We spent an evening last week with Dave Travis
, the Executive Director for Leadership Network
. LN is an influential organization with a mission to “identify, connect and help high-capacity Christian leaders multiply their impact.”
Dave shared with us his perspective on the landscape of the US church. As I thought about his insights, I couldn’t help but notice the consequences to the role of the senior pastor. There are a couple of characteristics of successful pastors that I believe will be critical moving forward:
Not long ago pastors were looking for ways to build walls between their church life and the rest of their life. Now, with the prominence of social media, many of those walls are coming down. People have an interest in their leaders and are, to a degree, demanding to know their leaders – even if it’s from a distance. Every senior pastor that LN is working with is using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs (85% of people 18 to 29 years old were on some form of social media last month). Pastors will need to embrace the transparency because authenticity is the new currency.
The complexity and speed of change in our world require more agile and adaptive organizations. Multi-site, multi-venue and on-line campuses are here to stay and they demand a move away from an omniscient/omnipotent pastor to a collaborative style of leadership. Jim Collins says, “…legislative, not executive, skills are ascendant” for all companies and that “top CEO’s will be those who are able to create the conditions for things to get done rather than hand down orders.” The same is true of church leadership. Even in the pulpit LN noted a clear trend from the star preachers of the past toward teaching teams. Leading ministries in the future will require shared leadership.
The role of the senior pastor has become more leveraged as people have migrated to larger churches (57% of church goers attend churches of 400 or more) so it magnifies the issues. Do these characteristics make sense? Are they critical for the church of the future? Of the present?
BTW - You can check out a list of Dave’s insights at Ed Bahler’s blog: www.edbahler.com