Simple Leadership: 5 Great Ways to bring simplicity to your leadership

A post for Pastors and Church Leaders

http://larryshankle.com/simple-leadership

Leadership is notoriously complex. It would be nice if simple leadership was within our grasp. We wrestle with problems, issues, and sometimes people. Not to mention that leaders need to point a clear direction on subjects like vision, mission, and values. Faith based leadership isn’t any easier either. Pastors struggle to lead their churches under a burden of leadership that won’t let up. Often they want to quit. I know, because over the years I’ve wanted to quit as well.

The key to continuing is to make simple leadership your goal.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Pastor, make simple #leadership your goal.” quote=”Make simple leadership your goal.” theme=”style3″]

Here’s five ways to work towards simple leadership:

1. Don’t take everything so seriously.

When I first began this church leadership journey, there was a pastor who told me to preach every time like it was my last. With all the passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge I have. To be clear, I think his advice is good. Pastors who preach should always preach like everything depends on their message, because God gave them their message and because it might be someone’s last shot at finding Christ. However, it’s also good to keep things in perspective.

Unless you die or Jesus returns, there will be a another Sunday.

If everything hinges on you, or on one church event, or one church ministry, you might as well pack it up now. The church is stronger than you, so stop taking yourself so seriously.

Should we take our work seriously? Sure. But don’t take yourself so serious. Simple leadership demands that I understand the fact that I’m expendable. God has other people who can take my place, and frankly, probably can do a better job than me.

Every situation, event, problem, issue, or question is NOT life and death. Some are. But most aren’t. Taking everything so seriously will add complexity and undue stress to your leadership. So stop.

2. Take time for your family.

God gave you your family. They need you. They don’t just need a part of you. You may be the pastor of a great church with loads of potential, but you are also the pastor of your family, and they deserve to have you around.

Each parent only has their children at home for a little while. What those kids remember is up to you.

Church is important, but so is your family.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Church is important, but so is your #family. #pastor #faith” quote=”Church is important, but so is your family.” theme=”style3″]

I’ve never served in a large church. They have always been what I would call a normal size church of around 200 people. In a church this size there is a temptation to do too much. And the people who pay for your overwork is your family.

Make a plan to spend a few days together. Take a vacation. Enjoy a movie. If the church is going to fall apart because you aren’t there for a service or two, then you have much bigger problems anyway. However, I doubt your church will crumble if you miss a service to take some time with your family. In the long run, a strong family helps to create a strong church.

3. Focus on the most important things.

What are the top three things that only you can do? To have simple leadership, those are the things you need to focus on.

There’s no way that a pastor can effectively lead everything in a church. Your focus will be divided and eventually you will burn out. It’s just a fact. You can look at any statistic website you want and find that pastors quit at alarmingly high rates.

If you don’t want to end up being a statistic, stop focusing on everything and begin focusing on your top three things. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about everything, because any pastor worth their salt will care. It simply means you cannot give everything equal focus. Your church might not understand at first, but they will thank you in the long run.

My top three are preaching, leading toward our vision, and shepherding people. At this point, these things are not negotiable. Maybe your top three are different. That’s OK. But whatever they are give those things your one hundred percent. The key to simple leadership is focusing on a few things instead of  half-heartedly leading many.

4. Build friendships with people.

There used to be this notion that a pastor or church leader had to separate themselves from those they lead. The idea was, if you get too close to people they won’t respect you as a leader. What a dumb idea!

The closer you get to people, the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the more real you actually become. People don’t follow leaders because they appear larger than life, they follow them because they see something of themselves in their leader.

Believe it or not, those you lead want to be close to you. They care about you just like you care about them. Or, they would care about you if you gave them the opportunity to know you and be close to you.

I love the people I have the chance to serve. They are some of my closest friends. I love working with our church board, and count them not only as fellow leaders, but friends. Did it start out this way? Probably not. Friendship takes time, effort, and the willingness to put yourself out there. But you know what? I’m glad I did.

Whenever or if ever I have to leave my current leadership position, I won’t just be leaving a job, but I will have built life-long friendships that I cherish. It makes a pastor’s job much easier when he or she is friends with those they serve. If you want to have simple leadership, start being a real friend to those you serve.

5. Don’t stress over about things outside your control.

This is easier said than done. I get it. But let me ask you a question…

Why would you stress about something you have no possibility of helping? A motto I’ve lived by that serves me well is: Only stress about what you can help.

If I can’t personally fix the problem, or resolve the issue, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about it, I’m just making up my mind not to stress about it. There really is a difference.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Only stress about what you can help. #pastor #church #faith” quote=”Only stress about what you can help.” theme=”style3″]

Simple leadership destroys stress. It does it by making proactive decisions about when and where to use stress. Honestly, stress can be leveraged into a great tool, but only when applied in the right way.

