Leadership is a complex task!
There are multiple things that we need to be aware of and do well at – mission, vision, core values, strategy, goals, plans, systems, programs, culture, just to name a few. Therefore, having a clear “big picture” of how all these pieces fit together is essential.
Let’s briefly look at some of the key components that a leader works with:
- Mission answers the question, “Why?” Why are you here and why do you exist? This is core stuff for every leader and every church. There are many ways of articulating God’s mission for the church but it needs to include loving God, loving one another and reaching a lost world with God’s love as a core part of our purpose.
- Core Values answer the question, “Who?” Who are you? What is important to you? What are you building on and what do you hope to outlast you? “Culture” emerges out of values and answers the question, “How are things done around here?”
- Vision answers the question, “Where?” Where are you going in the next period of time (3-5 years)? What is on the horizon and which way are you heading? Leaders are called by God to communicate a preferred picture of the future that motivates people with passion to give their lives to make it a reality (see Prov.29:18 and Hab.2:1-3). Vision must be clear, specific and should lead us towards further fulfilling your mission.
- Team Building answers the question “Who?” Much of your effectiveness as a leader will be directly related to your ability to build a team of people who are passionately committed to the ministry or department you lead. Team building is leadership the way God designed it (Mk.1:16-17. Eph.4:11-16). The team building process includes four important tasks: gathering, motivating, training and mobilising.
- Strategy answers the question, “How?” How will you get from where you are now (the current reality) to where you need to be (your vision)? What programs, processes (or systems), structures and events will you use to assist you in moving forward? Strategy includes the establishment of “goals” or “objectives” (which are milestone measurements along the way) to help you focus your energies on the next appropriate step.
- Planning answers the question, “When?” Here is where strategy and goals come together to form a plan of action that propels you toward your vision and a greater fulfillment of your mission, all flowing out of your core values about what’s really important (Ps.20:4. Prov.15:22). Planning also includes the allocation of resources (time, energy, finance, staff, volunteers).
- Spiritual Momentum. This answers the question, “What is God saying or doing right now?” Momentum is a leader’s best friend and it comes from a combination of God’s work in our lives and the church, along with our responsiveness to keeping in step with the Spirit. Attention to things such as spiritual “atmosphere”, “vital signs” (growth in quantity and quality) and congregational “health” are important.
Though these words are not specifically used in the Bible, all Godly leaders use these principles. For instance, Jesus knew his mission, his core values and he had a vision of what he would accomplish in his few years of ministry. He also had a clear strategy and a plan of how he would build his church, which included many facets (preaching in every town and village, training disciples, sending the Spirit, etc).
Okay, how do get all these pieces then put them all together? “Mission” and “Core Values” work best if they emerge out of an extended time of prayer, Bible study and discussion with your key leadership team. Take time to seek God and thrash out these essential foundation stones for your ministry (these things shouldn’t change over time). Once mission and core values are established, you can then spend time praying and sharing together about your “Vision” – what you see God wanting to do in the next few years. Then put a task group together to help outwork a “Strategy” and a “Plan” of implementation. Along the way, always seek to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, as, after all, we’re building the kingdom of God not just a human organization.
Finally, remember that all of these things are important but they are not an “end” in themselves. Ultimately they are just “tools” to help us get the job done – which is all about leading people to fulfill the purposes of God in our generation.