Leadership Styles

Here are four types of differing leadership styles.  Which one are you?


The Autocratic Leader

  • Maintains total control and treats team members as “listeners” and “followers.”
  • Determines all the goals and policies.
  • Is more interested in subject matter and content than in people.
  • Makes all the decisions and disregards the opinions and views of others.
  • Talks too much.
  • Focuses attention on self.
  • Has a tendency to regard members of the team as puppets.

Laissez-Faire Leader

  • Exercises minimal control of the team and allows members to direct.
  • Does not prepare for meetings.
  • Allows all discussions to drift.
  • Does not seem to care too much for what is going on.
  • Causes the group to have no focus and accomplishes very little.
  • Encourages fragmentation through lack of discipline.
  • Makes no attempt to design or regulate events.
  • Lacks courage in making plans.

Authoritative Leader

  • Maintains strong control but will allow members to be involved in discussions.
  • Has a purpose and a plan but will allow modification.
  • Is active and energetic.
  • Seeks the involvement of others.
  • Is prepared to give necessary direction and support.
  • Is a good communicator.
  • Will take on responsibility until someone else assumes it.
  • Use personal power to empower others.
  • Prepares well, asks questions, then asks for members of the team to respond.

Democratic Leader

  • Shares control with team members.
  • Shares leadership responsibility.
  • Believes in the ability and skills of others.
  • Creates a sense of security and belonging.
  • Ensures that others are offered leadership opportunities.
  • Makes sure that if he is not part of the team that the group will be successful without his presence.
  • Creates a healthy and strong communication skill between team members.
  • Recognizes the value of each and every individual on the team.
  • Always involves others in leadership and skill development.

Which of these leadership styles fits your personality?

Which of these four leadership styles would you hope to become as a leader?

Source: http://likeateam.com/4-different-leadership-styles/


Church Forms Retention

How Long Should We Keep Consent Forms and Screening Records?
by Richard R. Hammar

Q: Our insurance company says we only have to keep parental consent forms for church activities and outings for three years, but someone else told us the forms need to be kept until the child turns 18 years of age, for sexual abuse purposes. Which is true? Is there specific wording that should be included in the permission forms for this purpose? We do background checks and give safety and abuse awareness classes to all our children’s workers and teen workers. Does that alone release us from responsibility since we have done all that is reasonable to protect our children?

A: If a church is sued for a case of child molestation that occurred during an off-site, overnight activity, the fact that the parents of the victim signed a parental consent form allowing their child to attend the event would be of little, if any, evidentiary value in a lawsuit.

Parental consent forms, in general, should be retained until a minor child reaches age 18 PLUS the applicable statute of limitations for personal injury claims under state law.

In your question, you also say your church also conducts background checks and gives training classes. This work is important, and it most likely involves the collection of numerous forms and records about the volunteer workers. I’m often asked about how long a church should keep such records. There is no legal requirement pertaining to the retention of these forms.

But, in the event your church is sued for a case of child molestation by a youth worker, you are definitely going to want to prove that you exercised due diligence in the screening of that worker prior to using him or her in the church’s youth ministry. The best way to do this is with application forms and references. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for child abuse claims can last for decades, and so the “best practice” is to keep these forms, as well as your liability insurance policies, permanently. Imagine being sued today for an alleged incident of child abuse occurring 25 years ago? How are you going to rebut a claim of negligent selection if you cannot establish what you did to vet the perpetrator?

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics for Congregations and Their Leadership Teams

NAEChurch boards and leadership teams face many decisions as they serve their congregations. Those choices have consequences for the health and ministry of the local church. The National Association of Evangelicals developed the NAE Code of Ethics for Congregations and Their Leadership Teams to equip church leaders to make wise decisions.

Jesus and his apostles gave the Church instruction in the responsible use of gifts, in the practice of unity and holiness, and in witness to the world. Jesus also gave gifts to the Church so that it might be built up and reach unity in the faith, knowledge of the Son of God, and maturity.

