Parting Words of Wisdom
This is my final staff spotlight as Church Strengthening Strategist for the Nashville Baptist Association. The past two years have been a special time in my life. Connecting with the pastors of the Northern and Eastern Zones has been a learning experience and a joy. I remain convinced that the ministry significance of a church rises and falls with pastoral leadership.
I pray for pastors every day as they give leadership to their respective churches. Leadership is a challenge in any situation, but it is especially so in the church environment. Most pastors give leadership to a basically volunteer organization. My ministry and leadership experience has led me to the following observations:
Effective pastors take responsibility for their spiritual and professional growth. We all need to understand that if you stop growing, you stop leading. The most effective way I know to consistently improve personally and professionally is to utilize a trained, certified coach.
Effective pastors take responsibility for the results they experience in their churches. I don’t mean that you take all the blame or credit, but you do have to take responsibility for providing your staff and volunteer leaders with productive and visionary leadership.
Effective pastors build a supportive leadership team in the church that includes both staff members and volunteer leaders. If you find yourself standing alone, then something’s wrong.
Effective pastors surround themselves with capable colleagues outside their church to help, advise, and encourage them.
Effective pastors finish what they start. Examine, plan, execute, evaluate, repeat. The only thing worse than a bad strategy is a good strategy left on the table.
Effective pastors are willing to take calculated risks for the fulfillment of the church’s vision, and they do so consistently throughout the tenure of their ministry. Pastor, if you’re just hanging on, you might consider just letting it go.
Effective pastors realize that there is no success without a successor. Raise up leaders on your staff and volunteer teams. Equip them to carry on without you if necessary. Communicate vision to them so that when the time comes, they are enabled to give effective leadership to the church after your departure.
Thank you all for the prayers, conversations, fellowship, and work that we have experienced together over the past couple of years. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers always.