Dr. Lee Roberson’s statement “everything rises and falls on leadership” is well known among fundamental Baptist churches. Leadership determines the cause of growth or decline in churches. The pastor must be the leader and he must be a good leader if the church is to become strong. Good leaders may differ in style but there are certain constants that are always essential.
Pastors must decide if they will become a leader of leaders or a leader of followers. Being a leader of leaders means you will have people under you with ideas and suggestions that might be better than your own. It also means that they may make decisions on their own which you wouldn’t have made. Sometimes their decisions are not good decisions. Being a leader of followers is much easier than being a leader of leaders, because followers don’t offer opinions, and followers don’t make decisions. They simply follow instructions. However, in the end, being a leader of leaders provides greater leadership for the church and it provides better ideas of growth.
Several styles of leadership are possible.
1. Lead by example – Leadership that gives no direction but only leaves people with an exemplary life alone. Men should be an example but that alone is not enough to be a strong leader.
2. Lead by consensus – Determine the wishes of the majority and cater to their needs or desires.
3. Lead by intimidation – This method may, for a while, produce the most immediate results, but over time people will not voice their dissatisfaction of your leadership; they will simply leave. They may work the hardest, but they will also burn out the quickest.
4. Lead by conviction – Determine the will of God, and pass on that belief to key leaders until the majority of the body is working together with the same burden and the same goals.
You can’t lead by a committee! You can lead a committee, but a committee cannot lead a church. God chooses men and women to lead. Leaders need a vision or an understanding of God’s will and direction in daily affairs and they need the courage to step out by faith in obedience to God. A great amount of accountability is given to every preacher since his decisions will affect the entire church family. Sufficient time in prayer must be spent to allow God to speak and direct the leader.
Often pastors bemoan the fact that they can’t find volunteers to serve in the ministry. Surprisingly, members of the congregation often are waiting to be enlisted. Great leadership will provide many faithful followers. Some servants will volunteer while others must be enlisted. Both methods are important. The leadership style of the pastor often is mimicked by his followers. Hence, the leadership ability of the pastor will eventually permeate the church body.
Never underestimate the power of leadership.