Talking Leadership with Pastor Steven Furtick

Propel: What is an area you want to grow in as a leader?

Pastor Furtick: I am a starter and an instigator by nature. That works for me in a lot of ways. It’s what enabled me to get our church up and growing ten years ago. But as Oswald Chambers once said, “unguarded strength is double weakness.” The downside of my initiative is impatience with the process of maturity that certain efforts require. In other words, if the seed doesn’t sprout immediately, I tend to assume the soil must be poor or the work isn’t worth it. I am tempted to abandon that project and plant something else. But sometimes, the seed just needs to be watered. I don’t always need to plant something new. I want to be better at watering the seed and working the ground of existing ideas with an optimistic attitude.

Propel: What’s the best leadership advice you’ve been given?

Pastor Furtick: A few years ago Pastor Craig Groeschel told me that, “deciding where you want to win is often more important than figuring out how to win.” I guess that speaks to priorities and values, which become the context for true success.

Propel: Who is the most influential leader in your life?

Pastor Furtick: I lead for, and with, my team and staff here at the church. They lead me in some ways - more than they know. I am driven by how much they believe in me and expect from me. They inspire me to bring my best, because I think they deserve it.

Propel: What’s your greatest fear?

Pastor Furtick: I think my greatest fear is being found a fraud. Not in the sense that I’m not sincere in what I do, but that I don’t have what it takes. That I’m not as good as people think I am, or that my best work is behind me. This feeling is the reason I wrote my latest book, (Un)Qualified, in the first place. Too many of us wonder if we have what it takes to become the person God has called us to become. The answer is - we do, but only if we start believing that God still uses broken, discouraged, and unqualified people to do big things.

Propel: Which living person do you admire and why?

Pastor Furtick: I admire my wife, Holly, more than anyone. Because she’s selfless and handles hers. And because saying ‘my wife’ is a pro-husband move.

Propel: What is your favorite motto and why?

Pastor Furtick: Lately, I’m living by a verse from a Leonard Cohen song:

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There’s a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.           

I like that way of thinking. It helps me. I like it so much, I opened (Un)Qualified with that quote. You know, my book that came out in March? And that’s called a book plug.

Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, a multi-site church based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their three children, Elijah, Graham, and Abbey. He is also a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is (Un)Qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things.


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