It’s said that the average leader spends 80 percent of their time doing little that will further their mission. That means that the important stuff gets short shrift by a bunch. What would happen if the average leader spent 80 percent of their time on the real important stuff … on those tasks that would further their mission the most? Well, they wouldn’t be average leaders anymore. They’d be excellent, high powered leaders.

Before I reveal the five things every church leader must do every day, let me remind you of the one thing every leader must have before they can even be as good as an average leader. This is Curley’s “one thing” that you have to figure out. The One Thing is your personal mission … your purpose … the reason you get up each morning. The sad reality is that most leaders I work with fumble around, mutter a bit, and get flustered when I ask them what their mission is. How can a leader know when they’re on task or not if they don’t know what their mission is? How can you know what tasks are important and which tasks are not if purpose is a mystery? It’s been said that without a mission, we live in a fog and simply respond to whichever foghorn is loudest at any given moment. So, what’s your mission? If you can’t spit it out immediately with conviction and commitment, stop reading now and go get it figured out. (BTW, my mission is to be a source for spiritual transformation … it’s not only what I do, it’s who I try to be).

So, with mission in hand and heart, here are the five things every church leader must put on their to-do list every day.

  1. Spend an Hour in Prayer. Though this should be obvious, according to scads of research the average Christian leader prays less than three minutes each day. Jesus asked Peter if he couldn’t pray “just one hour.” That should be our daily minimum requirement.
  2. Project Your Day. Take a few minutes before your feet hit the floor in the morning to look ahead in your day and project how you would like each of your upcoming interpersonal interactions to manifest. How do you want to interact with your spouse? Your children? The barista? Your secretary? Those in the committee meeting? Your networking lunch with the newest church member? And so on. Play the interactions though your mind and commit the time and your interactions to the Spirit.
  3. Meet/Introduce Yourself to at Least One Stranger. The point here is to have a conversation with someone you don’t know. Get to know people in your community that you’ve never met. I know in some small towns this can be a challenge, but take the challenge. Go find someone and get to know them. And if you’re “bad with names” make sure to get a business card and to jot down a few of the important details you learned about this new acquaintance.
  4. Take Care of that One Thing On Your To-Do List that You Don’t Want to Do … and do it now. Great leaders take care of business no matter what. It doesn’t make any difference if they don’t want to. They do whatever it takes to accomplish their mission. So, whatever it is you’re putting off, get it done.
  5. Reflect On Your Day. The final thing to do each evening before you close your eyes is to take the time to reflect on your day. Did you accomplish the important stuff or were you caught up by the “urgent”? Did all your interpersonal interactions play out like you’d hoped? Are there relationships you need to repair tomorrow? Undone tasks you need to deal with tomorrow? Socrates wrote that the unexamined life isn’t worth living … so take the time to examine your day so you can “do better” tomorrow.

There are at least another five must-do’s for your to-do list, but do these things and I can promise that you’ll begin to rise above the average leader mark.