Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Leaders know the way

John Maxwell has given us dozens of excellent quotes about leadership.  One of my favorites is "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."  All three of these are required for a person to succeed in a leadership position.
Leaders have to have a vision for the organization they lead.  Allowing an organization to drift along hoping something good will happen is not leadership.  Leaders have a destination in mind for their organization.  They are not in the race just to be running; they are in it to complete the race at the goal.  For those of us in ministry this vision cannot just be something we want to see happen.  The only worthy vision for a church or ministry is a God-given vision.  What is it God wants to accomplish in your church?  How does He want to use your church in the next five to ten years that will impact your community?  A ministry leader seeks out that vision and then leads his or her ministry to fulfill that vision.

It is not enough for a leader to point to a destination and yell "Charge!" while he or she stands back to watch the action.  Leaders are in front leading the charge.  They have identified the key result areas that are necessary to achieve for the vision to be reached, and they are engaged in those tasks alongside the people they lead.  A ministry leader does not sit in his or her ivory tower office all day waiting to hear reports of how the troops are doing.  He or she is out there with them leading by example.  If our church's vision is to reach a certain number of unchurched people by the end of the year, the pastor is engaged in evangelism, both from the pulpit and one-on-one.  No pastor/leader should ever ask the congregation to do anything he or she is not willing to do.  Leaders go the way, and by doing so set the example for others to follow.

An important role of leadership is communication.  Communication is never more important than when it comes to vision.  Leaders must be the chief vision-casters of any organization.  It's not enough that they know what God's vision for the organization; they must show that vision to others. Rick Warren insists that vision must be shared at least every 21 days.  People get busy and forget.  That goes for leaders, too.  Leaders can get so busy putting out fires that they forget the vision.  When this happens the organization is back to drifting again.  You cannot overcommunicate vision.  In fact, if you don't feel that you are overcommunicating the vision of the organization, you are probably not communicating it enough.

So many of our churches, both bivocational and fully-funded, are adrift.  They are uncertain about their theology, their purpose, and their vision.  It is a failure of leadership to allow this to happen in any organization including churches.  Pastors, if you do not know where God wants to lead your church you need to seek a fresh vision from Him or recognize you have forfeited your right to lead.  If you are not communicating that vision to the point that everyone in your congregation knows it by heart, you have not communicated it enough.  If you are not in the battle with your people to achieve that vision, you are in the wrong place.  Real leaders know the way, go the way, and show the way.

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