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A Virtue of Great Leaders

This is a guest post from Michael Robison, Lead Pastor of Grace Church in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Patience is not a virtue we teach, admire or even desire much these days. We live in a world of instant gratification; a “just add water” generation. This is especially true in the realm of church leadership.

These days there is a trend in the church that once a decision has been made, we must act immediately. Somehow we seem to often miss the crucial step of prayer. (See Philippians 4:6. Often times we miss both of these crucial steps and end up creating HUGE messes. All of this comes out of a desire to have instant gratification. But, when we seek instant gratification and success, we will grow weary and wear out quickly. This is the root cause of why many leaders and pastors burnout and leave the ministry!

I can think of one particular leader in scripture who had to exercise patience in order for God to work. It was Joshua at the battle against Jericho. Read Joshua 6. God asked him to march six days around the city walls in preparation for God’s victory. God asked him to appoint certain tasks to leaders during those six days. No doubt, those six days probably seemed pointless and even a waste of time. But, that time was in God’s plan! On the seventh day, by doing exactly as God had instructed, He caused the walls to crumble and the city to be over taken by Israel. During those days of waiting Joshua and the people had to seek after God, praise him and wait to see his glory revealed.

Joshua had success, but that success came from waiting on God. He had patience. He used that time of patience to be dedicated to prayer, planning and appointing of the right leaders! That was the key to success.

As pastors we need to listen closely to God’s call and will for our lives. When He gives us vision, we need to act upon it. But, sometimes that vision needs time to mature, and we must prepare for action.

As visionary leaders we will always see things that can be changed, improved and made excellent. But, sometimes these things need time as we prepare through prayer, planning and seeking the right men and women to lead.

Are you a patient leader or an anxious leader? Is ministry about your timing or God’s timing? Do you realize that if you wait on God, He will renew your strength and you will soar like a majestic eagle as you lead His church and His people. You will be able to keep up and not wear out, burn out and give up. That is the way God intends us to lead His people! (See Isaiah 40:31.)

How has God taught you patience as a leader? Join the conversation by sharing your comment.

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Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.