Pastors: If You Want to Build Momentum, Stop Flying Solo
A good friend of mine who lives in the northern section of the U.S. has found a new way to deal with the arctic feel of winter. As an avid golfer, he has decided to take two or three days each month in January, February, and March to travel to a warm state, play golf and then go back home… by himself.
When he was telling me about this new way of dealing with the cold, all I could think about was the by himself part. I too hate the cold. But probably not enough to go away by myself.
The idea of traveling alone doesn’t appeal to me. But the more I reflected on my friend’s travel plans, the more I realized that I, like so many of the leaders and pastors I coach, actually have a habit of "traveling alone." By this I mean we attempt to lead alone instead of leading with others.
Unfortunately, for pastors who are trying to build momentum in the church, flying solo will never get you where you’re trying to go.
Learn ways to identify and build a pipeline of new leaders.
Many organizations, and most churches, are lacking momentum in part because their leaders are too busy organizing and "taking trips" by themselves. Instead, what's required is an increased expertise in the development of leaders.
How do we change this dynamic? Here are three specific action steps you can take to stop traveling alone and build momentum.
1. Change your personal metrics for success
Churches tend to measure success using metrics such as attendance, numbers of baptisms, and giving trends. Certainly, pastors need to track this data to know how their church is performing in key areas. But even more important is measuring your own effectiveness as a leader.
Leaders, when no one else is looking or counting, how do you measure whether or not you have done a good job?
One way to measure your effectiveness as a leader is something I learned from Dave Ferguson (who learned it from Bob Buford): “My fruit grows on other people’s trees.”
If your metrics include the measurable investment into potential leaders, you can become one who travels together, building momentum through others. If not, we will just revert back to what we really deem to be the measurements of success (attendance, baptisms, giving, etc).
Are you measuring your own success?
2. Become a convener
Social groupings often are filled with that person. Work teams often have one person who becomes that person. What am I talking about? THAT person is the convener. The one who convenes others. The one who summons, organizes, assembles, arranges, for others to join them. Want to build momentum? Decide today that you will become a convener.
How? Create a discipline of initiating with others.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to become a convener. I realized that when I was young I would convene my friends, usually around a baseball or basketball game. As I evaluated my life, I realized that I had gotten away from this leadership trait. So I decided that I wanted to become that person again.
Here’s a simple way to initiate with others:
Who would you want to invest into, hang out with, learn from, or just stay connected to? Make a list. This is your “initiate with” list. Look at the list and then schedule how and when you would initiate with them, and then make it happen.
Want to build momentum? Become that person who doesn’t wait for others to initiate. Become a convener. Conveners never travel alone.
3. Develop an equipping community
Much has been said, particularly in the church world, about equipping leaders. Unfortunately, too often momentum stalls because we equip leaders with knowledge but impart no skill in them to lead others.
This gap is so significant that we created a video training series at Intentional Impact specifically to address this “equipping” gap. These training videos, called ALIGN, are designed for staff and volunteer leaders to develop the skills that are necessary to continue to grow in their leadership and learn where and how to serve–wherever they can.
Do you want to build momentum? Learn how to travel with others and stop flying solo. You can start by changing your personal metrics, becoming a convener, and developing a skilled community of leaders who are committed to the development of skills.
Like I told my solo vacationing friend, “It’s always good to get out of the cold, but think of how great it would be if we did it together.” Next year, I think we might.
About Brian Zehr
Brian’s career has included Executive Coaching, Business Consulting, and Brian has nearly 30 years experience as a professional speaker, leader, trainer, coach and leadership developer. He has been both a Lead Pastor and a Campus Pastor. He has been involved in leading faith-based organizations and continues to work in and with churches across the USA. Brian can also be found teaching at one of the Chicagoland campuses of Community Christian Church. He is the author of THOROCITY: The Seven Critical Components to Lead with Confidence. Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Taylor University and his Master of Arts in Communication from Wheaton College.