What Matters Most…

So, one of our pastors, Chad Lunsford, sent the leadership lifter below to all of our life group leaders, apprentices, and hosts. It is so good, and because I’m such a fan of Dave Ramsey, I thought I would put it on my blog today. If you lead anything in any capacity, read this carefully and apply to your leadership. Dave used these principles to grow his ministry from the ground up!  Enjoy and lead well!

Peace and much love…


By Dave Ramsey

New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey, presents his common sense debt reduction and wealth-building strategies LIVE in Atlanta, Saturday, January 21, from 1p.m. to 6p.m. ET at Gwinnett Arena. The Total Money Makeover LIVE! packages all of Ramsey’s financial principles and philosophies into one entertaining and action-packed event.

I should have been annoyed. As I drove into the parking lot of my office, there weren’t any spaces left, and I had an important conference call scheduled that morning. Instead, I just sat in my car and smiled.

At that moment, I was reminded that I am truly living the American dream. I have been blessed with more than 300 team members and a strong national brand that has helped millions and millions of people around the country. So realizing that parking was becoming a problem was less than annoying. In fact, it was awesome!

As I put together my newest book, EntreLeadership, I began thinking about our success. I asked myself, What are the fundamental principles that caused us to win? I can think of six that have brought us to where we are. Whether you’re leading a business or congregation, these core values will work for you too.

People Matter

Your business is people. Whether it’s your congregation, ministry team, community, other pastoral staff, or even the vendors who print your Sunday bulletin-every individual around you is unique and uniquely important. They all have hopes and dreams. They all have fears and struggles. They are all people, and every single one deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and a caring heart.

Your Team Matters

My friend, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, wrote a wonderful book you need to read called Thou Shall Prosper. In it, he says God is inordinately pleased when we are obsessively, compulsively consumed with the needs of others. As ministers, that’s an easy one to understand as far as your church members go. But do you apply this principle to your own team members? Are you doing what’s best for them?

I’ve seen too many pastors preach love, patience and community to their congregations, all the while driving their own staff members to the brink of divorce and nervous breakdowns with ridiculous hours and unreachable expectations. The pastoral team is in the flock too! Love your team well; treat them like family, and they will act like family.

Excellence Matters

When it comes to your team, having the right people in the right positions allows you to do your best work. Take plenty of time when filling positions. Pray for God to bring the right people in-and keep the crazy people out!

At my company, each prospective team member goes through an average of eight separate interviews, including one with his or her spouse. They are also required to send us a personal budget and take a personality test to make sure their style fits with the job. We take hiring very, very seriously, and we look at the whole person, family and all.

Slow and Steady Matters

Want to know the best way to grow your ministry? Take a lesson from The Tortoise and the Hare. Every time I read that book, the tortoise wins.

We live in a fast-and-furious, microwave-cooking, gotta-have-it-now world. Stop. Slow down. Take a breath. You won’t save the world overnight. You won’t win over your entire congregation with one sermon. You’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Make long-term plans and short-term course corrections as you go.

Financial Principles Matter

American churches as a whole are in debt-to the tune of $33 billion! That’s money that could be spent to spread the gospel, help the homeless, do mission work, or do a million other ministry projects. Instead, that money is going out the door in the form of payments.

We’ve got to start managing God’s money God’s way. That means operating on a budget and avoiding debt. The Bible says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” If you’re in debt, whether as a church or as a household, you’re a slave! And don’t get mad at me; God said it!

A Higher Calling Matters

If you play for something bigger than yourself, you play much harder and smarter. You will be surprised by how hard you work because there’s a sense of calling. What’s your higher calling? Why do you do what you do? Every church and business talks about their “what;” I think it’s time for us as a body to start identifying our “why.”

Success comes in many, many different forms. For me, my achievements come from my family, my team members and the number of lives that have been changed by what we do. It should be the same for you. When you get to the end of your life, what will you look back on and smile about? It won’t be about material things. Stuff doesn’t matter. Accomplishments matter a little bit. But people? People matter most.


Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and best-selling author of EntreLeadership, The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace and More Than Enough. He is also host of the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey Show. You can see Dave in Atlanta on January 21 at his Total Money Makeover LIVE! event.

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