One of the realities of parenting is seeing my negative patterns and weaknesses replicated in my kids. It would be lovely if my kids reflected all of the strengths but none of my weaknesses. But my kids in reality seem to pick up my weaknesses even more so than my strengths.
Churches, like families, have leaders with strengths and weaknesses. In churches, however, we have the opportunity to pass our strengths on to our congregations but protect them from our weaknesses. A church that replicates the weaknesses of its pastor has an unhealthy leadership structure. Every leader has strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging this, my commitment as a pastor should be to bring my God-given gifts and strengths to my church but not have my weaknesses replicated in the church.
How can I keep my weaknesses from destroying my church?
1. Know and focus on your strengths.
Is it clear to you where you are strong and where God has gifted you? These are the areas that you should be leading in. For example, If you are strong with theology and teaching then focus on bringing these God-given strengths to your ministry. Spend as much time as possible in the areas where you are strong. Not sure where you are strongest? Ask those around you what your top two or three strengths are and focus on bringing these to your congregation.
2. Know your weaknesses and empower others in these areas.
Here are two examples of pastoral leadership weakness that I often encounter:
Pastors who are weak in prayer. Many pastors are stronger at doing and weak at praying. I am not excusing your lack of prayer, but am encouraging you to admit a weakness that could be replicated in your congregation. Surround yourself with others who are given to prayer. Empower them with authority in this area. In doing this, you will be challenged to be more committed to prayer yourself, and will ensure that your struggle with self-dependency is not replicated in your congregation.
Pastors who love starting but rarely finish. Do you love the beginnings of things and have new ideas every day? Being a starter is a strength but also can be a weakness. Make sure that your leadership team has others who think differently than you in regards to staying the course. They will help protect you from yourself when you want to create a new church plan every 8 minutes.
3. Don’t set yourself up as Dictator.
If the buck stops with you on everything, your church will, in fact, reflect your weaknesses because you will have the authority to overrule anyone who sees things differently. Though I am not advocating an egalitarian leadership structure, I am encouraging you to allow others to lead where you are weak. Be willing to submit yourself to others who you know God has gifted the church with as well.
Remember God brings leaders to his church. Don’t be the only one in your church. And don’t let your church mimic your weaknesses.
What would you add to this? Feel free to comment!