How to Earn Leadership

The other day I was able to sit down with 4 sharp new residents to get to know them and share some thoughts about how to succeed at our church. I always love the chance to sit down and talk with new residents because I am a beneficiary of the Residency program at 12Stone Church.

The Residency is a 2-year leadership-training program where young leaders work alongside and are mentored by pastors at 12Stone. When I started back in 2004 I had no idea how important the program would be for my ministry development.

The trajectory of my ministry is different (for the better) because of my time as a resident. That is why I have great passion to see young up and coming pastors in the program get off to a good start.

Now when new residents start in the program they are coming fresh with no leadership influence in our church. They are young, have a wide-open calendar and a whole lot of idealism. One of the most common questions I get from new residents is, “how do I get influence here at 12Stone?” They want a seat at the table, they want people to notice them and invite them into opportunities.

The desire for a seat at the table sits within all of us. It is not just these young pastors who want their voices to be heard. Whether you are a new staff member at a church or a new volunteer on a team; we all have a desire to gain influence and make a difference.

There are many factors that go into gaining influence, but I believe there are 3 key traits that allow a person to earn influence ahead of the curve. Develop these 3 traits and you will see opportunities open up wherever you serve:

  1. PromptnessShowing up on time is table stakes in a relationship; if you want to impress – be early. (click to tweet) People do not notice when you arrive on time, they notice when you are already there when they arrive. When working with people there is almost always a schedule – be ahead of the schedule and arrive places a little earlier than needed.
  1. Willingness – Opportunities come at the most random of times for new leaders. You never know when one “yes” could be a domino into other opportunities; so learn to say yes as often as possible. (click to tweet) Young leaders – the only people you “have to” say yes to is the people in your up line (supervisor and etc.…), but it would be foolish to say no to anyone else who asks for help. Show a willingness to take opportunities as they come.
  1. Diligence – Work hard at whatever you are given, and seek to over-deliver. If you are asked to meet with someone this month, see if you can connect with him or her this week. If you are given a project due by Thursday go ahead and get it accomplished today. Figure out what your leader expects from you and go beyond that. (click to tweet)

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