The slippery slope is when we continue to do what we have always done without reflection

and without intentionality - maybe even for years! We work long hours and get weary which is often understood as also being productive. Yet that is simply not true. A wise person reflects deeply which of necessity requires outside help to discover blind spots and assumptions we may have in order to make intentional adjustments. This is simply good personal stewardship.

  1. I will admit reality about myself - I may be tired. I may feel stuck. I may be lazy. I may not be putting in the effort I really need to exert. I may be tolerating a shortcoming in myself that I simply have to address. It may be moral and spiritual. It may be health related. It may be behavioral. It may be educational. It may be with regard to self awareness and emotional intelligence. I admit that it needs to be addressed. Now. I may need support of various kinds to adequately address this reality be it a pastor, a counselor a coach or other helper.
  2. I will admit reality about ministry - Your ministry may be plateaued. Your ministry may be declining. You may have controlling leaders who restrict other’s involvement or resist change. You may resist change yourself and be the barrier to improvement. You might not have very many if any other leaders! Admit reality. “The first step is awareness and admitting there is a problem.” Then ask why this is and what you will do about it. Don’t look to find blame in others. Look at how you may be contributing to the problem both directly and indirectly. What are you tolerating? What are you allowing? What are you blocking that is a solution? Admit reality and learn from it. Willingly seek help and support from others who will make a difference instead of those who will largely be listening to you complain.
  3. I will not over function - A great temptation for leaders is to over function. It is “my baby, I am responsible, so if something goes wrong I will get the blame” or so goes the thinking. So we want to dive in and rescue the situation ourselves. The if it does go wrong we will at least be excused because we “worked so hard.” On the other hand, if something goes right, I will get the credit! (Do you really need that to feel better about yourself? If so you may have deeper problems!) What happens is we end up doing far more than is healthy for ourselves and others including the ministry. Over functioning also has another problem. It can cover problems in the ministry and in so doing anesthetize other people from recognizing and being responsible and involved in the solution to the problem. So another way to put the resolution is: I will not fix everything but will let non-essential things “fail” in order to share the need and invite participation in the solutions.
  4. I will affirm and celebrate the priesthood of believers - I will share the “power” and “grace moments” and “credit” for things happening while giving glory to God. For example, I will let them take responsibility, make decisions, make announcements, let them tell the story (video, temple talk at church and at the meeting). I will support them, recognize them and thank God for them publicly for what God has done through them when they epitomize the vision of the ministry. A few subsets of this resolution are:
    1. I will coach X number of willing current leaders to get even better through meeting with them one on one and identifying personal developmental pathway for them be they spiritual, behavioral, leadership or other goals. I will conduct pre-planning meetings with them and debriefing meetings and activities to identify how they can get even better.
    2. I will also work with X number of willing current leaders who will in turn identify and nurture others whom they will serve and develop as apprentice leaders, duplicating what I am doing with them. I will seek to raise up X (number of) new leaders myself.
    3. I will identify new people (new or newer believers, members, leaders) and meet with them and intentionally determine a developmental pathway as leaders including spiritual, practical and relational aspects. Note well: Of course this resolution presumes that you are already investing yourself in developing yourself first and meeting with someone who can truly be of help such as a coach.
  5. I will seek and nurture relationships with those outside of our ministry - personally mechanic, accountant, lawyer, barber/stylist, service organization and their leaders. In this way not only will I be more aware of the world and those around me but I will also be actively loving those who are not yet believers, sharing the faith in word and deed. I will also be modeling the way for those I serve in the ministry doing what I am asking them to do.

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, or

"Helping leaders be more productive - less controlling"

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A Ministry Leader’s New Year’s Resolutions:

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