We are leading in unchartered territory. Leadership no longer exists purely on the map in this constantly changing climate. How do we build our capacity for leadership when different is the new norm?

In the midst of the global pandemic that surrounds us, have you found yourself wondering what your local church/ministry should do to adapt to its new-found surroundings?

If we’re honest though, wouldn’t it be fair to say that the need to adapt for the sake of mission was well and truly present for many of us before COVID 19 came around?

The harsh reality is that, for various reasons, many of our local Churches are reaching a very limited amount of non-churched people.

The big question is – what can we do? As local church leaders, and ministry influencers, how do we bring about meaningful change, for the sake of mission, in the local Church?

I believe it starts with us.

Today’s post is about 4 simple things that we can do to become the kind of leaders that can influence change.

Be Professional in our approach to Ministry

Tod Bolsinger argues that adaptive or transformational – “Leadership first requires ‘threshold competence’, a demonstrable competency as stewards of the basic roles and responsibilities of their position.”[1] Another way of saying this is – “unless we demonstrate that we are credible on the map, no one is going to follow us off the map.”[2]

As Pastors, our basic responsibilities include things like – pastoral visitation, preaching & teaching, counselling, communication, and church administration. If we are the kind of Pastor who regularly scrambles and unthought through sermon together on Friday night (or Sabbath morning), doesn’t turn up to meetings on time, or consistently responds to emails and text messages a week after receiving them (if at all), why should we expect competent professionals to trust us to lead them into unchartered territory?

It’s actually an audacious ask.

In order to be an influential leader, we first need to be professional in our approach to Ministry.

Build Meaningful Relationships

Bolsinger suggests that every follower has two questions for any leader: “What are this person’s intentions for me? And is he or she capable of acting on those intentions?”[3] He further argues that these questions are answered in the context of a relationship. If people can see, via their relationship with you, that you are a person of integrity, maturity, emotional health, spirituality, and authenticity, they will trust that your intentions for them, and others, are good.[4]Further, your credibility as someone who intends to act on what they say they will do will considerably rise.

If we want to influence change, we must be people who build meaningful relationships.

Don’t be Afraid to Fail from Time to Time

Craig Groeschel said – “If you don’t fail every now and then, you’re probably playing it too safe.”[5] This is not a help you sleep at night statement for leaders. As leaders, we often like to play it safe. To have all the answers. The truth is, though, the world is changing rapidly, and we don’t have all the answers. For the sake of the Kingdom, we need to be willing to try new things from time to time, take a risk – even if that means failing.

Be Willing To Be Transformed

Romans 12:2 captures the heart of Christian transformation – “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”[6] While we freely rattle this one of to the church members, we cannot forget that we aren’t exempt from Paul’s exhortation. As a leader, are you encountering God day in and day out? Are you letting Him transform you, and can those you lead see it?

A leader who isn’t willing to listen and learn, to be transformed by God daily, will sooner or later find that they are no leader at all.


[1] Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory, 53.

[2] Ibid.,50.

[3] Ibid.,68.

[4] Ibid.,67.

[5] Craig Groeschel, Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, https://www.youtube.com/c/craiggroeschel/playlists.

[6] Romans 12:2 – NLT

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