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10 Qualities of Effective Leaders

By Raul Rivera

A common struggle among pastors is picking the right leaders. This is true for both church planters who are establishing launch teams and seasoned pastors who are looking to continually develop leaders.

It can be difficult enough to identify leaders, and it can be even more challenging to develop good leaders.

The truth of the matter is that who you choose to fill the leadership roles in your church matters.

With some guidance and wisdom from John Maxwell’s book, “Developing the Leaders Around You,” I want to share with you 10 qualities of effective leaders. We will also look at how you can identify potential leaders in your church and how to equip and develop them into the type of leaders that will help carry the dream and vision God has given you.

Identifying potential church leaders

Something important to remember when considering who you will ask to serve with you in your ministry is that you want to pick people who are best suited for the task at hand.

Although you may not feel like it, as the senior pastor, you act as the CEO of your ministry. As such, it is your responsibility to implement leaders that will take on the vision God has given you.

Consider the following example:

Mark has a master’s degree in history. He has studied nearly every time period. When it comes to historical topics and facts, he is like a human encyclopedia. There is no doubting his brilliance and keen attention to detail.

Now, what would you think if Mark went in for a job interview to be an accountant?

I would have to think that no matter how brilliant he is, he would not get the job. Not because he lacks intelligence or dedication, but because he is not suited for the tasks required of accountants.

This same mentality applies when considering and developing leaders in your church. Even the people closest to you may not be natural-born leaders.

What is important here is to ask yourself, “What sort of leadership qualities am I looking for in people?”

John Maxwell provides a list of 10 qualities that one needs in order to develop the best leaders around them.

10 qualities of effective leaders

  1. Character: Character flaws cannot be ignored because they can eventually make a leader ineffective.
  2. Influence: What is the leader’s level of influence? Who influences this leader? Who does he or she influence?
  3. Positive attitude: One's attitude can affect many aspects of life.
  4. Excellent people skills: A great leader knows how to make others feel welcome and comfortable in their own skin. He or she can also ask great, though sometimes probing questions, without coming across as being negative.
  5. Evident gifts: Things like spiritual gifting and the like.
  6. Proven track record: A proven leader will always have a proven track record.
  7. Confidence: It is a fact that people are attracted to other people who convey a certain degree of confidence.
  8. Self-discipline: When it comes to self-discipline, there are two areas to consider; how someone handles his emotions and how he uses his time in a day.
  9. Effective communication skills: This can look like having a genuine concern for people, the ability to focus on the responder, the ability to communicate with different kinds of people, eye contact and a warm smile.
  10. Discontent with the status quo: A leader who loves the status quo soon becomes a follower.

Whether you are a seasoned pastor with plenty of quality leaders or a young pastor working to establish a launch team, I challenge you to continually assess your leaders using the ten characteristics mentioned above.

If you’re planting a church and are working to establish a launch team, click on the link below to download our free ebook, “How to Build a Great Launch Team.”

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How to equip church leaders for excellence

In addition to the 10 qualities he gives, John Maxwell also provides a few guidelines to help us understand the importance of equipping the people we are serving with and how to put it into practice.

1. Develop a personal relationship

All good mentoring relationships begin with a personal relationship. Think of a time someone may have mentored you.

Equipping potential leaders takes time and commitment.

2. Share your dreams

It is important for potential leaders to know what sort of dreams you have in your heart for the church.

This allows them to buy-in to the dream God has given you. It also helps them to know that you are a real person, their peer, and not just their leader.

3. Set goals for growth

Your leaders cannot thrive without some achievable goals. According to Maxwell’s book, there are a few simple rules to follow when setting goals for growth. For example, making the goal attainable, appropriate, and measurable.

This is vital because nothing can be more demotivating to a potential leader than a seemingly unachievable goal or expectation.

4. Train your people

No matter what you want to teach people, it will be best taught by being an example. This can be done by mentoring and counseling the individuals, monitoring their progress and goals, and motivating by encouraging and spending quality time together.

5. Give them “the big three”

According to Maxwell, “the big three” are accountability, authority, and responsibility.

Your leaders will continuously feel motivated to grow and accept challenges as they are given more responsibility and authority. However, this cannot be done without proper accountability.

Weekly meetings and follow-up sessions will play a huge part in utilizing “the big three.”

6. Follow-up

Factors determining follow-up include things like: discussing the importance of one’s task, the demands of the work itself, the newness of the work, the newness of the worker, and the responsibility of the worker.

How you can develop leaders in your church

In his book, “Developing the Leaders Around You,” John Maxwell states that,“Developing the leaders you have nurtured and equipped means making sure that they fulfill their potential for the long-term, not just while they are with you.”

This is, however, one of the hardest things to accomplish in raising a team of people. It is also why many pastors neglect to do it at all. But if you do achieve this, then the rewards are many because you can “create a legacy of leaders who can develop future generations of leaders after you.”

Below are three guidelines Maxwell lists as a basis for continuing the development between you and your leaders.

  • Find your potential leaders’ motivations and harness them. Ask yourself what they want, if they have a way of getting it, and make sure the rewards are adequate. Increase their motivation so that they then push themselves to become the leaders they know they can be.
  • Be a good listener. Listening to your leadership team(s) only adds to your personal success as a leader and, likewise, to their own development. When you listen to their ideas, you give them an opportunity to increase their contribution, to feel needed, and to feel respected.
  • Develop a plan for their personal growth. Help your leaders develop their own plans for personal growth. A personal growth plan has four main ingredients: setting aside time for daily growth, filing what you learn promptly, applying what you learn quickly, and following your plan consistently for at least one year.

Leadership starts with you

Identifying, equipping, and developing leaders around you is not always the easiest of tasks, but it is a necessary task. Your time, energy, and efforts in developing leaders at your church will pay off.

But it all begins with you!

You must continually work on and tend to the leadership skills you have in order to lead others, and there are many ways that you can accomplish this.

One of those ways is by using our video courses. By getting access to our video courses, you and your church leaders will have a new opportunity to grow together. Our video courses will help you gain new insight and knowledge on the subject you choose. 

Consider the current video courses we have available: 

  • Launch to Lead - This is the best video course for church planters and their launch team members. This course is ten lessons broken down into many videos, and also includes 20 essential assets you can use for your church.
  • Equipped to Ordain - This video course will help you and your team develop an ordination program that allows you to legally license and ordain ministers while staying true to your ministry’s values. This online course also includes assets for your church to download and use as you see fit. 
  • Top 10 Best-Take Steps - This course covers four essential lessons everyone should know when starting their church - especially if they want to start their ministry on a strong foundation. This video course is also free! 

If you want to participate in an easy way to grow with the leaders in your church, then I encourage you to check out our video courses. If you are not sure which one is right for you and your ministry, then please give us a call at 877-494-4655 to have a specialist help point you in the right direction. You can also click the link below to have a specialist call you at your convenience. 

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