If you’re like me, you want your voice heard — even at the top levels of leadership. I may not be able to have lunch with the President of the United States, but I do want to feel like he’s listening to me. I don’t believe it’s an unreasonable expectation of followers to want their voices heard by top leaders.
Perhaps you’ve noticed, but a few people are beginning to campaign for the presidential election in 2016. Ultimately, the field will narrow to two (maybe three). I’m not a political junkie, but I try to pay attention to someone who might end up leading my country.
Many cultural changes affect generation gaps. For instance, my father’s choice of 1960’s rock is quite different than my preference of 1990’s rock. And we all know music style can be a contentious issue in the Church.
Technology, however, is often cited as the main wedge between generations in the U.S. culture.
Most people don’t like change. Most leaders want to challenge the status quo. Leadership is, in part, the process of helping people see the need for change, embrace the vision for change, and then implement the change.
Some churches stay in a perpetual cycle of growing and declining. The church peaks, then dips, only to peak again. It’s possible for a church to stay in this cycle for decades.
Symbols are powerful. They add a richness to routine. They inspire hope. Symbols arouse emotions more quickly than reasoning. Symbols elevate the “why” above the “what.”
In the 1970s, one researcher noted: “There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept.” According to these definitions, leadership is influence, power, mobilization, motivation, processes, inspiration, among many others.
The same could be said of the church: “There are almost as many different ways of leading the church as there are persons who have attempted it.”
I recently had coffee with a young(er) minister. He asked a great question: What can I do right now? The young minister (he’s around 20) wanted to know how he could lead better. Starting today. He caught me a bit off guard. After all, leadership is learned and refined over time. Pastors spend years growing. He knew that, but he also wanted to know what could be done immediately.
I’m not that far removed from being a “young” pastor (at 35, many might still categorize me in this way), but I have learned — some things the hard way — from pastoring for 10 years. There are a few practices young ministers can do right now that will help them grow immediately. Here are three leadership practices I shared with him.
Both commentary and leadership are needed. Sometimes they overlap — a commentator may also be a leader. But here is how they are different.
Churches are more like organisms than they are organizations. Like an organism, when church health declines, it typically does so slowly. But there are cases when an otherwise healthy person experiences a sudden deterioration. Healthy churches can also experience a sharp decline in health. There are cases of healthy churches quickly becoming dysfunctional. Below are five ways I’ve seen churches spiral downward quickly, almost overnight.