008 - 4 Practical Church Leadership Principles for Young Pastors - Leaders.Church


008 – 4 Practical Church Leadership Principles for Young Pastors

What’s in this Episode?

With everything changing so rapidly in society today, it’s easy to think that the way we lead must also change quickly. And if you’re a younger pastor, you might even wonder what principles of the past still apply in church leadership today. Well, in this episode, we’re going to look at four timeless principles to help you grow as a young leader in ministry.

Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:17
Hey, I gotta tell you, back in the day when I was in my 20s and 30s, yes, that was a day or two ago, I had a couple of guys that just kind of stumbled into this where these guys were CEOs in our community in Des Moines, Iowa. They both were believers, they both loved the Lord, and they were in the secular environment in large corporations. They’re both named Bob. So, Bob Houser was with the CEO of the principle group, and Bob Plunk was the President of Preferred Risk, which is now Guideone insurance. So every year I’d give those guys a, “Hey, Bob, Dick Hardy here.” And they knew of me, Bob Plunk, we were a client of theirs and Bob Houser just because of the community, we knew each other. And we would go grab breakfast or lunch. These guys always seem to want to do lunch. I’m a breakfast guy, but we did lunch. And I’d go out with these guys. And literally, we would just talk. Now, they were generally in their 50s. So they’re generally about 20, 25 years ahead of me. And I’m talking to them as executives in corporations that are way bigger and different than the church I was in. But I learned so much stuff. Why? Because I watched them lead. And no one went into those conversations thinking, “okay, I gotta learn this or I have to learn this,” but just in dialogue I would learn things. I remember sitting with a guy named Dell Kramer, who really felt like a mentor to me in those years. And just, you know, we would walk construction sites together, we would drive someplace together and just listening to him talk, it was unbelievable value. I will tell you, they didn’t contact me. I had to contact them. And that’s an absolutely critical part of what a young leader needs to do to be better is you’ve got to connect with people.

Principle #1: Find a Mentor

Dick Hardy 2:29
So we want to jump into some things today that we think will help you as you’re moving forward and grow in your own leadership skills. The very first thing is to do just what I did. Find a mentor, but I’m going to suggest to you, don’t call them that. So, you know, I’m not calling up Jonathan and saying, “hey, Jonathan, would you be my mentor?” Number one, that feels mechanical, and the kind of people you want to be with, they will in invest in you because they want to invest in young leaders, but they want it to make sense relationally. So, now, you could tell them, hey, I want to sit with you because you’re a day or two ahead of me, which is a nice way to say you’re old and I’m not, but if you want to be with those guys or gals, you have to initiate it. You want to meet with them maybe once a year, twice at maximum. Don’t abuse, the privilege of meeting with someone who’s a senior leader in an organization. When you’re with them, maximize it, but don’t think that every month you’re gonna get to go hang out.

Jonathan Hardy 3:38
Now what if they offer?

Dick Hardy 3:40
Certainly if they offer. That’s not gonna happen very often. Don’t assume that you can just tap into their time, all the time. Now, I will say too, when you meet with them, you’ve got to be prepared with things that you want to ask them. Sharp CEOs will throw things to you. And it will feel good when this chief executive is asking you questions, and they’re probing and everything. Well, that’s the reason they’re a CEO. Because they know, to ask questions, you need to act that way, and you’re firing the questions back and saying, listen, Bob, Bob, this is not about you know, I want to talk to you about you.

Jonathan Hardy 4:23
Yeah. And I think one of the things you can do is to have your questions written down or typed up. I mean, I remember back in high school and college time when I would meet with different pastors ask them questions. You’d even sit down with me and you’d help me. Okay. Well, what are the questions I need to ask these guys just because you’re going in, you want to maximize their time, and you want to have a purpose behind what you’re doing? And yeah, that’s really helpful. That’s good.

Dick Hardy 4:45
Second one, Jonathan.

