7. Invest in Your Team
The greatest resource in our church is the people. The greatest way I serve the people I lead is to invest in them and make them better. I must challenge people to improve while believing that they can and will. I must believe in the people I lead and spur them on to greatness. I am at my leadership best when I help my team accomplish things they didn’t believe they could accomplish.
8. Handle Criticism
I will be criticized so I must handle it well. First, I must always seek (and listen to) constructive criticism from those who love me and want the best for me. Second, I must answer critics only if I have information that will change their perception and they are open to change. Third, I must shake off the criticism of people who are wounded and/or overly critical.
9. Be Weird
I must never live to please the people looking in on my ministry bubble. They are not the audience I must satisfy. I must live to please only Jesus. If that means I look weird, so be it. If being debt free, taking my wife on family-goal-setting retreats, setting aside one night a week for family activities and saying “no” to many things that are “normal” means I’m weird, GOOD. In the words of my friend and pastor, Craig Groeschel, “Normal isn’t working … be weird.”
10. Be Yourself
I can’t be anyone else, so I might as well be the best me I can be. I’m a Star Wars fanatic, and that’s OK. It’s better to be myself wearing a Star Wars T-shirt and a blazer on Sunday morning than to try being someone else by dressing like a rock star. People value authenticity because it opens them up to trust rather than making them suspicious.
11. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Money
Money isn’t a taboo subject; it’s a part of life. I must always be willing to talk about it openly and honestly. If I neglect talking about money because of fear, I fail to teach the full counsel of Scripture. Jesus talked more in the New Testament about money than He spoke about Heaven and Hell combined. I do well to follow His example.
12. Listen to God and Do What He Says
This it the last and best practice on my list! I am always better when I spend abundant time with my Heavenly Father. I must stay plugged into Him through personal Bible reading, prayer and fasting. The greatest skill in leadership is listening to His voice and obeying it. Everything else is pointless without this practice as my ultimate foundation.
These are my top 12 indispensable practices as a pastor. What would you add to the list?