Think about it…almost every hand tool requires stress and pressure to do what they were made to do. A hammer turns stress into action that drives a nail. A screwdriver uses stress to put things together. But you don’t see people using a hammer or screwdriver to paint their wall. Why? All the stress in the world won’t work in that situation.

Pastor, if something is outside of your control, stress isn’t the answer to fix it. Trusting God is.

In conclusion…

At its core, simple leadership revolves around trusting God. Simple leadership learns to recognize that everything cannot revolve around you. You can make the choice to create simple leadership that stands the test of time or you can choose to add layers of complexity to your life and organization. Which are you going to choose?

Question: How do you practice simple leadership?

Further reading:

How to improve your leadership by leading with integrity

How to be a better leader and influence more people

Four limiting beliefs you should stop believing immediately

Giving up on your dream: 25 questions to ask before you do

How To Improve Your Leadership By Leading With Integrity

Four Foundational Ideas To Improve Your Leadership Integrity

http://larryshankle.com/leading-with-integrity

Leadership is not about gaining followers. It is about influencing the followers you already have, but leadership goes deeper than that as well. Leading with integrity is the key to lasting influence.

History reveals the fact that some leaders should have never had followers in the first place. Why? Because, at their core, those leaders were tyrants. They were the worst examples of humanity, yet they still managed to influence their followers; in some cases, millions of people.

When you follow a strict definition of leadership, these people technically were leaders because they had a following. However, leadership does not begin with a following.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Leadership doesn’t begin with a following. It starts with your choices before you have one. #lead” quote=”Leadership doesn’t begin with a following. It starts with your choices before you have one. ” theme=”style3″]

Leadership starts before your following even exists, and if you don’t make the right decisions during your leadership infancy, you may never make it out of the nest.

The art and skill of leadership start at the core of who you are. Leadership is born from your innermost being. Ultimately it derives from your personal integrity or lack thereof. The person you are when no one is looking is the best indicator regarding what sort of leader you will be when people are.

  • Are you lazy and lethargic when no one is looking or diligent?
  • Are you motivated by greed and need when no one sees or are you honest?
  • Do you cut corners, find a faster way, or skip the hard stuff when no one is looking or do you make up your mind to be resilient and resolute even when it seems not to matter?

The fact is, who you are deep inside always matters as it relates to your leadership ability. If you want to know the best time to grow your personal integrity so that it affects your leadership for good, the best time is when no one is looking.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The time to grow your #integrity so that it affects your #leadership is when no one is looking.” quote=”The time to grow your integrity so that it affects your leadership is when no one is looking.” theme=”style3″]

Now, it can be hard to keep up the pace, make the right moves, and cut no corners when no one seems to care. Indeed, life would prove easier if you didn’t have to worry about leading with integrity, right? In the short-term, maybe. However, in the long-term view of your leadership, integrity matters most.

Integrity is the essential quality that keeps some leaders from imploding on the job. Their inner strength of character directs their decisions toward the good of others instead of filling their own pockets or succumbing to their vices.

Start working on your integrity now, even if no one sees, and you can be a leader who positively impacts the world around you. That is the essence of leading with integrity.

Four ways to start leading with integrity when no one is looking and why you should:

1. Make someone look…be accountable.

One thing that leaders tend to shy away from is accountability, but leading with integrity demands it. We have our vision, plan, or dream and we don’t see the need to submit our thoughts to anyone else. This notion, however, is riddled with landmines. The lack of accountability in your life will eventually be your greatest liability. When it seems like no one is looking, find at least one person who will look. Ask someone. Be proactive and seek out accountability, and you will never regret that you did.

2. Do the hard things now.

It’s not that leadership gets any easier, because it doesn’t. Doing the hard things first is a character building process that increases your integrity. Learn to instill a work ethic into yourself now, while no one seems to notice, and that ethic will be there when the temptation arises to “delegate” all the hard work to your followers, employees, volunteers, etc.

3. Work on excellence now.

Be a person who takes pride in their work. The world doesn’t need more half-hearted leaders. You may not feel like the best leader right now because it seems no one is watching, and that’s a good thing. Use this time to build into your life. Work on constructing in yourself, the qualities you most admire in other great leaders. Make the best use of your day by doing everything you do in a manner that you won’t be ashamed of later.

4. Stick to your commitments even if no one notices.

This one is simple, if you cannot keep your promises when you have only yourself or a handful of followers, then you won’t keep commitments when you have a thousand followers. Leading with integrity means, committing yourself to making a difference in other people. You must want to see your followers thrive. This quality begins with a firm commitment to yourself. So if you have a blog, be committed to a schedule whether you have a handful of readers or a thousand. If you have a job, show up and work hard, whether your superiors seem to care or not. If you have a leadership call on your life, commit to develop it even if there are no opportunities for you at the moment.

