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10 Hard Lessons from Decades of Failures and Mistakes: Part 1

Posted on November 26th, 2019

10 Hard Lessons from Decades of Failures and Mistakes: Part 1

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At the end of my 21st year at New Life Fellowship Church as Lead Pastor, our staff did a half-day exercise around the turning point lessons we had learned over those years. (A number of us in the room had been there since the beginning.). Over the next several weeks, I refined those lessons and, with the help of our elder board, edited them down into “10 Hard Lessons.”

In this podcast, I expand on five of those lessons birthed out of difficult labor, costly mistakes, and painful suffering. My hope was that future generations at New Life would prayerfully re-read before God and not repeat our mistakes.

When I unexpectedly found this document buried in my files, I was amazed at the timelessness of these hard lessons. My hope is that you will be reflective before God around your mistakes as well, taking the necessary time to capture insights, reflect theologically, and deeply learn the lessons that come out of our failures. I’m convinced it is one of God’s primary means to move us into a deeper level of maturity.

Here are the first five I explore in this podcast:

1. Character is more important than gifting. When we have overlooked issues of character, and humility, in particular, we have paid a price. (The power of God really is made perfect in our weakness.).

2. Do not rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land without taking the time to discern the pillar of cloud and fire on how to get there is foolishness.

3. Leaders need to take responsibility and initiative for their own growth and development. As leaders invest time in personal growth and development, they shape all those who look to them for leadership.

4. Clarity of vision brings about unified leadership and unified leadership reinforces the vision. This takes a lot of inner work, high differentiation, and significant time to get your core team on the same page with you, but the ripple effect is powerful and far-reaching.

5. Extended Sabbatical rest releases new, life-giving initiatives from God, enabling leaders to serve out of a cup that overflows. Rich fruit and change has always resulted in the larger work in, and through our pastor/leaders when they have stepped away for longer periods of time to be with God, and to listen to Him for an extended period of time.

Next week’s podcast will cover the remaining five lessons learned in the crucible of mistakes in our first twenty-one years.



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