Here are the 19 leadership principles I learned from North Point in no particular order:
1) Clarify the Win
Even the best team can’t score if it can’t find home plate. Defining one simple win for every level of your leadership team creates unity and efficiency. For more listen to this podcast.
2) Think Steps not Programs
3) Narrow the Focus
The longer a ministry operates, the more complex it becomes. We naturally gravitate toward complexity. In order to maintain a winning organization, we must continually face the challenge of narrowing its focus. For more, listen to this podcast.
4) Teach Less for More
People are bombarded by thousands of messages every week. If the local church is going to be effective, it must cut through the noise. It must learn to say only what needs to be said to the people who need to hear it. For more, listen to this podcast.
5) Listen to Outsiders
Why don’t the unchurched people in your area go to church? Could it be because you’re focusing on who you’re trying to keep instead of who you’re trying to reach? For more, listen to this podcast.
6) Replace Yourself
We are all replaced eventually. The wisest leaders will extend their influence by finding and mentoring their replacements. For more, listen to this podcast.
7) Work On it
All of us work in ministry every day, but is that enough? Working on your ministry requires time to evaluate your work and to celebrate your wins. While working in it, don’t forget to work on it. For more, listen to this podcast.
(These first 7 principles are from the book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. I believe EVERY church staff team would benefit from working through this book together. You can buy it HERE.)
8) You’re Not Responsible to Fill Their Cup. You’re Only Responsible to Empty Your Cup.
You will never feel qualified to be a mentor because you know you don’t have all of the answers. However, if you’re slightly further down the road than someone, you can be their mentor as long as you embrace this principle: You’re not responsible to fill their cup – you’re only responsible to empty your cup. Someone else will help fill their cup.
9) Vision Leaks
Sharing a vision and putting it on your website is only the beginning. As the leader you must cast a vision convincingly, regularly, and personally. “Anytime there’s communication (announcements, messages, emails, social media) share ‘here’s what we’re doing, here’s why we’re doing it, & here’s how you can be a part’” – Andy Stanley.
10) Leadership is a Stewardship, It’s Temporary & We’re Accountable
“What do you do when it dawns on you that you’re the most powerful person in the room?” When we’re in that moment, Jesus teaches us to look for ways to leverage our power to benefit the other people in the room.
11) Do For One What You Wish You Could Do For All
The more successful you are in ministry, the less accessible you will become. Temptation: Use success as an excuse to be more inaccessible than necessary. You can’t shut it all out and you can’t take it all in. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. Go deep rather than wide! Go long-term rather than short-term. Go time, not just money. Always find yourself doing for one!
12) Choose to Cheat
When balancing work and family you will regularly cheat one for the other. The question isn’t “Will you cheat?” but “Which will you cheat?” This principle challenges us to cheat the right things.
13) Challenge the Process
When hiring Andy suggests, “hire young and hire smart.” One of the great assets churches have is new and young staff. As a result, churches should create a system and culture that encourages them to “challenge the process”.
14) Manage the Tension
Our immediate reaction is “If there’s a tension, let’s resolve it.” However, some tension is necessary for churches to grow. For example, you want to evangelize and discipleship. If people are telling you that the church is “too evangelistic” while others are saying the church is “over-focused on discipleship” then you are probably where you need to be. This isn’t a tension that needs to be resolved but managed. The art of leadership is recognizing which tensions need to be resolved and which need to be managed.
15) Better Before Bigger
“I’m tired of people wanting to get bigger. If we get better our customers will demand we get bigger.” – Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A. Focus on making the ministry better and your parishioners will demand it become better.
16) Love the Mission. Be infatuated with the Model.
How do you get people to embrace change? Keep them in love with the mission and nothing else. The mission never changes. Your model, programs, staff, and ministries will. Warning: Anytime we create something, we automatically give it more value than we should. The “what” of our mission will last forever. The “how” is always temporary. HERE are 6 ways to love the mission more than the model.
17) Unexpressed Gratitude is Perceived Ingratitude
Creating and modeling gratitude creates generosity. It’s hard to stop and recognize what God’s doing through those around you. Even those who are “on the payroll” are volunteers. We don’t own anyone. Unexpressed gratitude is perceived ingratitude.
18) Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Have goals and work hard. But remember that we’re all dependent on others and the many variables that we have no control over. So remember, it’s not all because of your abilities.
19) What Gets Rewarded Gets Repeated
Whatever is celebrated in staff meeting, elder’s meeting, luncheons and “water cooler conversations” will be repeated. We may say we value life-change but if we primarily celebrate numbers, everyone will work toward numbers.