Lessons from a Mentoring Week: How Leaders Approach Obstacles

Like Don't move Unlike

After a full day of mentoring in the leadership crucible of Willow Creek, God used an off-handed comment over dinner to drive home my biggest leadership take-away of the day.

With 100 church leaders from around the world huddled in dinner conversations following 10 hours of training, the pastor sitting next to me commented, “You know, I really needed this training. But the way the economy hit our church, I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to come down here this week. But I talked to a few people and I found the money.

I found the money.

Immediately the thought struck me, “That’s what leaders do.” When the eyes of a leader are fixed on a goal, they’ll process obstacles very differently than a non-leader. Let’s break this down:

1. He articulated the goal: I really needed this training. – Leaders are never vague about their goals and priorities.

2. He defined the obstacle: I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it. – Leaders declare reality.

3. He formulated a plan: I talked to a few people. – Leaders thrive on strategy.

4. He moved toward action: I found the money. – To borrow Bill Hybels’ axiom, leaders have a bias toward action.

What obstacles are in front of you right now and how are you approaching these problems? Do you need a team to tackle a new project but no one’s available? Do you need to cut through government red tape to expand a ministry? Do you need to position your organization for growth but your organization’s structure is holding you back?

Whatever obstacles lie in your path, remember the leadership lessons I encountered tonight. Articulate your goal, define your obstacle, formulate your plan, and move toward action.

It’s just what leaders do.

the author



  1. Brilliant!
    This was an encouragement to me as I am asking God for money for African Children. This inspired me to continue keep moving towards the goal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *