5 Leadership Hacks: Practical ways to thrive (not just survive) in Ministry

A leadership hack is practical way(s) to go further faster into the call of God over you. Not only that, I am able to write this for you because, after 17 years of ministry, I AM SIMPLY. STILL. HERE! Still loving God. Still loving people,. Still loving ministry. This is the heart of this post - to help you with some leadership + ministry hacks that could help you grow + influence your ministry further, faster + not blindside you personally. Here they are:

Get a mentor

Too often we wait for a mentor rather than find one. Don’t wait! Pray, ask, look for a mentor… AND if you can’t find one, you can learn from everyone and anything. Don’t wait! Be a learner of who you want to be, who you don’t want to be, and be intentional. Ask good questions.

Get a budget

If you want to thrive, not just survive, in ministry you need a budget. I know that putting a budget together makes little sense when you can barely live on it, but a budget helps build a plan for you to get creative and allow God to work (because He will provide for you).

Pay off debt

This is a big one! Take care of your debt. Most pastors don’t take a hack at this one and it limits their potential and calling. Some will tell you that ministry education is too much (link here) or that it is necessary BUT I think there is a simple solution – work! Work on the side, build a side income with your hobbies, or write! Do what it takes to pay off debt because it will set you up in the future.

Deal with your stuff, NOW (or it will slowly kill you in the future)

A great leader said that each of us have an average of 3.4 blindspots in our lives. That leader, ironic enough, was Bill Hybels (GLS, Session One, 2015). Nevertheless, we all have them. You need to understand your blindspots and be able to allow God’s Spirit to refine and heal you OR they will blindside you. Mentors, personality assessments, personal sin patterns, insecurity realities will all show you where your blindspots are… don’t let pride sideswipe you! Your call + His mission is too important. 

Think long term

Look at ministry in the long haul… anything worthwhile takes time. Don’t change things too early, push people, become territorial in your leadership. Work with people, build trust, love as Christ loves you… you’ll be amazed what God does in your ministry when you love people well for the long haul with no strings attached.

Bringing it home:

  • Do you have an active, intentional mentor in your life? If not, why not consider what people are saying about #ANEWME.

  • What passion, hobby, and/or skill you have to make a side hustle to help meet your needs as a young pastor/worker?

  • What are your blindspots? If you don’t know, who can tell you yours (aka your spouse, good friend, mentor, parent, pastor)?

Practical Ideas

  1. 50/30/20 principle - 50% housing, 30% living, 20% saving/giving - budget,

  2. Shop at Thrift stores (this one is great),

  3. Meet with your mentor once a month,

  4. Journal every day,

  5. Get a weekly “admin” sheet,

  6. Reflect on highs, lows, challenges, joy, and lessons/week,

  7. Have a hobby AND stick with it,

  8. Eat healthy (drink 4L of water/day, stay away from pop, eat whole foods),

  9. Meet up with your leader/month for coffee + you pay for it. Ask good questions to learn from him/her,

  10. Educate yourself, beyond podcasts/friends/socials, take a class and grow beyond your preferences,

  11. Discipline yourself to rhythms in your schedule,

  12. Pray! Not for stuff or for “things” God to do for you… but to listen… to quiet yourself - let God renew you,

  13. NEVER decide to quit after your youth event/program/retreat/service,

  14. Find good friends that do life with you… that you can be REAL with. Side note, sometimes this is BEST outside of your church context,

  15. Find a counsellor to speak life into you with an objective viewpoint,

  16. Know your blindspots - it is ok to embrace your humanity because if don’t, you will get blindsided. In other words, please be honest with yourself!

  17. Have an annual self-leadership plan,

  18. Read a book once a week or monthly. I would encourage a book on leadership, shepherding, and management/month (or listen to it),

  19. Challenge yourself EVERY DAY,

  20. Use Quicken (an online budgeting program). It is GREAT!

  21. Looking for more practical ways to thrive, not just survive in ministry, feel free to connect with me ANYTIME and/ or add to the convo below.

Keep leading well! Don’t just survive, thrive!