5 Big Lessons I Have Learned From a Long-Time Senior Pastor

In the last six months, I have been exposed to a plethora of Kenton-isms – statements Kenton Beshore employs to teach a point to me or to a group of pastors he is mentoring. Kenton served in one place, Mariners Church, for 40 years with 35 of those being as senior pastor. So when he speaks, wise people tend to listen and take notes. Here are five of his most impactful challenges (so far):

1. The weight of leadership will crush inadequate character.

The most important person you will lead is yourself. If you attempt to shepherd others without shepherding your own soul, you won’t be shepherding long. If your influence grows and your character weakens, your influence will crush you.

2. You have to get uncomfortable because faith is the opposite of sight.

Kenton continually reminds people that the opposite of faith is sight – that we are going to need to trust God with things we do not yet see. To lead people where God is leading often means discomfort because we are so much more comfortable with sight. Being a leader means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

3. To become, you have to go through.

To become the leader you will need to be in the future, you have to go through the trials of today. I have seen Kenton encourage other senior pastors with their current challenges, that those current challenges will form them into the leaders they will need to be in the future.

4. Figure out if you are intuitive or data-driven and get the other type around you.

While this is a spectrum and not completely one or the other, Kenton believes all leaders default to being more intuitive or more data-driven. Because decision-making is so critical in leadership, ensure you have both intuition and data around the table. The challenge to “know who you are and surround yourself with people who complement your gifts” is true and must be applied to decision-making.

5. Build a dock.

When it comes to navigating change, Kenton tells a story about how docks can be built on lakes. When an established dock is no longer sufficient, people don’t need to take the dock out and start over. They can build a new dock right next to the old dock, and the old dock will fade away. The point is, when considering change, you can build something new alongside the old and let the old fade away instead of simply ripping out the old.