IHS 11 – Church leadership

(image credit pastors.com)

(image credit pastors.com)

While there are many different definitions of church, the one with which I’m most comfortable, which comes from Stanley Grenz, is that church is a covenant community. Churches are about community, which means people in relationship.

This impacts how leadership operates within the church. Church leadership is different from ‘leadership’ in general in that the people within the community are what church is about. In some types of leadership, people are secondary. In military or business leadership, it is about achieving goals. This might be taking a particular piece of land (military) or making a certain amount of money (business). People might be part of that process, but if the people are ‘used up’ in the process that does matter. It might be sad. But the measure of success is the goals, not the people.

In church it is different. The measure of success is people being in relationship with God and with each other. When people in the community are ‘used up’ or lost in the process of achieving goals then ultimately the church has failed itself.

The traditional leadership training is about having a vision or goals, knowing how to reach that vision and then getting people working towards achieving a goal. This draws on the influencing and thinking talent groupings. The people who respond to this are the completers or achievers. These people like to get things done and are happy when they have something to do or finish. When they do things that the help the vision of the influencers, the influencers appreciate and value them.

The problems occur when things go wrong. What happens when people’s situation changes and they can’t ‘do’ so much? For people with either an influencing or completing perspective, these people are then a drain on doing things. They get ignored, forgotten, or even discarded from the community.

However for people with a relationship perspective things are very different. They are not very focused on achieving goals. They are focused on developing the relationships between people, regardless of what they are ‘doing’. When things become difficult for people, relationship building people want to know how they can help. They are focused on keeping the person within the community. This is key aspect for ‘church’ leadership.

This is why I believe that church leadership should be done in a team. Church leadership needs the tradition leadership perspectives of having a vision, achieving goals, and influencing people in reaching those goals, but more than that, it needs the perspective of how we are going to keep the people in community while achieving those goals.


About Nate

I am a strengths coach and Bible teacher. I love helping people find out their talents, how they operate, what is special about them and how they can most effectively use who they are. I also love helping people understand the scriptures and through that come to a better understanding of God. I blog about this on ontoxenos.wordpress.com I'm married and have two young children and together we try to follow what God has for us.
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5 Responses to IHS 11 – Church leadership

  1. ptl2010 says:

    They are focused on developing the relationships between people, regardless of what they are ‘doing’. When things become difficult for people, relationship building people want to know how they can help. They are focused on keeping the person within the community. This is key aspect for ‘church’ leadership.

    Unfortunately but true, one phenomena in the church today are church hoppers. They hop from church to church without the need to stay within the community the Lord has placed them for spiritual growth and exercise. They feel they are not ministered to and seek out the most thrilling church experience and not the most effective experience to build them up spiritually.

    • Nate says:

      While church hoppers are part of life, some will be because of a consumerist mindset, but others will be because they aren’t very valued in church. It is well and good to say, ‘serve your church’, but when you serve for years and then get nothing when you need help then know that there will be many hopping out of that church.

      • ptl2010 says:

        There has to be change or the church will fossilize.
        Like many church buildings now empty and bereft of worship to God
        People in the pulpits need to change and flow with the Spirit
        People outside the churches must be reached
        People in the churches must be charged and changed with the Word
        so with renewed minds they may feed on the Word for themselves
        and share the Word like the two loaves and five fish which He did.
        We need to experience God’s miracles daily in our lives
        And the church leadership can do much to help everyone
        If they but listen to the still small voice of the Lord
        Rather than the voice of the world or the people
        For when He speaks, and walks with and among His people,
        There is love sufficient for ALL.
        Let us hear Him. Trust and Obey Him
        For He knows the way we must go
        May all redound to His glory.
        Here and forevermore.
        We Need the Lord.

      • Nate says:

        I agree with all you say. I think that the best way of getting there is each person understanding what they are called to do, and doing that. Not just doing something because they think this is what the leader should do, or because they are trying to build a big organization.
        Unfortunately this is happening in too many churches.

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