How Growing as a Leader Impacts Your Ability to Finish Well

June 18, 2010

“Only 30% of [Christian] leaders finish well”.

This conclusion by Dr. Bobby Clinton in his book, The Making of a Leader, was deeply disturbing to Pastor Dave Kraft – as it is to me.

Pastor Dave Kraft is a seasoned leader that has learned to “run the race” well.  He is in his early 70’s and is the Director of Leadership Development and Coaching for Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  One of Pastor Dave’s primary concerns is how many Christian leaders are not finishing well.  His book, Leaders Who Last, is a great resource for leaders who want to finish well.

I have already written a couple of posts on different aspects of his book.  A section of the book I am highlighting today is called – The Leader’s Growth. In this section Pastor Dave addresses the need we have as leaders to be continually stretching and growing.  Remaining stagnant is not an acceptable option for a leader, especially for a Christian leader.

Following are some of Pastor Dave’s thoughts regarding growing as a leader:

  • One of the worst mistakes you can make as a leader is putting your life on cruise control.  Good, effective, and relevant leadership is all about lifelong learning.

Pastor Dave quotes Dr. Bobby Clinton regarding five characteristics of leaders that enable them to finish well:

1. They maintained a vibrant, personal relationship with God right up to the end.

2. They maintained a learning posture and learned from various sources.

3. They lived by identifiable goals and were characterized by a good degree of self-control in their mind, will, and emotions.

4. They saw the need for meaningful, supportive personal relationships.  They devoted time to developing a network of such intentional relationships, starting with their marriage and family.

5. They had a clear vision, strong biblical convictions, a great sense of perspective, and a lifelong commitment to pleasing and honoring the Lord through a daily, deliberate surrender to the lordship of Christ in all things.

  • My ability to finish well, to stay relevant, and to remain vibrant and fresh in my leadership and in my walk with God is related to continued learning and growth.
  • Learning is the key to leadership survival in a changing culture that is traveling at warp speed.
  • Sometime the best thing I can do for someone is not giving the right answer, but asking the right question.
  • Being highly receptive to new idea is a skill that can be learned.
  • A lifelong learner asks all kinds of questions, reads broadly, writes down new ideas, learns from opposing thoughts, and is growing in Christian character.

If you are a Christian leader that like me desires to finish well and not be sidelined, then I would recommend this book to you.

What are you doing to ensure that you are a lifelong learner?