The NBA Finals have recently concluded with the Golden State Warriors defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their third title in four years. The event made me reflect on when James returned to his hometown Cavaliers four years ago.
On Friday, July 11th, 2014 Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins posted a letter penned by James announcing his return. To say James would be a high-capacity giver if he attended your church would be a gross understatement.
Pastors, while you may not have LeBron James in your church, you do have high-capacity givers, and James’ essay gives you great insight into how these individuals think. The following are 21 Lessons Pastors Can Learn From LeBron James About How Your Church’s Financial Leaders Think. I will give my thoughts on each item followed by the James’ quote from his announcement.
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- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Remember The Sacrifices They Made To Become Successful – Struggle is necessary for strength. “Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Make A Difference In The Lives Of Others –Financial leaders have matured and no longer care about titles, positions or parking spaces. They want to make a difference. “I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Think Big Picture – Financial leaders must see how their efforts help make a larger vision become a reality. “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Have The Courage To Make Hard Decisions – There are perks to leadership, and there is a price to leadership. One price leaders must be willing to pay is hard and unpopular decisions. “I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Learned From Their Mistakes – Leaders cannot be afraid to take risks or fail. They must simply be willing to learn from their failures. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Are Grateful To Those Who Have Invested In Them –Financial leaders know they did not get to where they are without the help of others. They are deeply grateful and remember fondly those who helped them along the way. “These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Desperately Long For Authentic Relationships – Financial leaders are collaborators. They want to serve in the context of community. Many are lonely. Your top leaders want meaningful friendships. “I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did!… We are brothers for life.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Control Their Own Message – The internet and social media has provided financial leaders with an ability to become their own media outlet. “I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Desire Influence, Not Attention Or Position – Financial leaders do not want a position. They want influence. “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Focus On Accomplishment – Smart pastors create opportunities for financial leaders to accomplish something INSIDE their church rather than forcing them to seek those opportunities OUTSIDE the church. “When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two…My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Are Deeply Loyal – Financial leaders understand the importance of investment. What they have invested their time, financial resources and life in matters deeply to them. “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there…I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Are Most Influenced By Their Family – When dealing with financial leaders, always remember how important decisions will impact the leader’s spouse and children. In our household, if you win over Sonya and Anna Dodd, you have won over Brian Dodd. “To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Do Not Burn Bridges. They Build Them. – Financial leaders put the success of the organization over their personal feelings and understand the importance of long-lasting relationships. “I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Know If Projects And Initiatives Are Actually Achievable – Your financial leaders deal in reality, not fantasy. Commitment will be low if they feel projects or initiatives are not achievable. “I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Invest In Next Generation Leaders – Few things excite financial leaders like the opportunity to invest in other leaders, especially the younger one. “I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Will Passionately Own The Results – Your financial leaders will take their responsibilities seriously. So give them tasks worthy of them getting involved with. “I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Impact As Many People As Possible – Making an impact in a single life is important and cannot be discounted. However, financial leaders want to impact large numbers of people. “I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Care About Leaving A Lasting Legacy – Financial leaders care about their legacy. They want to accomplish something great with their lives and are intentional about it. “Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business…Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Are Attracted To Big Vision – Churches with a big vision attract financial leaders. Churches with a small vision do not attract financial leaders. “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Love Their Church – “I’m coming home.”
- Your Church’s Financial Leaders Want To Be Appreciated And Loved – Pastors, LeBron is idolized in Cleveland. Now you don’t want to go as far as idolatry, but you do want to prioritize thanking and showing appreciation to your financial leaders, your top volunteers and the top leaders in the church? Be aware, if you do not consistently show appreciation, they may return to their own Cleveland – a place where they are loved.
What is one thing you learned from this list which will better help you disciple your financial leaders?