Listening is leading…the leader who feels like he needs to talk all of the time but refuses to listen will eventually be walking alone!
Let me unpack this one before I dive into it…
One of the things I am learning as I grow and mature in age (and hopefully in my leadership) is that, when we first began I used to say some of the most ridiculous/stupid things to the staff that serves with me. One of them was the following…
"I love this church, and…I love it more than any of you guys. You think you love this church–but none of you will ever love it more than me."
Now, please understand…I really did believe that was true. I honestly thought that NO ONE loved this place more than me. AND…it sounds good on the surface; however, the dark side of that statement is that leader can (and often do) use it to trump decisions that well qualified leaders make who work with them because, after all, the "leader" is just looking out for the best interest of the church because he/she loves it so much.
The more I am in ministry the more I understand THIS truth…I really do serve with people who love this church as much as I do, and for me to ignore them when making a leadership decision isn't just poor leadership…it is also prideful, arrogant and irresponsible.
SO…I listen to the leaders I serve with. Because…they are leaders, they are called by God to do what they are doing, they are neck deep in the work just like me…and they REALLY do have a passion for their area and this church.
I spend WAY more time in meetings today listening. Because…listening IS leading. In order for me to make decisions that I need to make I need as much input as I can get from people I trust who LOVE what they do. (In fact, I would argue that the people we have serving on staff here at NewSpring Church love the particular area that they serve in WAY more than I do. Sure, they love the church, but the passion that God has given them for their area of ministry in the context of the local church is something that should not be ignored.)
So…it is foolish for me to make a decision about our campuses without first talking to the campus pastors. It is ridiculous for me to make decisions about songs without consulting our worship leaders. It is flat out stupid for me to make children's ministry decisions without talking to our children's team. Why? Because they LOVE Jesus, they LOVE this church, they LOVE their area of ministry and, at the end of the day want to see a HUGE "W" chalked up for the Kingdom.