In the past 25 years that I have been a church leader, I have heard many statements made by well-intentioned individuals that impaired their leadership. To be honest, I myself have made some of these mistakes more often than I would like to admit. As a young leader, I made these statements often and as I grew as a leader, I have learned to minimize the usage, but still have a long way to go.
#1: WE CAN'T DO THAT
This one frustrates me the most. I have seen so many Pastors that magnify their abilities over God's abilities. Let me be clear: If God tells you to do something that you alone cannot do, it's so that He alone can get the credit.
#2: IT WILL NEVER WORK
I have sat in so many think tanks and have heard this declaration time and time again. Creative ideas shouldn't only be heard, but attempted to. You won't know until you try.
#3: OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TRIED THAT BEFORE
Just because someone else has tried things that may have failed doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. It may not have for that person at that time, but it may be for you. Give it a shot.
#4. WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Too many leaders view themselves as growing and emerging. This can often put a leader in a place where they feel like they never arrive and question themselves and their time constantly.
#5. WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY
Money is the least of our concerns. God owns everything. A lack of resources forces creativity. Where there is a will, there's a way. Find a way to do it with less budget and resources.
#6. IT'S NOT MY FAULT
Leaders must always take the blame and share the success. The moment it turns in the other direction, the team will eventually implode. Every leader must "own" their part in every single decision that impacts their church.
#7. I'LL DO IT MYSELF
Leaders who go it alone will end up alone. Take someone, or a team with you. You may not need their help but they need your leadership. Lead them by example.
#8. THAT'S NOT MY PROBLEM
I have heard this statement time and time again. It is always our problem. When we are in any level of leadership, we should make it our problem. Top level leaders are looking for problem-solvers, not problem-avoiders.
#9. THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO
There is always something we can do to help, partner, grow or increase our ministry. Excuses never solve problems. Leaders have a hard time with people who "slack" off on making things happen.
#10. FAILURE ISN NOT AN OPTION
Failure should not be the only option, but it has to be an option. If you aren't failing at something, you probably aren't attempting anything. Failure is the womb of success. It's a vital part of leadership.
Time to be honest with yourself.
Which of these idioms have you said? Which ones are you still saying (or thinking)? How often do you make these statements?
Take some time, think it through. Pray about it. Ask God for grace. Recognize that what you say matters and sets the tone.