Last week in part 1 of this blog, we looked at how leading the church is a delicate balance between managing it like a family and running it like a business. Like our families at home, someone has to pay the bills, make sure the taxes are up to date, and keep the electricity going through a reasonably healthy budget. In other words, every family has a business that needs to be taken care of, and God's family is no different. As pastors and church leaders, we must remember that both are important to ensure the health of God's kingdom here on earth. We must be willing to make tough decisions while still protecting and nurturing our culture as Jesus would in His own family. It takes intentionality, self-discipline, courage, and faithfulness - all qualities that should come naturally when leading with love for God’s people.
In part 2 of this blog, I want to look at some practical day-to-day leadership applications for living and leading the family/business of God.
1. Establish clear policies and expectations.
Establishing clear policies and expectations is essential to maintaining the health of the church's business and family operations. First, it is beneficial to have a mission statement that outlines what the church stands for, its core values, and its vision for the future. This will help to provide clarity on where the church is headed.
Second, it should be established that the pastors and leaders of the church are responsible for setting priorities within the church. Policies should also include procedures for making decisions, handling finances, and running worship services. Having a set of standards will create consistency and help avoid hurt feelings when people understand the expectations.
Third, the roles and responsibilities of church leaders should be established to ensure everyone is on the same page. This will foster accountability among members as they understand their role in contributing to the health of God's family.
Finally, pastors and leaders need to create a culture that encourages feedback and dialogue with church members. This will help build relationships and develop trust with the congregation and provide a space for people to express their opinions in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
By establishing clear policies and expectations, pastors and leaders can ensure that the church's business and family operations are taken care of.
2. Foster an open dialogue between leaders, congregation members, and staff.
Open dialogue between leaders, congregation members, and staff is critical to developing a healthy church. Open dialogue enables everyone involved in the church to express their thoughts and opinions in an atmosphere of mutual respect. This builds relationships and trust among members and provides a platform for constructive feedback that can help address any issues or concerns.
Leaders should also intentionally create opportunities for members to get to know one another better. This could include small group gatherings, prayer meetings, or even casual events outside of church services. By creating a family-like atmosphere within the church, relationships between church leaders and members will naturally grow and develop.
In addition, pastors and leaders should be open to hearing concerns and feedback from congregation members. This can help identify any issues that may need to be addressed and provide insight into how people feel about where the church is headed in terms of leadership. As a Pastor, this is always considered only in light of God's Word and the vision that He has you leading the church in. You may find with feedback that you need to speak vision and mission more often and with greater clarity.
3. Encourage members to be actively involved in church life and decision-making.
Encouraging church members to be actively involved in the life and decision-making process of the church is an integral part of leading God’s family. By enabling members to have a voice, pastors, and leaders can ensure that everyone is heard and valued. This will also help foster a sense of unity and ownership among the congregation. The decision-making process should be outlined in policies and expectations. In this way, no one is overstepping the bounds of responsibility.
For instance, when my kids were younger in our family, we gave them options to decide. They were not at liberty to make the decisions that only I could make as their dad, but I would get their involvement through options and choices that did not deter our family from our family vision or DNA. God has given you the leadership mantel. You cannot and must not abdicate responsibility.
4. Be intentional in creating opportunities for involvement.
Creating opportunities for involvement is essential to leading God's family. It is important to intentionally create these opportunities so that members of the congregation can have a voice and feel valued. And as a family, there are gifted experts in all the different areas of business that are needed for the church family to operate and function healthily. Getting those experts on board with the church family's mission and adding their expertise will add value to the church and to you as a leader.
We often think of the standard ways for Church involvement—volunteering in the nursery leading a small group, or serving on the church board. But think in terms of your people's skill set and expertise. For example, asking someone who runs a multi-million dollar company with 100 employees to do an admin task would be a big miss. Instead, consider creating a vision or expansion team that someone with their skill could run. When creating opportunities for involvement, always begin with the skill set of the people God has given you to lead.
Like any family or business, allowing members to help makes them feel involved and appreciated. When someone sees their contribution as valuable, they will have a greater sense of belonging and ownership for the church family. And that sense of ownership provides for healthier relationships with God, leadership, and one another.
5. Celebrate successes together.
Celebrating successes together as a church family is an important component of leading God's family. Not only does it promote fellowship, but it also helps to build relationships with church members and inspire those that are involved in the leadership of the church. As a Pastor, you can use these times to reflect on how God has moved in your midst and how the church family has moved forward together. This can and should include the family side of things as well as the business side.
When celebrating success, it is important to remember that we are all part of one body in Christ and every contribution to the vision matters regardless of size. Celebrating small victories as well as large ones helps foster a sense of unity within the church and encourages people to keep going in times of difficulty.
It's both a privilege and a responsibility
Leading God’s family is both an amazing privilege and a huge responsibility. It can be hard to balance leading the church as a family and leading it like a business, but in order for the church to be healthy, it must be done with intentionality. By enabling members to have a voice, creating opportunities for involvement, and celebrating successes together, we can lead the church as a family and a business in the way God intended.
Leading God’s family is not just a business strategy or a family approach but both. We, as leaders of the Church, must seek to balance both sides of this equation to be successful and effective. Through intentionality and prayer, we can lead a healthy church God desires for His people.