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  • Writer's pictureDerek Allen

3 Ways Running Makes Me a Better Leader

Saying my time is a little limited as a church planter is like saying that congress has a little problem with their approval rating. At this stage in my life and ministry, things like reading, writing, and especially running, can often seem like guilty pleasures. Who has time to run when there is so much else to do?

Whenever I find myself with some rare but unexpected down time, I often go for a run. This morning was one of those times, and while I was out for a run, I realized that running isn’t a guilt pleasure. For me, at least, it’s a leadership necessity. Here are three reasons (of many) that running makes me a better leader.

1. Running gives me time to think. Message outlines, strategic initiatives, staffing decisions, and other “big picture” ideas have time to develop and resonate in my mind when there is nothing else on my mind.

2. Running=discipline. One of the fundamental skills of leadership is self-leadership, or discipline. When I am running on a regular basis, that means that I’m probably living my life with some margin, I’ve not procrastinated about things that have to be done instead of running, and I’ve spent significant time with my family and in the Spiritual disciplines that I don’t feel guilty about choosing a run over time with God or my family.

3. Running gives me an opportunity to invest in others. If I’m taking time to run, I’ve delegated some other important activities to leaders I have equipped, empowered, and released to lead. That’s a good thing. It’s a great thing. In fact, it may be the most important skill of leadership. On occasion, I’m also running with someone I’m leading, and on those runs I always follow the rule “If you can’t talk, you’re running too fast!”

If you are a church planter or pastor, do you see running, walking, biking, working out (insert any other physical activity here) as a guilty pleasure or a leadership necessity? What about those you lead? What about those you serve under?

If you have the platform to speak into the life of a pastor or church planter, encourage regular physical activity as a vital part of leadership.

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