The Church of Jesus Christ is embodied in local congregations. Among the gifts Jesus provides the Church are pastors to teach congregations, lead them, and care for their spiritual well-being. In return, the lay leaders of our congregations are responsible to provide for the clergy and to facilitate their work. They also have responsibilities to the congregation at large, to the family of churches to which they belong, and to the communities in which they live and worship. Therefore responsible congregational leadership will:

Honor and Support the Gifts Christ Gives to the Churches
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the Church, the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12, NLT)

– Provide for the physical and spiritual needs of pastors and their families; pay an adequate salary and benefits to pastors and other staff; provide annual compensation reviews.
– Ensure that pastors have both weekly and annual times of rest and opportunities for study.
– Seek to enable and cultivate the spiritual gifts of the congregation’s members.

Promote the Unity of Christ’s Body
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. (Ephesians 4:3-4, NLT)

– Foster interaction between generations and between social and ethnic groups in the church.
– Affirm the strengths of differing worship styles.
– Honor pastoral vision and teaching, engaging an appropriate outside counselor to facilitate healing when a dispute with a pastor reaches an impasse.
– Present a united front in support of major initiatives.
– Confront those in the congregation that actively oppose the leadership or demonstrate apathy toward the leadership’s vision.
– Work to reconcile dissident factions through mutual listening and sharing.
– Work to ensure that all members are engaged in opportunities for growth in discipleship.
– Strive in all things to live out Jesus’ command to his followers, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”
– Foster constructive connections with and keep commitments to other churches in its community, and to churches that belong to its denomination or the network of churches with which it shares a heritage.

Practice Accountability
The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! (Luke 12:2-3, NLT)

– Model openness and clear communication in doing the congregation’s business; work with the congregation to develop shared expectations about transparency.
– Open the church’s financial records for periodic independent review.
– Create periodic opportunities for both pastors and lay leaders to receive feedback from those they serve and give opportunity for personal and professional growth.
– Hold pastors and lay teachers to the truths found in Scripture, especially as they are embodied in the standards of doctrine and personal holiness established by the congregation or denominational family.
– Train pastors, staff and volunteers in methods of preventing the abuse of vulnerable persons, particularly children.
– Establish and use a system of church discipline to deal with members who persist in sinful ways after attempts to guide and restore them have failed.
– Deal fairly and openly with causes of scandal when they occur, within the framework of the law.

Practice Good Stewardship
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? (Luke 16:10-11, NLT)

– Pay bills in a timely fashion and take care not to encumber the church with unmanageable debt.
– Use gifts as they are intended.
– Maintain the property and equipment the church owns in good, safe and attractive condition.
– Maintain appropriate levels of insurance.
– Practice wise stewardship in use of natural resources.
– Participate financially in the denomination or extended family of churches to which it belongs.
– Honor the financial record-keeping and reporting practices involved in its membership in a denomination or network of churches.

Practice Hospitality
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:9-10, ESV)

– Maintain a safe and secure environment for public worship, study and community events.
– Minimize barriers that would discourage persons with disabilities from full participation.
– Affirm the varied cultural heritages represented in the congregation and community.
– Eliminate artificial barriers to welcoming the surrounding community to public events.
– Allow appropriate community use of church facilities, when such use is not inconsistent with the church’s witness and its ethical commitments.
– Be sensitive to the impact of traffic, parking and the sounds of worship on its neighbors.

Seek the Welfare of the Community Where God has Placed It
Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you … (Jeremiah 29:7, NLT)

– Demonstrate in the congregation’s own life the global and multicultural nature of Christ’s Body.
– Speak through designated leaders to issues of injustice in the local community and beyond.
– Work to alleviate suffering and promote health and spiritual well-being of its community and the world.

Source: http://nae.net/code-of-ethics-for-congregations/

Seven Tips for Church Boards

Some church boards function like your worst nightmare and others genuinely seem like a dream come true. The interesting thing is that there are few church boards between those two rather extreme options.

