Effective leadership is critical to church planting. A church, or any organization for that matter, can only go as far as its leader can take it. In the past, I’ve written in this space about the importance of character when it comes to effective leadership. For sure, character is important but, for leaders to be effective, there are also some things they need to know. Here are three of them.
1. You must know who you’re following.
It may sound strange that a leader is a follower but, in fact, leaders who are trying to find their own way are like the proverbial “blind leading the blind.” This is true for any leader, but it’s especially true for spiritual leaders. Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul was one of the most effective leaders in history because he knew who he was following. It made him confident enough to tell people to follow him because he knew that, if they followed him, ultimately they would be following Jesus.
2. You must know where you’re going.
If you don’t know this, you have no business leading, and certainly can’t do it effectively. Martin Luther King had a dream. John F. Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon. Jesus constantly talked about the kingdom of heaven. These leaders knew where they were going. Where you are going is the unique vision God has given you for your church. To be an effective leader you must have a clear picture of that destination and be able to describe it regularly to the people who are following you.
3. You must know how you’re going to get there.
This is probably the trickiest because, while you need to have an understanding of how you’re going to accomplish your vision, you also need to leave room for the creative gifts of your followers to be used in carrying out your vision. To do this, you need to have a well-defined ministry philosophy that will provide the parameters in which your followers can freely use their gifts and creative thinking. Too much definition, and you’ll eliminate the thinking of your followers. Too little definition, and your ministry will lack identity.