57 Leadership Quotes from Dan Reiland on Crucial Skills for XPs and Senior Pastors



This blog is written by INJOY Stewardship Director of New Ministry Partnerships, Brian Dodd. It originally appeared on BrianDoddOnLeadership.com. INJOY Stewardship is blessed by Brian’s leadership insight and his heart for pastors and we are grateful we get to work with him every day.

May 1st through 3rd are three of my favorite leadership days of the year. 

Each year, INJOY Stewardship Solutions allows me to live-blog the Orange and ReThink Leadership Conferences.

No event stretches my thinking more and make me a smarter and better-equipped leader than this event.

If you are unfamiliar with ReThink and Orange, let me give you an overview.

Hosted by Carey Nieuwhof, ReThink is a series of Ted-Talk-style lessons from some of the most innovative minds in business and leadership.

Orange is simply the nation’s preeminent organization on children’s ministry.

As part of my time here, INJOY Stewardship is offering a FREE Capital Campaign Calculator for your church. 



If your church needs to raise significant capital in the next two years, this will be a wonderful source of information for you.

Just click the button above!


The first breakout speaker was one of my favorite people on the planet, the incomparable Dan Reiland. 

Dan is Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

 He is best known as a leader with a pastor’s heart and a coach’s instincts.

Dan truly loves the local church and is described as one of the nation’s most innovative church thinkers.


The following are 57 leadership lessons and quotes from his brilliant session on Crucial Skills for XPs and Senior Pastors:

  1. It’s great to one day about being in charge…. And then the day comes I am in charge…. When imagined freedom turns into responsibility…. You begin to think I report to everybody.

  2. Don’t focus on climbing. Focus on getting better not rising hirer.

  3. If you’ll just build something and enjoy what you do, you’ll get seen and be found.

  4. As your organization grows the list of things you do get shorter, but the weight feels heavier.

  5. The ability to take ownership at a core level. This is the moment “the buck stops here” and you accept it.

  6. The ability to handle speed and pressure.

  7. Margin decreases but the experience increases and the Holy Spirit helps you fill the gap.

  8. The more you can absorb the pressure the better you can handle it.

  9. You don’t want to violate the speed of life and the speed of love…. It’s at this place you find balance.

  10. The ability to see the next level.

  11. Organizational leadership is influence + anticipation. You have to be out in front on at least one strategic focus.


    Crucial Skills for Senior and Executive Church Leaders


  12. Translate Vision Into Strategy

  13. In general we are better at starting things than stopping…. It’s your ability to finish.

  14. You don’t need a perfect strategy. You need the right set of questions… like Who’s on the lead team?  What is your process?  How do you make decisions here?

  15. Communicate Faith and Hope About An Optimistic Message For The Future

  16. The people you lead borrow your faith while they’re developing their own.

  17. The message must always be one of hope not hype.Hope is when you trust God.  Hype is when you’re trying to convince yourself.

  18. Sincerity always trumps excellence. So lead with your heart.

  19. Not knowing what to do is not the same thing as not knowing what you’re doing.

  20. Go back to the last thing you knew for sure and begin marching forward again.

  21. Trust that God is with you because He is.

  22. Raise Up And Empower Leaders

  23. Senior leaders who struggle most are those who wrestle with control, micro-management, and not trusting those who can’t do their job. They can’t let go. Leaders who can’t let go get stuck.

  24. How to empower leaders – Trust with responsibility, Train for competency, Unleash with authority, Communicate with clear expectations, and love and believe in each one for maximum potential.

  25. Demonstrate Self-Leadership

  26. Self-awareness leads to self-leadership.

  27. Hearing God’s voice is crucial to self-leadership.

  28. What’s the last thing you heard God say?

  29. Self-leadership means every day, every day, every day, prayer and exercise.

  30. Lead Change

  31. When you change something and nobody gets mad, you just changed something that doesn’t matter.

  32. Motion causes friction.

  33. Change is disruptive but necessary. Comfort is the enemy of progress.

  34. Takes Risks

  35. What risks are you embracing to the thing you are out in front that if you change it, it really matters?

  36. Solve Problems

  37. Solve the problems that help you gain momentum and make the progress towards the vision.

  38. Make Difficult Decisions

  39. Most churches are one tough call away from a breakthrough.

  40. Accuracy – making the right decisions at the right time.Speed – making the decision when it needs to be made.

  41. The key thing executives do is make weighty decisions.

  42. Objective information – get the data.

  43. Are you not making the decision because you don’t know what to do?

  44. Wisdom is not elusive.

  45. What are the obstacles in your path? Get out in front and knock down the obstacles.

  46. Abundance over scarcity. Don’t imagine what you don’t have.  Imagine what God can do.

  47. There’s an intersection between faith and prudence.

  48. Collaborative means two things – input on the front end and feedback on the backend. Ownership on the frontend and accountability on the backend.

  49. Learn the difference between preaching from the pulpit and leading from the pulpit. These are different skill sets.

  50. Before I work on administrative skills I would work on my ability to develop leaders around you. A lot of people can manage your stuff but very few develop leaders.

  51. Build your leadership group on simplicity and consistency. Get a group. Pick a book.  Ask two questions – what did you learn?  How are you applying it?

  52. A catalytic leader gets their own group..Hungry people.  Get people who want to be there.

  53. The ability to handle all power and no power at the same time – What to look for in a XP…. You don’t want an executive valet.

  54. God made me a people visionary. Oftentimes I will see something in a person before they do and call it out in them as a coach.

  55. My writing helps me know what I think.

  56. In meetings, agendas travel up. Get the right people in the room. Move as fast as you can and then measure the outcomes.

  57. If there is ever a moment we don’t have an agenda, we don’t meet.  We don’t meet just to meet.

Dan is simply one of the Godliest, smartest, and most insightful leaders in Christianity today.

It’s an honor to call him a friend.

If you would like to get a free, data-driven projection for how much your church could raise in a capital campaign, submit a Capital Campaign Calculator as Brian mentioned and let our team serve you at a deeper level.


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