Axioms for Leaders, Part 1

By Jim Tune

I’ve thought through ten axioms that are helpful for me as I try to lead others and myself responsibly. Here are five for this week, with five more to follow in next week’s blog:

1. It’s okay to ask for help. There are good people ready and willing to help you. You can’t do this job alone so get all the help you can. Ask for support and then be easy to support.

12_Chromey_JN2. Make mistakes. Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them. Gretchin Rubin says, “If you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough.” Remember that staff and volunteers will also make mistakes. If you want people around you to take some initiative they need to have a safe place to fall. Besides, a mistake at least proves that somebody stopped talking long enough to do something.

3. Listen. Many leaders think communication is talking – and talk they do. But good communication involves attentive listening. We miss many opportunities because we are broadcasting when we should be turning in.

4. Marry well. When our organization assesses potential church planters we look for something we call “spousal cooperation.” That doesn’t mean both spouses are required to work for the church, but it does mean there is a shared sense of call and commitment to ministry. If we don’t see it in assessment, we won’t affirm the planter’s “call” to plant. If you’re already married but things aren’t going well, work on your marriage. Work hard. The health of your marriage wholly affects the impact of your leadership.

5. Let God build the house. It’s not all up to you. Growing the church to the detriment and destruction of your soul was never God’s will. There was an era during Bill Hybel’s ministry when he realized that he was relying too much on his own efforts and gifts, pushing himself and others beyond physical, spiritual and emotional sustainability. Finally, at wit’s end, Hybels wrote these words in his journal: “The way I am doing the work of God is destroying God’s work in me. Something has to change. Soon.”

In Psalm 127 Solomon reminds us that without the Lord our labors are in vain. Verse 2 speaks to the driven person: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” You can stay awake all night, but if God isn’t guarding the city, your efforts are useless.

Read Part 2

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