5 Things That Hold Leaders Back

As the leadership goes, so goes the team, business, project, or church. If this is true, which I believe it is, then how is the church you serve and lead at going?

Could it be characterized as a community of disciples, focused on the great commission and the great commandment?

Or could it be characterized as a community of strife, gossip, backstabbing, politics, and manipulation?5 Things That Hold Leaders Back

Maybe the problems are deeply embedded in the community and have existed way before you arrived. To turn the ship around, you’re going to have to raise your leadership capacity and be patient.

Maybe the problems are due to a lack of vision, for the people perish without vision (Proverbs 29:18).

Despite what problems your church faces, there are some things that may be holding you back as a leader. If you can get past these things, you’ll be more effective as a leader and equipped to work through the problems that are present in your church.

5 Things That Hold Leaders Back

1. Unconfessed Sin

All people, leaders or not, need accountability. Unconfessed sin adds hundreds of pounds to the weight you are carrying. Leading comes with a level of weight, but trying to lead while you have unconfessed sin on your back is impossible. 

Find someone to meet with on a consistent basis who will spur you on to good works – who will be the person you can confess your sin to. 

Recently, Carey Nieuwhof convincingly made the case that “character—far more than skill set—determines how deeply and passionately people follow you.” 

2. Lack of Learning

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times: leaders are learners. Whether you agree with it or not, there is something to be said about learning and leading. If you are not learning, how do you expect to lead in an ever-changing culture? Churches are typically 20 years behind the world on various things. Some churches still don’t have a functional website. What’s holding them back from getting it done? A lack of learning. It’s not hard, it just takes the willingness to learn.

If you are a leader who communicates from the stage then improving your communication skills is vital. In fact, even if you aren’t a leader who communicates from the stage, you would still benefit greatly at improving your communication skills. How many times do you lead a meeting? Do you ever write emails? These things take communication skills and being a constant learner will keep your leadership from being held back.

3. Lack of Action

At the end of the day, did you put those ideas into motion? At the end of the day, did you turn what you have learned into something? 

If you just spend your time learning and brainstorming then you’re going to fail at leading. Once you’ve spent the time researching, brain storming, and debating, it’s time to act. 

4. Lack of Clarity

Clarity is vital to leading well. A lack of clarity creates a lack of direction and a lack of direction leads to missing the mark. If you set great goals that were bathed in prayer and they have the greatest of intentions, but you don’t effectively create clarity around the goal for others, you’re going to have a hard time arriving at the desired destination. 

Just because you are clear in your own mind with the what and the how of the goal doesn’t mean others will have that same clarity. You have to get crystal clear on where the ministry is going and where everyone fits within that direction. 

5. Lack of Trust

Want to earn the trust of the people you are leading? 

Lead them by serving them. Get your hands dirty and show them that you truly care about them. 

When you build trust, people will follow you. If you don’t build trust, people will hang back while you seemingly walk away. You’ll look back, expecting to see them following and you’ll find that you are all alone.

What else?

Beyond these 5 things, what would you add? What else holds leaders back?

What did I miss? Leave a comment below. I’d love hear your thoughts!

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Spiritual Development Pastor at a fast growing church in Batavia, Ohio, called The Crossing. Among the many things he does at The Crossing, serving on the teaching team is one of them. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.