It was far beyond his abilities.

It was the toughest church he would ever serve.

Note: This is an excerpt from our upcoming book about the distinguishing characteristics and best practices of effective turnaround pastors.

His mentor, who suggested he take the church, had warned him that it was rife with false doctrine, preoccupied with biblical trivia, committed to legalism that wholly misapplied Old Testament Law, and was dominated by two hypocritical liars who threatened to ruin the faith of many others. Even the man who planted the church knew trouble would crop up when he left.

The church was a mess. So was the city where it was located. A wealthy, godless cosmopolitan center of government, culture, trade, military, and finance ““ it was the regional center of every ungodly idolatrous passion that wages war for the human soul. Christians and Jews alike had run afoul of trouble there on more than one occasion.

He was the unlikeliest person imaginable to lead a church as tough as this one.

He was quite young to be stepping in to lead a well-established, troubled congregation. Although he had a bit of ministry experience under his belt, it was all in subordinate roles under direct supervision. He’d finished a few stints on his own, but they were short term, narrowly focused projects. He was bookish, often preferring to retire from the vigor of sharp elbows and sharper debate for the quiet of the study. His health seemed fragile at times and, although we can’t be sure, he may have been given to self-doubt.

Not the sort of person you’d send into the fray to straighten things out, instruct people how to manage their households and their finances, and to exercise church discipline when it was called for. If ever there was a minister called to lead beyond his limits, it was him. His name was Timothy.

How did he pull it off?

By using two biblical strategies for leading beyond our personal limitations.

The Bible is replete with examples of people employing the two ways of leading beyond personal limitations that we’ll examine in this chapter. In what follows we presuppose the pastor to be a person of devotion, prayer, obedience, faith, and submission to the Holy Spirit’s lead. If those qualities are absent, what follows are mere techniques for building his own kingdom. But pastors who are characterized by these qualities will enhance their leadership skills by adapting these two ways of leading to their ministries.

The two ways of leading beyond our limitations that we find illustrated time and again in the Bible are implementing best practices and leading through others. Taken together, they illustrate an important point that we want to stress throughout this book: pastors can lead beyond the limits that temperament, natural abilities, . Those who implement the best practices of turnaround leadership, and master the skill of leading through others will lead far beyond their limitations.

Want to know more about leading beyond your limits?

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