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Why Are So Many People Afraid to Claim the Role of Church Leader?

They have taken on leadership before and had no support or guidance.

Sadly, this is too often the case for many who have stepped up in leadership in churches today. Leaders need support, guidance, training and partnership. Too often, a staff member recruits someone, and then fails to provide what the person needs to be successful. This is actually a failure of leadership on the staff’s part. We must remember that leadership is about mobilizing people for ministry. Thus, when we place someone in a leadership position, we must ensure that they have everything they need to be successful.

They think that only great and famous people are leaders.

Too often, people think that only people like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. or Billy Graham are leaders. We forget that the kindergarten teacher who helps a child learn to share is engaged in leadership. We forget that inviting a neighbor to church is leadership. We forget that organizing the food drive is leadership. Anytime we mobilize someone else to be engaged in ministry, we have engaged in leadership.

They think that they need to have all the answers to be a leader.

Leaders do not always need to have everything figured out. In fact, many times leaders will not have a clue as to what to do. In times like that, leaders gather others together to wrestle with the issues and problems they’re facing. This act of gathering people and knowing what the issue is and what questions to begin asking is the very act of leadership that is needed.

We need to intentionally build a culture of leadership in our churches by helping people claim and live into their roles as leaders:

  • Start by building up and encouraging leaders to see their God-given gifts and talents.
  • Intentionally partner with and support the leaders in your church.
  • Define leadership as not always doing great things, but doing small things with great purpose.
  • Help people trust that leadership is not grounded in having the answers, as much as it is grounded in the values and vision for what can be.
  • Start calling people “leaders.”
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jholm@tagconsulting.org'
After a career as a pastor, John is now a consultant with TAG Consulting. He specializes in coaching individuals and teams in the process of transformational leadership.