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5 Mistakes I Made as a Young Leader

A simple word of “thanks” if you participated in #GivingTuesday to launch PLI’s first multicultural learning community in Washington D.C. with Ethiopian and Liberian immigrant pastors and spouses.

If you haven’t already, will you join Gail and me in making a gift today?

And now, here are 5 Mistakes I Made as a Young Leader… Or, 5 “Do Overs” I’d like to have back!

NOT ANCHORING MY IDENTITY AS A BAPTIZED CHILD OF GOD

My identity was too connected to how our church was doing or how well I was performing. Attendance and offering numbers were up?… No major conflict?… I was on my game?… Great. Any other time? Not so great. It compromised my ability to live at peace. It caused me to strive. I surrendered the ability to easily make courageous decisions.

NOT REGARDING CHARACTER AS A NON NEGOTIABLE ON OUR TEAMS

We secured staff and placed leaders occasionally who were highly competent…too good to pass by…but had a deficiency of character. I later regretted those decisions almost every time. I created the occasion for great harm to come to our ministry or to people in our congregation. Great ability is never compensation for low character.

NOT INVESTING MYSELF IN LEADERS

I loved our leaders. Benefited from them. Served with them. But, I managed my time with them. I didn’t invest myself more deeply in them. They could have become better men and women of God, better spouses and parents, better, more impactful leaders. And, mission and ministry could have multiplied had I invested myself more deeply in them.

NOT CELEBRATING ENOUGH

I didn’t stop to celebrate enough. I always knew what “wasn’t enough”… “wasn’t right”… The hill that still had to be climbed. So I pressed, we pressed, when we should have stopped to celebrate. I would celebrate more if I had a “do over” for those years. Given thanks to God more. Rested more. PLUS… what you tend celebrate you tend to accelerate among your people.

NOT TRUSTING GOD FOR THE AMAZING AND MIRACULOUS

I trusted too much in my own abilities. I trusted for miraculous results each building campaign we did and each poorly prepared message I preached. But in the ordinary ebb and flow of mission and ministry I too often set a low ceiling of expectation and trusted too much in myself and my own abilities.

It’s a not so flattering list. And I didn’t even add the rest nor indicate when or if I fully overcame my “young leader” “do over” list.

So, in our new missionary landscape that squeezes all leaders more harshly…

  1. Do any of my “do overs” belong on your list?
  2. Are there any of your own you need to add? When we put a name on them we can exercise influence over them!
  3. Why not give thanks that we live with grace? Jesus came…and is coming…so that flawed human leaders can be forgiven and still be fruitful in His Kingdom.

PLI is pleased to walk alongside gifted, committed leaders like you who long to see the Gospel of Jesus be shared in pockets and places across our communities and around the world.

Thank you.

Gospel of Jesus

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