You can learn to lead by making mistakes. I want to be vulnerable and share some of mine.
#1 – I Was More About What We Were Going To Be Against Than What We Were Going To Be For.
I had a great friend/mentor actually confront me on this several years ago. He told me that you can declare what you are against at first, just for a little while, and it may help you pick up steam…but a great leader actually learns the best way to lead is through vision of the future and not criticism of the past! AND…as a leader you can only criticize the past for a certain period of time…because…when you are first beginning you are changing other people’s ideas, but as you continue to grow and develop you will actually be changing ideas that were birthed IN and THROUGH you! Talk about a slice of humble pie!!!
#2 – I Was Angry!
I had anger issues from my past that came out in the way that I preached and the way that I led! These didn’t become obvious to me until I hit a wall in December of 2007 and began a three year battle with depression…and through godly, biblical counseling and constant confession and repentance I am dealing with them day by day! Their are times that godly, righteous anger is appropriate…just not every Sunday! 🙂
#3 – I Was Under The Assumption That Everyone Would Like Me!
It’s just not true…if you try to do something great for God you are GOING to receive opposition, period! (See Nehemiah 2:10!) It took me forever to finally understand that my calling was to be loved by everyone…but rather to be obedient to Him!
#4 – I Spent Too Much Time Fighting Critics!
Once again, a great friend and mentor loved me enough to sit me down about four years ago and say, “I think one of your biggest problems is that you will yell at thousands of people just because the voice of a few.” Critics are hardly ever the majority…they just seem to have the loudest voice. AND…every time I am tempted to dive into an internet fight I have to go back to Nehemiah 6:1-4! Just because someone has a website/twitter account and are obsessed with you does not mean you need to be obsessed with them!
#5 – I Thought That If People Didn’t See Eye To Eye With Me On Every Issue When It Came To Both Theology & Methodology That We Could Not Be Friends & That I Could Not Love and Learn From Them!
In the denomination I came up in we did a great job of keeping to ourselves and criticizing everyone who was not just like us. It took me a long time to finally understand that there are theological issues to fight over and ones to leave alone. AND…some of my best friends in life and ministry today are people who we have differences when it comes to certain issues; however, if we do “fight” we fight as brothers, knowing that when the “fight” is over the relationship will still be in tact.
#6 – I Was A Control Freak!
I had the attitude for years, “if you want to do something right then you need to do it yourself.” WRONG! Once again, some of the best leadership advice I received was from a mentor who told me, “you need to let your experts actually be your experts!” It was quite a humbling experience to finally come to the realization that I didn’t always have the best ideas..and that quite often I wasn’t even actually the best leader in the meeting!
#7 – I Thought It Would Get Easier!
I often tell church planters, “making the decision to step out in faith and plant your church is the easiest decision you will ever make – it gets way more difficult from this point on.” Hebrews 11:6 is true of our ministry whether we are just starting up or whether we are 11 years in!!
I honestly could go on…but going to stop here for now, hope this helps!