The following is an excerpt of the article “Don’t Grow A Church, GROW PEOPLE” written by Reverend Art Hodges in the January-February 2004 edition of the FORWARD magazine. I have inserted some of my own personal comments in italics. I pray that the Lord will bless you as you read these things.
1. Believe in the people. (It is won¬derful when the people believe in their leader; but it is more wonderful when the leader believes in the people! This really pays off!)
** I just want to tell each of you that I believe in you. You each have your unique callings and talents and I am indeed thankful to be able to say, “I believe in you!”
2. People grow at different rates and to different degrees. (Be patient, under¬standing, and even long-suffering.)
** As we grow and experience the revival God has for us it is vitally important that we allow for these differences when dealing with one another. While one may be consuming the “meat of the Word” another may still be devouring the “milk.” What we must realize is that both are making forward progress and as long as they are moving in the right direction let us be slow in judging another’s spirituality and relationship with God. Remember the tale of the “Hare and the Tortoise!”
3. Be willing to let others do a worse job than you are capable of doing.(Grin and bear it.)
** This is probably the hardest thing for me to do. I am for the most part a perfectionist and it really irritates me when things are less than perfect. I have come to realize that not everyone sees things through my eyes therefore they may not do things as well as I think they should. However let me encourage you to always do your best when you are working for the Lord.
4. Give people space to fail. (They will learn more from their failure than from your success.)
** I have observed numerous times in my ministry the advantages of allowing some to fail in what they are attempting. Some of us would refer to this method as the “School of Hard Knocks.” I assure you there is no greater teacher. I have learned through the years that education always cost us something, whether we pay tuition or just simply have to expend energy performing a task differently than before, it always costs us something.
5. Allow people to succeed. (What are you afraid of?)
** When others succeed under your leadership then you are a success as well. We must learn not to be intimidated by the success of others but rejoice because you have led them to succeed.
6. Brag on the people. (Do not publicly talk about your ministry suc¬cesses, talk about the people’s min¬istry successes. What gets rewarded, gets done.)
** I heard a man once say, “A frog that won’t croak in his own pond ain’t much of a frog.” A person who has done a good job should be publicly commended. Every man’s leadership ability is reflected in the successes of those under his tutelage.
7. Leadership is not appointed, it is recognized. (Cream always rises to ‘ the top. The wise are the ones who see the work that needs to be done and they do it. They seek the high ¬calling of servant hood.)
** While there are those who desire positions to feed their personal ego, there are others who attain positions due to lack of ego. A humble leader is one who digs in when others walk away. He will be recognized because of his service…he does not serve to be recognized.
8. Every born-again believer is a minister. (Not a pastor, or even a preacher, but called to do the work of the ministry.)
** There are no exceptions! Whether a person has just recently been born again or he has been “saved” for years he must engage himself in the harvest of souls. If we are to be saved we must first of all teach others what to do to be saved. We understand this can only be done by consistent study, prayer, and fasting.
9. Focus less on how many are at church on Sunday, and more on how many have done ministry Monday through Saturday.
** This is where many churches have failed. We must not be so enamoured by our attendance as we are by those who attend to the needs of others. Ministry is more than teaching and preaching…it is serving with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
10. Be open to new ways of doing ministry in these last days. (Methods are not sacred, God said He would do a new thing.)
** It is certain that we could still travel from the east coast to the west coast in a covered wagon if we so desired. If we chose this method of travel it would take literally months for us to complete our journey not to mention the fatigue and exhaustion that we would certainly experience. I for one would much rather step onto a tarmac and board a jetliner from New York and be in Los Angeles in about four hours much more alert and ready to do what needs to be done. God help us to realize that we must allow our methods to be innovative and fresh if we are to reach out effectively to those who are reaching in.
These are just some of the many lessons learned along the way.