leadership traction

October 17, 2005

With Pathways moving into high gear, it is good to have some leadership traction again. Ministry is slowly moving back into a tangible piece of life after having been mostly practiced in theory for most of the last year. I’m finding that leadership in a new church presents new challenges. Among some of the thoughts I’ve been sorting through:

  • How do you give ownership without giving leadership? Is this even doable? One of the most common things I’ve heard from church planters is that you need to be very careful about giving people leadership too early in a new church. Differing agendas can create a lot of pain in a young church, so those in leadership need to be of a similar heart and vision. On the other hand, giving away ownership is essential for having people be invested in the community. Where is this balance between giving ownership and leadership?
  • How do you lead those who understand something better than you? Up until now, I’ve worked in a large church and had the benefit of leading in an area where I was well trained and passionate. This is a but a fleeting fantasy in a new church. One of my areas is to put our children’s classes in place, in which I have very little training and no specific experience. Among the team of people we have so far, there are 4-5 people with degrees in elementary education or child development, and others with lots of great experience working with children. It is a whole new challenge to navigate in and out of my own competency and ignorance as I work with this team.
  • Leadership resentment. This is a side of leadership that I have experienced myself and seen in others at times. I think it is common, though I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it addressed in a leadership book or training. There is always a conflict within the leader when they feel like people aren’t as sold out to something as they are. It can build into a resentment. In myself at least, I think this is primarily my own selfishness manifesting itself. Healthy leadership would have me walking alongside people and understanding where they are at rather than resenting their lack of commitment. I honestly haven’t felt this very much as we have some wonderful people already, but I’m trying to be aware of it. I imagine that in a situation like a church plant where you are more sold out than ever before, this potential for this being a major internal issue is high.
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