My 4 Leadership Corners
Last month I turned 45—that was a shift (I’m now closer to 50 than 40)
This week, my life is about to change again.
On Saturday I’ll serve my last day as a denominational overseer, and then, on Sunday morning, I will be installed, and preach, at the church that I hope to serve as pastor at until I retire, or die—whichever comes first.
As I draw near to the threshold of this new season in my life, I’ve been reflecting on the foundations with which I approach organizational leadership in the Church. Just like a building has four corners—each establishing an anchor for the structure that is being constructed—I’ve also embraced a personalized leadership framework with four foundational elements.
These are my four corners:
1. Christ. The cornerstone is the first stone set in a foundation; this is very important since every other stone will be set in reference to this one, so it determines the position of the whole building.
Christ is the cornerstone of anything I do in leadership. I have a passionate pursuit towards measuring everything against Him and His Word. And I’m fully aware that if any leadership principle I utilize is out of line with Christ, all that is being established under my stewardship will be out of whack.
Keeping my eyes on Jesus reminds me that He alone is the Good Shepherd and that whatever under-shepherding role He’s assigned to me must be lived out in submission to Him.
2. Clarity. I’m a huge fan of clarity. While I understand that leaders must often thrive in the midst of ambiguity, I also think that many leadership challenges can often be helped by a good dose of clarity. In my opinion, one of a leader’s primary jobs is to bring alignment and clear understanding in places where people don’t understand what is going on. There should be clear vision and clear values. As a leader, I believe that I should communicate three things very clearly to as many people as possible: Why we exist, what we are doing because of that, and how we will go about doing it.
Pastor Andy Stanley has said, and I agree, that a leader can afford to be uncertain, but he or she cannot afford to be unclear.
3. Culture. I think that cultivating a healthy culture makes way for healthy vision and values to thrive. The right culture will reveal the values. The right culture will support a vision. And the right culture will pave the way for God’s mission being pursued. Whether it is the working culture in the organization or the spiritual culture in the congregation, the right, healthy culture is vital.
As a shepherd/leader, I feel that a primary responsibility for me is to identify, cultivate and live out the culture our church is called to embody.
4. Creativity. From the time I was very young, I’ve had an artistic personality, and creativity is one of the graces that has attended my own leadership ethos. I also believe that every human being was created in the image of a creative God, to express a beautiful creativity that reveals the glory of God. Creativity is in our DNA as humans, and as Christians.
So it follows for me that any endeavor that I have a hand in leading—including (and especially) the church—should be manifesting the most innovative, forward thinking and creative processes anywhere. From the way operations work to the way ministry is expressed to the demonstration of discipleship pathways, I am called to continually lead the church I serve to not only think and act outside of the box, but to sometimes burn the box as well.
Christ; Clarity; Culture; Creativity. Those are four of my foundation blocks for leadership. I also have analogies for other pastoral priorities (like my “five smooth stones”, and “three legs to the stool”) that I will share some other time.
I’d love to know, what are some of the foundational building blocks in your ministry leadership?