Monday, January 11, 2016

Intentional leadership

One of the great needs of the church today is strong leadership. By that I am not referring to dictatorial leadership. That kind of leadership exists only in unhealthy churches. Strong leadership continues to be servant leadership, but it is also very intentional in its efforts.

Too many pastors and lay persons serve as leaders in their churches without any sense of what real leadership is about or what it should do. Pastors are often voted into their position, as least in my tribe, if they interview well and provide a good trial sermon. Little is known about their leadership ability or if they even want to lead.

Lay people, especially in smaller churches, are often selected for leadership positions based upon their seniority in the church or because of their last name. In some churches it would be unthinkable to have a committee or board that did not include a member of the leading families in the church regardless of whether they had the gifts and/or abilities for the position.

Churches without strong pastoral and lay leadership are like ships without a rudder. They drift along aimlessly wondering why they never seem to reach any kind of significant destination. They seem to travel long distances throughout the course of the year only to find out they've never really left the harbor.

Several years ago Paul Meyer and Randy Slechta wrote an excellent book entitled The Five Pillars of Leadership: How to Bridge the Leadership Gap. A person who is intentional about being a leader would do well to follow the five pillars of leadership the authors identify in the book. These are

  1. Crystallizing your thinking so you know where your organization is today and where you want to go.
  2. Developing a written plan for achieving your goals for the organization.
  3. Creating a desire and passion within yourself and others within your organization to want to achieve these goals.
  4. Developing confidence and trust in yourself and your organization's members to achieve these goals.
  5. Fostering commitment within the organization to follow through on the plan regardless of the obstacles and challenges that are sure to come.
Think about how your leadership would change if you began each day reviewing these five pillars and making sure you were doing something intentional each day in each one of them. What if you held your lay leadership responsible to do the same? Would this make a difference in how your church operated and what it accomplished? My guess, in many churches it would make a big difference.

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