Leading In Private

(The second in a series of posts by Dr. Merritt on pastoral leadership)

A pastor’s leadership is both public and private. There are some principles that you must put into practice, privately, on a daily basis, as you lead yourself if you are going to be an effective leader of others in public.

Accept Your Situation. You must be willing, literally, to “Be Where You Are”. Too many leaders fail privately, because they check out both mentally and emotionally, because of the difficultly of a situation they are in. Even if you are in the backside of the desert you must believe that for today you are where God wants you to be. Give your best where you are.

Be Willing to Fail. There is no disgrace in failing only in (not trying). Every day set small goals in whatever areas you are working on and make sure you are making progress in achieving your ultimate goal.

Make Daily Preparations. Remember it is minutes that add up into hours and hours that add up into days and days that add up into weeks and weeks that add up into months and months that add up into years. It all begins with the hours and the days. The greatest single key to effective private leadership is time management. If you neglect little things you will fail in the big things. This is the key–do not prioritize your time rather (organize) your time around your priorities.

Every day write down the 5 to 7 most important things you need to accomplish, prioritize them according to what will help you be the most effective leader and then as much as possible finish one task before you go to the next one. Remember these two things to avoid frustration:

  • You will always be aware of more than you can possibly do.
  • You can do anything you need to do, but not everything you want to do.

Be a Professional. You must be able to perform tasks on a daily basis regardless of your (feelings). Be ruthlessly (result-oriented). Remember it is not what you do or how much you do, but what you get done that counts.

Live in the Present. 
At any given moment, give your full attention to the task before you now. Do not let text messages, emails, or even phone calls interrupt your work flow unless it is absolutely life and death urgent.

Do Your Best. You cannot control others. You can only control yourself and your performance. The hardest time to do your best is on a daily basis.


Dr. James Merritt, Senior Pastor of Cross Pointe Church and host of Touching Lives