You might be a seasoned leader, with years of experience under your belt. Or you might be a brand new leader, embarking on a brand new adventure. No matter what level you are, it's always smart to go back to the fundamentals. With that said, we are going to dip down to the foundation of leadership and look at three essentials to becoming a successful leader.
Identify The Path!
Every church leader must know where they are going, what their ministries preferred future looks like and develop a plan to get there. You can't lead anyone to a destination if you don't know what that destination is. When you aim at nothing, you'll hit it. So pray about what God wants your church or ministry to look like.
Once you have a destination in mind, now you must discover how to get there. This requires developing a plan and identifying the steps required. Want to serve the community? Establish steps that will plug you in. Join the local HOA Board, volunteer at local community events, etc. Want to be known for hospitality? Put a plan in place to create the best customer service in your area, give away free coffee, welcome people at the door with happy people.
These are very simple examples, but the principle is the same. Identify the path and implement the plan to get there.
Align People To The Path!
Now you know where you're going and how to get there, it's time to align your volunteers to that same path. In the absence of your leadership, someone will try and fill that void. In other words, if you don't get your team going the same direction, they will chase ideas everywhere but in the direction you want to lead in.
When your car gets misaligned, it pulls itself in different directions. This causes your tires to wear unevenly and for you to have to constantly be fighting with your car's direction to keep it going forward. This plays out in the church also. If your teams aren't working together toward the same destination, you will find yourself constantly in tension with your teams. Because vision leaks and your team will forget which direction to go, you have to constantly be aligning your team back toward the path.
Our church has a vision frame that guides everything we do. Every time I have a team leader meeting or am casting vision, the vision frame is always a part of that discussion. It helps keep all of us aligned on the path as we move forward together.
Model The Correct Behavior!
I can tell my kids to be nice to each other all day long. But if I am not nice to them, that's the behavior they will learn. If you are trying to create a culture at your church that is focused on serving your community, but you never show up or serve at community events, your people will learn from that behavior, not from what you say alone.
If you lead out only from the stage, but not from the boots on the ground space, you won't lead your people to what you believe God wants you to accomplish together. Your actions speak far louder than your words. This is why it's so important that your vision flows out of who you are. If you aren't willing to do the things that you are asking others to do, then you are only using people. You aren't a leader, you are a manipulator.
If you want to lead your church, ministry or organization successfully, you must identify the path, align your teams on that path and model the correct behavior!