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12 tough church leadership lessons I’ve had to learn


Akin-John Francis Bamibola

Over the years, I’ve been writing about leaders, pastors and churches. And having spent some time thinking about my own leadership, here are 12 tough leadership lessons I’ve had to learn . . . at least up to now. I’m sure I have more to learn.

• I’m replaceable. Whether I like it or not, I can’t hold God to ransom.

• Organisations go on without me. In fact, they might even be stronger after I’m gone.


• It can be lonely. Especially when you lose friends because of leadership decisions you’ve made.

• I can’t fix everything. Only Jesus can do that.

• People will misjudge you. It’s almost unavoidable when you know more details than they do (and usually can’t divulge them), but they judge you on the basis of what they think they know.

• It can cost you sleep, even if no one else is worried about whatever bothers you. You may be the only one awake, but that’s part of leadership.

• You can’t always be confidential. When lives or safety are at stake, you have to make hard choices.

• The underbelly of organisations is not always pretty. What looks so cool on the outside isn’t always so great on the inside.

• Your family might get caught in the tough moments of leading. No matter how hard you try to shield them, the arrows sometimes still hit them.


• Your absolute best won’t be good enough for some people. That’s just the way it is, I’m afraid.

• You can’t outrun your calling. If God’s called you to lead, you can’t ignore it.

• All the “stuff” you have to deal with is worth it when one life is changed. It might take a few changed lives to understand that lesson, but it’s right.

What tough church leadership lessons have you learned?

Dr. Bola Akin-John
International Church Growth Ministry 08023000714

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