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When the Senior Pastor Doesn’t Lead


Few things can be more devastating to a church than when the Sr. Pastor does not lead.  This can be because the church does not allow him to lead or because he is incapable of or unwilling to lead. Either way, the results are the same. While the ramifications are endless, here are 5 that will cripple a church.

1. There is a lack of vision. One of the Sr. Pastor’s most important responsibilities is to seek, receive, and cast God’s vision for the church. When the Pastor does not effectively present the vision God has for the church, multiple substitute visions develop from  the agendas of well meaning members. A vision will usually emerge but it will be blurry, short-sighted, and ineffective. Anytime Satan can get God’s church to settle for less than His perfect will, he has succeeded.

2. The staff is ineffective. If the designated leader does not lead, those meant to be led will compete for the leadership position. A leader will usually emerge from the non-leaders who may or may not be effective. Worst yet, multiple leaders will compete for a following. The result will be confusion, in-fighting, and  wasted energy.

3. The church’s priorities constantly change. If there is no leader to set the priorities, the church’s priorities will always reflect the latest best selling book, most popular conference, or the church who won the latest growth award.  The result will be that the congregation will be confused and recruiting volunteers and lay leadership will be a major challenge.

4.  The Pastor’s critics are fueled. Critics are silenced, not by verbal responses but by effective leadership. In the absence of strong leadership, criticism is given more credence than it deserves and the weak are easily led by the highly critical. Any pastor who vacates the position of leadership opens his church to the influence of those critical of the vision God has put before them.

5. High capacity volunteers disappear  or won’t commit. High capacity  volunteers demand a strong leader. They simply will not commit to a weak leader. When a high capacity volunteer finds the leader he has committed to has become weak, they simply disappear. They will find a leader to follow who will maximize the return on their volunteer time.  They want to be effective in the time they give to any organization and that is impossible without a strong leader.

If you are a Senior Pastor–lead. Lead in the areas that you must and empower your staff to lead in the areas you can entrust to them. Be consistent in your leadership and supportive of your staff as they lead. Never allow your church to be in doubt as to who is leading.  Like many other churches, they will perish without a leader!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Moses Rianto permalink
    10/27/2009 4:06 am

    this is great teachings for upcoming church ministers. many churches fail because the senior pastor has no vision and sometimes he may be leading a congregation of people who educated than him who would want to see the church grow in a dynamic way. God bless you Mr. Slay. i have been reading the topics you write and i admire the skills you have for the Kingdom of God. am an assistant pastor who would want to grow in the knowledge and wisdom required to lead people of all kinds. am in an urban church and sometimes serve in my rural church in my community. am looking to network with men and women of God of whom i can learn from. i must say i admire you and what you do at PCC. want to learn from you brother. God bless you

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