Church management/The Church vs. The Concept of Leadership

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The Church VS. The Concept of Leadership

After going through the definitions of Management and Leadership in the previous module, let us now consider the relationship between the concept of leadership and the church as an institution. This module will present several questions for consideration and discussions before providing briefs and notes.


Now, lets tackle a few questions and brain teasers <smile>

What do you feel is the concept of Leadership?

Try the following, answering True or false.

  • “The only people who lead have some kind of leadership job, such as chairman, coach, or king.”
  • “Leadership is a gift. If you are born with it, you can lead. If you are not, you can't.”
  • “‘Leader’ is another word for ‘boss’”.
  • “Being a leader in a Scout troop is like being a leader anywhere else.”

Which Leader Are You?

Now, take a pause and undertake this simple self-assessment.

This should take you not more than 10 minutes.

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Self Assessment

How do you affect your team?

Identify yourself in the following...

  1. Sparkplug (making things happen)
  2. Analyst (rational deliberator)
  3. Dreamer (optimistic idealist)
  4. Peacemaker (conflict resolver)
  5. Engineer (project organizer)
  6. Traffic cop (project controller)
  7. Friend (developer of social interaction)
  8. Helper (cooperative follower)
  9. Maverick (nontraditionalist)
  10. Bridge-builder (reaching out to other teams)

Now take a moment to reflect on the impact of the characteristics you have identified yourself with and its impact on your church.

What Does a Leader Deal with?

Every leader deals with just two things: the job and the group.

The job is what is to be done. The "job" doesn't necessarily mean work. It could be playing a game. It could be building a Sunday-school. It could be getting across an idea. A leader is needed to get the job done. If there were no job, there would be no need for a leader. The group, such as a patrol, is the people who do the job. And in many cases, the group continues after the job is done. This is where leading gets tough, as you'll see later.

leaders deal with a mixture of "people" doing different "jobs"

The Job of a Leader

As we have identified earlier, a leader works with two elements: a job and a group. You can always tell when a leader succeeds, because:

  1. The job gets done, and
  2. The group holds together.

Leadership differs with the leader, the group, and the situation. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Good leadership will therefore require not just a set of time-tested tools/actions for success, but a careful analysis of every situation to ensure that the best decision is taken to ensure that the job is done, and the group holds together even after the job has been done.

Leadership Develops

Just as a tree, no matter how big, starts from a small germinating plant like this, your leadership skills can also develop.

Picture a long scale like a yardstick. On the low end, there are no leadership skills. On the other end, there is a complete set of leadership skills. Everyone is somewhere between those ends! It sometimes doesn't matter which end you are on. After-all, it really is very difficult to know exactly which point on the yard you are on. What matters is your conscious attempt to continue developing yourself and others around you. As your followers keep developing, it is simply logical to ensure that you develop with them if not even faster. Progressive leadership development may sometimes simply mean listening to your followers, to their ideas, challenges and the innovative solutions on the possibilities frontier. Apart from this, be open minded and keep reading.

Twelve Ways to Identify a Promising Person

If leadership can be developed, then what do you do with that knowledge? Does the church attempt to institute a "mass production plant" to produce leaders?. A big NO - well, somehow!! The fact is that, there must at any time, be leaders and followers. Some leaders today will the followers tomorrow or even today under a different leader for a different task. In the same way, various leaders may need different skills to performs their duties in their current roles. Although sometimes leaders seam to simply rise out of the blue, it may on more often occasions require some "development". The "very promising" leaders should be identified and encouraged to develop themselves. Care must however be taken in this endeavour.

The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. The best chorister may not always be the best choir mistress/master. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best head of that department/ministry. So it's critical to distinguish between the skill of performance and the skill of leading the performance - two entirely different skills.

It's also important to determine whether a person is capable of learning leadership. The natural leader will stand out. The trick is identifying those who are capable of learning leadership over time. Here are several traits to help identify whether someone is capable of learning to lead.

To be counted as a leader, you must show distinctive attributes. STAND OUT and be counted!!
  1. Leadership in the past. To create or catch vision.
  2. A person who doesn't feel the thrill of challenge is not a potential leader.
  3. A constructive spirit of discontent.
  4. People locked in the status quo are not leaders.
  5. Practical ideas.
  6. Brainstorming is not a particularly helpful practice in leadership, because ideas need to stay practical.
  7. A willingness to take responsibility.
  8. A completion factor.
  9. Mental toughness.
  10. Peer respect.
  11. Family respect.
  12. A quality that makes people listen to them.

Module Summary

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In this module, we:
  • related the concept of leadership to the church environment
  • conducted an assessment of the type of leaders we are
  • discussed the two main ingredients of a leaders work
  • discussed the "job" of leaders, and
  • discussed and underscored the importance of developing leaders

In the next module, we will discuss further the elements of leadership. We will further discusses how to "mix" these elements to ensure the right delivery of services to your church or ministry