I am always trying to improve my leadership. I admit that I am not the leader in so many different areas that I would like to be, but I have this idea that I am becoming who God wants me to be. I am just a work in progress. I have learned in my short years of leadership a few things that healthy leaders do, and I am trying to do these things consistently.
- Pray and read the Bible often—There is nothing like prayer. This is your time as a leader to address the God of the universe. By the way, you can do this anytime that you need to. It can be morning, evening, the middle of the night or the middle of the day. We must pray consistently as leaders. Pray for your personal relationship with Christ to deepen. Pray for your spouse and children. Pray for your senior pastor. Pray for the leaders you minister with. Pray for the students you minister to. We have so much that we can be praying for. The best leaders that I read about had a consistent prayer life. Your relationship with God is the most important relationship that you have. If your relationship with Him is right, your relationships with others will be right.
- Read regularly—This is something that I have had to teach myself to do. I grew up hating to read. Every book report through high school was something on a sports figure if the teacher would allow it. Cliffnotes were my best friends as well. I would do anything to get out of reading. As I was finishing college and graduated, I began to enjoy reading. I read a lot now. Whether it is for my seminary class (which has taken up most of my personal reading as of late), reading youth ministry books or books that can help me in my personal life, I read a lot! I read on average 15-20 books a year. Now, some of you are like, that is not much. For me, it is. Reading always helps you grow as a leader.
- Exercise consistently—I play basketball with my students every week. This is great exercise. I also joined the gym for the first time in my life. I am trying to get into shape. Some of the best leaders that I know have an exercise plan. Get out and get some exercise. It will give you more energy.
- Journal your thoughts—Regardless of what you may think about yourself, you have some good thoughts! Journal them. Get used to writing them down. That may come in the form of a journal, a blog or just throwing down some thoughts in your Evernote app, but write! One thing that has challenged the confidence in my leadership is writing. I have tried to journal my thoughts regularly the last few years, and it has been encouraging and challenging. Healthy leaders write.
- Rest—Busy is great, but everyone needs rest. You need times when you are worrying about you and your family and not just the ones that you work with. There is this idea that pastors have to be working all of the time, but this is not the case. We need rest just like anyone else. For you, it may mean turning your phone, computer and iPad off for a day. Get out of the house when you can, and spend some quality time together as a family. Do something that can get your mind refreshed.