In your role as a pastor you have to influence both other pastors and volunteers. Often, there is little if any economic leverage in church leadership, so influence which results in discretionary effort and service is essential. Here are three renewable sources of leadership influence.
People follow those whom they trust, those whose walk matches their talk, those who are whole as opposed to being half-there. Character isn’t something we put on like a sweatshirt on a chilly day. It comes from the careful and deliberate apprenticeship of paying attention to God and self, questioning my motivations and actions in a non-self-condemnatory way, opening myself up to others, and counting others’ interests more important than my own.
Quite simply, we need to be really good at what we do in order to experience maximum leadership influence. Volunteers are giving their hard-won and scarce discretionary time to the church and they are not going to long follow someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, doesn’t get results, or doesn’t conduct themselves in a professional way. It’s always critical to sharpen the saw, to read widely and deeply, invest in peer relationships with practitioners we respect, and seek out mentoring and coaching regardless of our time in grade.
The key to success for any organization, including the church, is whether or not it has a culture that satisfies the innate human desires to belong, to contribute, and to make a difference. People thrive in a context where they trust leadership, where they feel heard and valued, and where their own contributions are clearly connected to a broader purpose.
More than ever before, church leaders are paying attention to the kinds of culture they have in their church. Is it one of collaboration or where we do as we are told? Authoritarianism or participation? Community impact or cul-de-sac member services? Openness to the community or distance?
These questions are vital and one of the best ways to increase your leadership influence is to prioritize crafting a church culture that brings out the very best in both staff and volunteers.