By Carey Nieuwhof
When I look back at 25 years of leading my church, there have been times I’ve felt so discouraged and so frustrated that I almost wrote my resignation letter. I either felt like we weren’t making enough progress or felt like the progress we were making wasn’t happening fast enough.
But I also found that during the seasons I felt the most discouraged were usually followed by a big breakthrough. Then our church would reach more people, see more baptisms, and experience growth.
Leader, don’t quit. I am convinced that most leaders are tempted to quit moments before their critical breakthrough. This principle is pretty simple to understand, yet hard to live out.
Create an Encouragement File
So how do you make sure that you don’t quit at the wrong time? Sometimes you are called to move on and you have to discern that. One thing I’ve learned is to never quit on a bad day. Spend time in prayer. Consult with godly friends. Maybe God has called you to move on. But, most of the time, we want to quit just because we’ve had a bad day or a bad week.
To combat those discouraging days, I created an encouragement file. We often remember the critical emails we receive and frustrating conversations we have, and we often forget the encouraging ones. So gather all your encouraging correspondence in a file folder or digitally. It’ll probably be larger than you think. Then, when you have a bad day, you can go back through that file and remember the ways God is working through your church and in the lives of your people.
Don’t Go It Alone
Medical researchers are learning that isolation and loneliness are almost as damaging to your health as smoking cigarettes. Don’t go it alone. Get friends close to you. Let them in on your leadership struggles and live in community, not in isolation. Doing so will make a huge difference for you.
Soon you’ll begin to see change, and change leads to transformation. But remember to keep changing. Change is never done. When you stop changing, you stop growing as a leader and even perhaps as a church. The greatest enemy of your future success is your current success. Success makes you conservative. You must keep innovating. You must keep changing. You must keep trying new things. Don’t quit.
Check out Carey’s exclusive Ministry Grid leadership courses here.