Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

I remember the late fall of 2006 like it was yesterday. I was in my 20s, married just for a couple years, and suddenly I was the interim senior pastor of a church in leadership transition. The whole “guy in charge of a church” thing was never on my shortlist of aspirations, but there I was, anyway, fresh off of a season as a youth pastor.

To say “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” would be an understatement. All I knew was that turning Sunday service into a game day when I didn’t have time to message prep was no longer an option. In that moment, I felt I had two choices:

  1. To fake it until I (hopefully) made it.
  2. To own up to my inexperience and seek as much wisdom and help as possible.

I took option two, which has made all the difference in my ministry journey. In his book, The Ride of a Lifetime, Disney CEO Bob Iger shares how when he first took over as head of ABC Entertainment, he knew absolutely nothing about, well, entertainment. In this moment he learned one of his many lessons to lead: “Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can.”

At the beginning of any new assignment, there is a season of stabilizing and acclimation, and we may be more inclined to ask for help or pursue learning what we don’t yet know. But when we’ve found our footing, the temptation to lead from pride creeps in, the urge to lead on my experience, knowledge or achievements, to coast on tradition.

 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” —Prov. 11:2, ESV

Instead, in humility, we must intentionally surrender all of that and recognize that God alone placed us where we are. Obedience to what He asks us to do should be the only marker for success. This also means “admitting without apology” that we don’t understand everything and that there’s still more to learn. Thankfully we can receive grace and offer it in turn when we disciple new leaders ourselves.

of The Foursquare Church