Lead Now


Lovett H. Weems, Jr., writes clergy must focus clearly and passionately on those they are serving now, rather than hoping for something better in the future.

An unfortunate tendency for many leaders is to live mentally and emotionally in some future leadership assignment. As a local church pastor for much of my ministry, I remember well how tempting it was to live in my next appointment. It is so easy to say, “When I get a larger church, I will .… When I get to the city .… When I have only one church .… When I have a staff .…”

A much more productive mindset for clergy is to think about the church you would most like to serve — not by name but by characteristics. Then, get up every day determined to work toward making your current church into the one you most seek. What may happen is that over a period of years, you may serve many different churches (as the current church changes) without ever having to move.

I drove by a storefront church of a denomination with a “call” system for clergy. Suddenly I realized how great an incentive that pastor had to get to know the children on the street and to visit the people near the church. That pastor was not part of a system that would reward simply being there a few years. Such a pastor is not nearly so likely to lapse into living in the next church. Those of us in an appointive system of clergy placement must discipline our own minds to focus clearly and passionately on those whom we have the opportunity to serve now.

What if it does not work? What if things do not change? Even if things do not improve, you will always know that you gave the best leadership you had to give to that congregation as a faithful servant of God. As Orson Swett said: Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great ….

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About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.

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