It’s a popular myth that every leader should possess the same competencies and skills to be effective and fruitful.
They don’t. You don’t.
Most congregational leaders are steered into activities they’re not good at and they don’t do well!
Congregations suffer because leaders make three common mistakes…
- Leaders never gain clarity about what stirs deep within them and never gain clarity about their gifts, skills, talents, strengths.
- Leaders, as a result, get mismatched into assignments and congregations that require what they don’t possess.
- Leaders allow congregational expectations to steer them toward an endless pursuit of “life-depleting” responsibilities. (Pastors’ spouses suffer mercilessly under this burden too often.)
“Leaders are not good at doing things that they’re not good at doing.” (Scott Rische, PLI’s International Director)
The Flourishing in Ministry research funded by the Lilly Foundation calls this Alignment…
…where the gifts and skills of the leaders match congregational demands and expectations.
When ignored, leaders burn out. Empty out. Get discouraged.
“It is almost inconceivable to imagine that a single person could be uniformly high on the sixty-four distinct knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics.” (UMC study)
A United Methodist Study notes that pastors are required to move in and out of 13 different skill sets in their ministries that require 64 different competencies!
Here’s the bad news… speaking just to pastors here:
You’re not good at 64 different competencies! And, if you’re not gaining clarity in which ones you are competent in and working with your lay leadership to refine your position…
- You’ll never have the trust of your people to guide them in facing their greatest challenges.
- You’ll never be fulfilled doing what your heart longs to do.
- You’ll never be measured by your strengths and you’ll lose the respect of your people.
“The breadth of tasks performed by local church pastors coupled with the rapid switching between task clusters and roles that appears prevalent in this position is unique.” (UMC study)
All of this applies to the rest of us who are not pastors, too. Women and men alike.
The demands are different. Expectations adjusted.
Congregation after congregation suffers with leaders who are in roles and fulfilling responsibilities that they’re flat out not good at doing. It’s one of the simplest and most fundamental of building blocks that every leader and every congregation should set their sights on getting right.
What to Do About It
Leadership Essentials has enabled hundreds of women and men to gain the skills to lead themselves well into leadership and ministry that is fulfilling and rewarding. (Ask the spouse of a pastor who’s been freed from fitting a congregational expectation that they don’t fit.)
Raechel can answer your Leadership Essentials questions or guide you into the right learning community for your next steps.
Finally, forward this blog to a friend. Throw it out as a lifeline if ministry and/or leading has lost its joy.
Over the last few weeks we’ve focused on the findings of the Flourishing in Ministry research! These common characteristics have differentiated between life enriching or life depleting.