It happened to me more than once and it probably has happened to you as well.
Driving down the road, a quick glance in the rear view mirror, start drifting over into the left lane. Suddenly, a blaring horn as I almost pull into a car directly in my blind spot! Heart pounding, I quickly jerk my vehicle back into the right lane and whisper a quick “Thank you, Lord!” prayer. Close call!
Blind spots present real dangers not only on the road but in pastoral leadership. In fact, I believe blind spots derail and damage ministries and careers all the time.
Robert Bruce Shaw’s new book, “Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter”, pinpoints 20 specific blind spots he has observed among his business executive coaching clients.
While some of those blind spots may not apply to pastoral leadership, many certainly do. For example:
Thinking the past is the present. Assume that what worked in the past will work now and you have a blind spot. You may not see that what got you to where you are may not get you to where you want to go next. You may miss seeing what you desperately need to do differently.
Failing to focus on the vital few. A desire for perfection or fear of confrontation can compel a pastor to put off the tough conversations and hard decisions. In effect, they make the leader blind to what absolutely, unequivocally must be done. The leader ends up dissipating energy into safe, easy projects and activities that do not make a difference.
While these kinds of blind spots can reduce or destroy the effectiveness of one’s ministry, the Bible warns us of blind spots with far greater consequences. Here is one of many potential examples:
Moral and doctrinal sloppiness. Paul warned Timothy, to “pay close attention to your life and your teaching...” (1 Timothy 4:16, ISV) Clearly, a “quick glance in the rear-view mirror”, spiritually speaking, leads to disaster. Instead, we need a good hard look – we need to pay close attention – to our inner moral state and exactly what we are teaching.
You may want to pick up Shaw’s book to see what you can learn from business executive’s blind spots.
However, I would really be interested in your own observations! What blind spots have you observed pulling other preachers down? What blind spots has God has graciously called to your attention about yourself? And what habits will help a pastor to identify his or her own blind spots?
Further the discussion by commenting below!