Leading the Smaller Congregation – Part 7

In Part 6, we began discussing why a team approach is the best leadership strategy in the smaller church. We considered how the pastor is often one of the newest members of the team and will need the experience and historical understanding of those who sit around the table with him. At the same time, the long-term leaders of the church need the pastor’s “fresh eyes” and new passion to help them break from ideas that are no longer as effective as they once were.

Another reason for a team approach relates to the church’s vision. The right vision for a church is one that reflects not only the passions of leaders, but the abilities of the congregation and the needs of the community. If vision is only driven by pastoral passion and focus, the people may lack the needed capacity to function effectively in the path the pastor wishes to go. In such cases, the future will be filled with frustration for both the people and the pastor.

The right vision for a church is the nexus of three circles–the leader’s passion, the congregation’s abilities, and the community’s need. Where these three intersect, the church will find 1) the vision that pastor can lead because it’s his passion, 2) the vision the people can embrace and fulfill because it matches their abilities, and 3) the vision  the community will respond to because it connects with their need. Find that merger point and you will find the engine to drive your church forward.


three circles

A key reason why team leadership is critical in the smaller church is that both the pastor and the established leadership bring needed components to the church’s vision.

So, in summary, team leadership is essential for the smaller church because 1) team leadership likely connects best with the pastor’s leadership personality; 2) established leaders likely have stronger relational influence because they have lived more of the church’s history; and 3) both the pastor and the established leaders possess passion and knowledge that is key to the church discovering the right vision for its ministry. Now, the local church should never be a “one man show,” but in the smaller church, this is more than just a healthy recommendation. It’s a clear reality.


One thought on “Leading the Smaller Congregation – Part 7

  • January 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Mike, this is great stuff!


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