The Last Two Leadership Lessons You Need as a Pastor

leadership Aug 04, 2023

It was a beautiful summer day. The U-Haul truck was fully loaded and I was backing it down the long, steep, Price Hill, Cincinnati Driveway onto the road below. That was until the truck came to a loud, grinding halt.

Instead of backing onto the road, I had backed that 26-foot U-Haul truck into the road. And yes, I mean into the road. The back bumper was wedged into the pavement of a busy road. We were stuck. 

Stuck… it’s not a good feeling. 

Feeling stuck is debilitating. It makes you think there’s nothing you can do. It makes you believe that the future is just more of the same—more stuck-ness.

Maybe you feel stuck when it comes to your church. Or maybe it’s a ministry team. Or maybe it’s a difficult person you need to lead. Or maybe it’s the leadership culture of your team. 

Friend, you’re not powerless. You’re a leader. 

So lead. 

The Last Two Leadership Lessons You Need as a Pastor

In his book, Boundaries for Leaders, Henry Cloud says that as a leader, you are ridiculously in charge. And ultimately, you are responsible for two things:

1. You are responsible for what you do

2. You are responsible for what you allow

You are not a victim of your circumstances. You are a pastor who has been given a mantle of leadership by God. He has empowered you to be someone who shepherds his flock as you follow the Good Shepherd. 

You are responsible for what you do and what you allow. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

You are responsible for staying calm when no one else is. 

You are responsible for speaking up when something needs to be said.

You are responsible for how you choose to respond to difficult people.

You’re not stuck. You get to decide what you do.

You are responsible for your own habits. 

What you do is on you.

You are responsible for having courage to keep the team on track toward the mission and vision.

You are responsible, together with your leaders, to confront dysfunctional church members.

You are responsible for the expectations you make for the people you lead (and whether or not you hold them accountable to those expectations).

You’re not stuck. You get to decide what you allow.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.”—Douglas MacArthur

What Are You Doing? What Are You Allowing?

Just like a young person who grew up in a toxic home eventually must take ownership for their own decision-making, so it is with every leader.

If you’re leading a church that existed before you arrived, you might be dealing with some long-existing organizational challenges. It’s easy to blame those who came before you for the difficulties you’re facing. But you know what? Blaming only makes you (and the church) stay stuck longer. Take ownership for what you’re doing and what you’re allowing.

You don’t have to stay feeling stuck. As Henry Cloud would tell you, you are ridiculously in charge.

Half the battle is believing it. The other half is doing something in light of it.

Because the truth is, I wasn’t stuck. The truck was. And to get it unstuck? 

I grabbed the bumper and squatted that truck up like the Hulk. Nope. That didn’t work. But I did try. 

But what did help is I called in some help. My friend, Nathan showed up and he helped us dislodge that U-Haul truck out of the road and back on top of... the road. 

You’re a leader. So lead. Pray. Ask for help. Do something. 

[Free Download] The Intentional Pastor's Roadmap

There's a reason 80-85% of churches are either plateaued or declining. One word: leadership. Or to be even more specific: a lack of leadership.

Too many pastors in too many churches are living Sunday to Sunday. They go an entire year without any distinct focus beyond making sure Sundays happen. 

And their leadership team? They provide minimal leadership help.

But that doesn't have to be your church's story.

In this Roadmap, I'm going to show you the path to lead with clarity and direction.

Click here to get your copy of The Intentional Pastor's Roadmap.


This article contains affiliate links as part of the Amazon Associates Program and other programs which means if you click through and make a purchase I get a small commission. I only recommend products I love!

Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash

Write sermons that stick!

Learn the 10-step process to crafting and writing a memorable, transformational sermon. Download this free guide today.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.