Thriving Leaders: Lessons From the Front Lines of Ministry (pt.1 “Introduction”)

In over 50 years of local church pastoral ministry, I saw leaders thrive and I saw them dive. By thrive I mean they flourished. They increased in effectiveness. They blossomed in using their gifts for the Kingdom of God. They grew in their usefulness.

By dive I mean they plummeted in their efficiency. They decreased in their passion to use their gifts to serve others. They grew weary in well doing. They were sometimes negative, frequently bored to death, and often uninspiring to those they were asked to lead. For some the pressure was too great; for others unresolved conflict in relationships wore them down; for others the long haul was too arduous. Occasionally they dropped out of leadership. Some of them, when asked later to serve again, said, “Nope. Been there. Done that. Never again.” Some left the church to go to another church. Some left and went nowhere.

You may be now or in the future in a leadership role. You may be working with children, youth or adults. You may be leading a group, teaching a class, organizing a ministry, recruiting a team of volunteers to help do the work, guiding children or young people, or serving as an elder, deacon or trustee. You may find yourself or have found yourself or people around you thriving or diving, or somewhere in between.

I img_6066-jpglook forward to sharing with you lessons for leaders I learned over my 50 years of local church ministry as a pastor. I have served local churches in California, Nebraska and Ohio as Pastor to Students, Associate Pastor for Growth and Mission, and for most of those years as Pastor/Head of Staff. In these blogs I will share with you how to thrive as a leader. I will focus on various leadership areas such as being called, learning to wait, developing an inner life that leads to outward thriving, the preparation, the conflict, handling temptations, the family, the boundaries and more. I welcome you to my blog.

 

28 thoughts on “Thriving Leaders: Lessons From the Front Lines of Ministry (pt.1 “Introduction”)

  1. Denn, I’m so looking forward to once again being blessed, challenged and encouraged by your wisdom. Thanks for following the call God placed on your heart so many years ago to lead His people. Your obedience and your excellence in what you did has continuing impact on the Kingdom. So excited to read and apply your next blog to my life, my heart and the ministries I’ve been called to be a part of 💕

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    • Misi,
      So glad to hear from you. Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day and keep on keeping on in the faith. See you on FBk.
      Denn (and Susan)

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  2. Denn! I agree with Misi (rare occasion . . . 😉 ) I ‘m looking forward to continuing to learn from you through these writings of your thoughts, experiences and recommendations.
    With Admiration,
    Rich

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    • Rich, Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day and hope we can get together soon. Love to Debbie.
      Denn

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    • Hi Fred B: Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day! Susan is the inspiration for just about everything I do.
      Love to Carol.
      Denn

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  3. Denn, you and Susan have enriched our lives and deepened our faith journey. I’m excited to learn more about your journey and hear your words of wisdom.

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    • Dear Julie, Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day! Love to Bob and your children. We miss you and hope we can see you sometime soon.
      Denn (and Susan)

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    • Judy, Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day! I continue to pray for your healing, recovery and good grief work. See you soon, I trust. Love to your family.
      Denn

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  4. Dr. Denning, looking forward to future posts. As you know after a 28 year career as a school teacher, a year and 1/2 ago I accepted a call to a small congregation in SE Wyoming. Looking forward to gleaning from your wisdom.

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    • Steve, Thanks for reading my blog, THRIVING LEADERS. I hope you’ll continue to read. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned. Have a great day! Tell you folks hello for Susan and me. God bless.
      Denn Denning

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  5. Dear Denn, This is a winsome launch. I’m thankful for your faithfulness & our years in shared ministries through prayer, meeting together & mutual support.

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  6. Glad to see that the desert hasn’t fried your brain and Susan hasn’t filled all your time. I’m sure that your comments will ‘scratch’ where many are ‘itching.’ I’ve passed your first blog on to the leaders at College Hill PC in Cincinnati OH.

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    • Hi Sam. Love to you and Barry. Thanks for following my blog. By God’s grace I survived the church and loved MOST every minute of it…. Thanks for passing it on to CHPC pastors and leaders. SO good to hear from you. THanks for the response.
      Denn

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  7. Dear Denn, I am looking forward to reading more on your blog. Without the Holy Spirit guiding us, leadership effectiveness and enthusiasm can be rather cyclical with ups and downs. It happens in ministry, our jobs, our roles (as wife, mom, daughter), our hobbies, etc. With my cancer, I realize that everyday is a gift from God. My prayer each morning is that I give my best to whatever and whoever God has me encounter. My prayer each evening is that I have been faithful to the tasks and the people I have encountered. I’m looking forward to learning more!
    Thanks,
    -Joan

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    • Thanks Joan for your comments. God bless you in your life and witness through your story – including your presence and faith in the ups and downs with cancer. Many of us live with limitations and it’s in these confining fences that our call becomes clear and ministry can abound. God heal you, Joan, is my prayer for you, particularly on Thursday mornings!

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  8. Pingback: Resources for Thriving Leaders, Part 1. | Denn Denning

  9. Denn, Charlene & I enjoyed reading your Blog and are looking forward to your future posts on Life Long Leadership!! Your inspirational teaching over the years continues to be a wonderful gift put into practice. You and Susan continue to be a blessing to us personally and the church body!! .Bob

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  10. Denn, You’ve lifted this off the ground and you’re already soaring. Please keep this aloft. We all do want to thrive in ministry and yet the dives hit many of us blindside and at great cost. More power to you and your blog!

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    • Dave, so good to hear from you. While you were in Dubai et al a blogmaster from PDCPC stepped up and created a site on WordPress that has been a good beginning for me. And a worthy investment to get this done right. Mondays are the posting day, 6 am PDT. I’ve written 12 blogs with more to be done. Each week I try to write a new one and tweak the one going live the next Monday. (Rumford’s suggestion). It’s been a lot of fun, particularly reflecting over all these years. Blessings to you and Sandy and the girls.

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  11. OK. i’m finally getting with you on following your blog. Just read the first one. Keep up the great kingdom work my friend

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  12. Denn,

    I am greatly appreciating your blog and the wisdom within. I am newly in church ministry and finding myself in a place of growing quickly. I have recently started blogging myself about the experiences within ministry and what it looks like to grow in team. I appreciate being able to read your thoughts as they pertain to my experiences and I would welcome any thoughts or wisdom you could share directly. https://butfirstlisten.wordpress.com/

    Thanks,
    Lucy

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