Leadership is the key to the success of any organization. Whether it is the CEO, Elected Politician, Coach, or Senior Pastor, the organization’s degree of success will be directly related to its leader’s ability to lead all aspects of the organization. In a church, there are 4 key areas in which a Pastor must lead in order for the church to effectively accomplish the Great Commission—which is the Biblical standard of success for a church. Those key areas are:
- Vision and Direction
The Senior Pastor’s greatest responsibility is to receive, clarify, and communicate the vision that God has for the church he leads. The vision cannot be something that is voted on or developed by a committee. It must be burned into the heart of the pastor in such a way that everything he does, every decision he makes, and every person he hires is based on that action, decision, or person’s ability to advance the vision. It is a single focus that controls all things.
A pastor who cannot effectively lead his staff will never be able to lead his congregation. I am amazed when I hear a pastor say he cannot get his staff to accomplish different tasks. That is an indictment either on the pastor’s ability to lead or his ability to cast vision to his top level of leadership. When a pastor allows his fear of reprisal from his congregation to stop him from making a decision that if left unmade will impede the vision, he has abdicated his role as a leader.
The vision must control programing—not strong staff, not involvement of prominent members or their kids, not an activity that has been successful, and not his own personal preferences. The vision demands activities and programs that are not the result of convenience and longevity but or the results of prayer, strategic planning, and defined objectives necessary to accomplish the vision.
While no church should be in bondage to debt, they should also not be held captive by the fear of spending. The Senior Pastor must lead in establishing a healthy attitude toward stewardship when it comes to spending money to attract, reach, and disciple the unchurched. Whether it is for facility expansion, special guest, or “out-of-the-box” thinking to reach the lost, good stewardship demands that priority in spending be given to these efforts.
There is no substitute for leadership. There is also no hiding the results of poor leadership. An autopsy of most dead churches would reveal a lack of a clearly defined and communicated vision that is being carried out by unfocused staff who spend their time spend God’s money attempting to revive programs that are far removed from the objectives of the vision.
We don’t have funerals for churches. Dead churches aren’t buried. They just continue to suck the life out of a local group of believers who, if led effectively, could be revived. A funeral would be better!