On Pulling the Trigger: The Role of Desire in Leadership
By: Bill Easum
One of the things that have bugged me over the years about pastors is their inability to pull the trigger Ė that is, to act when action is needed. They know something needs to be done, but they wonít do it. Ever had that problem?
Say, for example, a church is out of worship space and the pastor knows an additional service is in order. But a year, two years, three years and still the additional service is never started. The pastor has given it a lot of thought. Several meetings have been held with several people to talk about how to do the service, but it never gets done. There is always more to be planned or more people to get on board.
Or take another example. One of the staff members has been performing poorly for some time. The pastor has talked with the person several times, but still the staff person performs poorly.
The reasons for inaction are legion but one stands out above all the rest. Most pastors donít have a burning desire to fulfill Godís mission for the church that consumes their every waking moment. They enjoy ministry. It is a fulfilled life for them. It makes them feel good, but it isnít something that consumes everything they have and are.
When Moses went up into the mountain to seek out God, do you think anything would have distracted him from his search? When Jesus went to the cross, do you think there was anything that would have derailed him? When Paul set out to change the world, do you think anyone could have convinced him otherwise? The answer is simple Ė No.
When you set out to get something accomplished you know should be done, can you put aside everything else and make yourself totally free of any distractions? Being able to do is the key to ministries that make a difference. The effective leader will not allow anything distract him or her from their quest to accomplish what they know is the right thing to do.
Desire for Kingdom growth is the most important key to effective leadership - desire to please God, desire to accomplish what God put you here to do, desire to see the Kingdom come on earth. Desire is the most potent weapon we have against an inability to pull the trigger.
Now let me ask you some questions. What do you dream about at night? What do you think about when you wake up? What keeps you awake at night? What occupies most of your day? What is the one thing you want to happen more than anything else? The totality of those questions is what you desire. And if they are all different, then more than likely, Kingdom desire isnít present in your life and youíre not effectively leading your church.
I know a pastor who knows that a parking lot is standing in the way of his church growing. He really wants that parking lot. He knows it is one of his main goals. The problem is the everyday responsibilities get in the way. He is easily distracted from the goal. He canít stay focused on it to the point that his desire to see it happen overshadows everything else. He wants it, needs it, but he doesnít desire it.
You see leadership boils down to one thing Ė how bad do you want your church to grow? Or I could put it this way Ė How convinced are you that the church is the sign of Godís kingdom on earth?
What is it you desire the most in life Ė a great marriage, a healthy life, a good car? What about doing Godís will? Where does that stack up in your life? Or, more specifically, when you know something needs to be done to advance the Kingdom, do you desire it enough to not allow anything to get in the way of its fulfillment?
Two Axioms for Effective Ministry
Focus fuels desire. The more a person focuses on something, the more that person desires to see it fulfilled, and the quicker that person pulls the trigger and takes action. When desire for something consumes a personís waking moment, the odds are that something is going to happen either good or bad.
So, how does one become consumed with desire for a particular action?
I have put together some principles that lead to pastors taking action. Here they are:
But it all breaks down if you donít act.
Now that sounds simple doesnít it? Well, let me explain why the principles break down.
But consider the pastor who knows that an additional service is essential to the future of the church. The more he thinks and prays about it, the more he works toward the completion of the project even at the expense of other important duties. At first, he hasnít a clue how, when, or where this service will take place. All he knows is that it has to happen. The more he focuses on the service, the more options he sees. The service could be in the worship center or the fellowship hall, or in a strip mall down the street. It could be by remote or the pastor could rotate speaking at one service early and the other service late. With so many options staring him in the face, the pastor now gets excited. This service is a possibility.We can do this! He gets so excited that he bypasses the committees, gathers the musicians, prints the flyers, and pulls the trigger.
Bill Easum is president of 21st Century Strategies, Inc. a full-service church consulting group since 1987 whose mission is to equip Christian for global impact, www.churchconsultations.com.