We often throw around the term “effective leadership.”  But what does it really mean?  Effective leaders lead their people and organization in a desired outcome.  They produce a successful outcome or intended result according to dictionary.com.  Common synonyms for effective are successful, fruitful, valuable, essential, and productive.

A few years ago, I co-authored a book titled The Necessary Nine with Bob Farr.  We wrote about the things effective pastors do differently and then added two things effective congregations do differently than the non-effective.  These effective “things” have stood the test of time – even in this time of pandemic.  Here is a quick recap of the two lists and a brief description:

Nine thing effective pastors do differently:

  1. Show Up and Move In

Effective pastors truly moved into the community – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  They become a part of the community.  They are not commuters.

  1. Listen Up and Lead with Your Ears 

Effective pastors do their historical and demographic homework of the mission field.   They also listen to the leaders inside the church and in the community for current reality.

  1. Adopt a Bias for Action

Effective pastors know that waiting for a year to do something is no longer a luxury.  They identify low-hanging fruit for a quick win right away to build trust and consistently take action to move the leaders and church forward.

  1. Get Spiritual

Effective pastors have solid spiritual discipline practices.  They dig into scripture on a daily basis – not just for sermon or Bible study class prep.  They model spiritual leadership.

  1. Get Grouped and Grounded

Effective leaders surround themselves with people who are just beyond their own personal leadership level so they are constantly growing and being challenged.  They also have accountability partners that can speak the truth into him/her to keep him/her grounded in humility and truth.

  1. Speak Truth with Determined Patience

Effective pastors are not afraid of conflict.  In fact, they embrace conflict and see it as an opportunity to grow in relationships and a shared purpose.  Yet, they speak the truth with love and grace and at the right time.

  1. Lead Up and Manage Down

Effective pastors know where, what, and who to invest in.  They pour into those that are partners on the journey.  They do not invest in places that are not in alignment with the mission, vision, focus, or priorities.

  1. Preach and Worship Well

Effective pastors are (or have become) great communicators and have surrounded themselves with the right people to create a great worship experience.

  1. Have Some Fun

Effective pastors work hard, but they also play hard.  They enjoy their families as well as their staff and congregations.  They have learned to play!

Two things effective congregations do differently:

  1. They Get It

Effective congregations understand the purpose of the church is to reach new people and have a focus on their mission field as their first priority.

  1. They Are Permission-Giving Partners

Effective congregations have learned how to say yes and release people into ministry when it aligns with the mission and vision of the church.  Their structure and decision-making processes are simple, nimble and effective with good guiding principles in place.

The coolest thing I have seen in my ministry as a coach and consultant is when an effective pastor and an effective congregation come together.  I describe it as “lightning in a bottle.”  They are unstoppable in their mission for reaching Jesus Christ.

Many conferences and districts use this book for all new appointments – providing them for the pastors and the leadership team to study together.  It provides a platform for great conversation on leadership and expectations as they learn about one another.

How would you describe your effectiveness as a leader and as a congregation?