10 Simple Strategies that Have Helped Me as a Church Leader

Are you still learning how to be a leader? I am still learning myself, and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from others. Here are some of those simple strategies: 

1. Learn names. Knowing someone’s name says, “I know who you are, and you matter to me.” This is one reason, by the way, I have previously recommended that all churches use nametags every week (though I admit that not everyone agreed with me . . . ).

2. Pray immediately. If someone asks me to pray for them, I try my best to do it right then. I’m too forgetful and too busy to remember to do it later. At the same time, folks who ask for prayer have the need on their mind right then—so why not pray?

3. Put my phone down in meetings. I admit that I’m still working on this one, even though I’ve written about it in the past. I have to be honest, though, in recognizing that fiddling with my phone during a meeting is the equivalent of ignoring the other people in the room. I’m trying . . .

4. Land the plane well when I’m teaching and preaching. By well, I mean, “Land on time, and make sure my listeners know what to do next after the landing.” Circling the airport when we teach or preach causes listeners to tune us out before we’re finished.

5. Write some kind of SHORT note, blog, encouragement, website post, etc. each week. This blog is my means for doing this. You might have other opportunities, but here’s my point: any writing that pushes us to be clear and concise can only help us in our communication as a leader.

6. Use my 10-minute “break times” throughout the day to be with God on behalf of His people. If I pray for my church family 2-3 times a day even for ten minutes, I can give a lot of attention to their needs. This simple strategy has been really helpful to me.

7. Take a walk. One of my favorite books is Michael Card’s The Walk, which is the story of his discipleship relationship with his New Testament professor, Bill Lane. Lane often walked across campus with a student—sometimes talking, sometimes just walking—and God used those times to draw them to Him. I’ve found that even a brief walk around our campus at Southeastern Seminary can rejuvenate my spirit to press on through the day.

8. Have a meal (for me, generally breakfast or lunch) with someone at least once a week. I’m an introvert, but a former colleague challenged me with this assignment years ago. I’m glad he did, as I’ve had multiple opportunities for “iron sharpening iron” experiences across the table.

9. Use question marks (??) more than exclamation points (!!) in conversation. Sometimes, exclamation points are in order as we lead people – but we’ll move conversations forward more by asking questions first and then listening. We’ll know our church members better if we ask them more questions about their lives.

10. Assume the best. This is not my tendency. I often read more into situations and silences than is accurate – and I’ve paid the price of unnecessarily bearing internal anguish. As I’m learning to assume the best first, I’ve found more peace even when my “best” assumption later proves wrong.

What simple strategies have you learned? Help us learn with you.


Posted on August 16, 2022

Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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