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PLI is devoted to empowering pastors, spouses and other church leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their congregations. Learn more about our vision and process here.

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Leaders Go First

As leaders we are supposed to have the answers. Right? But the world is ever changing and this leaves us feeling off balance. Uncertain.

It takes courage and skill to step out and move into the unknown. We would like to offer five adaptive skills you need to practice in 2018 to lead in this ever changing world. We’ll dissect one each week. See previous posts Lead with a Humble SpiritAdaptive Leaders Dig Deep and Listen Well.

Leaders go first.

If congregations are going to pilot their way into the new world we find ourselves in, then leaders must go first.

Here’s your reality:

Leaders start leading when no one else is following.

Leaders start by acting on conviction.

Leaders pursue clarity about their own sense of purpose and calling. (They don’t carelessly trample on relationships.)

Leaders don’t allow themselves to be dragged along by congregational opinion. They don’t allow themselves to conform convictions to the affirmations of members.

The good news is that all of this can start with us! You don’t have to wait for a new budget, new building, new board, new plan, new pipe organ, new program, new….

The bad news is that all of this can start with us! No ducking responsibility just because we don’t have a new budget, new building, new board, new plan, new pipe organ, new program, new…

You see… If our churches are going to navigate forward and take on their greatest challenges, then the leader needs to go first.

It’s hard to imagine the church as a system that if…

  1. The leader changes,
  2. And the leader maintains good relationships within the congregation,
  3. Then… change will result.

That’s it! Not flashy. Not fancy. Usually not fast. Effective? Yes.

Two big hurdles!

  • Way too many leaders don’t know how to build and maintain quality relationships
  • Way too many leaders have never done the hard work of gaining clarity for themselves and stop making excuses.

This type of leadership can be risky and lonely.

My guess is that you’re not quite ready to fully buy the “leaders go first” path!

So, here’s the plan I’d like you to follow first:

  • Resolve with your leaders to keep doing what you’ve been doing and try harder.
  • Don’t waste time asking the difficult questions. Confronting conflicting values. Amazon a book. Go to a conference. Launch the program that promises to solve everything!

Yes. Do that first…unless you already have!

Leaders go first!

Some of what’s right about your congregation today is the result of a leader(s) (maybe you!) five or ten or twenty years ago making the investment in what’s bearing fruit today. If you take the “Leader Goes First” posture it’s likely that the greatest fruitfulness will come when you might be long forgotten. And that would have been a worthy investment!

bolsinger quote

When I came to my first church it was a mess. Of course, I was a mess too. Funny thing when I started to change, it changed, too. –A PLI pastor

Check out PLI Missional Leader launching this Spring in Florida if you’d like to pursue this sometimes risky and lonely adventure with a guide and in community with other leaders like yourself. Raechel can tell you more.

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