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January 26, 2017

Leaders and their Baggage

By Daniel Im

In this Ministry Grid training video, Sam Rainer, Lead Pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church, discusses the baggage leaders tend to take with them to their next leadership assignment. You can watch the full segment here.

Earlier on in my marriage with Christina, she would often give me a hard time because I’d pack more than her (I’ve learned since then). Depending on our destination, I’d pack my suitcase that contained more clothes and shoes than hers along with my backpack that had my work and personal essentials (Stop judging me. I grew up with three older sisters—that’s the only way I knew how to travel). Suffice it to say, I used to travel with a lot of baggage.

Baggage, in and of itself, isn’t bad. The reality is, the things I pack are what I think I need to help me function and flourish anywhere I’m going and in what I’m doing. Thus, I’m trying to guard against, as I’m sure you do too, packing anything that I don’t need or that won’t help me be successful for where I’m going and what I’m doing.

In this latest Ministry Grid training video, Sam Rainer discusses four items that leaders tend to pack (unnecessary baggage) that harm and hinder their leadership in their next assignment.

1. Preferences.

Everyone moves through life with preferences. When someone asks where you want to eat, you think of a handful of restaurants that you prefer. When someone asks you what kind of music you like, you think of some of your favorite bands and artists. Just as everyone has their preferences, leaders are no exception. However, if not careful, leaders can bring their preferential baggage with them to their next assignment. Sam rightly submits, when leaders do this they tend to pass off their preferences as ministry philosophy. In other words, rather than contextualizing best ministry and mission practices for their new post, leaders will bring their preferences from their previous position.

2. Past Success.

We all love the seven letter word SUCCESS! In fact, as leaders, we build our resume and reputations off past successes. However, past success can be one of the biggest, most dangerous, and dirtiest pieces of baggage leaders can take with them to their next assignment. Past success can cause pride, prohibit growth, hinder innovation, and frustrate the new organization or ministry. For church leaders, it’s natural to take the experience of success in one place and try to duplicate it in another. The problem is that what worked in one place may not work in another. Think about it, a plant (like a cactus) that grows in one place may not grow in another. You cannot build future success off of previous success through duplication. You can, however, build your future success by learning from your past, growing in the present, and understanding your present context.

To read the last two items and watch the entire Ministry Grid training video with Sam Rainer, click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • @SamRainer discusses four areas that leaders bring with them to their new ministry that hinder and harm their leadership.
  • If not careful leaders can bring their preferential baggage to their next assignment & pass it off as ministry philosophy.
  • Past success can be one of the biggest, most dangerous, & dirtiest pieces of baggage leaders can take w/them to their next assignment.
  • Leaders, make sure you lead from a place of healing rather than hurt. Hurt leaders hurt followers!
  • Decisions have consequences. Sometimes what may seem as no-brainers are organizational strainers.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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