Home Pastors Articles for Pastors How Church Leaders Can Effectively Lead Through Today’s Political Fine Lines

How Church Leaders Can Effectively Lead Through Today’s Political Fine Lines

political fine lines

How can church leaders effectively lead through today’s political fine lines?

The Church is truly magnificent even with its flaws, and transformational when it’s at its best.

I admit it; I love the church. It’s the most fascinating, complex, and ever-changing organization and community of human beings who follow Jesus and those who come searching with questions.

I love that everyone is welcome, and there is no charge.

Some days the Church can be frustrating, but most days, it’s fulfilling – pretty much like real life.

If you are in leadership, you’ve experienced some political fine lines that can become land mines if you don’t know where you are stepping, and you can find yourself in trouble fast.

Rarely is anything about life, the afterlife, and human beings a clear-cut black and white issue, it’s nuanced and often challenging to define.

The gospel message of Jesus as Savior is clear, but there are so many interpretations of what to do with it, how to live it, and tough questions of faith and doubt that if we are honest, no one has all the answers.

The mission of the Church is not a lightweight or surface endeavor.

When you add the complexity of current culture, church trends, and people’s opinions, leadership becomes very challenging.

It’s easy for church leaders to lose their way when caught in the endless nuances of making the church work, so much so that our time can be drained away from tending to the primary purpose of the message of Jesus.

We can get lost between the political fine lines and grey zones when leading.

If we drift too far from the purpose, it can seem like we’re walking in a field of land mines hesitant to take the next step because we might blow something up. (Or be blown up.) That can make you hesitant to take the next step. Even hesitant to lead at all.

We can never remove the challenges of real issues, but acknowledging and understanding them more fully helps us know where and when to take the next step, what to say, and how to move forward.

It’s not an option to stop moving forward out of fear, but as a leader, it’s essential to know what you think and keep your values clear to navigate the complexity of church leadership today.

5 political fine lines that can become land mines:

(You could add more, but the point is not the political fine lines themselves, it’s how to lead in their reality.)

  • Political arena: This political fine line is typically found between saying too much and saying too little. And then, of course, saying the wrong thing which often results in division over unity.
  • Gender conversations: This political fine line of most ministry decisions related to gender will land a pronouncement of hater or compromise.
  • Financial stewardship: The fine line is often between too much risk or too conservative, but either way, few things bring greater tension than how financial resources are directed.
  • Global conservation: This political fine line involves the big question of what or how much responsibility the church has for saving the planet that God created. The views are wide and varied.
  • Diversity: This political fine line is often between what needs proactive energy and what should be natural and organic. The outcomes can range from beautiful to heartbreaking.

Here’s the tension, we don’t get to side-step these issues, yet if we allow it, they will consume and take over the central mission of the church – helping people become followers of Jesus.

I wish there were some grand simple answer, but there isn’t one.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.