Being a primary leader for a ministry, group or organization is extremely difficult, and you’re going to make mistakes. Heck, all the stories you’re going to read over the next ten weeks are here because at one point in time, I made these mistakes (you will hear lots of these stories). Mistakes are inevitable, but the challenge comes from what happens next.
What do you do after the mistake has been made?
Somewhere along the journey, we seem to learn and start to believe that making mistakes is wrong or that we have failed, and we are told by friends, family, bosses, movies, TV, etc., that failure is not an option. However, the truth couldn’t be further away. We make mistakes because we are imperfect and can never be perfect because sin exists in our world.
Sometimes when we think about sin, we think about adultery, murder, stealing etc. You know the “big” sins of life. However, we fail to see that trusting only in ourselves is also a sin or being overly passive-aggressive or needing to be the smartest person in the room. They are different kinds of sin for sure but a sin nonetheless. We will make mistakes despite our purest intentions because we live in a fallen world, and sin affects that world. However, we are not bound to sin or our mistakes in Jesus.
Paul talks about this in Philippians when he writes, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul is giving us the recipe for moving forward.
- Forget what is behind you.
- Focus on what’s coming
- Press on towards the goal
- The result is winning the prize which God has for you.
Paul encourages us to let the past go and focus on where Jesus is taking us right now; the power of Jesus on the cross is freedom from sin, the ability to repent. To repent is to turn away from where we were and move in a new direction. Built into the core of Christianity is the belief that our mistakes don’t define us, that we can be free, learn and move forward.
This ten week series (and maybe one day a whole book) is a collection of leadership principles from the last 21 years and are made up of some of my greatest mistakes and deepest hurts. Part of the healing was wrestling with these moments and choosing to turn and press into where Jesus was taking me. As you read along, I hope you will learn and grow from my experience. Each blog post will have a section for you to look at your own life and leadership and ask some critical questions. My goal is to help you create a set of tools for your own life that will help you navigate your mistakes and learn to turn and press on towards Jesus.
Your question right now might be, why should I bother to follow along?
I want to clarify that this series is intended for leaders in primary positions right out of the gate. By that, I mean that you are directly leading or managing someone underneath you within your ministry or organization. These principles can 100% be applied to general staff or volunteers, but that’s not the focus. The focus is on those who are doing the leading.
I also want to add that many of the stories and applications come from my experience as a Youth Pastor, but they are not limited to youth ministry or pastoral life. The leadership principles we will cover transcend all those things but are rooted in 21 years of ministry experience that were heavily involved in Youth Ministry. So don’t let the youth stories scare you away from this process. Instead, consider approaching it with a broader view of leadership and how the stories, situations and examples could impact your journey.
Additionally, each post is more or less self-contained. I want everyone to start with the first post, “It’s always sunny in Lahaina” because I feel it sets the tone and direction of the series as a whole. Then I hope to end on week 10 with “Sabbath is fundamental to your survival” because it the glue that will hold everything together. In between them, you’re welcome to drop in and out of the series as you see fit. You can follow along or catch up on the website each week. Also, each leadership principle is self-contained and will end with some critical questions for you to ponder. All I ask is that you be open to what God wants to show you and honest with yourself in the journey.
Finally, if I could recommend a “best practice” approach, don’t work through it alone. Find 2-3 colleagues/friends and read along each week. Take time to discuss the leadership principle for that week and the critical questions. I believe it’s always better to grow and learn together, but there is also something about having people you know help you see what you do not see.
My goal is to post every Monday for the next ten weeks started Monday, January 10 (The day after my 40th Birthday). I hope you enjoy the ride, and at any time, if you have questions, wonders or just want to share your journey, please reach out.