Growing into a person of integrity is the most beneficial pursuit you can have if you want to be a great leader and influence people for their good. These four ideas are part of the foundational core of leading with integrity. Will you pursue them?

Question: What steps are you taking to grow your integrity?

 

Faith Building Challenge

I believe faith and leadership go hand in hand. If you need to build your faith, take my free 5 Day Faith Building Challenge. It will be the jumpstart you need to get your faith growing. Join the challenge by signing up below.

5 Good Reasons To Keep Going When You Feel Like Quitting

Not Giving Up Might Be Your Best Decision

http://larryshankle.com/feel-like-quitting

When things in life get difficult, often quitting seems like the best option. You don’t know what to do or how to handle what life is throwing at you. When the pressure builds, the stakes are high, and everything is riding on your decision, you may feel like quitting. However, quitting too soon is never the best option.

Don’t get me wrong. It certainly seems like quitting is the best option. I mean think about the instant stress relief — The thing is, you know as well as I do that once you quit, you will instantly regret it.

You’ve struggled, prayed, planned and pursued the vision in your heart, or your purpose in life and quitting too soon isn’t going to be the relief you think it will be. When you give up and quit too soon, you have the tendency to look back and wonder how things might have been.

If you are like me, there have probably been moments when giving up seemed like the path to travel…perhaps you are at a crossroads right now. I can make you one promise that will prove true: When you look at life in the rearview mirror, you will wish you had not given up and quit.

Pressing to reach your vision will stretch you. At one time or another, you will probably feel like quitting. It will push your resources and mental capacity to the limit. Reaching a vision is never easy, in fact, it’s really hard. Stepping into the plan of God for your life is exciting, and it sets your heart on fire, but pursuing the God-given vision for your life will take all the hard work you have to give.

There is a God-given vision for every person’s life.

[clickToTweet tweet=”There is a God-given #vision for every person’s life. #Leadership #pastor #church ” quote=”There is a God-given vision for every person’s life. ” theme=”style2″]

Yours may be to:

◆    Build a more stable family dynamic in your home

◆    Strengthen your relationship with your spouse

◆    Pursue Ministry

◆    Provide outreach and compassion to hurting people around the world

◆    Simply to make ends meet financially

◆    Grow closer to God

Whatever your vision, no matter how big or how small, there will be moments when you feel like quitting. This post is, in fact, a follow-up to an article I wrote some time ago. In that article, I wrote about the top 5 times to keep going in life and not quit. You need to read it…it will help you. But I thought you might need to know more than the times not to quit; you need to know good reasons to keep going when you feel like quitting.

So let me give you five…

5 Good Reasons To Keep Going When You Feel Like Quitting 

Quitting kills your potential

You are going to see a recurring theme among all five reasons I’m giving you. They all involve the word kill. It’s a strong word to use, I know, but you need to understand what really happens when you quit. Quitting always kills something in your life.

When you feel like quitting and then give in to that feeling, it kills your potential. Your potential gets stopped dead in its tracks. What might have been, will never be, once you make the choice to quit. If you quit on your marriage, what might have been will never be. If you make the decision to quit on God’s vision for your life, what might have been will never be.

Having potential means that something exists in possibility, so when you have potential, it means that something is capable of developing into reality. So, let me ask you a question: What possibilities are in your life right now that you’re willing to kill off just because you feel like quitting?

Quitting kills your confidence

You’ve probably quit things before…we all have. When you quit, did it make you fell better or worse? I guess it depends on the situation, but when you feel like quitting, chances are good that you are on the right path, you’re  just tired. Quitting, under those circumstances, will kill your future confidence. You will always wonder what might have happened if you had stuck it out just a little longer.

I remember starting a small blog back in 2005. The blogging movement was just getting started, and I wasn’t sure what to write about. Discouragement got the best of me, so…I quit. Every time I write a new post now, I wonder who my words might have reached if only I wouldn’t have given up and quit. You may feel like quitting but if you do your confidence will suffer for it.

Quitting kills your leadership

Now, some of you may not feel like this applies to you. But make no mistake about it, you are a leader. “Everyone leads someone,” is a belief that I’ve held on to for over two decades now. You don’t need me to draw out the implications of all your relationships. The fact is, you influence someone every single day. Even if you don’t think you lead anyone else, you are still responsible for leading yourself.

When you quit on your vision or give up in the heat of the moment, it destroys your credibility and trust with those who are watching you. Trust is essential to great leadership. You can’t influence people without it. If you feel like quitting, take a step back and think about the consequences of what you’re about to do. How will it affect your kids? How will it affect your marriage? How will it affect your ministry and relationship with God?

