Church Leadership: 3 Hills Worth Dying On

Ronnie Floyd: “The Christian life is not about being right—it is about being Christlike.”

The greatest leadership lesson I have ever learned is: Every hill you face is not worth dying on. If I had practiced this in my previous churches and perhaps during the first few years here, I believe my influence would be greater and the ministry would be more effective.

I have seen ministers let their stubbornness and pride wreck their leadership in the home and in the church. When you have the clarity and wisdom to not die on every hill, your leadership can be long and effective.

Whether you are a rookie pastor or an experienced minister, every hill you face in leadership is not worth dying on. When the pastor practices this principle, the church will flourish. The fellowship will be sweeter, the growth will be greater and the preservation of this growth will be more successful.

How I Learned This

How did I learn this important truth? It did not happen at a particular point but through a process. Some things in leadership you can only learn through the growth of the entity you are assigned to lead. The growth of the organization in structures, personnel, dollars and expectations requires the leader to operate by the conviction that every hill he faces is not worth dying on.

There are times that I could have carried more people with me along the church’s vision path if I had been more patient and personal along the way. In the name of “urgency” or “reaching,” we can sometimes push “hurry” too much and too often. This is not an asset, but a liability.

The Christian Life Is Not About Being Right—It Is About Being Christlike.

Most Christians are more interested in being right than they are in being Christlike. Pastor and church leaders, the Christian life is not about being right—it is about being Christlike. If Satan cannot get you to do the wrong thing, he will get you to do the right thing in the wrong way.

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When you think you are always right, you will die on needless hills. When you constantly have to prove you are right and don’t take the time to work toward making the best decision in the right time and in the right way, you lose influence and leadership.

Now, there are three hills that are worth dying on no matter what anyone else thinks.

1. Truth: You must be willing to die on the hill of God’s truth found in Scripture.

You must stand in your pulpit, in your meetings and everywhere else you go with the confidence that the Bible is God’s truth for today and always. In my ministry, I have seen more people willing to die for their tradition than die for the truth of God’s Word.

2. Morality: Jesus was very clear that we are to be the salt and light of the world.

We must be the moral conscience of our region, nation and world. Biblically, we have no alternative. We have to influence our culture. When we do this, there are times that our faith will collide with the culture.

[Three urgent times to confront sin in your church.]

3. The Great Commission: The Great Commission should consume every Christian and church.

For a church to advance toward the future in terms of health and growth, the church needs to be emblazoned by the Great Commission. There is no one in the church who ought to be more fired-up and passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with every person in the world and making disciples of all the nations than the pastor.

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When You Go to the Hill

Pastor, a good leader determines not only which hills to die upon, but he or she also chooses the timing.

Let me give you a strategic grid to go through before you ascend the hill:

  • Leadership has to be clear.
  • Processes have to be thorough.
  • The timing must be right.

A wise leader does everything in God’s timing, by God’s Word and in God’s power.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry. This article was originally published on Floyd’s blog at