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What Hills Should Leaders Die On?

One of the more important personal disciplines as a leader is to be able to know what you don’t care about. Or more to the point, what you shouldn’t care about.

For example, I don’t care about:

… transfer growth from other churches

(we’re after the unchurched).

… whether another church in town is bigger or faster-growing

(we’re not in competition with other churches).

… people who leave the church because they disagree with: our belief in the Bible as the Word of God, our policy of conducting criminal background checks on all children’s ministry volunteers, our belief that lost people matter to God, or …

(some things are simply non-negotiable).

… refusing money from someone who wants to use it to impose their will

(no amount of money is worth that).

… denominational politics

(haven’t for many years).

… petty disagreements on historically disputable matters

(in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity).

… dress codes

(come as you are; it’s how you leave that matters).

I’m continually surprised at how many leaders spend enormous amounts of energy—and emotion—on things that simply don’t matter. I could add to this list, almost effortlessly, with scores of other examples—and could give testimony to seeing how each one consumed a person or church.

But then, equally stunning, is how lax these same leaders are on things that DO matter.

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James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.