My Ten Biggest Mistakes in Missions Leadership and What I Learned from Them

My Ten Biggest Mistakes in Missions Leadership and What I Learned from Them
Paul McKaughan, Ambassador-at-large and former CEO, The Mission Exchange

I grew up in an old-line Faith mission. In 1962, at the ripe old age of 23, Jo and I went to Brazil as independent missionaries. Church planting, city wide crusades, organizational consulting and seminary teaching were all a part of our field assignments. We served with both denominational and para-church missions. Somehow on that pilgrimage I became one of those people others referred to as leaders. Each new assignment represented an intensive learning experience. There were successes but also many mistakes. All these stretched me and made me more dependent upon God’s sustaining grace. A good friend challenged me to reflect on places where I messed up and what I learned from those mistakes that might be instructive for others. At 70 years of age, I don’t have much to lose from such a public confession. Therefore, I compiled a list of the 10 biggest mistakes I made over the last 40 years of leadership. In no way is the list exhaustive, but it is my hope that it will be instructive.

Here are a few: Allowing a cultural perception of leadership to frame the role of a leader. Being selective and utilitarian in relationships. Making growth the driving value. Viewing leadership as the essential element in organizational growth. Writing off certain publics. Others often pay the price for the leader’s mistakes. I hope that you will benefit from my mistakes and come away from the Webinar with the knowledge that God’s grace is manifest in and through our weaknesses, and any success we experience is also only a result of His Grace.

Paul McKaughan has more than 40 years of mission experience ranging from a field missionary in Brazil to denominational and para-church leadership roles. He served as COO for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and coordinated the Lausanne II Congress. Paul served on the Executive Committee of the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission. He served as President & CEO of the EFMA (now The Mission Exchange) before accepting the special assignment as Ambassador at Large. Paul and his wife Joanne travel the country coaching, mentoring and consulting with mission leaders.

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