becoming a better leader in all venues. I’m learning to bring the same thoroughness and preparation to medium-sized meetings that I do to large-scale worship gatherings.
2. Clarify expectations I used to think everyone shared my motivations and my work style. When I discovered that not all do, I allowed my frustrations to simmer beneath the surface. I then expected people to understand my (unspoken) displeasure simply by the look on my face. Not fair at all. I’m learning to do a much better job at clarify expectations for staff at the very beginning of employment . . . it’s why we have internal documents called The Code and What It Means To Be On Salary And In Ministry At Good Shepherd.
3. Words create worlds. This one is courtesy of our friend Will Mancini. How did we ever manage at Good Shepherd before he helped us unearth inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ? I don’t know — and I don’t want to find out. All I know is we measure the effectiveness of that mission statement by seeing how often the people of the church repeat it back to us, unprompted. And that happens all the time. Our words — repeated over and over and over again — have helped to create a world of a living relationships with Jesus Christ.
4. It is much more difficult — but ultimately more meaningful — to position others for ministry success than to do it yourself. My favorite moment last week, for example, was when someone who is relatively new to the Good Shepherd family wrote the Wash Me! daily prayer. I could have done it quickly and easily. But then I’m hoarding ministry. When my friend wrote it, we both had a win.
5. Pulling off a project creates temporary euphoria (we are good at this). Establishing a process brings sustained excellence (we are not as good at this). Leading projects & building processes while caring for people is the high calling we have.