I have been studying leadership lately. Pastors do not get leadership training in seminary, but we should. We are leaders in our churches, denominations, and communities. Many of my mistakes in ministry have been leadership mistakes. There is a lot of bad teaching on leadership out there. Also I realize the church is not a business. But great leadership, whether in war, sports, business, politics, or the church, exhibits certain key character traits that do not change from sphere to sphere.
Here are my favorite definitions of leadership.
Harry Reeder :A leader influences others to effectively achieve a defined mission together.
The Army: The Army defines leadership as influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation, while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.
Kevin Kruse: Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal.
I like the Army’s definition because of the last three words, “improve the organization.” The goal is not simply accomplishing a mission, but accomplishing it in such a way that the organization is not hurt.
Here are some character traits of great leaders I have pulled from several books. None of this is original to me. This list is not comprehensive. I am sure I missed some things. Also any great leader will do some of these things better than others. You might be great at communication and poor at lifelong learning. But in all areas we can improve to lead our congregations or organizations better. Continue reading