Three Traits of Effective Congregational Leaders

by David Brubaker

Over the 27 years that I’ve consulted with congregations and other organizations, I’ve noticed three consistent traits of effective congregational and organizational leaders—whether lay or ordained. These traits are present with such consistency I’ve come to believe that together they constitute a required set of core characteristics of effective leaders. Fortunately, these traits can be developed by any congregational or organizational leader—as highly effective leaders are made, not born.

You Disappointed Me

by Susan Beaumont

A volunteer agrees to complete a task but fails to deliver, or delivers a less than satisfactory outcome. A leader violates an established behavioral standard. What do you do? How do you redeem the situation?

Disappointment is inevitable when people are involved in ministry, but disappointment doesn’t have to be the final word. Delivering an effective feedback message in the face of disappointment can turn the situation around and introduce accountability into the volunteer relationship.

Supervision Myth Busters

by Susan Beaumont

Pastors generally do not enter ministry with a strong desire to supervise the work of others. For many, supervision is a necessary job, a burden to be tolerated on the way to the good stuff. If you are struggling in your role as supervisor, you may be harboring false assumptions about supervision—myths that get in the way of a healthy supervisory approach.

Examining these myths and replacing them with more truthful assumptions is the first step in developing an effective supervisory style. The act of supervision becomes easier, and a more natural expression of your authentic personality, when you begin with the right assumptions.

How to Give Away Your Power

by Dan Hotchkiss
It’s relatively easy to find people willing to do tasks. It’s hard to cultivate real leaders—people to take charge of projects and gather others to get something done. As one pastor put it, “We have willing workers, but I can’t seem to create leaders. I can delegate work, but I don’t know how to delegate authority.” To delegate effectively, you need to balance three things: authority, guidance, and accountability. This is true for delegating tasks, and truer still for delegating leadership. Until we learn to bring people to full competence in little things, we can’t lead them to full competence in bigger things. Learning to delegate tasks completely is a necessary step toward readiness to delegate power.

On Your Mark—Get Set—Stop—(and Reflect)—Plan

by John Wimberly
When a congregation is bleeding, the bleeding needs to stop before anyone can step back and think big picture. But a key to discerning God’s will is to stop listening solely to ourselves and the world so that we can be truly open to the new things to which God is calling us. Do our planning processes include an intentional openness to being surprised; to being quiet and listening for God’s will?

Why Lone Rangers Always Fail

by David Brubaker
Leading a successful change process in a congregation, even a very traditional one, is possible. But to do so a leader must earn the right to make that change and partner with others to make it happen. Lone ranger leaders who ride into Dodge and transform an entire community exist only in the movies. In the reality of congregational life, we need a patient posse.

What Should a Congregation Be Good At?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice
Congregational leadership is actually always collective, not singular. In a continual process of discernment, decision-making, praying, studying, and shared living, the faith leader and members together create the congregation. Sometimes they do a good job together and other times not so much, but each brings something to the table and each is responsible for the congregation’s faithfulness.