The end of the year is here and now is a great time to reflect on 2010, and how you did in all aspects of your life.
Not the least of these is how you handled this trust we all share called “church leadership” over the last 12 months.
It’s my prayer that none of us take our roles for granted (not now, not ever).
Three Unspoken Promises a Leader Makes
By Hal Seed
Stepping into leadership can be exhilarating and daunting at the same time. Newly-minted leaders find themselves asking, “Will people follow me? Will they like me? Will I be able to accomplish anything?” Those and a dozen other questions run through their minds.
Meanwhile, followers are asking a reverse set of questions. They want to know, “Is this person trustworthy? Do I want to follow him (or her)? Do I like where they are going?”
Underneath this unspoken exchange is a covenant that all leaders make with everyone who signs up for their cause. Like the questions, this covenant is never verbalized and almost never brought to the level of consciousness. But it’s there, and if you’re going to be a great leader, you need to own it and live up to it.
The leader’s unspoken covenant has three promises:
1. If you follow me, I will make your life better.
2. If you follow me, I will take you where you cannot go without me.
3. If you follow me, I will care about you.
When a follower decides to leave a church, cause, or movement, it’s almost always because one of these three promises has been broken.
Years ago, Kelly asked me to pray that God would give her a baby. Lori and I had experienced some years of infertility, so we knew the pain she was enduring. I prayed often and fervently, but, no baby. A year later, Kelly quietly slipped out of the back of the church. Promise #1 was broken: I hadn’t made her life better.
It didn’t matter that I was incapable of making her life better. Only God could have repaired her reproductive organs. A better life was the unspoken expectation. Without a baby, we had a breach of contract.
A more realistic expectation is that I, as leader, will take the Kellys of this world to places they cannot go on their own. Had Kelly stayed at New Song, she would have seen over 7,000 come to Christ, countless marriages and families helped, and lots of other divine interventions as well.
The easiest deliverable is the “I will care about you,” promise. Leaders often feel stretched thin, but when a parishioner is in a crisis, they expect you to respond. A few years back, a lady in my church lost her sister to spina bifida. Her sister (Diane) and family were long-standing members of Saddleback Church. I was impressed to learn that Rick Warren delivered on promise #3. He showed at Diane’s hospital bed a few days before she died. Promise kept.
On the upside, making people’s lives better, taking them where they cannot go on their own, and caring for them are why we got into leadership in the first place. One of my greatest joys is Scott Evans, a friend ten years my junior who two decades ago made the decision to follow me to San Diego and help me plant New Song. Today he’s the founder of Outreach, Inc., a company that serves churches and ministries nation-wide. He knows that if he had stayed at his computer-industry job, he’d be half the man he is today.
Another is Jim Britts, a man twenty years my junior who has served on my staff for the past nine years. Jim’s passion is youth, and he’s got a talent for screenwriting. He recently released his first film [To Save A Life], which is changing lives all over the world. Jim would have been a success at whatever he put his hand to, but with my encouragement, he’s achieved great things in both youth ministry and the film industry. Nothing could thrill me more.
As New Song has grown, I’ve found it harder to express care to everyone who’s following. Sometimes I don’t hear about people’s sorrows until long after the fact. But when I can look them in the eye within hours of their loss, or pick up the phone and pray for them, those small acts of care go along ways towards fulfilling our covenant.
It’s easy to get busy and forget the unspoken promises we’ve made. Now that they’re at the forefront of your consciousness, how are you doing on them? Think for a minute about the most impressive person in your church, cause or movement. Is your leadership making their life better? Are you taking them somewhere they couldn’t go without you? Have you expressed your care for them lately?
Unfulfilled promises can lead to deep disappointments, whether the promises are ever spoken aloud. But a promise fulfilled is a tree of life, and a great spur to even greater leadership. Because when a leader thinks about making lives better, taking them to greater places, and caring for them, well, that’s what Jesus thinks about and does for each of his followers..
How are you doing with these three promises? How to do you plan to “take people where they can’t go without you” in 2011?
Do you have a plan to keep growing personally, so you can help your people keep growing?
Would you consider allowing me to help you grow in 2011? My new Senior Pastor Tele-Coaching Network begins February 24, but the Early Bird Deadline is December 31st (see the PS below for more details).
Click this link to read more and Apply Now:
P.S. Don’t forget – Apply for my Senior Pastor Tele-Coaching Network before December 31st and you can receive over $840.00 in Additional Bonus Resources, including:
- The Breaking Growth Barriers Workshop OR Planning Worship Services for Life Transformation($499 Value)
- Free Webinar Passes for all CLI Webinars between Now and February (up to $147 Value)
- Autographed copies of Activate and Maximize ($47.97 Value)
- Free Dinner for you and your spouse with Nelson and the CLI Team on the night before the September 2011 Live Event($150 Value)
$843.97 Value – Just for beating the rush – Submit Your Application Today:
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