What Kind of Leader Am I? Well, It Depends

When people hear that I’ve been the pastor at Brentwood Baptist Church for twenty-five years, they want to know how I’ve managed to stay at one church that long. My honest answer is, “I don’t know.” I went into work every day, and there was always something to do. We just did the next thing we knew to do, and before I knew it, twenty-five years had gone by. It’s not quite that simple, but almost.

In reality, I’ve have been the pastor of about five different churches and all of them have been at the same address. I came to a community church and now, I’m the pastor of a multi-site megachurch (just going by the definitions of the “experts”). Each “church” I have led has required a different type of leadership. Sometimes, I was very hands on. Sometimes, not. Sometimes I was deeply involved in the pastoral care expressions of our church. Now, we have a highly trained counselor and a deacon ministry that handles most of our pastoral care ministries.

Each time the church grew and changed, I had to grow and change. If I hadn’t, one of two things would have happened. Either the church would have stopped growing, or I would have had to leave and let someone with the necessary leadership skills come in. The process wasn’t always smooth. Sometimes I’ve been ahead of the curve and anticipated the necessary changes in the church and in me. Other times, things got a little rough because I was clueless to the new realities of the church, and therefore, the new leadership that was needed from me.

The irony of all of this is we’re going through another transition right now. In the last two years, we’ve gone from 2 campuses to 6. That’s a lot of change and of course, another change for me. We’re still working through the process of trying to understand this new reality and the appropriate response from our campuses and our leadership.

Being a pastor is lot like being a parent. I love being a dad. When my boys were little they needed me in one way. As they grew, they needed me in different ways. Now, they’re grown, and they need me in even different ways. They still need me, but they need me very differently now than they did when they were little. Good parents adapt.

So do good leaders. Every day, another book on leadership comes out and promises that if we learn to lead in this way or that way, we’ll be able to lead our church from now on. That’s only true if our churches don’t change. The world has a word for things that aren’t growing or changing—dead.

But if you’re serving a growing, thriving church, change will be the only constant. That means your leadership will be constantly changing as well. Great baseball pitchers always have more than one pitch. Great leaders do as well.

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

All of us have had that moment. You know the one. Some important event is coming up—a birthday or anniversary—and we want the moment to be perfect. So we think and think and we plan and plan and when we can’t get things done exactly the way we want, we give up and don’t do anything.

If we can’t do it right, we say to ourselves, it’s better not to do anything at all.

No, it’s not.

Your spouse won’t hear that you couldn’t get it done perfectly, they will only know you didn’t do anything at all. Something is always better than nothing.

Here’s a little secret most of us overlook: your spouse knows you’re not perfect. They married you anyway. If the birthday cake is one candle short, it won’t matter. If the restaurant turns out to be overrated by the “experts,” no one will really care. In fact, you’ll look back and be amazed at how an evening that starts out that badly ends up being one of the best nights ever.

You know the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” Well, not exactly. It’s the “thinking” that counts. The fact that you were thinking—a lot of thoughts lined up one after the other—is what will say all that you want to say. It may not be perfect, but it will be close enough for love.

Don’t let trying to be perfect freeze you into inaction. Do something. Love, even imperfectly expressed, is better than love left unsaid.

Time Change

Spring is telling us that summer is on the way. The temps are rising, and the days are longer. We love this part of the time change. The days go almost to 9:00 p.m. You can get off work and still get in a round of golf.

But a few weeks ago, when we “sprung forward,” nobody liked the time change. Everybody hated it. Everyone wanted to know: “Who thought of Daylight Saving Time and why do we have to do this anyway?” We heard a lot of answers about Ben Franklin and how many inches of candles we could save if we changed the time.

None of this made sense. None of it mattered to us. We just knew we were tired from losing an hour of sleep.

But that’s not the only time change our lives go through, is it? In fact, if you’re married, you will go through a lot of time changes. Here’s the problem: they aren’t marked on any calendar.

But they still happen, don’t they?

You get married and start your lives together. Time changes. Things take longer. After all, you have to get 2 people there, not just one.

You have a baby…time changes.

That baby grows up to become a teenager…time changes.

That baby leaves for college…time changes.

Your parents become ill…time changes.

You retire…time changes.

Many times throughout your life together, time will change. It will slow down, and it will speed up. Days will get longer and then, without warning, the nights will get longer.

Time change. One of the most important skills a couple can learn is how to tell if time has changed.

What about you? Has time changed? What are you going to do differently now that it has?