Pastor James Welch–It’s Time to Take Responsibility graphic

I don’t like losing. I love winning. I love being successful.

I think we all want success, and we all love to win. We dream of moments like one “lucky” team experiences each year when they hold the Lombardi trophy.  The overall win for Harbor Community Church, the church I lead, is seeing people come into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is why we do what we do at Harbor.

Our Super Bowl win is watching our unchurched family, friends and neighbors connect and love it and over time come into a relationship with Jesus.  I am fortunate because these days we win often, but it hasn’t always been that way for us. The reality is that, all too often, must know the pain and frustration of failure far better than they know the sheer joy that comes from winning. So, why is this? Why do leaders and organizations fail? Why do they lose?

Success in the local church seems simple enough–love God and love people–but why do we often fail?  What is getting in our way? Here are some practical things that have helped our organization win. But first let me ask you a few questions:

  • Do you feel entitled to lead?
  • Do you like to criticize others?
  • Find yourself holding a grudge?
  • Do you say you keep a journal, or have a consistent private prayer, time but don’t really?
  • If your friends got honest, would they call you a “know it all?”
  • Angry much?
  • Watch a lot of TV?
  • Hate planning?
  • Horde information?

These are just a few signs of an unsuccessful person.

The reality is, “luck” has little, if anything, to do with becoming a successful person. The team that wins the Super Bowl may have caught some “lucky breaks” along the way, but luck alone will never lead to a win like that. You don’t hold the Lombardi trophy in the air, with confetti raining down all around you, because you’re lucky…Super Bowl rings go to the team that puts in the time, hard work, sweat, tears, pain, and more to become successful.

So what does a successful person look like?
  • They love to compliment other people.
  • They are quick to forgive.
  • They accept responsibility for their failures, and work hard to correct organizational failures.
  • They keep a journal and a “To Do” list.
  • They want others to succeed, and work to make this happen.
  • They love plans and develop specific goals.
  • They smile A LOT!
  • They read every day and watch little TV.
  • They talk about ideas nonstop.
  • They display a sense of gratitude.

Success doesn’t come from luck, but hard work and taking responsibility. Maybe it’s time for you to Take Responsibility. To Take Responsibility for the areas you lead, or to move to a new place of service.

Scared of change? This may not help, but that is another sign of an unsuccessful person! But as scary as change may seem, organizations cannot be held captive to the Status Quo. They also can’t be held captive by leaders who feel entitled to lead, but show little conviction or passion for their vision, mission and values.

My advice: pray. Pray like never before!

The purpose of the church has always been to bring glory to God and to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Your strategy as a leader should be  to create awesome environments as a catalyst for bringing glory to God and connecting people to Jesus. Start asking yourself: Who have I led into a growing relationship with Jesus? Who have I led into service in the church? Into Bible study? Into service in our community?

Let me ask you another question: do you pray consistently? Consistently for specific unchurched family, friends and neighbors? For Church Leadership? If not, why not? It’s so easy to say we invite weekly, to say we pray for specific people, but do we really? The truth is that it’s way easier to criticize systems and structures than to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for moving people towards a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.


We all want to win. But the question is, do we want others to win? We all want to be successful, but do we really want others to succeed? Are we playing to get glory for ourselves, or are we taking responsibility for leading our team to victory for the Glory of God and the Good of Others?

I don’t know what your past looks like, but I know what your future can look like. It can look like that of a successful leader. It starts with you. It may start with smiling and working to help someone else succeed. It may start with you believing the best and leaving your entitlement to be in control at the door. It may start with you admitting you don’t know everything and trusting organizations that have proven success. I know this for sure, though—it will never start if you don’t start praying consistently and believing the best.

Who will TAKE RESPONSIBILITY? Who will grow into being a successful leader? The time is now and the opportunity is available in the Church Universal.



One response to “Pastor James Welch–It’s Time to Take Responsibility”

  1. Constance Parker says:

    Pastor Welch, this reading is profound without the political and religious rhetoric. You are offering what has been said but not with a vastly different strength. As with everything that society is made of it must be faith-based in the simplistic manner you propose. We are so affected by variables that control us that we are unable to tap into our human personhood, our child-like innocence and our need to share background information. Given today’s society stressing greed and power we have sunk to an all time self consuming predator low. Thank you Pastor Welch for GOD like insight, your childhood social location and background sharing. With the presidential election and the comments by the president-elect it is clear that bigotry, racism and every kind of prejudice is alive and thriving in greater numbers than previously thought. Keep walking and talking forward.

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