For the week of November 21, 2005

By: Bruce Cole, lead pastor of Joy! Lutheran Church, G
One of my most important tasks as a lead pastor is to spend time learning from lead pastors who are three to five years ahead of me in terms of how God is molding and shaping the churches they lead to reach their full redemptive potential. Here are the common characteristics I see in these effective leaders:

1. An over-the-top, burning conviction that Jesus changes lives.
2. Crystal clarity on vision, mission, core values and bedrock beliefs.
3. M-a-n-i-a-c-a-l focus on embedding the DNA and zero tolerance for any energy wasted on anything that doesn’t model and embed the DNA.
4. Self-knowledge. The leaders of thriving churches know what they’re gifted to do, they do only what they are gifted to do, and they invite, equip and release others to do the rest. In other words, these leaders build teams. And they are totally fine with being self-defined and boundaried in the work they choose to do.
5. A radical appreciation of systems, processes and project management. Thriving churches that are more than a flash in the pan know that it takes systems and processes to make it work – and not just any systems or processes, but ones that can be operated by anybody, anytime, anywhere.
6. Devotion to kingdom expansion. It gets expressed in different ways: resourcing and/or coaching of other leaders; multiplying/planting churches; creating missional movements.
7. Focus…focus…focus.

And here’s one more: The lead pastors of thriving churches from whom I’m learning have a bone-deep humility that is grounded in the core conviction that, after all, it’s a God thing. In the end, these leaders believe that the amazing growth and effectiveness of their churches is an act of God and has often occurred in spite of, not because of, their own leadership ability. Tom Bandy calls this the “inner work of leadership.” Tom offers a mentoring seminar on “The Inner Work of Leadership.” You can find out more by clicking this link: <AHREF=”HTTP: seminarB3.html?><//a>.