In December of 2015, I wrote a post for Church Fuel titled “Six Things Growing Churches Do that Others Don’t.” That post apparently struck a chord with church leaders because it has been shared over 13,000 times.
Now, we all know that great churches wouldn’t exist without great leaders. So, what is that makes a great leader. What are the characteristics? What do great leaders do that others don’t? I can think of six things.
- Great leaders value others over themselves.
Great leaders know that they’re only as strong as the team around them, so they invest large amounts of time in making their team better. They genuinely care for their team beyond just a “Hey, how are you doing?”
Poor leaders believe there is an “I” in team, and they’re it. They overvalue themselves and devalue those around them. They only care about the team in so far as the team can help them.
- Great leaders value evolving over stagnating.
Great leaders know that what worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today. So, they’re always looking for ways to do something better. They read books, read blogs, and listen to podcasts searching for new ideas.
Poor leaders believe if something worked in the past, why change it? They’re always trying to keep things the same. They see no value in learning because they already have everything figured out.
- Great leaders value ownership over membership.
Great leaders take ownership of the vision and do whatever they can to help accomplish it. They have no problem giving their time, talent, or money towards the vision. If they see trash on the floor, they pick it up because that’s what an owner would do.
Poor leaders view themselves as members and make demands. They have their own vision and rarely will give their time, talent, or money to something that doesn’t benefit them. If they see trash on the floor, they pass it by because it’s not their job to pick it up.
- Great leaders value passion over obligation.
Great leaders are passionate about what they do. They show up early, stay late, and always serve with a smile. They are grateful for the opportunity to do what they do.
Poor leaders lead out of obligation. They show up late, are the first ones to leave, and always have a complaint. They’re rarely grateful, although they feel you should be grateful for them.
- Great leaders value risk over fear.
Great leaders embrace risk and take chances. They believe the only time you fail is when you don’t learn from your mistakes. They believe God is with them, and with Him they can accomplish the impossible.
Poor leaders live in fear. What if I make the wrong decision? What if this doesn’t work? What if I’m not the right person? Their fear of failure ultimately keeps them from ever succeeding. They believe God has left them, and so everything looks impossible to them.
- Great leaders value their family over their ministry.
Great leaders know that their greatest ministry happens at home. They spend large amounts of time investing in their marriage and in their children. They make date nights a priority, and they try their best to never miss their child’s game, recital, or banquet.
Poor leaders put the church before their family. They spend multiple nights away from home in meetings, at the hospital, or at the funeral home to the detriment of their family. Their marriage struggles, and their kids grow up hating the church.
Great leaders are few and far between, but all of us have the chance to become great. I hope these six values will serve as a roadmap on how to get there.
Do these six statements describe you? If not, what can you start doing today to change that.
If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more right to your inbox.