Vision Requires Capacity

Ecclesiastes 5:3 ‘A dream comes with much business.’

If there is anything I’ve become acutely aware of, as a senior pastor, is that vision requires great personal capacity. Leaders don’t just need clarity of vision or good communication skills, they need great capacity.

I haven’t met one great leader who didn’t have a deep well of capacity inside of them. It is one of the marks of a great leader. The point leader doesn’t need to know everything and doesn’t even need to be the most talented but needs to have great capacity.

God hands out dreams and visions to leaders for the benefit of Gods purpose for his people. A leader is gifted with influence to steward Gods vision and lead Gods people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

I believe that capacity is a grace God gives to leaders for their calling but it can be developed as well. I believe that increasing capacity requires an intersection of 5 key things:

1. A lifestyle of training

When I was an athlete in high school I would train every morning for 2-3hrs before school. This training gave me the capacity to perform well in competition. For the spiritual leader a lifestyle of training would include daily spiritual disciplines such as prayer, study, worship, solitude, fasting. I devote the first 3hrs of my day to training spiritually for my calling.

2. Incremental increase in responsibility

When I was a personal trainer, I would teach clients seeking to get fitter, that they must increase the resistance of the weight they were lifting or the amount of reps they were completing in order to grow stronger. If you don’t allow for incremental increases in stress in life, you won’t grow. We grow with resistance and increased responsibility stretches our capacity to lead.

3. Prioritize the main thing

My observation is that a great leader is only great at 1-2 things. Rather than being average in 5-6 things, you should devote your energy to building your capacity in 1-2 areas and become a master in it. Divide your week into 4 categories – Rest / Results / Response / Refocus. Devote chunks of time to each.

4 Find your daily rhythm

Every one of us has a natural rhythm that we need to connect to. Peak performance comes from connecting to your natural rhythm and getting into the zone each day in your work-life. Where are your energy peaks and lows each day? Do your results activities in your energy highs and your response activities in your energy lows.

5. Increase your energy

Your physical energy will have an impact on your emotional energy and mental energy. Exercise regularly and eat healthy to not just look after your body but increase your energy for life.


Building a Team for Breakthrough!

People aren’t your greatest asset, the right people are!

One of the great metaphors for a church or ministry team is a bus. On a bus you have a driver and a whole lot of passengers, with hopefully some key people in the seats closest to the driver. Depending on who you have in the key seats, will determine the trip you take.

Research has shown (Jim Collins – Good to Great) that the first thing you must do before you want to build a team for breakthrough is get the wrong people off the bus, the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats. Before you work out where you want to go or what you want to achieve, you must focus on who you are going to take the journey with.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Whoever is on your bus should be there because of who is on it, not just where it is going. When you have the right people on the bus, you eliminate the need to constantly micro-manage and drive them to get results. The right people are self-starters and are led, not driven to make things happen.

“We focused year after year on injecting endless stream of talent and building them into the best managers in the industry. That’s how you build the future.” (CEO Dick Cooley, Wells Fargo)

Are you trying to be the genius with a thousand helpers or are you trying to build a team of great strength and depth? A genius leader doesn’t need a team, just a bunch of soldiers that will implement their ideas. The problem is, it’s unsustainable. Don’t settle for being a genius on WHAT to do in ministry. Aim to be a genius in WHO you pick for your team. Great leaders build a team for breakthrough, not a platform for their talents.

Look for the 4 C’s in recruiting people – Character, Chemistry, Competence and Calling. Recruit people to your team, even if you don’t have a vacancy for them as yet. Great people will start to contribute because they are initiator’s. It takes rigorous discipline, not a ruthless dictatorship to build a team for breakthrough. A rigorous team environment is disciplined, whereas, a ruthless dictatorship is ego-centric and fear mongering.

Practice the 3 essential disciplines of a rigorous environment:

  1. When in doubt, keep looking – better to have an unfilled position, then fill it with the wrong person.
  2. When you need to change, act quickly – Don’t delay but be decisive.
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems – Your best result on your biggest problem will be average. Your best result on your biggest opportunity could be world-changing.

The human component in bottle-necking church / ministry growth isn’t location, circumstances or marketing but the ability to get and keep enough of the right people. Walter Bruckart was once asked to name the top 5 factors in his companies breakthrough. He responded with, “Factor 1 – right people. Factor 2 – right people. Factor 3 – right people…” You get it!


Choose to become a Great Leader!

I’ve observed leadership is a choice, as much as it is a calling. Once you answer the call to lead, you are given a choice as to how much you want to grow as a leader, and this choice can be a wrestle as great as the wrestle to answer the call to lead. The reason why we wrestle with this decision is because we love comfort and convenience, which leads to a static approach to life. Leadership is about progress and requires a more dynamic approach to life. If you’re going to move from where you are to where you want or are being called to be, you need to choose to grow.

Good is the enemy of Great! Most organizations aren’t great because they’re content with good. Yet I believe any church, company or team can go from good to great provided they have a desire and intentionality. A great church isn’t a result of right location, right branding, right planning, right circumstance or a celebrity leader at the helm. It’s largely a matter of conscious choice.

A church becomes great because people within it choose to become great leaders. A great leader is a paradox of both humility and sanctified ambition, not for themselves but for the church or group they’re apart of. Just as a duck floats on top of the water with grace but is ferociously paddling under the water, so too is the great leader. They are humble and self-effacing but ferociously determined to accomplish a result for the sake of their team.

To become a great leader (which is possible for all of us) observe the following:

  • Repent of pride
  • Become results oriented
  • Be more plow-horse than show-horse
  • Look out the window when you succeed and look in the mirror when you fail
  • Reproduce yourself in the next generation and set them up to succeed.

Remember, Great leaders are very rarely recruited from outside the organization but are already being raised on the farm. Great leaders attribute any success as a work of Gods sovereign grace rather than personal greatness (1 Cor 3:7). Make the decision today to move from being a good leader to being a GREAT leader.


Weekly Wrap Up!

book of the week

‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins is one of the best books on leadership and organizations you will ever read. It’s a best-selling book that looks at the timeless principles that help any organization move from being good to being great over a long period of time. This is my second reading of the book and definitely worth a few more reads in the future.

quote of the week

“Its piercing to have God crawl through the gutters with you until you get clean.” C.S. Lewis

moment of the week

The couple of hours I spent with Sy Rogers Friday afternoon was priceless. What God has done in his life and taught him over many years has become catalytic in people’s growth in God all over the world.

news of the week

Fallen superstar footballer Ben Cousins getting arrested while traveling to Teen Challenge (Christian based organization) in Western Australia to enter yet another phase of drug rehab.