Jeff Bogue, president of CE National and lead pastor of Grace Church of Greater Akron, gives tips and advice for leading your church and ministry well.

Go First

We use the phrase “go first” in our staff creed at CE National and at Grace Church. “Go first” means I should never ask, as a leader, anyone to do something that I am not willing to do or, even better, that I have not done already. I am the first over the hill and I am asking you to come with me and not to do it instead of me. I’m setting the example of sacrifice. I’m setting the example of doing what’s right. I’m setting the example of godliness in faith. I want you to come with me, not go instead of me.

Church leadership will often ask people to sacrifice in ways that the pastor isn’t willing to sacrifice. We’ll ask people to do things like share their faith when we’re not doing that ourselves, with our peers.

In the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, people need steady, consistent leadership. People need to know that people not only feel and recognize their faith but will participate in it.

Here at Grace Church we had to make cutbacks financially. Part of that was taking a pay cut. I thought it was important that our staff do that because our people are doing that. We actually do need them to give sacrificially to continue our ministry here. But it means that we need to sacrifice too. So that was an opportunity to “go first”.