Church renewal depends on good leaders. As I’ve highlighted previously, “As leaders go, so goes the church.” It’s revealing that every time God makes a major redemptive move, he raises up a leader. In this moment of heightened stress on the North American church the difference between collapse and transformation is in the hands of gifted and godly leaders. As someone once noted, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” But how does a leader get better?
Here are seven commitments to expand your leadership capacity:
Investment 1: Commit To Learning
Leadership is a learned skill. Some come to leadership more naturally than others but everyone can be a leader as long as they exhibit these qualities: trust, compassion, stability and hope. Leaders learn by carving out time to read and attend leadership-focused training. A google document with my top leadership reads is here. Please add your own.
Investment 2: Commit To Self-Assessing
It’s important for leaders to self-assess their leadership capacity. On a scale of 1-10 rate yourself in these areas [thanks Rev. Scott Vander Ploeg for this list]: faith maturity, character, competence and relational capacity. Whatever number you assign to each, ask yourself what it will take to improve your score. Pay particular attention to character.
Investment 3: Commit To Mentoring
Most great leaders have had a great leadership mentor (or a series of leadership mentors). A leadership mentor is someone with demonstrated capacity to lead, is able to reflect on the reasons for their success as a leader and is willing to speak courageously into your life as a leader. These mentors are often found in the marketplace.
Investment 4: Commit To Discovering
If a leader wants to know how they’re doing as a leader they’ll ask those they lead. Good leaders ask those they lead what they do and do not appreciate about their leadership and what it will take to improve. This only works when there is a safe environment free from reprisal with leaders who are mature enough to receive difficult truth from others.
Investment 5: Commit To Naming
Leaders need to think objectively about leadership. One way to accomplish this is by creating a personal list of leadership axioms to guide a leader in the practice of leadership. One axiom is “Good leaders believe there are no bad people in the room.” A google doc with my top leadership axioms is here. Please add your own axioms to this list.
Investment 6: Commit To Leading
The most important way godly leaders expand their leadership capacity is by leading. Leaders are shaped by the things they lead. People often exhibit surprising leadership skills when they are given the chance to lead something of significance and something of challenge. What leadership gap can you fill to advance the work of the Gospel?
Investment 7: Commit to Listening
Godly leaders listen to the Spirit’s still small voice. The Spirit will speak to a godly leader about things they need to know about themselves and about the people and the project they are leading. This voice of the Spirit is the greatest gift a godly leader will ever receive. When a leader listens well they have inside information essential for their work.
The Center for Church Renewal is committed to “serving leaders renewing churches.” If we can assist in anyway, please contact us. A simple one-hour leadership training course (or three 20 minute segments) has been developed by the CCR and is available for congregational leadership team training. Let us know if you would like additional information by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.