Church management/Elements of Leadership

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Elements of Leadership

Welcome to this module. In the previous modules, we defined management and leadership and related these concepts to practical "goings-on" of our churches and ministries. In this module we will look at several "elements" in leadership. Where there may be several "elements" put forward by leadership writers over time, we will consider just three:

  • the principles of Leadership
  • the factors of leadership, and
  • the qualities of leadership.

Before we proceed further, kindly note that, this module may well raise the most controversy and intellectual conflict in course. The "principles", "factors", and "qualities" discussed here are not exclusive nor exhaustive. They have been chosen from a vast multi-source pool and highlighted here for discussion and debate.

Principles of Leadership

The U.S. Army has a rather simplistic but effective way of describing the "principles" that make good leadership in their view:

  • to BE,
  • to KNOW, and
  • to DO

To help you be, know, and do; according to the U.S. Army (1973), following these eleven principles of leadership will help in personal development.

  1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement - In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.
  2. Be technically proficient - As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees' tasks.
  3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions - Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, they always do sooner or later -- do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge.
  4. Make sound and timely decisions - Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools.
  5. Set the example - Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see. We must become the change we want to see - Mahatma Gandhi
  6. Know your people and look out for their well-being - Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.
  7. Keep your workers informed - Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.
  8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers - Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.
  9. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished - Communication is the key to this responsibility.
  10. Train as a team - Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc. a team; they are not really teams...they are just a group of people doing their jobs.
  11. Use the full capabilities of your organization - By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities.

    I will just add three more points (perhaps just for emphasis:
  12. Be honest
  13. Love (the verb and command) - L-O-V-E!!
  14. Seek the Lord's guidance - ALWAYS!!

Factors of Leadership

There are four major factors in leadership:

  1. The People (followers)
  2. The Leader
  3. The Situation (or environment), and
  4. Communication

People matter - a lot, in any organisation, much more so the church!! Off course, it will be ridiculous to think that any organisation will even "exist" without PEOPLE. People consist generally of ALL types of members in the organisation including the those with leadership roles. In the nut shell, leaders must see themselves first as a member or the "people" before being a "leader".

After putting the followers and leaders in perspective, you can really complete the equation to determine who is truly a leader by looking at how they "perform" in different situations. The situation is specific issue or issues that arise in the environment of the church. The foundations of dealing with these situations lies mostly in how people/leaders communicate. Start by examining the following"

  • What is being communicated?
  • Who is being communicated to?
  • How is the communication being done?
  • Where is the communication being done?

The figure below illustrates the relation between the four factors of leadership.


As indicated earlier, the US Army is seriously passionate about their BE-KNOW-DO "harmonization" of leadership. Let us now try to generate some real-life examples and situations for use of this in the church environment.


Provide alternative examples to each of the following points.

  • BE a professional. Examples: Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, take personal responsibility.
  • BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples: Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination.
  • KNOW the four factors of leadership - follower, leader, communication, situation.
  • KNOW yourself. Examples: strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge, and skills.
  • KNOW human nature. Examples: Human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.
  • KNOW your job. Examples: be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.
  • KNOW your organization. Examples: where to go for help, its climate and culture, who the unofficial leaders are.
  • DO provide direction. Examples: goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning.
  • DO implement. Examples: communicating, coordinating, supervising, evaluating.
  • DO motivate. Examples: develop morale and team-spirit in the organization, train, coach, counsel.

Leadership Qualities

  1. Plan before you work – Management By Objectives (MBOs)
  2. Become a Master of Change and Earn People’s Trust
  3. Give Feedback on all issues
  4. Build Enthusiasm among congregation to work
  5. Get Involved! Believe in, and apply Team Work
  6. Growth and Development (both spiritually and intellectually) should be your goal.
  7. Make Good Decisions
  8. Analyse Issues and People on their merit
  9. Turn Problems into opportunities
  10. Manage your Time well
  11. Be careful in handling Finances
  12. Be concerned about your personal development also
  13. Let your actions be guided by the potential for a "higher glory/good"
  14. BE GOOD!! - S-I-M-P-L-E !!!!

Module Summary

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In this module, we have covered the core "elements" of Leadership. We discussed:
  • principles that should guide leaders,
  • the four factors of leadership, and
  • the basic qualities that leaders must assess themselves on