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10 Hard Lessons from Decades of Failures and Mistakes: Part 2

Posted on December 3rd, 2019

We pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Before we introduce this week’s podcast, we want to remind you that today is Giving Tuesday.

At EHD, we are seeking to raise $10K to fund the translation of our resources into Spanish to reach the 477 million Spanish-speakers worldwide. With your help, we can multiply deeply changed disciples all around the world!

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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 numbers six through ten of “10 Hard Lessons” I learned in my first 21 years of serving as Lead Pastor at New Life in Queens, NYC. My hope was that future generations of leaders, like yourself, would prayerfully re-read them before God and not repeat our costly mistakes.

When I unexpectedly found this document buried in my files, I was amazed at the timelessness of these hard lessons. Last week, I explored the first five:

1. Character is more important than gifting.
2. Do not rush.
3. Leaders need to take responsibility and initiative for their own development.
4. Clarity of vision brings about unified leadership.
5. Extended Sabbatical rest releases new, life-giving initiatives from God.

In this week’s podcast, I explore the final five:

6. Face the truth and act on it, even if it hurts. Walking in truth requires great courage, humility, along with a bountiful supply of grace and power from God!

7. Enforce your values, being careful not to dilute them. When we compromised on them out a desire to grow quickly, we paid a high price. Our integrity, long-term mission, and effectiveness were all damaged.

8. Bridging race, culture, class, and gender barriers requires we remain open to new learnings, be self-reflective, and consistently question our current assumptions. We are all beginners in addressing the massive divisions that have separated peoples inside, and outside the church, for thousands of years.

9. Be faithful to your charism (i.e. grace) that is uniquely yours from God. Eagerly learn from other streams and ministries but be content in your particular gift from God.

10. Intentional mentoring of individuals is key to bearing long-term fruit and stability. This requires time, patience, perseverance, and a laser focus. Leading organizations and ministries are important, but nothing will ever take the place of life-on-life discipleship.


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