Great Speaker. Lousy Leader.

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Istock _000011304134smallPastor Bob really knows how to captivate an
audience with his sermons. People say he’s a “great communicator.”
And many people assume that Pastor Bob’s eloquence also means he’s
a great leader of his people.

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But, actually, when it comes to leadership, Pastor Bob is a
train wreck. He may be called the “lead pastor,” but he doesn’t
lead. His staff members and volunteers, though they admire his
speaking skills, feel detached, misunderstood, unappreciated,
under-communicated to, under-supported, and aimless.

How can this be? It’s a matter of gifting. Many who have been
given great oratorical gifts often seem to lack leadership gifts.
(And vice versa.) These two giftings do not share the same
characteristics or basic core elements. So it really should be no
wonder that that the two do not often appear dominantly in the same
person.

Those considered as gifted speakers are usually highly artistic.
They excel in the performance art of public speaking. They’re
entertaining, and often inspiring. They instinctively know how to
assemble and deliver a spoken message that will captivate an
audience.

Those who exhibit great leadership gifts excel in the
disciplines of administration, asset allocation, human relations,
goal-setting, vision-casting, and problem-solving. They
instinctively know how to enlist and empower a team to accomplish
great things together.

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When it comes to these two gifts, it often seems the more a
person is gifted in one, the less he or she is gifted in the other.
And this gift allocation is not limited to ministry settings. Think
of those gifted in the performance art of acting. Few of the great
actors would make outstanding company leaders. And few great CEOs
would excel in a lead role on stage or screen. They’re just not
wired that way.

There are exceptions, of course. But, for the vast majority,
it’s unrealistic to assume these two gifts get automatically and
abundantly bundled into the same person.

So, how does a ministry provide great messages and great
leadership? Well, training can help. But usually the situation
calls for the realization that different people are required for
different roles. In many churches that means the main
speaker/preacher needs to acknowledge a deficiency in leadership
disciplines, and allow others to provide leadership services.

That may require some serious self-examination. Look for natural
tendencies. For example, good leaders instinctively:

  • Select staff whose expertise exceeds the leader’s.
  • Meet regularly (weekly) with staff members to support,
    encourage, evaluate, and coach.
  • Listen to staff’s personal concerns and pray with
    them.
  • Generously give away responsibility and power to others.
  • Promptly address staff performance issues, individually, face
    to face, with tact and love.
  • Clearly and simply communicate the mission and vision to
    all.
  • Allocate resources (people, things and money) according to the
    mission’s priorities.
  • Promote necessary change, and pro-actively manage the
    ever-present change resisters.
  • Creatively solve problems.
  • Resolve conflicts.
  • Keep cool under pressure.
  • Personally accept responsibility when things fail; give credit
    to the team when things succeed.
  • Exude servanthood.
  • Learn from others.
  • Listen abundantly.
  • Pray consistently.

Give thanks for the gifts God has given you. And give thanks for
the gifts God has given to somebody else.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts,
but all its many parts form one body, so it is with
Christ.”

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About Author

Thom Schultz

Thom Schultz is an eclectic author and the founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café. Holy Soup offers innovative approaches to ministry, and challenges the status quo of today’s church.

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