Adopt the Traits of a Church Grower

Pastoring well starts by developing leadership, and good leadership starts with good character. | by Rob Carman

Church growth always comes as a result of strong leadership. When my wife and I planted our church, we learned most lessons the hard way, but this one we learned the easy way—by studying and learning how to lead from others. I pass on their wisdom to you here.

God created you to be a leader. In the book of Genesis, man was the crowning point of God’s creation. After creating the heavens and earth and all that is in them, God created you and me and put the ability of leadership in us. But like everything else in creation, our leadership needs to be developed.

Start with Developing a Strong Character

Character is our core. Like our physical core that sustains our bodies, character is what sustains our life and longevity. For this to happen, we have to realize that all truth requires action. Remember, it’s only knowledge that is acted upon that becomes real and alive. Action is the currency that will purchase truth. Here are four exercises you can follow to become a better leader.

  1. You’re only qualified to lead to the degree that you're willing to serve.

Please read and re-read that statement. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of this was at the “last supper” when he took a towel and a bowl of water to wash the disciples’ feet—taking on the lowest and dirtiest part of the human body to communicate that nothing is beneath us. As the old saying goes, “If you think a job is beneath you, you will soon be beneath the job.”

So why is serving the qualification for good leadership? Because those that serve always gain influence and you can’t lead without influence. When serving is done from an attitude of love and respect, it becomes the foundation of our character. Character is what others see and admire, which allows us to lead.

All great enterprises, businesses, companies and churches have been built on the principle of serving. Think about it. Everything is really in the serving business. Every part of God’s creation is serving something other than itself.

  1. The value of the whole is more important than the value of the part.

This is true in every area of life—the family, job, church and relationships. The Bible compares the church to our bodies. Our body is made up of cells, but if a cell decides it doesn’t need the body and begins to influence other cells to join it, it grows into a tumor that we call cancer. If it has its way, it will kill the body and will also die itself.

On the other hand, all healthy cells live for the betterment of the whole. So, if the value of the whole is more important than the part, we can conclude that what we are a part of is greater than the part we play.

  1. Trust is one of the greatest motivators.

A person can only give you their trust to the extent that you are found trustworthy which literally means worthy of trust. To be trustworthy we must be predictable and dependable. Our leadership is summed up with, “Commit to faithful people who shall be able” (2 Timothy 2:2). This passage does not say to commit to people of ability and try to make them faithful. Our ability is secondary. Faithfulness comes from the core of our character.

To develop faithfulness, we need to develop integrity. Integrity might mean many different things to all of us but to me, it means conforming reality to your words. Or we can say it like this, “What I say I will do, I will do!”

Jesus said it this way, “But let your yes be yes and your no be no” (Matthew 5:37 NLV).

When this happens, our word becomes our bond. And when our word is our bond, two huge things happen:

First, keeping our word strengthens our core like few things can. By making and keeping promises and commitments to ourselves and to others, it causes our character to become stronger than our moods and emotions. Have you ever sat in wonder at how people can run off with their moods and emotions? Most of that is really a character issue.

Secondly, keeping our word produces something on the outside. The Bible says that God magnified His word above His name. It doesn’t say that He magnified His name above His word. Why? Because it’s God’s word that gives His name power. The same can be said of us. When we keep our word, our name gains a great reputation, so others say things like, “If they said it, they will do it.”

“A good name is better than great riches,” the proverb states (Proverbs 22:1 DRA). The pastors who keep their word learn a name gains power, influence, and honor. Those pastors have congregations who are pleased to be known by that name. And, those pastors have families who are pleased to carry the pastor’s name.

  1. Whatever you depreciate will always lose in value, and whatever you appreciate will always grow in value.

Have you ever been shocked when you read of a pastor who threw in the towel and just walked away? I have. But I also think I know at least one reason why. None of us willingly gives up something of value. However, if what we have loses its value, we can easily walk away. This is why valuing what God gives us is so important. Walking away from something that has lost value can occur in your marriage, your family, and even your church or community.

Whatever we are thankful for will always grow in value. Whatever we complain about will always lose its value. This is why over 300 times in the Bible we find the words, thanks, thanksgiving and thankfulness. Scripture is even more specific. We read, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV). In everything, not just in some things. Why? Because whatever you are thankful for will always grow in value and you will never walk away from what you value.

I trust these are lessons that help you, challenge you, grow you, so you can strengthen and grow your church.

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