Imagine someone pointing an accusing finger at you. Perhaps that person is complaining about what is happening in the congregation that you lead. In your imagination, trace the tip of that accusing finger back along the person’s arm until you reach the torso. You will be led right to their heart! Ask, “What does this …
It’s not easy being a pastor, priest, or rabbi. People come to congregations bearing an incredible variety of hopes and aspirations. When reality falls short—as it inevitably does—the clergy leader often takes the fall. That process is almost always painful, even when it turns out to be a good thing for all concerned. A lot of clergy fail, but others manage to avoid the pitfalls and succeed despite the odds. A key to success is to remember that the congregation’s mission, not its minister, is the central issue.
Character trumps every other attribute of leadership—including skills, charisma, vision, motivation, and persistence.
The end of summer vacation can be the beginning of a downward spiral, or it can be an opportunity to begin to lead from a new, more health-giving place.
In our culture, power accrues more easily to men than women, so women need to be especially savvy about how to use their power. But instead, women leaders often undermine themselves.
“My worry is that I am not relevant.” I asked fifty denominational leaders to share their deepest worries, and only one brave soul had raised his hand. “No matter what I do,” he said, “the church is likely to continue its decline. My deepest worry is that I have chosen to invest my life in something insignificant—that my vocation has become irrelevant.”
I remember the moment a clergyperson said, so matter-of-factly, during a retreat: “If it weren’t for the congregation, I’d be a great leader.” We all broke into laughter. Most of us wanted to believe it. But as pleasant as the fantasy of leading without anyone else interfering may seem, we can’t lead without a context and followers. We lead imperfect people in imperfect institutions—imperfectly.