Jeff Bogue, president of CE National and lead pastor of Grace Church of Greater Akron, gives tips and advice for leading your church and ministry well.

Go First

We use the phrase “go first” in our staff creed at CE National and at Grace Church. “Go first” means I should never ask, as a leader, anyone to do something that I am not willing to do or, even better, that I have not done already. I am the first over the hill and I am asking you to come with me and not to do it instead of me. I’m setting the example of sacrifice. I’m setting the example of doing what’s right. I’m setting the example of godliness in faith. I want you to come with me, not go instead of me.

Church leadership will often ask people to sacrifice in ways that the pastor isn’t willing to sacrifice. We’ll ask people to do things like share their faith when we’re not doing that ourselves, with our peers.

In the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, people need steady, consistent leadership. People need to know that people not only feel and recognize their faith but will participate in it.

Here at Grace Church we had to make cutbacks financially. Part of that was taking a pay cut. I thought it was important that our staff do that because our people are doing that. We actually do need them to give sacrificially to continue our ministry here. But it means that we need to sacrifice too. So that was an opportunity to “go first”.

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Dr. Jeff Bogue
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Jeff Bogue
Pastor at President of CE National and Senior Pastor of Grace Church of Greater Akron

Dr. Jeff. Bogue is a graduate of Grace College and Seminary. He is the president of CE National and senior pastor of Grace Church of Greater Akron, a thriving multi-campus, multi-site congregation, with over 13,000 people calling Grace their home.

Grace Church is not your typical mega church. It is a church-planting network, active in their evangelical mission of “30 in 30”: planting 30 campuses in 30 years. Jeff leads an excellent team to raise up pastors, missionaries, and church leaders to staff ministry works throughout the Kingdom of God. He counts it a privilege to work alongside this staff as well as Grace College in the development of these young leaders.

Since 1993, Jeff has served at Grace Church with his wife, Heidi. They have 5 wonderful sons, one beautiful daughter, and one amazing daughter in-law.

His proudest titles are that of husband and father to 7 children. He loves working alongside his family to tangibly express God’s love in ways that make Jesus make sense.

Dr. Bogue is the author of the books: 5 Assumptions About God and Why They Are Wrong, ReSet: Why Discipleship Isn’t About Trying Harder, Living Naked: How an Ordinary Person Can Live an Extraordinary Life, and the One Step Discipleship Journals.

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