What kind of leadership is needed to enable the life of the church?

“The church in all its expressions, is a people called by God and sent into the world to be God’s demonstration community.  The ways people relate to and care for each other is to manifest, or at least point to, what life is like inside the reign of God.  The quality of life together as a community of God’s people is to be a foretaste of life inside the reign of God.” 

From the CENTER LETTER (Chicago: Center for Parish Development, Vol. 27, No. 6), June 1997.

Beginning in 1973, the Center for Parish Development inaugurated a research project designed to support congregations and other church bodies to learn to become “communities of the reign of God.”  

This research identified six key leadership behaviors that can be learned and strengthened in each of us.  These are not innate or personality driven behaviors, but can instead be cultivated and encouraged.  The six causal leadership behaviors are as follows:

  • The leader’s practice of supportive relationships directly causes increased motivation among members of the governing body.  
  • The leader’s practice of openness and receptivity directly causes members of the governing body to practice open communication with the leader.
  • The leader’s own emphasis on high performance causes members of the staff of the governing body to emphasize high performance in their church work.  
  • The leader’s emphasis on building the governing body as a cohesive team causes members of the governing body to emphasize team building.  
  • The more the leader shares technical information about the church with the governing body, the more members of that team will share technical information openly with each other.  
  • The more the leader uses group methods of decision-making, the more members of the governing body will share influence in the team.

Note: The foundations for this research and detailed information about causal leadership is found in Foretaste: Leadership For the Missional Church by Paul Dietterich.  This list on Page 46.

A pastor’s leadership behavior power to influence a church’s climate cannot be underestimated.  A pastor’s leadership behavior causes a kind of chain reaction throughout the church system.  If these six behaviors are practiced on the high end their teams will become highly motivated, highly enthusiastic, and highly effective. 

Would you like to learn more about cultivating these 6 six leadership behaviors?

Paul Dietterich’s book Foretaste: Leadership for the Missional Church combines ecclesiology and organizational studies. The six practical behaviors for creating the  framework for forming a missional church provide an excellent resource for pastoral leadership. The focus of this book is not only on what a Church does, but how it goes about doing what it does.  I could not recommend it more highly.

In future blog posts, I will share information about the six key leadership behaviors that are referred to above. 

Written by Ray Schulte