Mindful Ministers: Part Three of Four

TJ's 4x3=12

3 Things YOU Must Know on Growing Yourself in Leadership

As a child, I was always amazed by my dad. My dad was a solider and a farmer. He led from working hard and treating people right. It always felt like he did his best to make the right decision because he simply wanted to do the right thing. My dad constantly taught me to work hard and finish what I start. He, still to this day, lives this way.

Growing up on the farm taught me a lot of leadership lessons, but there are 3 YOU must know.

  1. Envision the End

Each time I would go into the field with my dad, I would know what he wanted. He wanted this fence started at a certain tree and stretched to a certain point. He would tell me how many strands of wire we would use, how far the post would be apart, and where he wanted a gate. You see, my dad had envisioned what the fence would accomplish, and also how it should be done to make what he had envisioned happen.

To lead, you must know where you are leading. Do you want students to dig deeper into their Bible? That’s great! Envision what you believe it should look like and reverse engineer it. Do you want to see your ministry grow numerically? Great! Envision where you see it one year from now and make a 52-week playbook plotting every step. You want to see yourself grow in leadership capacity? YES! Well, make a 6 month plan recruiting other leaders to speak into you, list the books you will read and conferences you will go to stretch yourself.

Being a leader is one thing, but understanding the “why” you are leading and to “what” you are leading is an entirely other thing.

  1. Start

After my dad gave me the instructions for the fence, He would say, “Time to work”. So I would lie out all the posts and grab the post driver and begin. Sometimes, the fence could be finished in a day. Other times, it would takes days and even weeks to finish a project. That wasn’t a problem because I knew the fence had purpose and a direction. I just had to start.

So often, people just don’t start. For whatever reason, their opportunity to lead fails on the idea of starting. I see it over and over. A pastor/leader tells or shows me a GREAT idea that is thought out and has a plan, but then, they don’t ever start it. Sometimes, it’s the fear of “what if” or “I’m not sure”. Sometimes, if we are honest, it’s laziness in the phrase, “It’s going to take a lot of time and effort”. Other times, it’s because of a lack of drive to do whatever it takes to see the envisioned direction to get started.

Here’s my challenge to you in leadership. START. Now, you may be saying, “TJ, it’s not that easy. I have to run this through my committees, my pastor and others. I have to figure out how to afford it. I have to find a way to communicate it.” I get all that, but I also need you to see that this is how you must START.

We often think the START is the actual project, but the true START it when you are willing to begin the formation of it.

Before my dad ever took me to the field to show me where the fence was to go, he had already envisioned and started by gathering the posts, the tools, the wire and deciding when we would put it up. He had already started and now he was bringing me in on it.

Leaders, you START by setting the tone and being prepared to lead.

Envision the Direction.

Start through preparation.

  1. Finish

Finishing is just as crucial as starting.

What if I had never finished the fences? What if I got tired and said, “Well, I got it started and it’s mostly done. I’m hot and tired. It’s close enough.” and then walked away instead of finishing the fence? My dad’s cows would have gotten loose and he would be asking me why I didn’t finish. He gave me the direction, all the materials and all the tools needed to complete the fence, but because I got hot and tired, I didn’t finish. Honestly, I knew this wasn’t an option. I had to grit it out and get it done.

Often, leaders have a vision/direction and they can start, but finishing is the hard part. In ministry, you can grow tired and weary. Sometimes, you get frustrated or simply lose the drive because it just seems like things aren’t working out. Maybe you have some kids that have stopped coming, your leaders are taking the initiative you’d like them to, or your group is growing at the pace you’d like. Maybe you feel like you are simply going through the motions of ministry and life. Let me encourage you. Finish.

Don’t quit because of these things. I can promise you the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is green where you plant, water and wait. Ministry growth and vision fulfillment never take place over night. It is essential that you hold steady, continue the work and finish the fence. When you do finish, you will know. Your father will tell you, “Good job, son.” and will point you in your new direction, but for now, keep working, keep building and go till you are finished.

When I pray for your leadership growth, I pray that you will trust Philippians 1:6

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I pray that you know that God has an envisioned purpose for your life, that He began a good work in you by bringing you from death to life, and that He will be with you to complete His purposes for your life.


Praying for you,



Leadership Book Extra Nuggets

Top 3 Books on Leadership I have read//

  • H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley