By Joshua Murray
I’ve spent the last four years as a young pastor trying to absorb as much information on leadership as I possibly can. I’ve read countless books on the topic, both secular and in the context of the local church. I’ve listened to leadership podcasts week in and week out, and I’ve allowed a few seasoned pastors to come into my life as mentors, encouragers, Jethro’s, and friends. Sometimes it feels like an information overload. Sometimes it feels like I’m drinking through a firehose, looking to satisfy the slightest of thirsts. Sure, there have been instances where my time spent reading books and listening to podcasts has proven fruitful. The knowledge I have gained from people who have gone before me has been helpful in more ways than I could count. Even still, I sometimes find myself feeling incomplete and inadequate to handle certain situations my role puts me in.
In all of the books, podcasts, and seminars I’ve immersed myself in, I have found tons of valuable advice that I can apply to my leadership in the church. Taking on the identity of a student has been arguably one of the most important choices I’ve made along the way. However, I felt that the books I was reading didn’t include the most foundational advice I desperately needed to hear. The podcasts I was listening to each week gave me great information that I could use in my role in the church but seemed to be missing something.
A couple of months ago, as I finished reading another book on Godly leadership, I realized that I was searching for something in these books that I could only find in my relationship with God. I was searching for practical insight when what I truly needed was food for my soul. I was trying so hard to improve my leadership so that I could make a bigger impact in the church when what I truly needed was to be closer to Jesus.
So, I want to share what I consider to be the top three resources for leaders in the church. Now, these may seem foundational and obvious to you, but I feel like we often push these aside in search of practical information that we believe will give us answers to the situations we’re facing in our churches. I pray that this will be as good of a reminder for you as it was for me.
The Top 3 Resources for Leaders in The Church:
You’re probably thinking: “Duh!” But when was the last time you thought of prayer as a resource you could tap into when you need practical help with the leadership God has entrusted to you in the church?
I’m reminded of James’ words: “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray.” (James 5:13 CSB) Again, it seems so foundational and obvious, but prayer should always be our first line of defense and not our last resort. How much time do you spend in prayer?
Here’s the second resource I encourage you to tap into:
“When was the last time you thought of prayer as a resource you could tap into when you need practical help with the leadership God has entrusted to you in the church?”
Paul wrote this to the leader he was investing in: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB) Paul tells me in these verses that what I was searching for in leadership books, I will find in the word of God. How much time do you spend in the word of God?
Here’s the final resource:
I’m sure this is a verse we can all identify with as leaders in the church: “The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” (Isaiah 61:1 CSB)
When it comes to our position as leaders in the church, the Holy Spirit is our greatest ally. He will uplift us and encourage us, He will convict us and correct us, and He will equip us and empower us. How often do you notice the Holy Spirit working in your life?
I still consider myself a student of leadership. I still spend a significant amount of time each week reading books and listening to podcasts. However, I’ve exchanged my first-and-foremost goal of becoming a better leader with the goal of becoming a better disciple. I have no doubt that if we make it our goal to become better disciples of Jesus Christ, we will become better pastors and leaders in the process.
Josh is the Senior Pastor at Canyon Creek Baptist Church in Temple, TX.