One thing my leadership experiences have taught me is that the health of the organization I’m leading depends on me. If I’m healthy my organization is healthy and, if I’m not, neither is it. Your church will only be as healthy as you are. So what do you need to do in order to ensure that you are leading a healthy church? Here are five practices of healthy leaders:
1. Walk with God
If you read the scriptural qualifications of spiritual leaders in 1 Timothy 3, they are almost all character-based. That’s because, in the long run, effective leadership depends on character. Character growth comes only through a consistent and deepening relationship with God.
2. Learn Continually
Leaders are learners! You can’t possibly lead people effectively if you aren’t continually learning where you’re supposed to go next. A healthy church depends on a leader who constantly learns and grows.
3. Commit to Community
Healthy leaders are not only connected to God, they are also connected to others. They have mentors who encourage their growth, they have peers who provide accountability, and they are committed to influencing their followers primarily by allowing them to see the kind of life they lead. They lead through healthy relationships.
4. Practice Leadership
Leadership is a gift, but it’s also a skill. Healthy leaders understand the importance of growing in their leadership abilities by continually breaking new ground. The moment you become comfortable with the present state of your church is the moment that you quit leading. You never arrive as a leader. Instead you have to keep practicing for the health of your church.
5. Gather Followers
A leader isn’t a leader if he or she has no followers, so gathering followers is a critical activity for healthy leaders. The followers church planters should be gathering are the lost. Unfortunately it’s so easy to lose touch with lost people once a church is up and running. But it’s imperative that this not happen both for the health of the leader and the health of the church they lead.