4 Ways Pastors Can Grow Their Leadership Abilities

Leadership is a key component of being a pastor. Regardless of the your church’s governance structure, a pastor must lead well if the church is going to accomplish its mission. While some people are born with an innate ability to lead, it is more often learned. As a result, pastors should intentionally put effort into growing their leadership abilities. Here are 4 ways I try to grow in my leadership abilities that you might find helpful.

1- Read

On average, I read one book a week. How? While I am a fast reader, it is something I prioritize. Most every night before bed I will read for 45-60 minutes. This reading each day is not focused on sermon prep or theological issues. This time is spent reading books that will help me grow and improve in various areas of my life.

If you follow this, you will spend between 5 and 7 hours reading for the purpose of personal growth. While there are usually no dramatic changes that will take place overnight, there is a cumulative effect that, over time, will change how we lead.

2- Write

Writing can do several things. It has a way of helping you formulate thoughts. Writing can force you to determine what you think about a particular topic that perhaps you have avoided in the past. It can help you think through an issue from a number of perspectives. Writing about issues in your field helps you anticipate objections and complaints about a certain course of action.

Writing may not solve an issue that may be present, but it does help prepare the leader to lead through those issues in a more informed way.

3- Learn from other leaders

The best way I have found to learn from other leaders is to listen to podcasts while I am driving. It requires no additional time since I would be driving anyway, but allows me to be intentional with that time. On average, I listen to 5-6 podcasts per week. Four of them are focused on leadership.

Listening to these leaders talk about leadership in the context of the church allows me to grow in my understanding of leadership as well as my practice of leadership.

4- Hire a leadership coach

So, this is not something I have personally done, but it is something that intrigues me. I have been reading and studying about this and have read testimonies of many people who say their leadership has been significantly helped by this. No, it may not be for everyone, but it is worth consideration.

Regardless of which of these you strive to add into your schedule, be intentional about growing your leadership abilities. Over time you and your church will notice the difference.

 

5 Cultural Realities that Have Impacted Youth Ministry (as compared to 15 years ago)

I started in youth ministry over 15 years ago, and I loved it. As I think back to those years spent in youth ministry, I am amazed at how things have changed in our world. Here are 5 ways changes in our culture have impacted youth ministry.

1- Social Media has become a primary method of communication

15 years ago no one could have imagined the central role of social media in our culture. Not only is it utilized by teens; it is the primary method of communication. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or SnapChat (or a number of others) social media is part of teen’s lives.

2- More non-traditional family structures

There are more and more single-parent homes as well as non-traditional family structures. This can make youth ministry tricky. The home used to be a foundational component of youth ministry. That is no longer the case.

3- Less biblical literacy

When I started in youth ministry, most teens who visited our church (in the Bible-belt) had at least some biblical knowledge. Those who didn’t had at least been taught that the Bible was trustworthy. This provided a common starting point. This is no longer the case.

A youth ministry that seeks to reach unchurched teens, must have an apologetics component due to the biblical illiteracy as well as the plethora of varying religious and secular worldviews.

4- Moral confusion

There is much more moral confusion today than 15 years ago. Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender lifestyles are quickly on the rise in our high schools.

Those ministering in our culture must (1) be grounded in truth and (2) be willing to address these issues biblically.

5- Less trust in institutions

This is not just true of teens, but of many in our society today. As a result, we cannot simply sit back and expect people to just show up at our churches. Both discipleship and evangelism must be rooted in relationships. Simply having an activity will not be enough to evangelize unchurched teens.

There are more cultural transitions that have taken place and more challenges that exist, but it all points to the need for quality youth ministries.

 

5 Reasons Pastors Must Teach Doctrine

Biblical doctrine is at the core of the Christian faith. Throughout the centuries, the Church has used creeds and catechisms to teach doctrine. The concern was not on felt needs, but on core biblical truths. As the church has moved away from a focus on doctrine, its purity has lessened, its witness has weakened, and its impact for eternity has diminished. The key to regaining strength in our churches is to refocus our attention on biblical doctrine. Here are 5 reasons you, as a pastor, should be committed to teaching doctrine.

1- It is the foundation for Christian living.

Doctrine provides the foundation for Christian living. That is why in many of Paul’s writings such as Romans and Ephesians, the first half of the book is doctrinal and the second half is practical – focused on Christian living. When people are not taught doctrine, they miss out on the basis for correct living.

2- It enables our people to refute error.

The best way to guard against false doctrine is to consistently teach true doctrine. We live in a world that is filled with a plethora of cults and religions, each desiring to add people to their belief system. We will never be able to refute error unless we are first grounded in truth.

It is not enough to simply know what we believe; we also need to know why we believe. That requires that we teach doctrine.

3- We are commanded to teach doctrine.

The Bible commands pastors to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Imbedded in this command is the idea of preaching and teaching all of God’s Word, not just the parts we find easy or interesting. If we refuse to teach doctrine, we will end up ignoring much of Scripture.

4- It is through doctrine that we learn about God.

Doctrine points us directly to God. The more we study doctrine, the more we learn about the nature and character of God, the depth of human sinfulness, and the glory of God’s grace as demonstrated through Christ. Simply preaching to felt needs does not ultimately take us to the nature of who God is.

5- It helps lead to healthy churches.

Preaching and teaching doctrine will help our churches be healthier. Why? The church is the gospel made visible. As such, we need to understand the doctrine at the core of the gospel. The better we understand doctrine, the more clearly we can manifest the realities of the gospel through the life of the local church.

Be committed to teaching and preaching doctrine and you will see many benefits in your church.