What has leadership got to do with church? We go to church on Sunday, listen to a sermon, go home, come back next week and do it all over again. Well look around and you’ll see leaders in every aspect of our church life. We have the minister, office staff, education director, music directors, committee chairs, Sunday School teachers, Youth Group leaders, nursery staff, all of whom are leaders in their own right.
What does it take to be a good leader in our church? From my various positions in the church I’ve seen good leaders and not so good leaders and have put together a short list of qualities that I think go into making a good leader. Mind you this may not be an all-inclusive list, just some points that I think the majority of us can relate to help us be better physical and spiritual leaders for our church.
LOVE OF GOD: Our first commitment is to God. If we don’t have that commitment we are just “a clanging gong” speaking from our position not Gods.
DESIRE: Having a desire to lead goes a long way toward good leadership. Pushing someone into a position because we think they would be a good leader or because “we work well together” can be a recipe for disaster. Asking someone to be a leader but making them understand that they don’t have to accept is a much better alternative. When Jesus started his ministry he asked his disciples to follow him. There was no coercion or twisting of arms to get them to come along it was an open invitation to be the leaders of and foundation for his new church.
AVAILABILITY: How often have you seen a new leader take over and then not be able to find them when they are needed or even find them at the regularly scheduled meetings and events. Christ didn’t shy away or hide from those he led. On occasion he retreated to refresh himself but he always came back to be the visible leader to ensure that the work he set out to do got accomplished.
OPEN MIND: Be open to new ideas. Don’t shoot something down just because it isn’t yours. Ask the question: Is this what Christ would have us do? If it is, go for it! Sometimes the best ideas come from the quietest people. Be prepared to have an open set of ears to help fill the open mind.
SINCERITY: When we lead we need to be sincere in how we treat people. Praising people just for the sake of having others hear us give the praise is self-defeating. The more we praise someone without true feeling behind it the more they are going to turn us off. Remember the boy who cried wolf? Sooner or later people will get tired of hearing empty praise and go where they are truly appreciated.
ATTENTION TO OTHERS FEELINGS: This is a difficult one and one that I think we all need to constantly work on. Learn where the people around you are coming from in their personal life if possible so you can approach the task at hand with everyone on board. Humor is a wonderful tool to help break the ice on occasion but it can also be harmful if the person you are “joking” with is not in the mood to joke around. As I said this is a difficult area and one we have to constantly work on to be effective. Within a short meeting even we can have emotions run the entire spectrum from happy to sad to angry to sullen. It is our jobs as leaders to learn how to deal with others no matter their emotional state.
KNOW THOSE AROUND YOU: This starts with just knowing peoples names. I’ve struggled with remembering peoples names all my life I think. So, being Lay Leader and taking the Joys and Concerns in Church every Sunday has made me focus on learning people’s names. Jesus generally wanted to know who was around him during his ministry so that he could minister to them more effectively. Learning people’s names has allowed me to expand my relationship with all of you in the congregation. Now I am to the point that I know more of peoples lives and families just by remembering their names. Also by knowing the people around you make them comfortable in approaching you. So often I have been referred to by Mr. … Mr…. uhhhh Mr. Evans , yes Mr. Evans by those in charge above me. and I have to tell you I don’t feel comfortable approaching those people because they don’t know me.
So, leadership isn’t easy. It’s a learning experience. I’ve been to a number of leadership schools and seminars and I’m still learning. And should I slip up I hope that someone will show me my shortcomings so that I can become a more effective leader for Christ’s work here on earth.
Being a leader for Christ