When I think about my time serving under Bill Hybels or my Leadership Residency under Dave Ferguson or my conversations learning from Bob Bouwer, I’ve noticed how much they’ve innovated due to how little they’ve imitated.
Bill is Bill. Dave is Dave. Bob is Bob. You are YOU!
You are the one God picked to lead your church. Let that sink in for a minute. Of all the leaders in the world that God could have chosen to start and lead your church, God chose you. Your church needs you to be you which is why imitation can be one of your greatest enemies. I have become ok with the fact that I will never be as intellectual as Tim Keller, strategic as Shane Farmer, built as Craig Groeschel or as good looking as Darren Whitehead…ok, that last one I take back, sorry Darren 🙂
Over the past 6 years of planting Mission Church, God has taken me on this journey of learning who I am and who I am not. That being said, this is a tension to manage because if we’re not careful we can use this as a license to stay who we are and where we are. Yes there is danger within imitation but there is also power within it as well. Let’s not fall into what I call the “singer songwriter syndrome”. You know what I’m talking about. That guy who says, “sorry brah…I only do originals”. Now don’t get me wrong, I applaud that but every once and awhile play some John Cougar Mellencamp for crying out loud!
Imitation can be an enemy but it can also be an ally because some of our biggest leadership breakthroughs are learned through the leadership of others. For example, why not imitate how great preachers prepare? Just recently I was given “Lectures To My Students On The Art Of Preaching” by C.H. Spurgeon and I was given that book by a man who has been preaching longer than I’ve been alive; my dad! As I flipped through that book and listened to the words of my dad, I grew.
You need to be you but you also need to glean the practices and methods of those who have gone before you. Sure, play your own stuff but every now and again throw in some Pink Houses 🙂 In his book Made in America, Sam Walton writes: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Sam never hesitated to copy a great business strategy and I think it’s safe to say things worked out pretty well for him.
Currently, there are 4 ways that I am gleaning from other leaders these days:
- The NewThing Network
- The Global Leadership Summit
- The Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast
- Leadership Network Pastors Group
The first three are conferences you’ve heard of and hopefully attend, not to mention an amazing leadership podcast. The fourth is a 2 year cohort that I began this past fall. It has been invaluable to journey with other lead pastors who are growing and gleaning in similar ways.
Keep me posted on how I can add value to your church planting journey. Don’t hesitate to send me the challenges you are facing as well as questions you are asking.
I’m here to help!