The truth is, when you quit, it gives those who are watching you the green light to quit also.

[clickToTweet tweet=”When you quit, it gives those who are watching you the green light to quit also. #Leader #pastor ” quote=”The truth is, when you quit, it gives those who are watching you the green light to quit also. ” theme=”style2″]

Quitting kills your faith

You may not agree with me on this, but hear me out. First of all, I’m not talking about “salvation faith.” The message I’m trying to send is NOT that quitting on your vision or making the decision to give up will somehow affect your salvation. My point is every time you quit it erodes a little bit of your capacity to believe again in the future.

If you’ve ever taken a risk, or leap of faith, only to find yourself in a position where you had to scale back, let people go, or stop pursuing what you feel God put in your heart, then you understand what I’m saying. It’s a little bit harder to take the risk the second time around because your thoughts are skewed by the fact that you had to quit the last time.

Often when you feel like quitting, it’s NOT the time to stop. When you feel like quitting, it’s a good opportunity to seek some encouragement. Reach out to someone who has wisdom and perspective and seek their advice. Make sure that you have a solid support system in place to help you when your faith feels faint. Pray…get ahold of God…seek him…spend time with him…recharge your spiritual batteries. In fact, I wrote about the importance of seeking God in another post. 

Quitting kills your dream

Your dreams are too important to give up just because things are a little rough right now and you feel like quitting. DON’T DO IT! DON’T QUIT!

Your dream is your gift from God. It weaves itself into every part of your life. Your dream is what pushes you to get up in the morning and work hard. Are you honestly ready to throw in the towel? You feel like quitting right now, but the feeling will pass.

About a year ago (at the time of this post), I had back surgery. The pain was the most intense thing I’ver ever felt. It radiated down through my hip and seemed like someone was pulling my right leg off of my body. There were bone fragments trapped behind a nerve, tearing and cutting at it. I felt like quitting. The dreams I had for my life seemed gone for a little while. There were some days during my recovery when I wondered if I would be able to continue my ministry (I’m a pastor). When I look in the rearview mirror of life, I’m so glad I didn’t quit, because today my dream feels stronger than ever.

At some point, you will feel like quitting. Your dream will be too difficult, too big, too unattainable or too uncomfortable. You won’t know what to do, and life will seem uncertain. In those moments when you feel like quitting, take a step back and reassess why you started in the first place.

You probably didn’t start chasing your dream because it was easy. You chase your dream because the outcome is worth the fight. 

[clickToTweet tweet=”You chase your #dream because the outcome is worth the fight. #pastor #faith #leadership” quote=”You chase your dream because the outcome is worth the fight. ” theme=”style2″]

So what about you? What are your reasons for not quitting? I would love to hear what keeps you going when life is hardest.

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

If your faith needs a kickstart, join my 5 Day Faith Building Challenge below.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

Leadership is hard + 6 more secrets leaders won’t admit

Learn The Real Truth About Serving In Leadership

http://larryshankle.com/influence-secrets/

Leadership is hard. Really hard.
You read that right. Though there are incentives to lead and often perks that go along with influence, it doesn’t make being a leader any less challenging.

Leadership and the influence it carries has a way of isolating those who use it to serve. Many who serve in positions of influence feel the weight of responsibility, but also the loneliness that tends to come with it.

Some have said, if a position of influence is a lonely place, then it proves you have done something wrong. Maybe you’ve structured your leadership in a way that couldn’t help but push you to the front, and now you find yourself alone, carrying the burden, shouldering the load.

Frankly, there are situations in which this is true, but I believe for the majority, it is not.

The vast majority of leaders will exercise their influence in small or medium sized organizations or settings where the structure is already set up to push them into this isolation. Indeed, we find this in many small to medium sized churches where the pastor is pressed into a place of isolation because it’s simply the way things are (I’m not saying things should stay this way).

But we also see this influence issue going on with many other types of people and circumstances. By the way, if you are a Christian, then you ARE a leader by default. The reason being that Jesus has called all of us to influence and affect the lives of people around us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Jesus has called all of us to #influence and affect the lives of people around us.#buildyourfaith” quote=”Jesus has called all of us to influence and affect the lives of people around us.” theme=”style2″]

Your life has a tremendous impact that you might not even realize, and you should use your influence for the purpose of raising up, building up, and encouraging those around you, whether family or friends. However, as the title of this article states, “leadership is hard.”

Leadership is hard for the single moms and dads who are doing their very best to lead and influence their children. It is hard for the little league coaches who have to do everything right, so they don’t upset all the people who are “on their team.” Leadership is hard for the business owners who have to choose to do things right in a world that invariably pushes you to get ahead by doing things wrong. Leadership is hard for the school teachers who do their best to display their faith in an environment of ever-increasing hostility towards religion.