Principle #2: Do Regular Self Examination

Jonathan Hardy 4:46
So the The second principle here we have to pay attention to is do regular self examination. Okay, do regular self examination. So here’s what we have to do. We have to look in the mirror and as a young leader, it’s important to constantly be looking in the mirror and not in a self negative, self criticism way but more in a how can I get better way. In a way that says, okay, these are the opportunities I have before me this is what I’m doing in ministry, this is where we’re at in life. Now, how can I get better as an individual and so maybe that means, you know, you’re looking at your life and saying, okay, you know what, I’m not really reading a lot of leadership books right now. Well, then start. Or whatever it might be, you have to be willing to look in the mirror. And part of that is developing your why. And this is something that you don’t hear. You hear about the concept of the why a lot, but you don’t hear about people talking about your individual why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? You know, is it because you felt like God spoke to you at one point in life and you knew that you knew that you knew you were supposed to be doing this? Well, if that’s your why, then you got to go back to that and you know, you have to remember that. But sometimes I think people go through life and they’re just you know, they’re working in ministry. They’re, you know, pastoring people and then they wake up one day, and they say, why am I doing this? And what how did I get here? How did this all happen? And so that’s why it’s important to be examining your life regularly, consistently. So you have this greater purpose of what God wants you to be doing. And it’s better to do it as a younger leader than it is to wait till you’re in your 40s and 50s. And you’re like, oh, man.

Jonathan Hardy 5:40
Why am I doing this?

Jonathan Hardy 6:22

Dick Hardy 6:23
Did I just waste a bunch of years?

Jonathan Hardy 6:24
Right, exactly. Figure out that why.

Principle #3: Be Self Aware

Jonathan Hardy 6:27
Right on the heels of that, the third principle I think we want to mention today is to be self aware. You know, we all have blind spots. We all have areas of weakness in our life. And if we’re not self aware, then those things just manifest themselves all the time. And we have to be careful not to let those things manifest themselves not to let those things be known and express that through our leadership. And it’s easy. I don’t know if you’ve seen this in your life, but I know that I’ve seen leaders that I’ve been following their weakness you know, people like have worked for over the years. They’ve got weaknesses, they have blind spots, too. And it’s easy to identify that in other people, but sometimes it’s harder to identify in your own life. And so that’s why sometimes it’s important to have someone close to you who can say, who you are 100% candid with and open with, and you’re allowing them to speak into your life. I mean, it could be your spouse, it could be a close friend, you know, just someone that you have that can say, “hey, I see this. And this appears to be a blind spot.” You’ve been that to me, you know, where you’re like, you know, saying, “hey, you know, have you thought about this?” And obviously, that’s a dad to son type thing that you’re able to do. But the fact is, you have to have someone who can do that. Exactly, you know, and so if it’s not a father, then it’s someone else, but you want to make sure that you have that self awareness, just as you lead in life.

Principle #4: Think Big

Dick Hardy 7:47
Exactly. Yeah, that’s a great third point. The fourth point, the final one we want to mention to you, and this is not an exhaustive list, friend, there’ll be many more, but the fourth one we want to talk to you about today is to think big. Don’t think small. So you’re a young leader, and young leaders tend to gravitate to thinking big anyway, that’s good. It’s as you get older, you tend to, you know, start shrinking down. Don’t allow that to happen. Always think big. I’ll tell you when I tell you the names of Edison, Rockefeller, Jobs, Gates, Musk, what is it about those names that says small to you? Nothing, absolutely nothing, because they thought big. They fired out big. And if you’re a young leader, you’re pastoring the church, God’s giving you something in your heart, think big, express big, and you’re going to see great things happen as a result of that.


Dick Hardy 8:50

So let’s do a little recap here of these four. Number one, things for you to do as a young leader, is to find a mentor, but don’t call them that. Number two, do regular self examination. Number three, be self aware. And number four, think big. When you do these things, you’re gonna see great things happen.

Dick Hardy 9:12
And I want to mention to you on that second point that Jonathan was referring, the self examination. You know, one of the things, if you haven’t done this, I really encourage you to take the Five Day Leadership Challenge, because in day two, we talk about the Law of the Mirror, we talk about self examination. It’s a free resource for you. Just type in Leaders.Church/challenge, and you can jump right into the challenge day one, you can do it today. Again, Leaders.Church/challenge, and take the five day Leadership Challenge. You’ll find it to be great value to you. Certainly, we encourage you to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re watching this. We’ve loved having you and we believe there are great days ahead for you as a young leader, take these things to heart, and you’re gonna see God do amazing things in your life. Anything to add to this Jonathan?

Jonathan Hardy 10:04
We’re good!

Dick Hardy 10:05
We’re good to go. Make it a great one today and be blessed.

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