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I don’t know if it is proper to write ultra wealthy or ultrawealthy?  Or is it UltraWealthy?  I think I prefer ultrawealthy, with no capitalization.  There is something about using the modifier “ultra” as a compound that makes me think of cartoons.

Anyway, yesterday my home page had an article titled “7 Habits of the Ultra Wealthy”.  There is no one, absolutely no one in my sphere of influence who would be described as ultrawealthy but I read the Yahoo article anyway.  (I know I know, Yahoo is not cool and shows my age, but I just can’t bring myself to leave it.)  The gist of the article is that we can learn from the ultrawealthy about how to be, well, wealthier.  Here are the 7 habits, with all apologies to Stephen Covey.

  1. An equity position is necessary to get wealth.
  2. I’m always looking to gain an advantage in my business dealings.
  3. Doing things well is more important than doing new things.
  4. I hire people who are smarter than I am.
  5. It is essential I really understand my business associates motivations.
  6. I can easily walk away from a deal if it is not right.
  7. Setbacks and failures have taught me what I am good at.

So,  I read those seven and my mind connected with each of them:  These seven speak to pastoral leadership and church life–each one of them.  The difference is the goal is not ‘worldly wealth’ but ‘spiritual wealth.’  Here is what I was thinking for each one.

1.  An equity position is necessary to get wealth–An equity position is just ownership of a company.  A key issue for pastoral leadership is that the pastor must own the direction the congregation is headed, and allow those he or she leads to likewise take ownership and responsibility for setting the direction.  This is very, very hard.  it is not enough for the staff or for pastors to own a vision, but those in the congregation must own it too.  I always butt up against this one because I have found that my vision doesn’t always align with the vision of those I lead.  This is where most of our conflict emerges.

2.  I’m always looking to gain an advantage in my business dealings–The spiritual advantage, that is.  A key question for leadership must be something like, “What is the spiritual advantage that will come from this action (or inaction) when it is complete.”  Too often the question we ask is, “Who will this offend or make mad?” or “Can we afford it?”  I suggest those are the wrong questions.

3.  Doing things well is more important than doing new things–This is an axiom that is true of nearly everything.  I am trying to help our church come to a place where we do worship, small groups, and serving others really well.  Those are the big three, the only three things I try to focus on.

4.  I hire people who are smarter than I am–Yeah.  My associate pastor keeps reminding me how brilliant she is.  In all humility, though, it is hard to find people smarter than me and most of them already have jobs (written in sarcasm font).  Seriously, though, I try to add staff that are different in temperament and personality than I am.  It creates balance.

5.  It is essential I really understand my business associates motivations–This reminds me most of the work of preaching.  I just finished a series on doctrine.  I am ontologically motivated to enjoy doctrine and to see the inherent value in it.  However, I am in a minority.  Just saying the word “doctrine” usually causes people to either go to sleep or leave.  The majority of my work in preaching through this series has been to try and discover people’s motivations in the doctrine–where do they connect to it.  Until I’ve done that work, I really do not have a sermon, I have a lecture.

6.  I can easily walk away from a deal if it is not right–I interpret right to mean two things.  If some activity or ministry or issue emerges it must align with the core values of our congregation and it must be in keeping with my personality.  I’ve learned through the years that if I sign off on a program or ministry that doesn’t fit my personality then I am dooming myself to misery.  Several years ago we engaged in a door to door evangelism strategy propagated by our program driven denomination.  That is just not my style, but I signed on anyway.  The result was misery for me.  I will not make that mistake again.

7.  Setbacks and failures have taught me what I am good at–It is a truism that we learn more from our mistakes and failures.  I have made some tremendous bungles in the past and I promise that I will make tremendous bungles in the future, so will our church.  Yet I see that as a good thing, not a bad thing.  Churches and organizations that never try and therefore never fail in new adventures are destined to sunset and die, as they should.

And that is the “ultra” end to this blog post.


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