And yes, leadership is hard for those of us in the ministry who must choose to be leaders of influence and integrity even if our stands make us feel isolated, weighted, or conflicted.

This post is an attempt to open up to other leaders, no matter the size of your circle of influence, and let you know you are NOT alone.

The burden you carry is common to us ALL. We all feel it…take courage in this my friend.

Let me be clear, I love being a leader, and I love being a pastor, but influence comes with hardships. They are part of the package. Now, this isn’t a complaint, though at first, it might seem to be, rather it is a simple observation. Moreover, it is something I’ve personally experienced.

So allow me to pull back the curtain and reveal some secrets that most leaders and people of influence will never want to share.

Leadership is hard + 6 more secrets leaders won’t admit

http://larryshankle.com/influence-secrets/

Leadership is hard.

I know I’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s the main point. In so many ways, a leader has to do things that they often feel ill-equipped to handle. Whether the situation is in ministry, social settings, or even the secular world. Godly leaders are not immune to hardship.

Scripture bears this out through the greatest leader who ever lived.

Jesus faced all sorts of problems, questions, decisions, and even death. Did he always know the right answers or the right direction? That question could be an in-depth discussion, one that I’m not going to take the time to pursue in this article. But let me offer this thought…Jesus prayed about everything.

If Jesus, the One who become God in the flesh, had to take the time to refill his leadership bucket through prayer, it should speak volumes to us.

Most leaders want to quit. (At some point)

Have you ever had a “quitting moment?” I have. In fact, I’ve had many over the years.

Most leaders will want to quit at some point. The load is just too big for them. The problems feel too immense. There are going to be those who suffer difficulties in relationships. Misunderstandings abound in leadership.

If you’re a leader who sees quitting as the best option, you’re in good company.

One time I had the opportunity to hear a great pastor say, “You can want to quit. You can dream of quitting. You can plan on quitting. But don’t quit.”

There are moments in which you need to let your mind realize that you don’t have to do what you’re doing. You really can quit anytime you want to. But after you’ve indulged that thought for a moment, you simply have to make a strong new resolve not to quit.

The truth is quitting for real won’t get you anywhere. So don’t do it. Use it as the final option. We know from scripture that all influence is positioned and ordained from God. That means your influence and position came from Him too. Don’t be so quick to give up because of something that will pass.

Leaders often don’t have the answers they need.

I believe one of the reasons leaders want to quit, is because they think they should have all the answers.

Look, you don’t have all the answers, and you never will. Exercising influence is an action of faith. You have to trust God to LEAD YOU. Leaders don’t just influence, they must BE influenced.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Leaders don’t just #influence, they must BE influenced. #buildyourfaith” quote=”Leaders don’t just influence, they must BE influenced.” theme=”style2″]

As a person of influence, whether you’re a parent, spouse, pastor, business person, or anything else, you have to allow yourself to be influenced. Certainly, the greatest influence in your life should be God.

He leads us through his word and prayer, but also through other believers. God leads you to open your mind to new ideas contained in books and articles like this one. You are also influenced by the company you keep.

All through the Bible, you find great men and women of God, seeking direction in the midst of the fog. They needed clarity and were not afraid to ask for it.

Listen…at the moment you may be up against an obstacle you don’t know how to overcome, and that’s OK. If you think about it, leadership is all about the unknown.

For example, think about explorers who are literally cutting a trail through the forest. Invariably someone is pushed to the front of the line. Everyone behind them can walk on a cleared path, but the leader is the one making the trail. By definition, leadership means you don’t always see the way ahead of you clearly. There are no waymarkers saying, “do this, go here, choose this way.” You have to get comfortable trusting God in the unknown.

Faith and trust in God are the language of leadership and influence.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Faith and trust in God are the language of leadership and #influence. #buildyourfaith” quote=”Faith and trust in God are the language of leadership and influence.” theme=”style2″]

Leadership is very lonely.

No one wants to admit a weakness. We run from showing our faults and being real, but when it comes to leadership you’ve probably already found out that loneliness is part of the deal.

I think there’s a clear reason this is so. Leadership and positions of influence require responsibility, and most people simply won’t be responsible.

Leadership is lonely because of the decisions, the weight, the responsibility, and the cost. But you have to remember, as a believer, you are NEVER really alone.

I know, I know…God is always with us. If you are feeling alone right now, and sincerely desiring to quit, then you most likely don’t want to hear this. Several years ago, I felt the same.

There was one season of my life that pressed my leadership to its limit. I didn’t think I could go on. In fact, I was looking into every possibility of getting out.
But you know what? Along came God, and what he did surprised me. He didn’t encourage me at first, but instead, he broke me. So much so that he broke open my heart. I still remember the hot tears filling my eyes and rolling down my cheeks as I broke before God.

