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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Sep '11

Seven questions for every leader

Christian ministries have a special responsibility to live out the convictions they espouse within their own organizations and with their staff and constituents. The actions of leaders speak volumes about the true integrity of their ministry. Here are some questions ministry leaders should ask themselves and one another on a regular basis.

One: is there any stated ministry conviction, value or commitment which we proclaim that is not practiced internally? For instance, many ministries talk about dependence on God in all they do. Is that dependence practiced within the ministry itself in a tangible and significant way? We should not ask of others what we ourselves do not practice.

Two: is our treatment of our staff consistent with how Christian relationships are described in Scripture? This includes fairness, compassion, kindness, patience, consideration, forgiveness, redemptive spirits, a commitment to grow them and help them become all they can be. Does our internal persona with staff match our outward persona with the public or our constituency? How we relate to and treat those who work for us is the test of our relationships.

Three: are we truthful and candid with both our staff and constituents about issues related to the ministry? Truth and honesty is one of the highest values of a holy God. Skirting the truth for spin purposes or withholding truth when it is inconvenient is a violation of God's character. This includes what we communicate to our constituents about the results of our ministries. Falsehoods are lies and do not reflect the character of God.

Fourth: do we handle conflict in our ministries in a God honoring way? Do we invite honest feedback and dialogue even when it challenges us? Do we keep short accounts when relationships have been breached? Do we forgive and extend grace when needed?

Fifth: would our staff describe us as humble, non-defensive, open to and inviting dialogue, teachable and committed to ministry success above our own success? Our staff read us well over time and their answers to these questions may be more accurate than our own. Ministry humility and openness starts with ministry leaders and is caught by staff - if we are modeling them.

Sixth: would our staff describe us as servant leaders committed to their success? Servant leadership does not start with our constituents but with our own staff. We are either deeply committed to helping them succeed or we are not. Ours is either a generous or selfish leadership.

Seventh: are we focused on the mission of the organization or are we distracted by our own agendas? Many leaders become more enamored by their personal agendas then staying focused on the mission of the organization they lead. The temptation is natural as leaders are given many opportunities outside their immediate responsibilities. When those opportunities get in the way of their primary mission, however, they lose leadership capital internally.

This is really about authenticity: being who we say we are with our own staff who know us best and never allowing ourselves to be something different internally than we are to the public. It is having the integrity of living the convictions we espouse.