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.

Practicing Self Leadership

“Practicing self-leadership” is a leadership idea that before I can lead anybody I have to lead myself.

I’ve found that, especially for newer leaders, this is an important principle.

In our culture, we grow up going to school. What is unique about school is that you don’t lead yourself. Someone is always telling you what to do. They’re always giving you assignments They set the schedule for you. Tell you whether you’re done or not, and they tell you how well you did on what you just finished.

When you transition to a professional life, you had better learn to be a self-leader pretty quick. You’re going to set your goals. You’re going to set your outcomes. You’re going to have to drive yourself forward.

I think ministry is like that in many ways. Being in ministry is kind of like being an entrepreneur. You are going to create your own work, come up with your own ideas, and you’re going to live off what you hunted down. Self-leadership is a big thing.

When I think about self-leadership I think of a person who learns new skills. I love the old phrase, “Every leader is a learner.” I’m learning new skills. I’m learning how to connect with people. I’m learning technology. I’m a person that has to learn to think in different paradigms.

This coronavirus pandemic that we’ve lived through, we had to change ministry paradigms very quickly. A leader does that. They’re not sitting around waiting for someone to say, “Now do this instead.”

As a self-leader I have to master my own schedule. I have to get up. I have to push myself. I have to fill my time with things that are of value. I have to create self-disciplines. Everything from exercise, to reading, to being disciplined in my thinking and time.

A leader is not a manager. Leaders do not maintain, hold the status quo, create a program and put it on repeat. We’re always pushing ourselves and those that we lead forward. Nobody is going to tell you to do that. Nobody is going to give you a syllabus. Nobody is going to give you a schedule. Nobody is going to say be at school at 7:45 and the last bell rings at 3.

We have to learn those skills and we have to drive ourselves forward in leadership of ourselves.