Andy Stanley, senior pastor from North Point Community Church, took the platform for session three. He talked about the best leadership decision he’s ever made. He made a deal with God. He explained it something like this:
God, I don’t have time to build a ministry and take care of my family. I’ll give you 45 hours per week as a church planter. If you can build a church on 45 hours, I’m your guy. I’ll let you build has big a church as you can with that 45 hours, and I’ll be satisfied with that. But I’m not going to cheat my family.
Andy decided to cheat the church before he cheated his family. With his wife, he decided to be at home by 4:30 every day. That meant he left work at 4:00.
Andy explained that God has never commanded him love the Church. He was commanded to love his wife. He was never commanded to build the Church. Jesus said he would do that. Instead, we get it backwards. We try to go build the church, and we pray that God will take care of our family.
How did this decision impact Andy’s leadership?
1. It forced him to play exclusively to play to his strengths. Focus on the things you’re good at. The less you do, the more you accomplish. You’re not very good at very many things. Only do what only you can do.
2. It forced him to prioritize the success of the church over my personal success. He had to say no to lots of other opportunities. It forced him to focus on the main thing God has called him to do. North Point has his undivided attention.
3. The value has forced the organization to say no to many things and maintain a sustainable pace. That protects Andy’s time, but it also obviously also protects his staff’s time. We need to create a “to don’t” list. The value led to a decision to shut down the church the final weekend of every year to give all the volunteers and staff members a weekend to be with their families.
4. This value elicits incredible loyalty from the staff. Andy tells all new employees not to cheat their families.
This is a hard decision. People will be angry. We can’t fall into the “If I don’t, it won’t get done” trap. How many hours you work won’t make or break your career.
Charles Stanley said, “Never violate the principles of God in order to gain or maintain the blessing of God.”
Jesus has promised to build his church, and he’s done a great job. We’re just a small part of it.
Who or what feels cheated by you? Are you willing to make the tough decisions to make that right?