The new year is just around the corner.
What is your perspective for 2022?
Personally, I’m very hopeful. I’m praying for and anticipate a strong Kingdom advancing year.
I’m hopeful about 2022 because of how much we all have learned, how we’ve grown, the changes we made, and my faith in God who is for us and with us.
Jesus, Himself said, “. . . I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
That is reason enough for hope.
It’s not likely that 2022 will be easy, but really, when has advancing the Kingdom of God ever been easy? It’s just different levels of challenge, and your leadership mindset will play a big role in how well your church makes progress.
There will be unknowns in the road ahead, but consider what we have come through and how God has continued to change lives.
The people you lead need to know you have hope in the future. You don’t need to have all the answers, but you must be confident enough to point the way and lead the charge.
If your hope in the future is uncertain, take the next few weeks to ask God to help you get there. He holds the future and is in it with you.
If you want to boost your perspective about 2022, reflect on your calling, God’s purpose and faithfulness, and the joy of seeing life change.
Regardless of your thoughts about the coming year, this is a good season for reflection and preparation. (Post on that topic to come.)
For this post, let’s focus on some of the best ways to leverage your faith and leadership for life change, spiritual growth, and momentum for your church.
5 Ways To Lead For Best Results In 2022
1) Lead with relevance
Relevance does not mean watering down the gospel; instead, it’s about understanding how to interpret, communicate to, and connect with current culture.
Relevance recognizes the issues that bring tension and division and understands more than one viewpoint.
Our Christian biblical worldview must not be compromised, but it’s important to understand how others see the world to connect and lead effectively.
It’s not easy to lead above division, but it starts with understanding the playing field. And rather than taking sides, demonstrating grace when criticized, peace under pressure, and kindness to those in need.
- Relevance understands people’s fears.
- Relevance has compassion for the reasons why people are anxious.
- Relevance recognizes the things people worry about.
With that understanding in mind, we take scripture and communicate it in a way that brings truth to minds and hearts that are hungry for peace and a world that doesn’t always make sense.
2) Lead with empathy
Most leaders currently deal with elevated levels of prolonged stress. Not commonly debilitating, but if it continues long enough, the compounding nature can dull or even numb empathy to human need.
That’s never a good place to lead from.
Empathy is the ability, or at least the genuine attempt, to understand what someone else is feeling or what it’s like to be in their shoes.
You may never fully grasp what it means to walk in the steps of another’s pain, but that does not prevent you from leading from a place of empathy. You can feel enough to understand and make a connection.
Genuine empathy requires enough personal health and strength to engage another person’s troubles, the ability to slow down and listen, have some margin, and the disposition to do what you can.
Not easy, right? Exactly! That’s why genuine empathy can seem uncommon.
Empathy is nearly impossible to extend from a leader who is constantly on the go, dealing with an over-crowded calendar, stressed, and living a pressure-filled life.
If that is you, it doesn’t mean you don’t care; it means there isn’t enough margin left to connect through genuine empathy.
3) Lead with faith and conviction
God is with you, and He is for you; that is the foundation of your faith and fodder for all the conviction you need to lead with confidence.
You can lead with relevance, hospitality, and empathy, but at some point, direction comes into the mix.
People first decide if they want to be with you (if they like you,) but they soon want to know where you are going (can you help them go somewhere closer to a life they desire.)
You need faith and conviction to know that you are leading the church in the right direction.
Without a sense of vision and direction, even though they sense your relevance and know that you care, they will soon drift from merely attending.
Making it possible for each person to participate in something larger than they can see or realize on their own (vision) is essential to engagement.
4) Lead with truth
Almost daily, I hear this phrase, “I don’t know who or what to believe.”
The world is hungry for truth, and as a messenger of the gospel, you have the truth, and the truth will set people free.
We’ve always had “troubles.” Right?
Jesus, Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble.”John 16:33
He is undoubtedly right, no one debates this, but we are to be encouraged; Jesus has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
The problems we face never disappear, but the presence and power of God gets us through with peace. Of course, we can’t eliminate suffering, but we are not in it alone or without purpose.
When it comes to truth, clear over clever always wins.
Yes, being creative enough to reach people is needed, but if you want power in your ministry, make sure it’s fully grounded in scripture.
5) Lead with hospitality
The pandemic has made human connection and hospitality more challenging. A new year is a great opportunity to meet that challenge by helping all who attend feel comfortable, valued, and at home when they attend your church.
Not everyone, but a significant percentage of people who once attended church, have unquestionably become more distant, disconnected, and anxious about the future. When they do return, we must be ready with genuine hospitality.
When new guests attend your church in a physical building, they deserve (and the gospel deserves) the very best of your heartfelt hospitality.
It’s important to have organized teams and processes for your ministries.
From the parking lot experience to the initiative and intentionality of ushers and greeters to how well you follow up with the needs and questions of your guests, all are incredibly important.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The heart behind it matters even more. Do the guests who attend your church feel your love, do they know you care and do they sense they are valued? That will determine in large part if they return.
How would you assess the readiness of your hospitality teams?
My prayers are with you, and I hope this specific list of ways to lead well in 2022 is helpful to you!