One of the convictions I’ve held for a long time is that leaders need to be growing. If they’re not, whatever they lead will be stifled by the lid on their own growth. It doesn’t matter if you’ve led the same thing for 50 years or you’re in your first month of ministry out of Bible college ~ you need to keep growing if you’re going to keep leading. One of the avenues of growth that I’ve found stretching my own leadership consistently over the past several years has been Catalyst.
Last Thursday, I got to take a group of leaders to Catalyst One Day in Denver, where the theme was Leadership Essentials. I’ve been to several of the regular Catalyst conferences in Dallas and Los Angeles over the past few years, but always wished they’d have something in Denver that some of our local leaders could get to. I still love to see leaders going to the full conference, but One Day was a great taste of what Catalyst is all about, and the format with Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel made a lot of really practical leadership teaching very accessible to our group. (Thanks for coming to Denver, Catalyst!) A few things from the day are still making their rounds through the synapses in my head that I thought I’d share:
- You can’t have a spiritual ministry without a physical body. Obviously, this was not one of the deeper theological revelations of the day, but I know I haven’t cared for my physical health very well. I know a lot of other leaders in the same boat. I’m not way out of shape, but I’ve been way too sedentary lately and my diet has consisted of way too much stuff that can only marginally be considered food. That needs to change. When I’m too sedentary physically, I’ve noticed that I can get a little more sluggish emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, too.
- The most important contribution I make to the Kingdom may not be something I do, but someone I raise. The opening session dug into family matters for leaders and reinforced the conviction that my responsibility is to build my family and let Jesus build His church. Certainly, I want to work toward Kingdom ends, but ultimately the first important thing I can do for His Kingdom is to lead my family to solid engagement in His mission. Lots of other people could fill my ministry position and do what I do in ministry work. No one else can be my kids’ dad.
- Empower others as if your future depends on it. Because it does. We can be really good at delegating tasks to free up time in our busy lives. But delegating tasks only produces followers. That’s not necessarily a good use of our time and kingdom resources. (We aren’t called to produce people who can follow our rules, but to make disciples who are leading other disciples…) To produce leaders, we need to learn to delegate authority. In youth ministry, this can be a little tricky. Some students will handle having authority very well, but I’ve seen others flounder with it. We need to delegate authority wisely, while still supporting those we’re engaging in ministry (as opposed to handing them a clipboard and telling them “Good luck, Coach.”).
- Spend time with people who can disorient you. We need to rethink things from time to time. We need to be shaken out of our well-traveled trails. But if we insulate ourselves from anyone who thinks or acts differently than we do, that’s not likely to happen. I think for some in our group, this One Day experience was this type of disorienting moment, where we’ve stepped back from what we’re doing and spent time with other leaders who’ve done some things very differently to accomplish many of the same things we’re trying to accomplish. Who do you spend time with that helps you re-think things?
- The key to building a high performance team is to have clarity about what you’re doing, why you’re doing that, how you’re doing that, and encouraging “a strong disposition toward execution.” People, time, and resources need to be organized with this clarity in mind.
These are “a few of my favorite things” from One Day. If you were there, especially if you were in the group I took down, I’d love to hear what stood out to you from the conference. What did God say to you that you’re still mulling over a few days later? What patterns in your leadership do you think He’s shaking up? Leave a comment below or shoot me a message.