At the Church where I serve, I sit under the leadership of a man who has been in the ministry for over 30 years and has served as Senior Pastor for 25 years at the same church. I am thankful that God has allowed me the opportunity to be lead by him and hopefully some of what God has taught him over the years will rub off on me at some point. Here are five things that I am learning from him and trying desperately to implement in my own life.
- He genuinely loves people. Many pastors are know for thier funny jokes, charisma, or great speaking skille. Few just love people in such a way that others respect them and love them back. He is there in the bad times, when people hurt, he hurts. He will get into the middle of their junk, in their lowest time, not passing judgement or ridicule but pointing them to Jesus and walking beside them. He isn’t the type of pastor who loves people to their face then talks behind their back on Monday morning, but he lifts them and their situation up in prayer asking God to do a work in the midst of their lives.
2. He is always learning. He currently has a masters degree and read hundreds if not thousand of books. It would be easy for most at his age and level to think of themselves that they know it all. Yet with each message he preaches and each lesson he writes he not only searches the scriptures but he consults other commentaries, writers, and theologians on the topic as well as spending time in prayer and mediation of the topic or text he is to write or speak on. He is not so arrogant to think he has arrived but knows he has much to learn.
3. He speaks well of his wife. I am sure their marriage is not perfect but he never complains about her, even in private. He speaks well of his wife publicly and privately. He thanks God for her often. I think what we affirm we believe. He consults her and values her opinion, he leans on her for strength and guidance.
4. He’s not perfect. Yep, he is the Senior Pastor but he makes mistakes. Some days he blows it. He gets frustrated, he gets upset, he reacts to situations instead of responding. He makes a wrong decision. Here is the cool thing, when he does he takes responsibility for his actions. He doesn’t point the blame at others, he doesn’t make excuses, he admits his faults and ask forgiveness.
5. He works hard. He is one of the hardest working people I know. He puts more time in than his staff. He doesn’t spend his days trying to figure out how to get out of working. While he does delegate, he never delegates something he isn’t first willing to do himself. I seen him preach to thousands, and help clean up after a big event. He isn’t so full of himself as the “Senior Pastor” that anything is beneath him, or that he has already done his part.
Many of us are surrounded by great leaders. We don’t always need to purchase the next great book on leadership, or listen to the greatest speakers, sometimes we just need to look around at those in our circle of life for the greatest lessons. Who is in your circle of life that could pass on wisdom and years of experience. It is often said, find someone who is doing what you want to do, and follow them.