Leadership is Tough

And, it’s not something you learn in the classroom.

I love working with leaders, but I’m especially interested in giving my life away to emerging generations of leaders as they learn to tackle the complexities of ministry leadership. Leading a church or any ministry that longs to make a kingdom impact in a changing world takes serious leadership game. Without robust skills, strategies, and spiritual authority, ministry will eat your lunch and break your heart.

A bazillion of us ministry types were trained to focus on content, but not trained to lead. At Bible College or Seminary, we were taught Greek, Hebrew, Bible, Theology, and a host of “__ologies.” But, leadership is learned in the trenches.

As a result, me and my colleagues have spent decades learning the hard way. Slogging our way through the trenches, foraging about in the weeds, often fumbling the ball while we had to figure out how to lead people effectively and how to thrive personally while we did it.

aboutLEADING is dedicated to giving away lessons from and for the trenches of real-world leadership. In this space, you will find ideas, insights, resources, and even the occasional twisted view on the humor of life. It is stuff you can use. Everything you will find here comes out of the hard knocks of personal experience and the result of walking with other leaders for decades.

Posts and resources you’ll find on this site should be valuable to anyone in a leadership role, but the bullseye of my focus is the emerging generations of men and women who get up every day to create a new day for the church–a movement of disciples who will live as missionaries in the places they call home.

One insight, one idea, one conversation at a time, aboutLEADING is a resource to help you and those you influence thrive as agents of the kingdom.

My Back Story…

Back in the early 70’s, my wavy hair was well past my shoulders. My beach tan was semi-permanent. And, my experience of the church was anything but compelling. Jesus seemed like a religious figure who had little to offer to people who lived in the real world. I had grown up going to church with my parents. I was a lifer. But, I saw the church as a country club gathering of friends rather than a community that was passionate about following the author of life or making a difference in the world. (By the way, my now-adult children have always found those pictures of my long hair to be hysterical.)

As a college freshman, Jesus turned my life upside down.

The God of the universe became tangible, accessible, real, and undeniable to me. He literally changed everything about everything that mattered. My grand plan to become an architect faded away. I wanted to spend my life helping as many people as possible discover a life-altering relationship with Jesus. I wanted to see churches become the engine of hope we were meant to be. I wanted a generation of disciples to become consumed by the presence and mission of Christ.

So, I changed career plans. I transferred to Bible College. I went to Seminary–in fact, three of them. And I became a pastor. For twenty years I served in pastoral ministry in local churches. But, the thing is, I have always had this call to serve as a catalyst to the church broadly, not just to one at a time. Now, for the past twenty years, I have served as a mentor, trainer, coach, and missionary-partner to pastors, church planters, and ministry leaders around the world.

Along the way, I discovered that leading the church is one of the most complicated leadership assignments on earth. The church is the ultimate volunteer organization. Ministry leaders have to cast vision, lead change, motivate people, shape and sustain ministry direction, recruit and manage staff, enlist and equip volunteers, raise funds, innovate programs, exegete culture, and so much more.

The raw stuff of leadership wasn’t the curriculum of my academic education. It’s the stuff I had to learn in the trenches of daily responsibility. And, I’m not alone.

Two weeks ago, I was on the phone with a church planter I’ve known for a decade. He is an amazing guy. Honest. Passionate. Transparent. Gutsy. A pioneer among pioneers. We chatted for a while about the challenges of ministry he was facing and then he said it this way, “Nobody out there is helping a guy like me with the challenges of leadership in a setting like mine.”

I long to shape the church–in all of its forms—in order to fuel movements of new disciples, new expressions of the church, and transformed communities. To see that happen, leaders of amazing skill and spiritual authority are needed.

And not just any leaders. We need a flood of leaders from emerging generations who will lead the way into an emerging world. And, we need to give our lives away to those amazing men and women.

That’s the point of this website. I believe it is my core assignment for the next twenty years

I am going to try to put words to the lessons of life and leadership God has gone to great lengths to teach me. I will post articles, create podcasts, post the occasional video, share resources I have created, and—from time to time—pass on things others have given me permission to share.

So, welcome to the first new post in the re-Launch of aboutLEADING.com
Subscribe. Contact me. I’d like to learn from you.

Gary Mayes