12 Key Leadership Traits of Effective United Methodist Pastors

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. Bishop Hagiya of The Pacific Northwest Conference who shared his dissertation research results around the question: “What traits, qualities, or characteristics, if any, do highly effective and successful United Methodist Church ministers exhibit specifically in regard to growth of their churches when compared to less effective United Methodist Church ministers?”

From in-depth interviews in response to this question, Bishop Hagiya found:

12 Key Leadership Traits of Effective United Methodist Pastors
  1. Excel in Emotional Intelligence
  2. Excel in Transformational Leadership – They see the gifts in others, name & cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry & community
  3. Possess a deep well of faith in a Triune God, from which spring their values, behaviors, attitudes and decisions.
  4. Have a passion for their work in ministry, and are engaged and focused in their work.
  5. Possess a deep humility that stems from their allegiance to a higher authority & calling.
  6. All have mentors who have shaped their formation, leadership in ministry and provided trust and counsel.
  7. Demonstrate entrepreneurial traits and behaviors.
  8. Excel in oral & written communications. They are some of the top preachers of their annual conferences.
  9. Demonstrate resiliency in their personal & professional set-backs, and attribute such resiliency to their faith life and practice.
  10. Have a personal vision, and that vision does have an impact on the larger vision of the church where they serve.
  11. Understand systems theory and organizational development.
  12. Adapt to and are impacted by the local church’s situation and context.

You can download a PDF of Bishop Hagiya’s  full presentation here.

Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections and Next Steps

This week I was part of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. After some reflection, I want to share some possible next steps for me and for our Board of Ordained Ministry. Here goes…

Next Steps for the Board of Ordained Ministry

  • Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
  • Consider process changes to encourage and identify highly motivated, self-starting, creative and entrepreneurial leaders.
  • Be steady in purpose, but flexible in strategy. -Gil Rendle
  • Continue commitment to change and diversify
  • Be intentional in language used around the candidacy process – What do we do? Why do we do it?
  • Focus on telling the story of the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry – not the stories of the Board from our former conferences.
  • Explore ways to recruit before self-selection as a candidate
  • Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in changing the dynamics of the Board.

Next Steps for Me

  • Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
  • Actively engage as a lifelong learner, i.e. D. Min, conferences, reading, etc.
  • Be part of addressing the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities of being a global denomination with a democratic polity.
  • Consider additional opportunities to serve at the annual, jurisdictional and general conferences
  • Look for ways to further develop my:
    • emotional intelligence
    • understanding of systems theory
  • Continuously look for the gifts in others, name and cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry and community.
  • Seek out those who would mentor me and those who could be mentored by me.
  • Recognize that deep change means surrendering control.
  • Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in my leadership in the local church
  • Seek both mastery and originality

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings and opinions about these lists? What changes could be most helpful for the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry? How might I best improve my work as an Elder in the United Methodist Church?

Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections from Day 4

Today was the final day of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver.  We had the opportunity to hear from two groups presenting on Identifying Critical Issues for General Conference. For each we heard a presentation and had the opportunity to follow up with table conversations on both the Global Discipline and Study of Ministry.

As the presenters were speaking about the questions the teams were facing, tentative recommendations and potential legislative proposals, my brain started to hurt. I am amazed at the complexity and implications that are involved in considering issues.

One of the attenders named a blog post from Bishop Tuell which sums up the issue for me:

The United Methodist Church has undertaken a bold challenge in the way we govern our denomination. We are the only major Christian church in the world that seeks to do two things: (1) Be truly a global church; and (2) be a church that is truly democratically governed by its ordinary lay and clergy members. The Roman Catholic Church is global, but obviously does not pretend to be democratically governed. Other major Protestant churches are all essentially national churches, though some are bound together by loose international ties.

Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections from Day 3

Yesterday was Day 3 of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver.  In the morning we heard from two different panels  with Val Hastings, Founder and President of Coaching4Clergy as Moderator.

Panel 1: Developing Effective Leaders

  • Fred Allen, National Director, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
  • Ted Campbell,  Associate Professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology
  • Gail Ford Smith, Director, Center for Clergy Excellence, Texas Annual Conference

Panel 2: The Role of Supervision in Developing Effective Leaders

  • Bishop Cynthia Harvey, Louisiana Episcopal Area
  • Rev. Dr. Tom Choi, District Superintendent, California-Pacific Annual Conference
  • Rev. Dr. Candace Lansberry, District Superintendent, Desert Southwest Annual Conference

In the afternoon we were divided among table groups with a mix of people both geographically and in role (Board Chair, Vice-Chair, DS, etc.). We were given case studies of situations which a Board of Ordained Ministry may face and engage in conversation and reflection about what actions, motivations and next steps. In the evening, we went out to eat as a Great Plains team with one of our Iliff seminary students.

Here are some of my takeaways from the day:

  • Many early Methodist leaders would likely have faced significant challenges moving through the process with a Board of Ordained Ministry today.
  • Regarding the divide / friction / boundary between cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry:
    • It is common across many annual conferences.
    • The Judicial Council decisions around this matter center around fair / due process.
    • Agreement around a common goal can significantly dissolve anxiety and build trust
  • Systems, processes and strategies are bound by time and place. They are not effective forever.

Spending Time on the Balcony and the Dance Floor

As a leader there is value in spending time both:

  • On the balcony – getting a big picture perspective removed from day to day responsibilities and
  • On the dance floor – accomplishing day to day tasks to make progress as an organization.

Spending time in either location can be productive, however you cannot spend your time in one place or another.

As I have entered into a new leadership setting – as pastor of First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, KS – I have found that it has been particular important to make sure that I spend some time on the balcony. The day to day responsibilities of transitioning into a new role can overwhelm the time needed to take a breath and reflect on the big picture of life and ministry. As I prepare to begin my fourth month in this appointment, I have been making progress on spending time in both places.

Is Your Congregation Viable or Vital?

There are at least three different possibilities for the life of a congregation:

  • Vital – A vital congregation that is one that is creating places for new people to love God and love neighbor. The ministry and impact of the congregation is expanding.
  • Viable – A viable congregation is one that continues to exist at the same ministry level and opportunities as years past.
  • Inviable – An inviable congregation is one whose financial and mission reality is not sustainable.

The goal for congregations could be to move from one level to another – inviable to viable and viable to vital. Vital congregations can look for ways to expand their ministry and help move other congregations toward vitality.

Learnings from the Kansas Leadership Center

I have had the opportunity to engage with the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) in the Leadership and Faith: Transforming Communities program over the past year. I wanted to share some of the learnings that I have gathered from my interactions with the KLC.

  • If you can be competent in four things – you will make more progress on your leadership challenges. They are:
    • Diagnose situation
    • Manage self
    • Energize others
    • Intervene skillfully
  • It is helpful to diagnose the situation more often and longer than one may think necessary.
  • It would always be nice to have more information before taking action. This is not possible. You have to take action.
  • Be ready to entertain more than one interpretation about any situation
  • Be ready to ask – What story are people telling about me?