Self Leadership

2016 RightNow Conference

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the most important leadership is that of self-leadership. The way you lead yourself will necessarily affect how you lead others, and can have a huge impact on your team. In this 28-minute session from the 2016 RightNow Conference, Steve Stroope discusses the importance of self leadership as it relates to ministry.

Steve Stroope is Lead Pastor of the multi-campus Lake Pointe Church near Dallas, Texas. He is also a sought-after speaker, church consultant, and the co-author of Money Matters in the Church, Tribal Church, and It Starts at Home.

When it comes to self leadership, we cannot blame anyone else if it fails. We are in complete control and thus bear complete responsibility for whether or not we lead ourselves well.

What comes to mind when you think about self leadership? In what ways do you practice it in your own life?
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How would better discipline with self leadership impact your relationships and ministry?
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Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

13For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

One important aspect of self leadership is paying attention to how God has created us. We all have unique gifts and talents because we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made," and we see that play out in terms of the activities we engage in. Steve broke  those activities into the following categories:

  1. Activities we are bad at
  2. Activities we are good at
  3. Activities we are great at
  4. Activities for which we have a unique ability

As you consider the list, do you have a good understanding of where you fit into each of those categories? If not, what could you do to be more intentional about growing in your understanding about how God has created you?
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What do you consider your unique ability in life? What gives you the greatest passion and energy?
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Steve mentioned that we often confuse the things we are great at with the things for which we were uniquely created, and end up burning out quickly. How have you experienced this confusion in your own life? What can you do to be intentional about setting boundaries around the things you are great at to ensure they do not sidetrack you from what God created you to do?
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A second crucial aspect of self leadership is that of paying attention to the seasons of life. Steve listed out four stages:

  1. Dream stage
  2. Do stage
  3. Drag stage
  4. Dark stage

Which of the stages best describes your current season of life? In what ways does it impact your current relationships? What about your ministry efforts?
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Steve noted that when people enter the "Drag Stage," they often respond by attempting to return to the "Do Stage" prematurely. How do you respond to those seasons of life in which you begin to feel stagnant and dissatisfied? What does your response reveal about your relationship with Christ?
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As Steve shared, sometimes the "Dark Stage" is referred to as the "Cocoon Stage" because it is a time of going to a lonely place in order to grow into something new and more mature, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. 

Steve shared that every five years he spends some time in this stage asking God if he is the best person to remain in his current pastorate. Do you have any kind of similar practice in your own routine? Why or why not? How might it benefit the way you engage your ministry?
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How well do you practice rest on a week-to-week basis? In what ways could you improve? What kind of positive impact would more margin have on your ministry and relationships?
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When it comes to self leadership, we are responsible for carrying it out. No one else can take on that responsibility, so, when it fails, there is no one to blame but ourselves. The good news is that it is never too late to begin the practice of self leadership and doing so will have a profound impact on the people God has entrusted to your care. Take inventory of the rhythms of your life and think seriously about ways to better improve your self leadership practices. As you do so, invite God into those efforts and ask Him to bless them for His glory.

For more information on the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year's event, visit