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6 Simple Ways to Inspire Hope and Courage

The pandemic has accelerated change in every one of our congregations.

And, it’s opening new doors.

Simple Truth: If you want to see a transformed ministry, it starts with a transformed leader who builds on the blocks of Leadership Essentials.

It starts with you as the leader being infused with fresh hope and courage.

It also means that as a congregation leader (or whomever you lead), you are responsible for inspiring hope and courage in the people you lead. 

  • No hope? No attempt to try!
  • No hope? No persistence through difficult times!
  • No hope? No courage!

So, here are 6 simple ways you can inspire hope and courage in the people you lead:

1. The Leadership Posture

In times of dramatic change, you don’t have to have all of the answers. You need to exude confidence that under the blessing of God, together we can figure out an answer. 

Lesser leaders…

  • Surrender hope. 
  • Appeal to tired solutions or quick fixes. 
  • Appeal to a bygone era that no longer works.

2. The Word of God

Shortly after moving to Nashville a few years ago, Gail and I had lunch with some of the leaders of Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church from Ethiopia that PLI has worked with for many years. (They were in town for another event.) We asked about what the church in the U.S. might learn from the largest and fastest growing Lutheran church in the world. With deep respect, one of them risked an honest response: “I think we read the Bible differently. We expect God to do what he says he does in the Bible.”

For example, they see people in the New Testament…

  • Trusting God to work and provide and lead and open doors.
  • Outside their comfort zones in difficult situations.
  • Leaning into risky situations.

On the other hand, Christians in the U.S., for the most part, value…

  • Not taking risks.
  • “Playing it safe.”
  • Comfort and ease…before we say “yes.”

3. The Leader Two Steps Ahead

Why not introduce your board or team to the leader of the church a couple of steps ahead of yours? There’s always someone in the PLI family willing to extend a hand to you and your team. Likewise, there’s always someone who would benefit from your hand extended to them. ZOOM them during a board meeting for 30 minutes. 

  • Ask them to briefly speak to the area you want to explore. 
  • Tell them to be honest with victories and defeats. 
  • Let your leaders ask them questions. 

4. The Regular Celebration

Most leaders—most boards—feel they’re failing most of the time these days. So, from time to time, celebrate! Ask everyone to share:

  • A congregational value being lived out. 
  • A story of people serving others well.
  • A congregational “win” they’ve observed. 

5. The Chief Storyteller

I already know your congregation is full of years of faithful people motivated by the sacrifice of Jesus living out their lives of following Christ. Learn the stories and tell them. And then remind each other that God has been active and at work among us for a long time.

6. The Impact of the Few

Call them innovators or early adopters… They’re the ones who can imagine a different future. Gather them formally or informally to talk and pray. Or recommend them for 1,000 Young Leaders or for Not So Young Leaders. Ask them to help you inspire hope and courage in the people that you lead. 

Finally, two things…

  1. Pass this along to your leadership group. Ask them to take a “new hope leads to new courage” measure of the congregation.
  2. Pick one of the above and take the simple step of inspiring new hope that leads to new courage for the journey ahead. And tell us in the comments what step you take.

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