6 Leadership Lessons from Chuck Lawless

We thought it would be fun to do a series where we asked a few of our writers to share a bit about their leadership journey. It’s a great way to get to know them and their stories a bit better.

Q. What’s the most significant lesson you learned early in your career?

A. I’m not nearly as smart or as talented as I thought I was. I began pastoring full-time at age 20, and I was sure I would set the world on fire. Instead, I quickly learned that I did not know what I did not know.

Q. What’s the most significant mistake you’ve made in your career?

A. Overall, I’ve depended too much on my strength and not enough on the power of God. I’ve also grown through God’s grace being sufficient after I made bad choices (e.g., experiencing a broken marital engagement).

Q. Is there a particularly inspiring piece of advice given to you by a mentor which helped you to get where you are?

A. My pastoral heroes have taught me two things: always be ready to talk about Jesus, and never talk negatively about others. Because words matter so much in the work we do as ministers, we need to continually sound a clear, holy message.

Q. What’s the secret to achieving longevity in ministry?

A. I doubt there is a single secret, but here a few factors:

  • Stay in the Word and on your knees.
  • Be wise, and guard your heart. Seldom do we leap into disobedience that causes us to fall; instead, we slide there almost imperceptibly.
  • Have someone in your life who knows you well and has permission to challenge you. My wife and other accountability partners fill that role for me.

Q. How do you choose which opportunities you say yes to and say no to?

A. I’m still learning how to make these decisions. Given the urgency of our tasks, I have a tendency to say “yes” too often. My wife and others are trying to help me guard my time, but I’m not the best student….

Q. What habits, routines or “deliverables” have you made a concentrated effort to do consistently that have helped you get to where you are today?

A. I use an intentional Bible reading plan that has worked well for me. I strive to exercise regularly, and I work hard to manage my time wisely.

Leadership requires a clear vision of where the church is supposed to go.

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