leadership embraces the future (part 2)

Many dynamics influence the church and affect it’s leadership. Those dynamics, as diverse as they may be, become a crucible during times of transition. Sooner or later lead pastors and staff change, and churches eventually select new officers. These leadership transitions affect the church’s future and ultimately its ability to endure.

In the first essay, I posed two leadership challenges that churches face: the influential pastor or the closed board. On the surface they seem like opposite leadership styles that pose different problems. However, they are amazingly similar. The influential pastor and the closed board both fail to identify and equip new leaders.

So how can churches embrace the future through leadership? Human nature tends to put too much hope on gifted leaders. Great leaders, however, understand that their leadership is finite. They can extend their leadership beyond themselves and their tenure by embracing new leaders, equipping them for service, and entrusting them with ministry responsibilities. Training new leaders is a process guided by current leaders.

How can they minimize anxiety during leadership transitions? The best leaders realize that their leadership ultimately prepares their church for the next phase of leadership. They see the end from the beginning, and they anticipate leadership change. This prompts them to develop a leadership culture that embraces the future and welcomes new leaders. By anticipating the next lead pastor and new church officers, existing leaders reduce unease during transitions.

What is an effective strategy for empowering new leaders? Empowering new leaders is the key to embracing the future. Some lead pastors and church officers recognize emerging leaders as a threat and try to minimize their influence. This is unwise, and it usually fails. Others however recognize leadership potential and develop it through life-on-life mentoring. New leaders need experience and experienced leaders are ideal tutors through their initial ministry endeavors.

How can churches persevere from one generation to the next? Humanly, the future of every local church depends on godly leadership that passes the baton from one generation to the next. Churches that decline and ultimately die fail in this vital area. If you are a current church leader, you must cultivate new leaders in your congregation. If you are an aspiring leader, submit to good leaders and serve your church.

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