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7 Strengths Pastors Can Learn From Peyton Manning

A few weeks ago, I, like many of you, watched Peyton Manning (quarterback of the Denver Broncos) set an all-time record for most touchdowns in NFL history. As I celebrated his achievement and performance, I reflected on what makes Peyton so special and what we, as pastors, can learn from him.

1. Passion: Peyton Manning’s passion for the game of football is evident. He loves to play, and though he may look serious (with his game face on), he’s having a blast on the field. We, as leaders in the church, should have passion as well.

Danger: when being a pastor becomes your identity and you are. As Craig Groeschel once said, “A full-time pastor and a part-time disciple.”

2. Commitment: Who knows the countless hours Peyton Manning has spent studying film, practicing with his offensive line and receivers, working out and strengthening his arm and body? Peyton is committed to the game of football. He doesn’t do anything halfway. He’s all-in. If you pastor a congregation, you should be committed to that church and to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment

Danger: when you don’t have a life outside the church. You need to be an engaged and committed husband and father. You need to have hobbies. You need to learn to laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously (read this).

3. Driven: Any fan of the game can see that Peyton is a driven athlete. He’s extremely competitive and can’t stand to lose. For Peyton, his goal every year is a Super Bowl championship. It’s Super Bowl champs or bust. We, as pastors, need to be driven by the mission of the church, specifically the Great Commission. We should always be looking to reach more people with the gospel.

Danger: when we make attendance, budgets and baptism numbers the end all, be all. We have to see people as precious in God’s sight and not targets. Build relationships with people. Don’t use them to increase your metrics. Also be on the alert of becoming or enabling a workaholic atmosphere. Keep manageable office hours and don’t neglect your family.

4. Excellence: Peyton Manning is the poster-child for excellence in the NFL. He holds too many records to list. He excels at everything he does. As leaders, we need to lead with excellence (that’s what my next book is about). We need to show we care about our calling, our career and our churches. Lead courageously. Lead well.

Danger: when we confuse excellence with perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect church.

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Greg Atkinson is an author, speaker, consultant, and the Founder of the First Impressions Conference and Worship Impressions—both specializing in guest services and hospitality.