Pastor Duncan Clark, an Elim minister from Coventry, shares one lesson from every year of his experience as a Church leader


At what point can can you speak with ‘authority’ on a subject?

I’ve always been sceptical of parents of toddlers who give lectures on raising kids or couples who have been married for two years taking marriage classes…

So how long do you have to be in church leadership before you can give leadership advice? I recently celebrated 25 years since I was inducted into Elim’s ministry in Coventry - is a quarter of a century enough? Maybe… here’s my list of 25 lessons learnt from 25 years in ministry:

  1. It came to pass (almost all the big stresses that are in front of you will one day be behind you)
  2. Find greatest joy in the success of others (that’s the best way to form a healthy team)
  3. Know yourself (be intentional about self-examination, personality tests and invite feedback from peers who love you)
  4. Skew young (invest in kids and youth because most churches naturally drift toward becoming old and out-dated)
  5. Take a day off each week (you have limits!)
  6. Have a bulletproof devotional rhythm (spontaneity works best when you are first intentional and have a plan)
  7. Make your home your safe place (there will be times when you need a refuge where you can escape to)
  8. Laugh at yourself (people will be drawn to someone who doesn’t take themself too seriously)
  9. Every leader is temporary (there will be a day when no one calls you ‘Pastor’)
  10. Look after your body because it doesn’t belong to you (the best gift you can give your church and your family is an energised, rested, healthy you)
  11. Read deeply and widely (find an author that you love, read everything they have written, and pay attention to your resonance and resistance as you read)
  12. If you take care of your depth, God will take care of your breadth (live deeply, and then he’ll determine how wide your influence reaches)
  13. Consistency is underrated (it’s amazing what happens when you just keep showing up)
  14. Do something every day that reminds you you’re a servant (because leadership and ‘platforms’ have the potential to damage your heart)
  15. Your posture is much more important than your position (remember, God looks at your heart)
  16. God is attracted to humility and repelled by arrogance (he loves to promote the lowly)
  17. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you lead (stop talking, and listen)
  18. Be the person God can trust with more responsibility (if he can trust you, you’ll be amazed with what he entrusts to you)
  19. Live a wide-open life (keep no secrets: life and leadership is much easier that way)
  20. Invest in friendships (you need some people who will love you when you’re not their leader)
  21. Choose a mature spiritual mentor who has no vested interest in your success (so that when you meet with them you know that their advice is ‘pure’)
  22. Create financial margin (budget well, and try not to spend everything you get)
  23. Angry people are actually rarely angry with you (it’s likely that they are angry with the person you represent or remind them of)  
  24. Lead from presence rather than principles (listening for the Spirit’s whisper trumps figuring out strategy)
  25. Love (that’s the way Jesus measures your success)