From the tribe of Issachar, there were two-hundred leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (1 Chronicles 12:32 NLT)
The primary objective for any leader is to discern what the “best course” is for the people they lead. In other words: what needs to be done today in order to complete the mission tomorrow? Covid-19 has forced pastors and ministry leaders to question previous methodologies. The pandemic of 2020—and beyond—has caused churches to recognize a “sign of the times”…and then to figure out “the best course” of action to take. Not easy…but critical. Elemental leaders are consumed with determining what is needed to keep their church healthy, effective and moving forward. But that also implies they have a high degree of organizational “self-awareness.” At a practical level, the way leaders determine what is organizationally needed is by
Data (actual metrics and measurements) or…
By intuition...which can be subjective and anecdotally-driven, but it’s why good leaders stay engaged with the people they lead, as in MBWA (Management By Wandering Around )--hanging around with your volunteer leaders, any staff you may have, any time you can be around people who have invested in the vision of the church.
But spiritual leaders recognize a critical third way:
insight from the Holy Spirit. For instance, the apostle Paul had an odd vision that ended up diverting a mission trip to Northern Greece: During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:9,10)
This third way needs to be measured and balanced as carefully as we would intuition; the New Testament implies that it’s tested and confirmed by other mature leaders in your community. By periodically probing your leadership team (your board, elders, session, or whoever your key leaders are) and your own heart through a series of questions, you may be surprised at what you uncover…and what you may have already known in your leadership gut. Don’t be afraid of asking questions, like…
Are our staff members and volunteers engaged and energized about what they are doing?
Have we created a “culture of trust” in which staff and volunteers are encouraged to freely exchange ideas for improvement and new initiatives?
Do tasks in our church generally get done efficiently, without filling gaps at the last minute?
Do we take time to learn what has worked or not worked for other churches and use that information to help in our own planning?
Is our church afraid to tackle challenges?
Not sure what the best course is? You can at least begin by asking questions.
Dave Workman | ELEMENTAL CHURCHES