Several months ago LSU fired Coach Les Miles. Among the complaints, besides losing more games than some people liked, was that he was unable to change. Coach Miles had promised a new, wide open offense for 2016. The fans felt like Coach Miles did not follow through on his promises. He did not change.
It is easy to throw stones at a sports coach, but what about us? Jeremiah once raised the question, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?” (Jer. 13:23 NKJV) The Bible tells us we need God’s help to change. It is not in our DNA to change. According to professionals, your basic character is set by the time you start school. That is scary!
So, if change is impossible many great stories would not have been completed.
- Michael Jordan would not have become an NBA superstar if he did not change after being rejected from his junior high school team.
- Walt Disney would not have become a household name if he had stopped after losing one of his first jobs. The complaint was “he had no creative ideas.”
- Abraham Lincoln would not have been among our greatest presidents if he had stopped after losing a number of earlier political races.
These great men, and others like them, succeeded because they adjusted and adapted to failure and changed to face a new future. What about pastors? What do we need to change and do we have the resolve to accomplish the change? Consider these suggestions.
1. Begin in prayer. If change is difficult to accomplish, then it must become a God-sized task. A good thought for all pastors, “Do we have change on our list of prayer goals?”
2. Talk to a trusted friend to get outside feedback. Many times a friend sees things that we cannot see. It is imperative that an honest, trusted friend give us their thoughts.
3. Keep a list of needed changes. I kept such a list so that these challenges are always before me. A weekly review reminded me to address them.
4. Swallow your pride and admit your needs. The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:8) Any leader (politician, coach, pastor, etc.) has a certain amount of pride. It goes with the terrain. Pastors are not excluded. We are filled with pride.
5. Observe areas where you continue to run into a wall. If you find yourself to be a procrastinator and continue to struggle with this weakness, don’t you think it is time to act?
6. Seek a coach, advisor or mentor. No leader readily admits that he has weaknesses and needs help. It has been my observation that great leaders are those who admit they do not have all the answers. They learn from others more capable than themselves.
New Year’s resolutions invite change. However, the greatest incentive should be our desire to be a better leader. God wants us to be our very best for Him. He deserves it and our hearts desire it.