The reason he breaks us is to open our heart. To fix your loneliness, God must be able to get inside your heart and move things around. He wants access to the damaged and messed up parts of your life in order to fix them.

I will never forget the day God worked on my heart, because not only did it restore my faith and trust in him, but it also reignited my desire to lead others. Never since have I wanted to quit because I felt alone. I know he is with me and I know he’ll be with you too.

People often don’t see the work of leadership.

Let’s face it, you can’t see a leadership burden, can you? You can’t see the weight of responsibility that you feel. Others can’t see the prayers you pray, the nights of thinking and planning you do, or the desire to help people that you always feel in your heart.

You got into leadership to help people, but often that work goes largely unseen. A leader’s work is performed in a million little ways that, in the end, add up to something significant.

[clickToTweet tweet=”A leader’s work is performed in a million little ways that add up to something significant.” quote=”A leader’s work is performed in a million little ways that add up to something significant.” theme=”style2″]

It’s hard to see your influence, until you see the effects of it.

So, it seems leaders are doomed to do work that goes unnoticed. If you feel this way, you are not alone. Practically every leader or influencer who ever lived has felt this way at one time or another.

If this speaks to you, you need to hang on to this one simple thought: What’s done in the dark is always revealed by the light.

What you’ve done is NEVER unnoticed. The Bible says, “God is NOT unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love” that you’ve shown for him. Everything you do is marked down in his book.

Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

The truth is, again, leadership is hard, and the work of leadership takes time to bear fruit. People don’t see your work, but if you keep at it, they WILL see the fruit of your labor.

I used to wrestle over this when I was in my twenties. However, I’ve come to realize that my work will prove itself in time.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t hope for some appreciation because you should. You should be appreciated for the work you do because leadership is hard work.

I’ve learned to cut leaders some slack because I now understand that no one knows what they are facing.

I also know, because I’ve experienced it, that if you continue to plant good seeds, you’ll reap good fruit. Rest in the fact that God sees your work and he will openly reward you for it. For the record, the reward isn’t always what we though it might be.

God knows best how to appreciate those who labor in leadership for him. Whether as a Christian parent or as a middle school teacher who wants to influence their students with positive, faith-filled environments, God sees and will reward your work.

Influence derives from character.

I’ve never met a godly leader who tried to school me about how great his or her character is. Character doesn’t boast.

Nevertheless, if you are a leader who raises people up, builds them up, and encourages them to go forward, you possess character qualities which allow you to continue doing what you’re doing.

Influence doesn’t come from a position. A title comes from position. But titles and influence are entirely different from one another, though they don’t have to be.

If you are a leader that wants to increase your influence, you need to work on your character. One of the secrets of great leaders is that they are people of great character.

Who you are will win out over who you hope to be…it’s the law of character.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Who you are will win out over who you hope to be…it’s the law of #character.” quote=”Who you are will win out over who you hope to be…it’s the law of character.” theme=”style2″]

Let me ask you a simple question: What actions could you take to move your character forward?

Are there habits that you need to form or relationships that you need to sever? Quite possibly I’m sure.
Think about it, if influence derives from character, then instead of reading another leadership book to learn some new method of persuasion, why not begin working on the thing that matters most. Your character.

Leaders cannot depend on their personal strength.

This is the most important secret that leadership conferences and books will never tell you unless they are based on the right principles.

So often we try to do things ourselves, to fix our own problems, to right our own wrongs, or to turn things around by our own power, but you simply can’t.

The secret to lasting leadership and influence is learning to depend on the strength, power, and help of Jesus.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The secret to lasting #influence is learning to depend on the strength, power, and help of #Jesus.” quote=”The secret to lasting leadership and influence is learning to depend on the strength, power, and help of Jesus.” theme=”style2″]

Secular leaders will shun this idea.

Frankly, you CAN lead by your personal power for a season; no one ever said you couldn’t. Eventually, though, you’ll run out of steam when you lead through only your personal power or ability.

All power is given. Contrary to what we might think or believe that we see, power is never grabbed, taken, or robbed. Power is ONLY given. The source of all power is God. He is the center of everything. So this means godly leaders must rely on the genuine source of power if they are to succeed (the definition of success is an entirely different subject).

Your dependence on God is a clear sign of the strength of your relationship with God.

Let me ask you another question: How is your relationship with God doing?

What actions could you take to move your relationship with God to a new level? Everything about godly leadership stems from this one thing.

I encourage you to ease your stress by giving it away to the one who was meant to carry it in the first place.

