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Sixteen Lessons For Leadership
Pastoral Reflections on Thomas R. Horton's, The CEO Paradox:
The Privilege and Accountability of Leadership. (Amacom, 1992).*
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
- Lesson One
- Effective pastoring demands special qualities. You must be willing to be accountable.
You must be able to let others "run with the ball." Sometimes you have to even
let them "call the shots." The hardest thing is to trust them. But that is
effective pastoral leadership. Trust them.
- Lesson Two
- Your style will be different than other pastors' styles. Yours is not necessarily better
or worse than anyone else's. You may be impulsive, decisive and energetic; others may be
more contemplative, analytical and methodical. There is no essential difference. God
created these styles; He can use either just as effectively as the other. Just lead. Let
God give the results.
- Lesson Three
- You will learn your job on the job. There is no other way. Thus, trial and
error will become a familiar pattern and your constant companion. As you gain experience,
the challenges will become greater. The trials will require great risk. They will
undoubtedly entail possibilities of great--even tragic--error. Confront the challenges in
faith and learn those lessons God has planned for you.
- Lesson Four
- From God's perspective, perhaps the most important thing is not so much what happens in
the organization called the "church" so much as the transformation which
ministry will effect in you. God will send the testing of adversity. Satan will send the
heartache of antagonism. On your own, you will undoubtedly mess up...repeatedly. But,
under the gracious, watchful and caring eye of God, such circumstances of trial will be
the circumstances which God may use to transform you to higher levels of spirituality,
connectedness, and faith. This experience will be repeated throughout your ministry as God
leads you to experience greater transformation.
- Lesson Five
- Now that you've made it to the "top", remember who you are. People may take
more note of you. They may treat you as if you have a special spiritual "aura."
Remember who you are. That's why you don't have a limousine and executive trappings.
Remember the words of Tom Watson, Jr., former CEO of IBM, "I think a sense of
humility is vital to running [IBM]...well," he said, "and the more humility the
better." A good rule for pastors, originally stated in Thomas Horton's The CEO
Paradox (New York, Amacon, 1992) is, "Though you may seem different to others, try
not to be different. Be yourself."
- Lesson Six
- Don't abuse the "silent pause." There's a mystique about the ministry. There's
a mystique about pastors. You will have access into the personal, confidential areas and
times of people's lives unlike any other individual on earth. Because of your ministry,
some will think you are a "god". Seeing you, they will have a "silent
pause" as you pass by. Don't let them fool you. You are nothing but yourself. Be
- Lesson Seven
- Though over-simplistic and unjustified, people will judge you unfairly. They will do so
because they will believe they "own" the church. Though they don't own the
church, it is important that the people know what is happening in a timely, forthright
fashion. The best operating rule is to have no surprises. Let's say it again. No
- Lesson Eight
- The world honors explorers, risk-takers, adventurers, entrepreneurs, and rugged
individualists. The church does too. Unfortunately, the honor only comes from a historical
perspective. Thus, don't expect accolades for the amazing breakthroughs which occur in
your ministry. Don't expect the crowds to follow and applaud those new ministry
- By the same token, when the Lord raises up others to bring up these initiatives, don't
squash out those effective individuals either. You, pastor, can succumb to the same
"honor comes only from a historical perspective" phenomena. Give others the same
length of rope to carry out their ministry initiatives which you desire for you ministry.
- Pastors, be the first in your congregation to give present and instant
encouragement to those who fail, those who succeed, and those who try. Celebrate them.
Celebrate God's power working in them. Celebrate. Celebrate. Celebrate....and rejoice in
God's working in you and them!
- Lesson Nine
- Forget minutia. That's right. Just forget it. Really. Just forget it. After all, that's
why it is called minutia. It's too small to bother with. It detracts from the big picture.
Forget minutia. All of it. It's just little stuff anyway.
- Lesson Ten
- There are only five questions you need to ask of your leaders in your position as
- 1) Who has the information needed?
- 2) Who will be affected and how?
- 3) What are the long-term consequences?
- 4) Who should--and is authorized--to make the decision, and
- 5) Is it pleasing to God and in conformity with His calling to us?
- Lesson Eleven
- Most decisions are not based on facts, they're based on opinions of the facts.
For many decisions, there is no right or wrong. There just varying shades of degrees of
better or worse. Since decisions are based largely on assumptions and opinions--and not so
much fact--be especially aware of your assumptions and opinions.
- Lesson Twelve
- One of the hardest parts about leadership is that leaders make the decisions that must
be made when they must be made, not when it is popular to
make them. In order to do this you must have three things: conviction, enthusiasm, and an
unshakable trust in God's will. Thus, as Ralph Lazarus said, "whatever decisions you
make, make them with conviction." Stand firm in faith, be unswerving in your
conviction, and unshakable in God's vision for your ministry.
- Lesson Thirteen
- Another difficult lesson about leadership is that when decisions must be made, your mind
will be saying, "no," and your gut will be saying, "yes." When tough
calls have to be made, leaders who yield to rational arguments above the calling of their
"gut" often regret their decisions. According to Harry Levinson and Stuart
Rosenthal's studies of CEO's and organizational leaders, the "single note of
self-criticism struck by all leaders was that they hadn't followed their intuition and
instincts as assiduously as they should have." (p. 18) "Go where no man has
gone before." Go where left to himself, man will fail. Go to where God leads and
unfailingly trust His power to achieve all that He desires to achieve. He is faithful. He
will do it...through you. Stand firm.
- Lesson Fourteen
- Remember the following principles...
- 1) The easy decision is usually an unnecessary decision.
- 2) The popular decision is usually an ineffective decision.
- 3) The right decision will probably cause the greatest hurt.
- 4) The right decision will likely make you un-liked and unpopular.
- Since you are called to make right decisions, you can expect immediate uproars,
rebellion, inconveniences , unpopularity and rejection. What counts in the long run,
however, is the respect you gain for doing the right thing against all odds. If you don't
get that respect, remembers the only thing that matters: what you do for the Lord is not
in vain. He rewards His faithful servant. Be faithful...and receive His gracious reward.
Thomas R. Horton said, "Remember, if your decision is to hit a home
run, you still need to touch all the bases." Hit well, hit strong, hit the home runs.
But don't forget to run--and run hard--to victory at home.
- Lesson Sixteen
- Remember, if your decision is to hit a home run, you always need to remember that you do
not control the game, the rules, or whether you win or lose. You can't control the home
run. You can't control the path of the ball. You can't even control if the bat will hit
the ball properly. God only controls that.
- Even if you fail, be certain that His plans are to prosper and not to harm you. They are
to uphold, affirm and strengthen you in His grace. No matter what happens, no matter how
bad it can get, be refreshed by the peace and strength only He can give. Then, go back to
the plate, give Christ the bat, and hit a home run!
- Thomas F. Fischer
Index Articles 1-49
Articles 50-99 Articles
100-149 Articles 150-199
200-249 Articles 250-299
Articles 300-349 Articles
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:04 PM