Leadership Blog on saying “no”

When I read this, I couldn’t help but think of so many leaders of church plants and churches. In our desire to build a great church and win people to our cause, too often we find ourselves saying “YES” to  things we really should be saying “NO” too. Special Thanks to Matt Keller at Next Level Church in Florida for helping me realize even more the importance of saying no!

1.  Saying NO is never easy.

I’m not going to deceive you into thinking that telling people no is  fun or easy or a flippant thing in any way. Just the opposite, it’s actually really hard! Especially when your church or organization is small! The last thing in  the world you want is for someone to leave because you wouldn’t care for their legitimately “good” idea.

However, if we  don’t protect and fight for the purity of the culture we’re trying to  create in our churches, we’ll end up watering down who we are to such a degree that in the end it does more harm than good.

2.  Saying NO won’t make people happy.

Inevitably, when we say no to someone’s “good” idea, someone’s  feelings will get hurt. People won’t always understand why we’re making  the decision we’re making and some will leave mad. This is just a  function of the leadership journey. As a leader, making the right decision for your organization is what you get paid to do, and it times it will come with a price.

However, I have found that most people are pretty understanding when  they know the why behind our decision. Not always, but a lot of the  time. When we share our logic and heart, people can accept that and move  on. It has been my experience that people don’t want to be right as much as they simply want to be heard. As leaders, it’s our job to listen sincerely, explain our perspective and then make the wise decision for the organization that we ultimately  lead.

3.  Saying NO protects you, your family and your organization.

As our organization has grown, my responsibility to say NO has increased significantly. Because let’s face it, in a bigger organization, there’s money, facilities and the perception that we could accommodate more “good” things.

But I have had to learn the art of saying NO in order to protect my family, my schedule, my time, and my energy. Yes I’m a leader, but I’m also still a human being. And I must be wise enough to understand that I’m the only guy who can care for my wife  (well, there are others, but we’d all agree, we don’t want that!!!) I’m  the only guy who can be dad to my son, and I’m the only guy who can show up every weekend and share life-giving, vision oriented, engaging messages that allow the Holy Spirit to change lives at Oasis because that is HIS call on my life!

If I’m not prioritizing those things, then I’m not doing my job. That IS my #1 Priority.

4.  Saying NO allows you to stay focused on what you do best.

At the end of the day, when you say NO to something “good” you position your organization, your staff and your teams to focus on the best.

There’s something freeing about the word NO. Unfortunately, far too many leaders use it far too infrequently.


If you HAD to identify 3 things that you MUST say no to, what would  they be? In the next 24 hours,  do the hard but right thing and say NO  to them. In the end, you know you’ll feel better about it!


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