(From FotF’s Pastor’s Weekly Briefing)

Nine out of every 10 senior pastors of Protestant churches consider themselves to be effective leaders. However, findings from new research by the Barna group show that few senior pastors believe they are effective in strategic leadership.

Strategic leadera are often mistakenly perceived to be managers because they tend to pay attention to detail, desire for efficiency and insist upon careful organization — all marks of a manager. The attributes often criticized about them include their critical manner (perfectionism), demanding nature (need for truth and integrity), and need to plan everything (analytical drive). They are also viewed to be impersonal.

The strategic leader’s and the senior pastor’s approaches to leadership are very different. Pastors are directing leaders who major in motivation empowerment, resource acquisition and vision casting. When a directing and strategic leader work together and share a vision, it makes for the best situation.

Signs that a church is lacking in strategic leadership are that it tends to remain numerically small (100 or fewer), are behind the curve in adopting new approaches to ministry and fail to embrace new technological tools for ministry. These churches also seem to be in a constant state of crisis due to failure to anticipate foreseeable problems.

Barna states, “The contribution of the strategic leader is profound. They bring balance, wisdom and well-conceived plans to the process. On their own, strategic leaders are ineffective. But when they are a valued member of a dynamic team, they enhance the leadership of their colleagues and the impact of their organization.”

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