Time is a valuable asset. There are not enough hours in the day for a church leader to achieve everything they could do. Some of the things leaders spend their time doing produce a low return while other things produce a tremendous return or benefits.
Great church leaders are stewards of their time by concentrating on certain top priorities. Those areas include personal devotions, training and equipping staff and volunteers, and building and strengthening relationships. Spending a large portion of your time and energy in those areas will allow you to be a successful church leader. Let’s discuss each one of those areas.
1. Personal Devotions
Self-leadership is essential for every church leader. In the context of church leadership, this means being able to lead yourself toward and concentrating on the Creator. You have to place your relationship with God higher than anything else. One of the best ways to remain closely connected with God is through daily devotions and implementing regular spiritual practices.
Daily devotions could include: reading the Bible, praying, worshiping, reflecting and thinking on scripture or about Him, reading spiritual development content, and/or having times of solitude. Regular spiritual practices might include: fasting, having larger times of solitude, taking a personal spiritual retreat, and taking time away from work to concentrate on God.
These things will strengthen your relationship with God. You should spend a considerable amount of time implementing them into your life and doing the things that lead you toward a closer relationship with God. The outcome will show through in your personal life and leadership.
2. Training and Equipping
Great church leaders are involved in the training and equipping of staff and volunteers. Fred A. Manske Jr. said, “The greatest leader is willing to train people and develop them to the point that they eventually surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.” When I was a volunteer youth leader the youth pastor always said, “I’m trying to work myself out of a job” which referred to him training up the next generation of leaders to replace him.
He did not just say those words to the team; he put action behind his words by investing in the growth and development of those who served the youth ministry. He would take the time to meet with people one-on-one for coaching or mentorship, place people in growth or stretching opportunities, and provide group trainings. As a result, more and more people started to use their personal talents and walk out what they were called to do. You can do the same thing.
Start creating a culture of growth and learning. Begin to offer your staff and volunteers relevant resources, coaching or mentorship, in-house and out of house conferences and workshops, and tasks or roles that will allow them to develop in specific areas. No matter the size of the group of people you lead you will want to offer training to everyone while spending the majority of the time concentrating on your core team of leaders or volunteers. When you invest the time to train and equip the people in your church or on your team you will begin to see tremendous benefits.
3. Building and strengthening relationships
Being a church leader requires being around other people a lot throughout the week. For this reason, great church leaders are masters at building relationships with other people. This only happens when a leader is present.
You should make sure you are walking around before and after church services and at different events. During the week, take the time to connect with and be around staff members and volunteers. You can do this by having an open door policy, spending time in the different ministry offices or departments, and placing yourself were other staff members or volunteers are working. Avoid hiding away in your office or secluding yourself with only people you know.
Being present allows you to connect with, learn about, and relate to new people and strengthen your relationships with those you already know. I had a practice as a youth leader that you should consider adopting. I would force myself not to spend time around those I already knew, until I had taken the time to meet and get to know the new people or those who I did not know as well. This one practice allowed the new people to feel welcomed and allowed me to start friendships.
Alongside the above points, you should intentionally network and build rapport with local business owners, non-profit leaders, pastors from other churches, and people who work at different businesses. Building relationships outside the church can allow you to gain support or resources from a variety of sources. An example could be partnering with a business or non-profit leader to offer supplies to poverty-stricken people. Another significant reason is that you will be able to reach out and show Christs love to those who are not saved.