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PLI is devoted to empowering leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their ministries. Learn more about our vision and process here.


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When Leaders Stop Growing….Organizations Start Dying

It’s an unfortunate truth. Leadership has a short shelf life. Especially in the rapid, discontinuous changes of the last decade or two.

Leaders leading with no leadership growth quickly become inhibitors to the ministries they lead. It can happen at 29…39…59!

If you’re leading the same way you did back then, you’re leading a diminished reality.

It’s understandable why leaders stop growing. Growing parlays…

  • Feelings of incompetence
  • Risks of failing
  • Uncertain terrain…where maybe God can be trusted or, maybe not?

It’s a conspiracy of sorts in most churches… “I won’t grow if you won’t grow.”

  • Churches don’t want pastors or staff members to grow too much and move on.
  • Pastors don’t want leaders who fill important organizational slots to grow and abandon their slots for fresh mission visions.
  • Nobody wants anybody to grow and disrupt our blessed equilibrium, good or bad as it is.

Obviously, I’m not talking about simple knowledge accumulation. I’m talking about leadership growth that’s willing to…

  • Sacrifice.
  • Turn life upside down if necessary.
  • Be a servant to those served…and led.

Esther would be a great example!

My own shadow side is complicit when I camp out in the “stop growing” quadrant. Mine whispers to me:

  • I might stumble and fall.
  • I might feel clumsy.
  • I might not “look good” for a transitional season to anyone who might be watching.

Much of the church today is locked in calcified institutionalism and is dying as a result. It’s begging for leaders who are willing to say “No” to their shadow side…and grow!

And, to disciple those they lead to grow.

Leadership fundamentally includes developing other leaders!

Jesus developed 12. He shared His life with them. Taught. Prayed like this. Modeled. Challenged them to grow and risk and plunge into the uncertain terrain. And then released and sent. Jesus discipled them!

And He sacrificed His life for them. Sweet grace! Honestly? Whether you perform well as a leader in the church and grow or not, You are wonderfully loved by your Father in heaven! Right?

Paul grew as a leader. Paul grew other leaders. He discipled them. Ever notice the number of leaders who orbited through Paul’s life who seemed to fuel the new testament movement?

Sooner or later, each of us comes face to face with a couple of simple questions:

  1. Am I growing as a leader? Gaining character. Gaining skill. Gaining capacity. Is my life built more and more after the pattern of Jesus’ life?
  2. Am I growing other leaders? Am I, is anyone, discipling them to grow and not just fill organizational slots?

You get the consequence of the conspiracy? When leaders stop growing, organizations–churches–start dying.

Mordecai challenged Esther with a grow/no grow leadership choice. Esther was comfortably acclaimed for her beauty and was seated as queen.

Esther grew. It was uncomfortable growth. And she saved a nation.

Is it possible that seeing God breathe fresh breath into the dry bones of the American church could start with your own grow/no grow decision? And thousands more grow/no grow decisions just like yours?

If PLI’s focus on leadership, discipleship and mission could help you or those you lead with that grow/no grow trajectory, let Raechel know what you’re thinking or asking.

So! Here’s the simple ask. Share this with:

  • Someone you see brimming with potential and challenge them OR
  • Someone who shares leadership responsibility at your congregation OR
  • Someone who can speak sweet grace into your life and remind you that the Father in heaven loves you.

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