For many years I taught a young pastor’s class at the Mount Hope Bible Training Institute, graduating several hundred fiery pastors and pastoral candidates. 76 are in full-time ministry today.

For seven years, we conducted our Florida Church Planter’s School right on St. Pete Beach, with a few hundred graduates.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful, fruitful pastors think different than average, not-so-fruitful pastors. So, I thought I’d share with you my discovery in how successful pastors think differently.

1. Accept responsibility

Average and failing pastors’ blame, justify, rationalize, and complain

Fruitful, productive pastors:

  1. Know what they want (Mark 11:24; Hebrews 11:1)
  2. Commit their vision to writing
  3. They ask God how

Mark 11:24
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  1. They painstakingly develop a strategy
  2. They stick with it

2. Work and play to win!

Average and failing pastors work and play not to lose. They forever chase after carnal members and spend 90% of their time on the 2% who are problematic.

3.Committed to being fruitful

They don’t send mixed messages about their commitment

Average and failing pastors want the same kind of fruit but without the commitment.

But until there is commitment, there is always a wavering, a double-mindedness, and a lack of excitement and enthusiasm.

Commitment seems to bring God’s touch to a situation. When you are unswervingly committed, the right people show up at the right time; God moves heaven and earth to bring you strategic alliances, key teachers and mentors, events and even resources.

4. Think big and learn how to solve problems

Average and failing pastors think average and talk about problems.

You can help ones and tens or hundreds and thousands—it’s your choice. Major league or minor league is a choice. Whatever you focus on will expand, whether it’s solutions or problems; achieving dreams or maintaining status quo. It’s a choice.

“Stop Needing and Start Leading.”

5. Focus on opportunities and rewards—the things they want.

Average and failing pastors focus on the obstacles, the problems, the troubles, the work, the mountains, the giants, the risks, and what they don’t want

6. Admire other successful pastors and bless them. 

Average and failing pastors are jealous and often speak against them (sometimes in subtle and sarcastic ways)

7. Associate with great people and develop good strategic alliances.

Failing and average pastors like hanging out with people who do nothing to lift them to new heights.

8. Not afraid to promote their vision, church, ministries, and products.

Average pastors believe this is just an ego trip. Jesus taught, “Don’t hide a candle under a bushel.” Advertising is God’s idea; not Madison Avenue’s

A productive pastor gets the church known in the community

  1. Tell them who you are
  2. Tell them what you believe
  3. Tell them what makes you different
  4. Tell them how to find you

And there you have it. Eight differences in the way successful pastors think.

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