Are You Confusing Your Skills?

Good Business Sense Does Not a Leader Make

Many people confuse business acumen with leadership ability. Just because someone is successful in business does not mean they are also good leaders. It might be they can develop a great product or service and can get people to buy it from them. It might mean they have a great ability to manage finances, so they are successful. My grandmother was like that. After my grandfather died at an early age, she took the life insurance money and purchased rental home fixer uppers and flipped them for a good profit, even after paying others to do the work of updating them. She was tight with her money and was able to accumulate a very sizeable amount of money in the last half of her life. She displayed good business acumen. However, she was not a leader. She didn’t have day-to-day employees that she had to lead so she didn’t have to worry about interpersonal skills such as listening or empathy, or even having vision. I would argue that she wasn’t even a good leader within her own family, although she tried.

Great Preachers are not Always Great Leaders

         There are those in ministry who are in similar situations. They are great Bible expositors, but they aren’t great leaders. They succeed because people don’t know them as a person, so they confuse their preaching ability with leadership ability. They may even have charismatic personalities, especially to large crowds, but they can't sit down and listen to a person one-on-one, which is something great leaders learn is important to do.

         I remember years ago when I met one of our church members every week for about an hour to disciple him. I took this very seriously, and I considered it to be an important part of leading the congregation. One day he began to tell me how great a certain radio preacher was and how he would like to have a pastor like him. That statement was something every pastor wants to hear. I happened to have had several interactions with that pastor and knew there was no way he would take an hour out of his week to spend with a member of his congregation to disciple them or even to listen to them. He had a huge temper and a very short fuse. He managed by intimidation, yet he is to this day an excellent Bible teacher. Was he, or should I say is he a good leader because he is on the radio and pastors a large church? I would say no, not because I am jealous, but because I think there is more to leadership than success.

Leaders Are Engaged

         I have heard many stories from ministry staff in churches, as well as para-church and mission organizations, to know that people who are in roles of leadership aren’t always great leaders. As Christian leaders, we should understand the importance of good leadership as needed in so many congregations.  An effective leader is not determined by a ministry’s numbers or purported success, but by the engagement of the leader with others to create healthy environments where people flourish.  What are you doing to create such an environment for the people you serve? 

As a pastor, what skills do you spend the most time on; speaking or developing relationships? As a church member, what is your perspective?

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