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The Power of the First Move

Making the first move isn’t about ego and being in charge. It’s about being the catalyst to move people. To put it bluntly, you can’t lead if you can’t make the first move. You don’t have to make the first move all the time, but you do have to make the first move at the right times.

There are situations when you don’t have time to do anything in advance. You are in the moment, and you either lead or you don’t. These times are critical.

There are three simple components that release me to make the first move. First, I’ve prayed about the issue. Second, I have thought it through and sought wise counsel when needed. And, finally, I have the conviction to make the move (be it a decision or conversation or whatever) on my own. Now there is no reason to wait. These three steps will cover the process needed to keep you out of trouble most of the time.

There are situations when you don’t have time to do anything in advance. You are in the moment, and you either lead or you don’t. These times are critical. In these moments, I follow the slightly tongue-in-cheek saying, “When in doubt, do something.” Trust your instincts and go with them.

Image: Nabeel Syed

I was leading a men’s leadership development group (Joshua’s Men) when things got heated between two of the guys. The room went as cold as ice. Nobody moved and nobody said anything for several seconds. The atmosphere begged for somebody to make the first move. I was the leader of the group, so I jumped in and brought things back to order and guided the men back to a place not of agreement, but of reconciliation.

So, how are you doing when it comes to making the first move? Do you pick up the phone and make things happen, or do you wait for it to ring? Do you set the meetings and agendas, or do you let others make the first move? How about your leadership at home? Do you take the initiative and make the first moves that keep your home happy and loving, or do you hold back, hoping someone else will get things going?

Make the first move.


This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter The Pastor’s Coach available at

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2019

About the Author: Dan Reiland is executive pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He is the author of Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime (Charisma House, 2012), Shoulder To Shoulder Strengthening Your Church By Supporting Your Pastor (Thomas Nelson, 1997), and From a Father's Heart: Letters of Encouragement to Children and Grandchildren (Thomas Nelson, 1999). Twitter: @DanReiland

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