7 Elements of a Strategy for a New Leadership Position

I am a month on the job in my new church. It’s been challenging and fun at the same time. I’ve met so many wonderful people, but there are more opportunities than time it seems. I believe this is going to be a great ministry assignment. Thank you God for the opportunity.

Several have asked what my strategy has been in the opening days. If you know me at all you know that I’m pretty strategic. I promised earlier on this blog to walk though this process publicly. I hope it helps others who are in or will be in times of transition. I’m happy for you to learn from my mistakes.

Here are 7 elements of my strategy for the beginning days:

 

Get to know key leaders – I am trying to get to know the staff and key Influencers in the church. I believe God uses the influence of others to build His church, so I want to know who I will be working with in the days to come. Think of it this way. If Moses was implementing the Jethro method, his primary energy would need to be communicating and investing in those leaders he enlisted to lead others. I’m using that approach. If I hope to make any substantial changes I’ll need these influencers support.

Let people get to know me – For an introvert it’s been exhausting, but I’ve been very visible in the early days. In fact, in my ministry I’m usually always very accessible, just as I am online. I have written before that I may not always be available but I can always be accessible. I want them to feel comfortable with me and trust my leadership, so I think they need to see me frequently, even more so in the beginning days of my pastorate.

Set my initial vision – People want to know where I am going with my leadership. I set an initial 7 part vision for the people. I really wanted 3 or 4 initial initiatives, but I landed on 7. They are all things I’m passionate about implementing. Some will gets started faster than others, but the church seems anxious to get behind all of them.

Identify quick wins – I’m looking for some things I can immediately impact and change for good. These are things I believe everyone can agree with, don’t require a lot of resources or long debates. There were a few minor paperwork nuisances that impacted staff were happy I changed, for example. I invested some energy in some areas of ministry that never received a lot of attention. Those areas are especially excited.

Do the unexpected – It seems like such a small deal, but I roam the balcony on Sunday morning. It takes a little more time, but it has proven to be a big deal. I talk to the person who will be changing my slides on the screen prior to the service. That’s been a surprise to them. They say it’s never happened before, but it’s proven to be a big deal. I’m roaming the halls of the offices during the day, walking into people’s offices, and allowing drop ins to my office when I’m available. All unexpected, but bringing very positive feedback.

Pace myself – I realize I’m only one person and although everyone wants some of my time right now and there are more ideas than we could ever accomplish, I know I will burnout if I don’t pace myself. That’s meant I am saying no to some things…really many things. It isn’t easy to say no to such eager people, for me or them, but I know it will prove best in the end if I’m able to last for the long run.

Move slowly on the biggies – Being honest, there are some big items I’d like to change now. I am wise enough, however, to know that some changes are too big to launch quickly. I could. I’m in a honeymoon period. I could probably “get away with them”, but the people don’t really know me yet. I may win a battle, but lose the war. (Not that there is a battle. Just using a cliche. Why do I even have to say that?)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson

As pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church a church leader and the planter of two churches, I am passionate about planting churches, but also helping established churches thrive. I thrive on assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. My specialty is organizational leadership, so in addition to my role as a pastor, as I have time, I consult with church and ministry leaders. (For more information about these services, click HERE.)

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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