Missional Leadership

How does church leadership become missional leadership? Isn’t a shame we have distinguish between the two?

Depending on the polity of the church, most church leaders are elected by the congregation or selected by a nominating committee of some sort and presented to a group for ratification. The conversation often revolves around getting so-and-so more involved in the church by asking them to lead something.

Here is the problem. A leader by definition is a change initiator. Therefore if leaders are not united as to the mission of the church, the congregation is in for a bumpy ride, to say the least. In actual fact, most church “leadership problems” are rooted in the lack of understanding as to the mission of the church. Some people think it is worship, other fellowship, still others service to the community. All have a measure of the truth and yet none has the big picture. The result is a ponderous church leadership making uncoordinated, and at times, contradictory decisions.

Let me suggest an alternative.

What if the leadership was agreed that the main purpose of the church is to make disciples? What if every trustee, deacon, elder, board member of any kind, would constantly ask “How does my decision, my ministry, affect our mission as a church to make disciples?” Crazy thought, huh? How can it happen? Here is a start:

• Be sure to have a discussion with every potential leader about the mission of the church.

• Have each board or committee in the church take 15-20 minutes at their next meeting to discuss how their actions affect the mission of the church.

• Begin a class/series investigating the purpose of the church like Discover Your Windows. Take note of who responds, of who “gets it.” Those are some of your potential leaders.

Only when leaders are agreed on the mission of the church, will the leadership be missional.

(First published at churchdoctor.org/blog, Feb 2, 2011)

5 thoughts on “Missional Leadership

  1. What are your thoughts about leaders/pastors of a local area/community unifying together to create church mission or a missional focus?

    Came a cross your blog a few weeks ago, enjoy your thoughts!

  2. Thanks Arnie. Yes, I agree with you and I think such unity is essential and will be a part of a new Christian movement that is organized around the mission of the church rather than doctrinal distinctives or organizational charactersitics.

  3. This is interesting because of a practical problem. There seems to always be a tension between individual gifts and the mission of the church. Are there limits of the way in which one sets up the mission of a church – limits of being too narrow or, perhaps, too broad? It seems the former can result in certain gifts being considered useless for a church, while the latter results in a lack of unity of purpose.

    If there are limits, do you have suggestions on how to identify where those are in a particular church?

    I have the ideas in the following blog (and the contrary positions as well) in mind: http://www.stevenfurtick.com/leadership/keepers-of-the-aquarium/

    1. Re: the blog I linked – I mean that blog as what I think is a bad example of a mission (in this case, too narrow a mission), not a good example. Not sure if I was clear on that.

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