The Dynamic of Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership seeks to create a positive change in those who follow.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Leadership might be the most confused term that we use in the body of Christ. We all assume a picture of leadership when we hear the word. Normally, what we really mean when we say “leader” is a strong, no-compromise individual who is not afraid of anybody but God. That leader is charging forward with a tribe of crazed followers. That leader has a charisma and a personality that makes even casual contact inspirational. That leader has a strong belief in personal leadership skills. They are always courageous and sometimes reckless.
Before we go too far, understand that the above mentioned quality is positive and important to the kingdom. But the subject here is not leadership. The subject is developing transformational leaders.
How is it different from other approaches to leadership? A natural leader draws people in and sends people out. A natural leader attracts and gathers other leaders. Instead of promoting self, transformational leaders promote the mission of the church. Does a transformational church leader want more people to attend the local church? Absolutely! Leaders want more people because they want to send more people back into the community and the world. The focus of passion for a transformational church leader is for lost people as well as bigger churches.
So how does this transition in leadership thinking take place? The old model of leadership was to hoard and retain control. Transformational leaders seek to empower and multiply. They think in terms of movements of God versus seasons of high attendance. Patience is critical. Courage to release and trust God is indispensable. To get moving in the right direction four mindset shifts are needed.
- Not One but Many
The first mindset shift toward transformational leaders is from one to many leaders. The “Super-pastor” (pastor is expected to do everything) model must be replaced by assigning a higher value on every member. One reason churches fail in their mission is because of the promise suggested about the “Super-pastor” view of pastoral leadership. Our professional Super-pastor, in many cases, is trained in exclusive places to gain expertise in business, family therapy, communication, marketing, leadership, and theology. Many pastors are taught how to lead local teams to grow their churches. A congregation has incredibly high expectations of their Super-pastor. Super-pastor returns the favor by having incredibly high expectations of the congregation.
But when the dream is not accomplished, finger pointing begins. Both the pastor and the members contribute to the finger pointing. Angry pastors complain about the terrible people in their congregations. The pastor demands unilateral command and control. Then the church demands a high level of satisfaction, financial stability, and numerical success. And no one gets what they want.
Transformational churches have strong leaders. Their leaders understand the importance of every man and every woman. Super-pastor is for comic books, not for the body of Christ. I fear church leadership has devolved to a counterproductive, bishop-driven system. The result is a disengaged, under challenged, and under-utilized missionary workforce.
Next week we will look at the second mindset shift needed in today’s transformational leader.