Pastor Greg mused as one of his members walked away. “Wow, that is the fifth person this morning who has commented on the changes in his/her life. Eight in the last two weeks.” Actually, none of those had used the word “change”. But what each had to share was a change in the way he/she was living. Five members of Greg’s congregation that morning shared with him of something they had done to share Jesus with others the previous week. A change was truly happening in the congregation. A good change! “After three years, what has finally made the difference?” Greg pondered.

In the past, I have written about the importance of organizational leadership. Today I want to write about guiding leadership. While organizational leadership is critical, without guiding leadership your organization will become stagnant which could lead to organizational demise. Guiding leadership is directional leadership.

To be a guiding leader, you must be on the same journey with your organization. Willing to be in the trenches. Guiding leadership is directional leadership. Not only pointing people in a direction but leading people through the transformation by making the transformation yourself. You cannot lead people to a place you are not willing to go personally.

Have you ever taken a guided tour and known the guide to stay behind and send you on your way? No. A guide is out in front, pointing out the beauty of the journey, helping you to see and enjoy the benefits and avoid the potential pitfalls.

The church of the near future will look different than the church of the past, even the recent past. In many ways, this is not a bad thing. Leaders of the local church (not only the pastor) must be willing to embrace change in their own ways of leadership and ministry.

In the coming church, a pastor still preaches, teaches, and cares for his people. Some of the changes come in how pastors and congregants interact with people in the community. Our observation patterns must change, watching for opportunities to serve our local community with a completely different mindset of what to watch for. Opportunities abound. We only need to be prayerful and watchful for God’s great opportunities to show His love in ways we have neglected the past 40 years. People may not tell you of a need. We need deeper listening skills, listening to the Holy Spirit for the ways we can serve.

Another mindset change is from when we see or hear of an opportunity we must act right away. In the past, we might have sat on an idea. Maybe mulled it around a few days until the opportunity passed. Often without sharing the opportunity with anyone. Changing your church’s operational structure to meet needs according to the giftings and passions of the church members.

In this new era when an opportunity appears, we should immediately place a phone call (or text) to one of the leaders in the church who will spring into action getting others in the church reacting to the opportunity. Helping your members find their true passions and giftings, then matching those to ministry opportunities is perhaps the greatest key to exceptional fruitful Great Commission ministry.

Regardless of your position in the church are you ready and willing to be a directional leader? What is your first order of business to become a directional leader?

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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