Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Relationships

It’s natural to avoid a tough moment, an awkward conversation, or difficult decision.

Nobody likes the stress, pain and pressure of courageous leadership – in the moment.

However, most of us can recount times where we fretted for dozens of hours or weeks or even months of stress, attempting to delay or avoid taking responsibility for a leadership conversation that must occur.

It may have been that moment you had to let someone go. Or you were walking into a tension filled meeting. Perhaps you had to tell someone they would not receive the funding they wanted, or the promotion they desired. Maybe it was time to declare the new vision you had in your heart. We all know those moments.

When a leader refuses to take responsibility in a tough moment, he or she loses leadership. If you do that often enough, over time, you will no longer be the leader. The person who will step up becomes the leader.

Sleepless nights can be replaced with one tough conversation. It’s not easy, but it needs to happen.

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We’ve all received hurtful emails.

We’ve all received email that makes our mouth drop open and say “What?!” Here’s a real email I received a few years ago.

Thanks so much for canceling church services on Sunday 12/25. You’re helping me win the war to make Christmas just another day. Why let that Jesus guy get in the way of presents and Santa? Great decision. Now if I can get the Baptists and Catholics on board!

In your debt,


Yes, this is a wildly “out there” example, but it’s a real email. And it’s my only one from Satan!

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More people in your life than time to see them is a fortunate tension.

The tension is a blessed one because we’re fortunate to be loved, needed, wanted or candidly, have anyone seek us out and want some time. That’s not overly self-deprecating, it’s a healthy perspective.

As leaders, we’re blessed to be helpful to others. It’s a privilege to get to encourage, care for, and develop people. And it’s fun just to enjoy these moments as well!

It’s a dangerous thing when a leader begins to see people as an interruption, a problem or “one more ask.”

But we do need to be honest about the tension.

One of the greatest challenges of a leader is to make people decisions. You just can’t see everyone.

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Even good leaders can have bad habits.

There are some scary truths about bad habits that hinder our ability to break them.

  • Scary truth #1: Sometimes we really don’t see the habit. (We need a friend to tell us.)
  • Scary truth #2: Sometimes we justify the habit because of heavy pressure or high productivity.
  • Scary truth #3: Sometimes we kind of like the habit, and we don’t want to stop.
  • Scary truth #4: Sometimes we’ve lived the habit so long, it becomes a lifestyle we adapt to.
  • Scary truth #5: Sometimes those around us let us off the hook when they should call us on it.
  • Scary truth #6: Sometimes we minimize and dismiss it because it’s not a “sin.”

One bad habit of mine is that I often run about 5 minutes late to a meeting, sometimes even 10 or more. It really is a bad habit. Being late doesn’t convey how much I value and care about the person who is waiting. It puts me in a rushed state of mind, and it communicates that maybe it’s OK for others to be late.

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