I sincerely hope you’ve heard my heart in this post. You are a great leader. Don’t allow the wrong thinking, discouragement, and weight to drag you down.

We need you.

Faith Building Challenge

I would love to have the opportunity to help you build your faith. It’s possible to grow in faith, and if you do, your influence will grow with it. Won’t you take the five day Faith Building Challenge? It is free, and I believe taking a few simple strategic steps will help you start building your faith like never before. I hope you will.

Faith Building Challenge

How To Improve Your Goal Setting And Increase Your Faith

The Top 5 Beliefs You Need To Change About Goal Setting

http://larryshankle.com/goal-setting

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Sometimes I find it really difficult to set goals.

They seem far removed from reality, they don’t always make sense to me, and they require lots and lots of work.

At this point in my life, I would still call myself a goal setter, however. Every year it seems I set goals for my life that I sincerely hope to achieve. There is a process I go through at the start of each new year, and it helps me to create massive amounts of focus towards my goals. In fact, I wrote about HERE.

But there is a problem with being a Christian and being a goal setter. Many don’t believe that you can be both at the same time. Whenever I talk about this subject, I usually sense a push-back from people who are deeply committed to Jesus. I used to be one of those people who pushed back at setting goals.

Goal setting wasn’t for me for a variety of reasons. My Christianity, I thought, kept me from setting goals and achieving things in my life. God wanted it this way, I believed. It was an act of trusting in God to throw caution to the wind and never set any real, lofty, soul-stretching goals because it proved my dependency on him…right? Wrong.

http://larryshankle.com/goal-setting

This is a subject with many opinions, and honestly, this post is mine.

I will say, however, that since I became a goal setting Christian, it has revolutionized my life. The feelings I once felt of discouragement over my situation are gone. In my early twenties, I learned that goal setting improved my outlook by challenging me and challenging my faith.

One reason that Christians are discouraged from time to time is that they never challenge their faith on purpose. Certainly, situations arise that battle against our faith. Throughout 2016, I faced the faith fights that come with sickness and physical pain. Things like this can push against your faith and test its strength, stamina, and reliability. But believers need to be willing to challenge their faith by moving in the offensive as well as the defensive.

When problems come into your life, faith responds by defending us, and that’s a good thing. We need this kind of faith, but goal setting is the opposite, and also needed, type of faith challenge. Goal setting works in the offensive and seeks to move your life forward.

If you are a Christian who pushes back against goal setting, I fully understand because I did too, but don’t fail to open your mind to the possibility of intentional growth that comes from setting, reaching for, and achieving lofty goals. Ones that you firmly believe come from God, designed specifically for your life.

Although this post is based on opinion, I think it is an educated opinion. While dealing with people for over twenty years in the ministry, I’ve had the chance to see hundreds of responses given by those on both sides of the fence of this argument. I’ve also witnessed the successes and hard fought victories people achieve, and the heart wrenching, crash and burn moments of others.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The right #goals challenge your #faith and shape who you’ll become. #buildyourfaith” quote=”The right goals challenge your faith and shape who you’ll become. ” theme=”style2″]

With all this being said, let me give you what I see as:

The top five reasons why Christians push back at goal setting.

1. They don’t know if their goal reflects the will of God for their life.

Honestly, this was a big factor in why I used to be against goal setting.

Since it seemed impossible to know the complete will of God for my life, how would it be possible to set goals that were in keeping with God’s wishes? If I set goals (and I wanted to), but they were goals contrary to God’s plan, wouldn’t it make me walk out of the will of God for my life? The answer is YES.

Setting goals that don’t reflect God’s purposes for you will cause your life to deviate from God’s plan. But this reason is why it’s necessary to invite God into the process of goal setting.

Nowadays, I don’t just sit down and start writing out goals for my life haphazardly. I pray at length about the things I feel need to be accomplished or that I want to accomplish. Believers need to invite and include God in the process of their daily life. The real “sin” if you will is keeping God at arm’s length. He wants to be a part of everything going on in your life, and that includes the hopes, dreams, and aspirations you have. Your goals are important to him, so much so, that he will direct your goal setting if you allow him to.

When a goal is God-directed, you can be certain that it is God’s will. This is the key to reaching for the right things in life.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Believers need to invite and include God in the process of their daily life. #buildyourfaith” quote=”Believers need to invite and include God in the process of their daily life.” theme=”style2″]

2. They over spiritualize life and believe that God does all the hard work of making progress happen for us.

To be clear, everything is life is spiritual. There is no such thing as a “God box” that contains all the spiritual stuff while leaving the other things outside of it. Your work is spiritual, and so is your money, your marriage, your dreams, and everything else. God has a plan for all of it.

But many times we still tend to over-spiritualize things like goals and shy away from pushing ourselves because we have the false belief that God will do all the hard work in life for us. The fact is, he won’t.

