Three Battles Inside Every Leader

Leaders who are fully engaged in their mission fight battles.

There is no way to avoid battles if you want to make progress consistently.

New territory is never easy, and it always comes at a price.

Life never grants a free ride, and leaders don’t receive a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to solving serious problems.

The good news is that we don’t fight alone. God brings His presence, power, and favor to the mix, but He never removes the human element.

The realities of our humanity require us to face a variety of problems such as financial pressures, staff issues, misalignment of vision and values, and the list goes on. These are very real issues, but they all occur in the outward realm.

The most common battles we face are inner battles. Sometimes they are about everyday stuff and easily conquered. If left untended for long periods of time, however, they can take a leader out.

It’s best to identify it and devote intentional effort to defeat it through wise counsel, prayer and practical steps of action.

Here are the Top 3 Inner Battles, not listed in any specific order:

1) Distraction

It’s not uncommon to become distracted in ministry. Leaders are often pulled in a number of directions at one time. If we are not centered, focused and intentional in our work it’s easy to get pulled away from the most productive priorities.

It’s best to first identify the source of distraction. It can come in a number of forms from things such as health issues, lack of intentional focus and discipline, family struggles, feeling overwhelmed and even sometimes boredom. Yes, leaders can be busy but be under-challenged and bored.

It may seem counter-intuitive to put more time into the issue of distraction, but as long as you are focused on a positive solution, that’s the best way to beat it.

2) Discouragement

I don’t think I’ve met a church leader who hasn’t experienced discouragement. Candidly the Enemy loves this one the most. If he can get leaders discouraged, and convince them that God isn’t with them, he can strike a huge blow to the church.

Discouragement often comes when you are overtired and overwhelmed. Discouragement often finds its mark when your perspective becomes skewed. When you think things like you are in it alone, no one cares, and nothing is working.

Take some time to rest, think and play. Get some time with a trusted friend to help you see more clearly. God is with you and you are doing something that matters!

3) Divided-Heart

This usage of the term “divided-heart” refers to when a leader is unclear about their calling, passion, and purpose.

When a leader is unsure of what their job or career should be, they can become dual-minded which results in being internally conflicted. The end result is the feeling of being pulled in two directions. No leader can sustain this for a long period of time.

This is very different than prayerfully dreaming about your future and what God has in store for you. A divided-heart is when you are truly not clear about what you are supposed to do in the present.

If this is the case, don’t panic, but don’t set it aside to deal with it “later.” You can blink and a year has gone by! Set aside some extended time to think, pray and seek wise counsel.

Ultimately this will come to a decision-making process. Please read this post for help in practical decision-making.

If you are distracted, discouraged, or have a divided-heart, take comfort in knowing you are walking in familiar territory for leaders. You can beat this. Don’t give up. Take a first step today.

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Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
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comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
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