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May 12, 2018

What Kind of Church Leader Are You?

By Daniel Im

In order to grow and multiply your church, you have to start with yourself.

I’m not talking about picking up a self-help book to learn how to get your best life now. I’m talking about figuring out why it is that you lead the way that you do.

But Daniel, that means I need to slow down and reflect…I don’t have time for that! Sunday’s coming, and I need to…

Yes I understand that Sunday is coming and that you have things to do! But here’s the thing…

If you don’t take the necessary time to learn why you lead the way you lead, disciple the way you disciple, and teach the way you teach, you will never be able to grow and multiply your church.

In my book, No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, I start the first chapter with a self-assessment to help you discover why it is that you lead the way you do.

Here’s a portion of it. I hope you’ll slow down and take a moment to work through each of these questions:

1. Who do you look up to as a pastor and church leader?

Who has shaped your view of church practice and practical theology? Is it Eugene Peterson? J. I. Packer? Tim Keller? It could be someone you know personally, or someone you’ve admired from a distance.

The people you look up to hold the greatest power to shape you.

In other words, the ones you follow are the ones you model. Write down the names of the pastors, missionaries, theologians, leaders, and thinkers that have shaped you most.

2. How have others shaped you?

How have the individuals above shaped the way you approach church practice and practical theology? Is it the way you preach? Or the way you approach discipleship? Perhaps it’s the way you cast vision, or your view of church planting, multisite, and multiplication?

Write down the ways that your church practice and practical theology have been shaped by the previous list of individuals.

3. What type of leader are you?

Let me paraphrase one of my favorite quotes from the Chinese general, military strategist, and author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu:

If you know your enemy, you’ll win half of the battles. But if you know yourself, you’ll win the other half.

We too often model our ministries after the ones we follow—sometimes intentionally and other times unintentionally. As a result, their influence on us inevitably leaves a mark on the way we view and do ministry.

This is not a bad thing per say, but it has the potential to turn into a bad habit if left unchecked. 

So going back to Sun Tzu’s wisdom on war—are you only winning half of your battles? Do you know what type of leader you are? Are you more task-oriented or people-oriented? Do you like solving problems or finding solutions? Do you like starting things, improving them, or maintaining them? Do you know your strengths? Are you managing your weaknesses? Do you like to do everything, or do you develop, delegate, or dump?

Take a few personality profiles and write out your results (I recommend StrengthsFinder, Kolbe, and any of the numerous versions of DISC, just to name a few).

4. How do you view accountability?

Is it your direct responsibility to grow those in your church as disciples? Or rather, is it your responsibility to create an environment in which they can grow? Do you have someone that holds you accountable as a leader?

These questions are important because your view of accountability from a systems perspective directly influences the way your church measures growth (this is what I cover in chapter 1-2 of No Silver Bullets).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.

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