We have some great reading for you this week in Church Leader Insights. Enjoy!
“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.”
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
John W. Gardner
One big problem a lot of people have is that they slip into thinking of themselves as victims that have little or no control over their lives. In this headspace you feel sorry for yourself, the world seems to be against you and you get stuck. Little to no action is taken and you get lost in a funk of sadness and self-pity.
So how can you move out of that mindset? In this article I’d like to share a few things that have helped me.
1. Know the benefits of a victim mentality.
There are a few benefits of the victim mentality:
- Attention and validation. You can always get good feelings from other people as they are concerned about you and try to help you out. On the other hand, it may not last for that long as people get tired of it.
- You don’t have to take risks. When you feel like a victim you tend to not take action and then you don’t have to risk for example rejection or failure.
How many of us would admit that we have experienced more failures than we’d have liked in leading our churches? It’s never easy to reflect honestly on our leadership mistakes; however, measurable outcomes and practical goalposts are critical if our churches are to thrive as we grow. Ultimately, in order to break barriers, our measurements and goals must change.
From a Shepherd to a Rancher
This includes simple things like how we measure the community we’re planning on having together. One of the major shifts when a church grows from 125 to 200 attendees and beyond, for example, is that there is a loss of intimacy with the pastors and key leaders. This happens primarily because we must move from a shepherding role to a rancher situation. The congregation must understand that access to the pastor will change due to the growth in attendance and the inability of one person to be available to such numbers. But this change also gives others the opportunity to be used by God to meet congregational needs.
We must always remember that there’s a reason for the change. We want our churches to make known the goodness of the gospel to an increasingly greater number of people and for those people to be integrated into the household of God, to be discipled and to grow spiritually.
Let me be as clear as I can: Our measurements and goals must reflect a community of making disciples and exerting cultural influence. We have to be engaging culture. This is more than simply saying we will be influential in our community. It means we are influential for Christ in our community.
It’s never hard to find a discussion—in this blog and lots of other places, online and off—of the skills that are required for good leadership. Among the most important is one that surprisingly is rarely mentioned: curiosity, the secret gift of creative people and successful leaders.
Curious people have a beginner’s mind—empty, free, unbiased, and unoccupied with the baggage of trying to be an expert. They’re open to all possibilities and are able to view even the most familiar things from a fresh perspective.
Curious leaders are deep thinkers, great listeners and even better questioners. Here are seven ways to foster your own curiosity:
Embrace what you don’t know. As leaders, we often think we have to serve up all the answers. But the best leaders are comfortable with not knowing. When they don’t know something, they don’t try to fake it. They’re aware of what they don’t know and unafraid to admit it. They’re open to learning new things because they’re free from pretending they already know everything. The best leaders leverage their ignorance to open the door on new knowledge.
Know that everything begins with “why.” Part of my job as a coach is helping people dive deeper into their thinking, and a trick I use with many of my clients is to ask the question Why?— not once or twice, but five or six times in sequence from a single question, going as far as possible into an idea. Asking yourself Why? again and again will challenge you to confront your obstacles, formulate and frame the questions, articulate the issues and go deeper.
Thanks so much for joining us for another episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Ben Gowell, an Executive Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley. Christ’s Church is a fast growing church in the Phoenix Valley area with 8 campuses that serve about 35,000 people each Sunday.
Ben is with us today about how to develop a healthy culture at your church.
What makes a healthy culture? // What are the things that stick out to make a healthy culture? You have to develop what you want the culture to be in your church, but it’s not enough to just cast that vision one time and hope it sticks. Vision leaks so it requires reinforcement from a unified staff that is aligned to catch that vision. You must rearticulate that vision time and again so that it doesn’t leak and disappear from view.
Lean in to practicing awkward conversations. // We need to lean in to practicing awkward conversations. Practicing face-to-face conversations and confrontations when necessary (as opposed to avoidance) help reinforce these healthy aspects of the culture we are developing. Over time the culture becomes infused with healthy communication practices and helps prevent things like gossip or suspicion building up behind the scenes. Without healthy and open communication, these sins build up like a cancer and before you know it, trust has been eroded within your staff.
Work on your tone and your response. // Don’t be over reactive. Go to each other with the intent of helping to make the team better rather than focusing on your own anger or hurt. Let an offense sit for a bit before going to someone in anger or writing that email. Go with a clear head. Face-to-face is much more productive than email or text because it’s easier to read someone’s tone. Have enough respect for someone to sit and talk with them.
Thank you to our sources for this week’s blog posts:
Positivity Blog (Henrik Edberg) – How to Break Out of a Victim Mentality: 7 Powerful Tips
Ed Stetzer – Break Church-Growth Barriers: Build a Bigger Leadership Table
Lolly Daskal – The Unexpected Quality Every Successful Leader Needs
Unseminary (Ben Gowell) – Help with Your Church’s Team Culture & Development