Leaders, who have been around the block a few times, tend to use old maps to find new lands. Time and experience can work against a seasoned leader, if they are not actively listening to the details of what God is speaking in order to counteract our unhinged or sometimes sluggish lifestyles.
Time and experience can be helpful, but can also be a hindrance because they tend to lock the mind into one direction. I have decided to forget much of what used to work and embrace new strategies and tactics as the Lord guides me. I am not advocating replacing all the old with new paradigms. Simply stated, not all of the old is worthless and not all of the new is valuable. We should recognize 'time' as well as our changing environment, as teachers. I believe this enhances our personal development. All of God's Truth is progressive. This also takes into account, how the Spirit equips the Church through us as leaders.
Old maps keep us wandering in places of familiarity. Often times, we fall victims to the comparison game. As we seek for newness, we begin to look for those things which have brought success in other church settings and we attempt to replicate them. Let us not be fearful of questioning the relevancy of dogmas, traditions and structures accepted in the past. Become open to every Word that comes from the mouth of God. Ditch sentimentalism whenever necessary. It is not a matter of continually recreating the wheel, but we must allow God to unearth the creative attributes we all have in our spiritual DNA as well as in the environment He has situated us.
Leaders often have an idolatrous emotional attachment to their congregations. The leader therefore, feels they have the most to defend or be cynical about. Additionally, their emotional influence saturates the decision-making process.
I am trying to develop the discipline that detaches my influence from current strategies and suspends judgment. This will give others the opportunity share input on what they are hearing God say to the congregation. Often times, I find we are on the same page, but once in a while, I get the big "C" for clueless and honestly, this is truly acceptable. Some pastors would take this as a big hit to the ego and a loss of control. There should always be a comfort zone of love to challenge what I assume and what others assume will bring success. This removes the idolatry created when leaders make comments like, "this is my vision", or "I birthed this", or "I'm the head of this church"... The lost do not need clones or cookie cutter ministries. They need real people who are living epistles of the multifaceted wisdom of God that comes through the multi-membered Body of Christ. As the cliché clearly states…If we all think alike, then no one is thinking.
Many leaders are compelled to be involved in every minute detail as if they were the eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet... of the body
This closeness, will not allow us to see the big picture. This limits our effectiveness as a ministry and we'll become stuck in ruts or routines that make us prisoners of out-of-date beliefs and strategies. Clearly, none of our strategies or mindsets are omnipotent. Only God is omnipotent! There was a time when movement was limited because of a conviction which alleged the earth was flat. History provides the evidence that a pioneering spirit opposed that limitation. Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song saying, "this is the great adventure". I would dare to state that most of what churches say is "God-given," is actually man-made. We need a pioneering mindset! I have tried to implement what I call "The Canoe Model". Those in the front of the canoe are my eyes and ears additionally; I depend on them to help the ministry gain momentum. They let me know when something is coming that may get us stuck. Sure I am steering, but from behind the scenes. I have placed key people in the front to assist me with the steering. Without them, I am bound to be stuck. Foundation-layers are never on the top, they remain as low as possible. It took selfless priests to step into the turbulent waters of the Jordan while a whole generation went before them into the Promised Land.
Many leaders regularly discount ideas from godly parishioners and view their input in conflict with their own church body.
This is clearly non-productive. It will take much more effort for others to contribute. I believe my opinion should not be the first to be heard. Others will feel more at ease to speak honestly, when there is a climate of openness. Now, I don't believe democracy is the standard for church government. God is the head of the church and that is the bottom line. As a pastor, I am not here to control people's perceptions or lord over their lives. The Scriptures clearly lay parameters for my function. I am to equip not incarcerate --- train not torture the saints. Once I have equipped the Body, my job will come to an end. The apostle Paul says, 'till we ALL come into the unity of the faith." That word, 'till' puts a timeline on my job description. The church will not need me forever--- only 'till'. On the other hand, God's wisdom is manifold and eternal! It has different shades depending on where you are standing. The seasons of our life will also effect our perception. In the winter, an oak tree in New Hampshire looks quite different than an oak tree in Miami. God created both of them and they are both oaks yet, they appear quite different. People need to be actively hearing from God and leaders should be listening to God's voice coming from other gifted people, established in the House.
Leaders get to the place where they choose to learn little from one another especially, from those who are less experienced. Additionally, we create comparisons between leadership peers which ultimately lead us to competition and ultimately corruption.
Humility and transparency are two of my greatest weapons as well as tools of personal development. They not only make leaders vulnerable they also make them strong. It is my sincerest estimation that those around me right now are not here to build a church, that job belongs to Christ. They are here to build me as a man, husband, father and spiritual leader. The apostle Paul clearly stated that every joint should be a supplier. We are one body and we function as one entity. Several years ago the Lord spoke to me and said that I was not responsible for all the answers because he would surround me with those who do. If people are merely carrying out my orders, there will never be advancement. As long as we live in this flesh and regardless of how much "success" we manage to attain, we will always know in part and prophesy in part. Complete revelation and breakthrough only comes when the anointing is present and the anointing is present when there is one mind and one accord. In Psalm 24 it states that the anointing comes when the brethren are functioning as one body. In order to achieve this, there must be mutual submission one to another in reverence to the Lord Jesus Christ.