Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said:

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

It doesn’t take much thought to see the truth in this statement.

  • If you want to run faster, run with people who are faster than you.
  • If you want to have a healthier marriage, hang out with people who have healthier marriages.
  • If you want to become a stronger leader, hang out with more gifted leaders than yourself.

This is the very reason we’ll adamantly encourage our kids against missionary dating. We’re far too easily influenced by those around us.

This idea should cause specific introspection.

  • Who are the five people we spend the most time with?
  • Who are the people most influencing us?

Now another question or two:

  • Is the average of the people we spend most of our time with helping us be who we want to be?
  • What relationships are we missing?
  • In what area of our life do we need to grow?

I know too many ministry leaders who are doing exactly what they were doing 5 years ago. They’re doing very little to develop, grow and expand their abilities. Growth can be painful. It can be awkward. It can be inconvenient. Growth can be disruptive. But without it, our impact will be limited in reach and significance.

Below are some relationships every ministry leader should foster:

  • Amazing parents. Not only will interacting frequently with incredible parents influence your own responsibilities, learning how others are finding success allows us to help the parents we serve by sharing best practices with those in need.
  • Wise people. Maybe this is a person with a LOT more life experience. Maybe it’s a biblical scholar. Maybe it’s just someone who consistently thinks in innovative ways. Spending time listening to and interacting with these kinds of people helps us think differently about the things in our wheelhouse.
  • Experts. Get to know someone who does what you do – but really, really well. Pick their brains on a regular basis. Maybe they don’t have your job, but they’re an expert in a component of your job (i.e. leadership, customer service, management, creative arts). Seek them out and always have a list of questions.
  • Teenager/College Student. The last thing I ever want to become is irrelevant. I’m not saying that you need to start consulting with teenagers on clothing and music choices. However, it’s important to understand the next generation. What makes them tick? What do they like? What motivates them? Sure, you can read a report and study from social psychologists…. or you could just spend time with some of the teenagers in your church.

Rarely do we intentionally seek out these relationships. Rather than stay where you are or hope random connections happen, begin to make this a priority. Even if it’s scheduling a lunch or coffee just one time a month. Put it on the calendar and begin to make a list of the people you need to become like. Never forget. You’ll always be someone else’s average. It’s up to pick who that other person will be.