I am sitting at round table of fourteen executive pastors and just amazed. I am the second oldest person in the room. If the next generation of EP’s are like this group, the local church is going to be in great shape. These guys are passionate, learners and strong leaders. As we winded down the day long meeting, Mike Ash asked this question, “What would you say ‘I wish I knew this back when I was starting out?'” Here are the three things I answered.
Have a vibrant relationship with Christ. It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or a person who attends church. If you want to impact your world as a Christian, then you are going to have to put in the time to grow in your relationship with Christ. I read this on my LuLu Lemon twitter this morning – “Athletes don’t work out; they train.” I love this intentionality. If you go into your devotions, quiet time or even a church service with the attitude of being there, that is good. You will be in a good place. If you go into the same environments with the attitude that I am going to get something and grow today, then your experience will be dynamic. I know a lot of great Christian leaders…I wonder how many have a vibrant relationship with God to go with those great leadership qualities.
Be present. I learned this one the hard way. I was the one who was always on “one mountain looking at the next one to conquer.” That is definitely forward thinking but not a great quality. I feel today I have learned the balance of future thinking and living in the moment. You have to plan but then let the results come to you. There are too many things in your relationship with your family, loved ones and friends to miss today. The victories are a lot sweeter in this balance. The challenges are not as daunting because you realize it is only for a season.
Do the hard thing today. I have written about this previously but let me add one recent thought. Mario Cuomo once actually said something I agree with – “There is always something to do.” At the round table, one of the guys shared how he put down the remote and picked up leadership books for the past year. I was so impressed. That is doing the hard thing. It isn’t always the confrontation…it is the decision that you are tired of being here in this situation and deciding to move to a new place.
How about you…if you were at the round table, what would your answer be to the question. What do you wish you knew then that you know today? Maybe you should share that with someone. Do that today!