If you are a pastor or lay-leader hoping to lead well through a season of change, you are going to need a great team! The wisdom writer reminds us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22, NIV)
By whatever name you call your lay-leadership or organizational board (Elders, Deacons, Directors, Trustees, Team Leads, Council Members, etc), the effective ones are far from perfect, but do have a few things in common and I’ve had the privilege to work with many who model these practices! Here are 7 Things Effective Lay-leaders Do in churches of any size…
1) Pray. Effective lay-leaders are passionate, persistent and prevailing in prayer. They intercede for everyone from guests who filled out the latest “Connect Card” to the Children’s pastor’s spouse who has a job interview. They pray and fast with the team for major decisions, initiatives, and that routine meetings will be anything but. In short, they create, guide and guard the culture through prayer.
2) Prepare. Effective lay leaders don’t just show up. They are read up, prayed up and pumped up. Their reports are on time and to the point. They prepare both insightful comments and probing questions to add value to the greater discussion. They also help other leaders prepare. Specifically, the Lead Pastor. “How can I help you get ready for? What resources do you need to lead?” These are questions they intentionally ask the staff and other leaders to help them be and do better.
3) Ponder. Effective lay leaders ask great questions… and ask a lot of them. Jesus modeled this one so well, often answering questions or prompting discussions with hard questions that forced the issues that may have otherwise been avoided. Good leaders also ask questions they themselves don’t know the answers to, but know everyone else is thinking. This takes a healthy combination of humility and desire to see the bigger picture for the greater good at the expense of appearing constantly competent. Then, they listen intently to others as everyone processes together.
4) Promote. Effective lay leaders help get the word out about the latest and greatest via social media and good old-fashioned word of mouth. They don’t wait for it… they create the “buzz” that get’s everyone else talking about the vision, value or event. In other words, they drive the vision forward with a purposed passion!
5) Present. Effective lay leaders are ready to give their 2-cents (report, presentation, proposal, etc) in clear, concise and creative ways. They are well aware that they aren’t the only one’s who will have the floor, nor are they the “main event.” They do have a grounded understanding of the importance of their area and contribution to the greater team.
6) Protect. Effective lay leaders are the first to confront negativity, critical spirits or gossip. They guard the vision and values of the organization almost as passionately as they guard the people in it… especially fellow leaders and their families. While they have a holy discontent for mediocrity and the status quo, they have little tolerance for bad attitudes and non whatsoever for seeds of discord and side-taking.
7) Praise. Effective lay leaders set the example in giving God the glory and others the credit when things are going well, and shouldering the blame when they aren’t. They intentionally create a culture of praise, gratitude, celebration and ownership of wins and losses along the way.
Bonus: Effective lay leaders know when to listen and when to speak. They will wait and watch or stand up and be counted whenever it is appropriate to do so. In other words, they are both patient and proactive. How do they know when to be one or the other? See #1 above.
These are just a few… what do great lay leaders do in your ministry or organization? (And, no, it doesn’t have to start with “P.”) What other traits do effective lay-leaders have in common? Share your thoughts in the Reply section below…