Principle #2: Spend Regular Time in the Balcony

The view from the balcony

In their book, “Leadership on the Line,” authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky share a great leadership principle:  get off the dance floor and up in the “balcony.”  The dance floor represents the day to day pressures and commitments of leading your church, while the balcony represents a strategic viewpoint from where you see the overall picture of the church or organization.  It is in the balcony that you take time to plan, strategize, review, pray, and get a clear understanding of the big picture of your church.  It is the time spent in the balcony that gives you the clear picture of what to do on the dance floor. You need to take yourself out of the day-to-day “doing” of ministry and spend time “planning” what you need to do in ministry.  The balcony gives you perspective and informs what you should be doing and how you can be most effective in achieving your goals and God’s vision for your church.

To be effective in leading your church you need to move back and forth between the dance floor and the balcony.  But, with all the pressures of ministry, how do you spend time in the balcony?

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Principle #1: Constantly Improve Your Position

While in college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, I read a book by author Jeremy Rifkin called Entropy:  A New World View.  While I cannot remember anything the book said, I do remember the principle that he was sharing.  Entropy is the tendency to gradually decline into disorder.  This is true in our lives, at our workplaces, and in our churches.  Entropy tells us that our churches, if left alone, will gradually decline into disorder.  This has been stated in other ways, as well.  Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that if there is no vision, the people will perish.  We’ve also been told that if the pastor doesn’t lead, someone will.  The truth is that if there is no sense of vision or direction, entropy will begin to take hold in the church.  Usually, in the church community, entropy is seen in one of two ways: (1) through defaulting back to an inward focus on fellowship (just being together); or (2) division and fighting for control and power.

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