The talent, skills, reputation, and personality originally helping us to land a ministry position are never enough to help us keep it. This reality should be the starting point for developing leadership and relationship safeguards to diminish the potential for future derailment. Just internalizing healthy principles before beginning a new ministry position will not ensure ministry health, especially when some of those unforeseen circumstances are beyond our control. Ignoring those principles, however, will almost always guarantee abbreviated ministry tenure. And retroactive implementation is rarely successful from the middle of a conflict.
Consider some of the following ministry principles as you begin a list of your own. This list is in no particular order and is by no means exhaustive.
- Even though your position often requires you to have the last word doesn’t mean it has to be your word.
- Cast vision for the future without denigrating the past.
- Understand the difference between getting them to give in and getting them to buy-in.
- Not all thoughts that enter your mind should exit your mouth.
- If you alone are holding onto the leadership of your organization in order to receive the credit when something works…just remember that you alone will also receive the credit when something doesn’t.
- You don’t have to agree with to learn from.
- Know the difference between people and projects.
- Don’t be threatened when someone else gets the credit.
- Impatience at the expense of relational buy-in is not any more virtuous when the goal is noble.
- Long-term change is a race of endurance that may require you to walk uphill and sprint downhill.
- Graciously accepting evaluation from all people at all times is not enough, you must actively seek it.
- The most direct route may seem reckless to those who have the same goals but are more comfortable taking safer routes.
- Affirm in public, correct in private, and pastor in both places.
- How you lead externally must reflect who you are internally.
- Servant leadership is not a hierarchical step down…it is a relational leap up.
- Don’t randomly blow-up the existing without considering where the pieces will land.