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7 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me Before Starting Ministry

If you’re in ministry, at some point you probably told yourself “I had no idea it would be like this.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I thought “I wish somebody had taught me this in seminary.” (My friend, Rich Birch, has done a great job of compensating for that with his site, UnSeminary.com.)

Don’t get me wrong—I’m exceptionally grateful for the time I’ve had in ministry. 19 years into this, I wake up virtually every single day thankful I get to this and excited to get started.

But the ‘virtually’ part is true because there are days where I think “What’s going on?” and “I didn’t sign up for this”. And even on my good days, I find I’m having to learn things I never expected I’d have to learn.

So let’s speed things up for those of you still on the front side of ministry or early on in ministry.

And this might also help those of us who have been at it for a while but still ready for some inside track preparation.

 

7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Ministry

Here are 7 things I wish someone had told me before I started ministry:

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Planning on Closing Anytime Soon? 21 Signs Your Church Needs to Change

Sometimes I think we should just hang signs like this in some churches or organizations when it comes to change: people are just closed.

And if you’re closed to change, it’s probably only a matter of time until your church or organization closes.

Okay, no one actually says they’re closed, but in reality, they’re not open.

Here’s how it happens.

The need for change is easy to spot in others, and very difficult to spot in yourself.

So leaders are left wondering: do we really need to change?

They tell themselves:

It’s not that bad

Things will turn around

I’m sure it’s going to be okay

Sometimes all of us go a bit blind to the need for change because we’re afraid.

We’ve seen how change has swallowed colleagues alive. We’ve watched great leaders suffer as they met all kinds of opposition. We sense the conflict pending in our own community.

As a result, we ignore the signs that would tell us change is needed.

So, how do you know your organization needs to change? How do you stay 100% honest as a leader and engage the difficult issues?

Answer: You constantly watch for the signs you need to change.

 

21 Signs Your Church Needs to Change

What are those signs? Well, there are plenty of them.

At the macro and micro level, here are 21 signs your church needs to change:

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Why Leaders Should Be the First To Apologize, And 5 Keys to Doing It Well

You probably have a love/hate relationship with apologies.

You appreciate it deeply when others apologize to you.

But you find it difficult to apologize to others.

And let me guess, when you do apologize, you’re tempted to explain, justify or defend your action.

Which is not really an apology at all.

Please hear this. Two of the most powerful words a leader can utter are simply “I apologize”.

One of the reasons those two words are so powerful is because we hear them so rarely from leaders.

Think back over your life. When has a leader come to you, looked you straight in the eye, and offered an unconditional apology?

Rarely is my guess. Maybe never.

So let’s change that.

Here’s how.

 

5 Ways to Apologize Well in Leadership

At it’s heart, an apology is ownership. It says “I was responsible”. Whether you intended to hurt someone or mess up a situation is irrelevant.

Mature, responsible leaders know they are the problem, and they work hard to see and claim their share of anything that went wrong. They’re quick to accept blame, and even faster to assign credit to others when things go well.

These leaders know it’s not about them. It’s about the mission and the team.

So how do you apologize well in leadership?

Here are five guidelines that have helped me and that I’ve appreciated when I’ve seen them at work in other leaders:

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