What makes an effective leader?

In Church Leadership, Church Strategy by Russ Olmon

Simply defined, leadership is the ability to influence or inspire others to take action toward a goal. When talking specifically about leadership in a church setting, that definition can be restated slightly to say leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others to accomplish the vision of your church.

Do you have a vision?

By definition, then, to be a leader you must first have a vision. Without a clear vision, there is no place to lead and no place to follow. Without a vision for your church, you can never do more than manage your church.

Do you have systems?

The process of learning to be an effective leader begins with the strategic planning process, which involves going through several steps that are critical to developing your leadership potential.

  1. Examine your personal strengths and weaknesses so you can capitalize on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. You’ll learn that you don’t personally have to possess all the qualities necessary to run a church as long as you surround yourself with people who have the strengths you lack.
  2. Look at four different skill categories: technical, human, conceptual and design. You’ll learn the importance of moving away from the technical skill area to develop the “big picture” conceptual and design skills needed to make sound decisions, solve problems, and lead others.
  3. Go through the process of creating a church philosophy, putting in writing the values by which your church is dedicated to operating.
  4. Create a mission statement –– your vision for the future of your church. You’ll set the objectives of how that vision will be achieved, and you’ll communicate that vision to your leaders.

Are you an influencer?

All of these activities are leadership activities. When you have a crystal-clear vision and have the systems established to accomplish that vision, it’s time to complete your leadership potential by learning how to influence and inspire others to help make your vision a reality.

Unless you have a very small vision, you can’t accomplish it on your own, no matter how good your systems are. In fact, the more people you are able to influence and inspire, the greater the potential size of your vision. In other words, it’s great that you have identified where you are going. It’s even better that you now know how to get there. But unless you have the abilityto influence and inspire others to join you on the journey, you will only go a short distance toward your goals.


The purpose of Ministry Advantage is to provide coaching and coach training for pastors, to help them create the church that Jesus had in mind.