God didn’t create you to be a robot that does nothing except by command. He formed you to be a human being that feels, responds, pushes forward, experiences joy, and has dreams, hopes, plans, and vision. Goal setting is a form of vision.

God won’t do all the heavy lifting in life for you. He will help you become the person of great faith, and spiritual strength you were created to be. Just as you want to see your children grow, mature, get strong, make plans and achieve them…So also, God wants to see the same things happen to you.

Goal setting will push your faith on purpose and make it grow into its fullest potential. Set lofty goals and then start reaching for them.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Goal setting is a form of #vision.” quote=”Goal setting is a form of vision.” theme=”style2″]

3. They believe Jesus is coming tomorrow, so why bother.

If there was ever a reason why I used not to set goals, this is it. Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m fundamental on doctrines like the rapture and the second coming of Christ, but I no longer feel like what I believe should keep me from going forward in life.

The truth is, Jesus may come today, but that doesn’t mean you should sit idly by until he does. Be productive. Do something. Set a goal and go for it.

When I was fourteen years old, I got the truck of my dreams. 

Building plastic models was my thing; the kind that comes in a box and you have to use glue to put them together. I loved doing that. When I was thirteen I purchased a model of a 1955 Ford F-100. It was the sweetest truck I’d ever seen and I wanted to own one someday. Well, my day came at the age of fourteen. I saw the truck sitting on a corner lot and through a series of circumstances, I purchased it.

That Ford sat in my front yard for two whole years before I’d be old enough to get my license and drive it. Every evening after school I would sit in it.

One day I got so discouraged when the thought crossed my mind that Jesus might come before I would ever get to drive the truck myself.

Today, at forty years old, I realize that things take time. I realize that Jesus is still coming, but I treat this knowledge differently than I used to. As it relates to goal setting, I choose to live like Jesus will come today, but plan, prepare, and work like he is never coming.

The fact is, someday you’re going to die but don’t let that fact keep you from living. Jesus is going to come…maybe today…but don’t let the awesome hope of this promise keep you from becoming the person God wants you to be and experiencing all that is possible in your life.

By the way, I did drive the truck…it was awesome. To this day, it’s probably still my favorite.

4. They’ve failed before and are afraid of failure again.

You’ve failed before, haven’t you? It doesn’t feel good, does it? The answer is NO. We’ve all experienced the pain and regret of failure. Some people refuse the idea of goal setting because they’ve set goals before and failed to achieve them. But doing this is like having a hammer and refusing to use it again because one time you swung and missed the nail.

Failure once doesn’t mean failure forever.

Launch out and try something again. Pray about it. Wrap your head around it, and get out there and try it.

The people of God throughout the generations have refused to let failure stop them. Why should you examine your failures and come to the conclusion that they will define you? Failure doesn’t define you, but refusing to get up and try again does.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Failure doesn’t define you, but refusing to get up and try again does. #buildyourfaith #goals” quote=”Failure doesn’t define you, but refusing to get up and try again does.” theme=”style2″]

5. They simply lack the faith to go forward.

Here is probably the biggest reason of all that people don’t set goals and then reach for them.

They don’t believe the goals they set are attainable, and it’s sad when a believer doesn’t have the faith to think that they can achieve a goal…even with God’s help.

To be clear, most of us believe that anything is possible with God. “God can do anything,” we say. So the problem isn’t with believing in God. The problem is believing that God can do something IN and THROUGH us.

You have to have faith to believe that God wants to do something in your life before you will set out to achieve it. The fact is, God not only wants to do something in you, but he works tirelessly to produce good things in your life. The God you serve has a great plan for your life, and he wants to help you set goals and reach them. God wants to bring glory to his name through the things that he does in your life.

Having faith in God also means having faith in what God wants to do in YOU.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Having #faith in #God also means having faith in what God wants to do in YOU. #buildyourfaith ” quote=”Having faith in God also means having faith in what God wants to do in YOU. ” theme=”style2″]

Now, there are probably many more reasons why a Christian may push against goal setting, but in my opinion, these represent the top five that I’ve witnessed.

With all this being said, you need to do this: Don’t let this year be like last year, or last month, or even last week.

Here’s How you do this:

  • Invest your faith in the power of God to do great exploits in your life.

  • Set goals in keeping with God’s plan.

  • Press to reach your goals because reaching them glorifies God.

  • Never, ever, ever give up.

Now, I would be so appreciative if you would share this post on your Facebook or Twitter…maybe pin it on Pinterest.

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There’s probably a lot of people that you know who could benefit from setting goals and reaching them. This post can help…so can you by sharing it.

If you want to get motivated and build your faith I’d love to help you with that. Sign up below and start building your faith every week.