Use these tips to help your board function well:

1. Determine the Purpose of the Board

In the most classic sense, the board helps plan for the future by confirming direction and major strategy. This often includes the selection and evaluation of the senior pastor and setting of his salary, financial oversight (though it may be delegated to another body such as trustees or finance committee), and the board’s own effectiveness–ensuring its health and the development of future board members.

2. Create an Agenda

Having a well thought through written agenda is vital to a productive meeting. Showing up unprepared and “going around the table” giving each board member an opportunity to speak what’s on their mind to any topic is likely waste of time and possibly a nightmare in the making. Board members can contribute to the agenda, but only in advance of the meeting and via an agreed upon process.

3. Focus on Vision When Making Decisions

In a healthy organization, decisions are made according to what is best for the vision of the church, not favoring any one person’s personal preference. But even that is complicated, because what is “best” for the church can be subjective.

Therefore, teamwork, unity, and a sense of strong esprit de corps is essential. Mutual voluntary submission to one another under God’s authority is central to a healthy and effective decision-making process. Strong opinions are fine, but if each person seeks the mind and will of God with all their heart, conflict will be greatly minimized. Consensus after prayer and process is best, but traditional voting is acceptable if necessary.

4. Don’t Avoid Conflict; Aim to Resolve It When It Occurs

Every person on your church board is a human being. No matter how mature or how good of leaders they are, there will be times of disagreement. Don’t avoid conflict; the important skill is the ability to resolve the conflict. Further, the sign of an effective board’s conflict resolution is when conflict does occur, it is about a new (rather than recurring) issue, and you are able to resolve it more quickly.

If the amperage of any issue becomes so great that the board gets stuck or polarized, it’s time to take it off line. By that I mean allow the senior pastor and one or two board members to take some time outside the board meeting to talk things through to resolution. Start by agreeing on the mission, values, and that the main goal is not to win, but to advance the mission of the church. If resolution can’t be found, you may need to bring in an outside arbitrator. The point is to keep the conflict away from official board meetings. It may require a frustrated or angry board member to take some time off from the board until a healthy resolution is regained.

5. List Clear Roles for Board Members and Staff, and Note the Differences

In smaller churches it can be a power struggle to determine who leads the church, the board or the staff. In larger churches, that issue is usually resolved, but larger churches still often struggle from poor communication between the board and staff. In either case, clarity of roles is essential. There is more than enough for both groups to do!

6. Measure Effectiveness

There are several measurements by which you can test your church board’s effectiveness. If you are a denominational church, there are certain accountabilities that come from your overseer and are very helpful.

For internal measurements, you can use these kinds of questions:

  • Do all board members pursue a deepening relationship with God?
  • Does the board, as a team, fully agree upon and aggressively pursue the mission of the church?
  • Does the board set aside their own agendas for the good of the church and the unity of the group?
  • Is the church growing?
  • Is the revenue of the church keeping up with the budget needs?
  • Is the board prayerfully seeking what the church should look like in 5, 10, and 15 years?
  • Is the board accurately aware of the reputation of the church in the community?
  • Does the board celebrate spiritual victories in the church such as salvations and baptisms?

7. Decide the Process for Selection and Dismissal of Board Members

If you are denominationally connected, you may have by-laws and general governance policies you must follow. In that case, follow them, and hopefully you are given discretion to use wise leadership to trump a rule if ever needed.

If at all possible, avoid a popularity contest. Politics in the local church is a damaging proposition to say the least. Set a biblical standard by which each candidate is evaluated. Conduct an interview focusing on why the person wants to be on the board.

A limited term of service is a great idea if possible. A top notch board member can always come back on the board after a year or two off. The difficulty is how to remove a board member “gone bad” if you have no term limits.

Hopefully you won’t have to do that, but two things are needed just in case. The first is a system by which you can release a board member. The second is the courage to actually do it. Don’t wait until you need to release a board member to set up the system; design it, and have your board ratify it now before the need arises.

This post is adapted from 7 Questions to Help Strengthen Your Church Board” and first appeared on Dan Reiland’s blog, DanReiland.com.