TD Jakes Tells Church Leaders 'If You're Not Making Any Change, You're Taking Up Space'

Critical self-introspection is necessary in order to be an effective leader, Bishop T.D. Jakes said during the 2014 International Pastors and Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla.. The megachurch pastor added that an individual's effectiveness can only be measured by how much they multiply their gifts and talents.

"If God gave you two or five talents and He comes back and you still have what he gave you, you didn't lead…if you're not making any change, you're taking up space," said Jakes during the conference Friday.

Aimed at helping leaders strengthen their church infrastructure, Jakes' message focused on reevaluating the qualities that make an individual influential. He also urged attendees to ask themselves three questions when self-assessing.

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"What drives you? What disturbs you? Because what disturbs you might be an indicator of what drives you…don't work in an area that doesn't disturb you when it's wrong or doesn't drive you to get it right," said Jakes.

He added, "What do you disturb? When you walk in somewhere, what do you change? Are you the pebble that was thrown in to the pond that never made a ripple?  Your presence should disturb the tranquility of the moment…change some things, stop being so passive."

While speaking about introspection, he also said leaders, regardless of their position in church, should be able to identify what makes them different from other individuals. Furthermore, he urged participants to ask themselves what they offer to people that others do not.

Jakes noted that an individual will not effectively lead a church or anything else for that matter, without remaining loyal to their core values.

"How much of whom you are permeates what you do?," asked Jakes. "Your ministry should be a mirror of what God put in your spirit…you have to peel away the camouflage…you can't transform outwardly into something you are not inwardly."

When an ineffective leader is at the helm of an organization, the people whom they lead tend to take after them, according to Jakes. He gave the example of pastor's personalities and how their church members are prone to behave like them.

"I know from years of being an evangelist that churches take on the personality of their pastors. An arrogant church has an arrogant pastor. I don't even need to meet the pastor, I start with the person who meets me at the airport…I've already met the pastor through the people who represent him," said Jakes, while noting that unsuccessful leadership also fails to foster people that are meant to fulfill the gospel's mission onto the world.

He also pressed upon church leaders to begin change with themselves before thinking about revolutionizing their congregations, cities and communities, while noting that churches are prone to embrace a negative culture if they have a passive pastor.

"Once a culture gets into a church, it takes years to change and you can't teach it out. Sometimes you have to let people go so the culture can get down to something that you can straighten out," said Jakes.

The 2014 International Pastors and Leadership Conference included other notable speakers including Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Australia, Bishop Charles E. Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and more.

In addition to leadership discussions, the event focused on technology, fine arts and administrative support within the church. 

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