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Don’t Be the Bottleneck

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Effective lead pastors must learn how to lead larger.

I love helping churches uncover growth opportunities! And oftentimes, while leading churches through this strategic process, I uncover something else. A bottleneck! The dictionary defines a bottleneck as a point of congestion or blockage. As the lead pastor, you must continually develop as a leader or you risk becoming the bottleneck for your church’s growth.

Effective lead pastors learn how to lead larger by continuing to grow, challenge and develop their own leadership skills and by making necessary leadership shifts along the way.

Leadership Shift

The first leadership shift takes place in what a lead pastor does on a daily basis.

Howard Hendricks, beloved professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, once said, "The secret of concentration is elimination." A true leader learns the art of elimination. Long before there were books written on this subject, I learned the art of elimination the hard way. While at a staff retreat, our worship pastor challenged me to stop trying to do all the things I thought were part of my job description. On a whiteboard, we listed everything I was responsible for at The Springs.

The list was twenty-seven items long. On another board, we made a list of what I needed to be doing, those specific things that only I am called to do. The list included only four items: teach, cast vision, lead the church, and pray for God's direction. I still vividly remember him standing up in that conference room and saying, "This is easy. You have to stop doing these twenty-three other things."

It was not easy. There were good things on that list, things a pastor was supposed to do. But it was a necessary shift for our continued growth. As a result, weddings are no longer on my "to-do ...

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