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?

A United Methodist Pastor’s Template for Premarital Appointments

As a pastor, I have the great honor of being part of some of the most significant events in the lives of people. One of these is when a couple is joined together in Christian marriage.

Premarital appointments with a couple are crucial as they create the opportunity to:

  • Get to know each other
  • Plan a service of Christian marriage that makes sense for them
  • Offer coaching or help around areas of concern for the couple
  • Share guidance from marrying and counseling couples

I am in my ninth year as an appointed pastor in the United Methodist Church and during that time I have officiated at  thirty-seven services of Christian marriage and currently have four scheduled in the next twelve months.  I have developed this template for four premarital appointments. While I will continue to develop it, I wanted to share my current version with you.

Feel free to use and adapt in whatever ways are helpful for you. I hope that this is helpful for you in ministry.

What have you found to be effective and helpful in meeting with a couple before they are married?

Clergy: Will You Learn to Manage Stress or Burnout?

Stress Reduction Kit

Image by programwitch via Flickr

Last month, I read an article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership about Myths about Clergy Burnout and Managing Stress. From the article:

Myth Three: Older leaders are more likely to burn out than younger leaders.
Recent research on clergy age seems to indicate that younger clergy are more likely to burn out than their older colleagues. In general, levels of mental health improve as people age. And older clergy are more likely than their younger colleagues to have learned how to manage their stress.

It seems that clergy that do not learn how to manage stress do not have the opportunity to be in ministry a long time because they burnout. How do you respond? In what ways do you manage stress?

Church Growth = Increased Pastor Salary?

An interesting article at Slate.com, The Almighty Dollar: Are preachers motivated by the desire to save souls or to make cold, hard cash? raises the question of clergy compensation. By researching data from the Oklahoma Annual Conference researchers found:

“It turns out United Methodist congregations gave their leaders a $15 boost (in 2008 dollars) on average for each new member added (about 3 percent of new revenues generated from the membership increase) and cut their pay by about $7 for each member lost.”

The article implies causation, while I believe that the data is clearly correlation. However, it is interesting.

How should clergy be compensated? In what way should pay level be determined for clegy?

What to Do with Ineffective United Methodist Clergy

I recognize there is debate about how to determine what makes a clergy person effective.

Whatever criteria is used, when a clergy person is determined to be ineffective she or he should find another job before the end of the appointive year.

This doesn’t mean being kicked out of the church or Christian community.

It means helping people find a different path for their employment. That’s all.

As a newly ordained elder (clergy) in the UMC, this is what I want for myself. If I am not effective, help me to recognize that and find some other way to support myself and my family.

What is a guaranteed appointment in the UMC?

According to the 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, “Every effective elder in full connection who is in good standing shall be continued under appointment by the bishop…” (¶334.1) There is conversation about changing the “shall” in this paragraph to “may.” This would, in effect, end a guaranteed appointment to serve at a local church.

In addition to the characteristics of an effective clergy person from ¶340 in the Book of Discipline, there are several other professional responsibilities that are necessary to continue to be eligible to be appointed to serve at a local church. According to ¶334.2, they are:

  • Be available for appointment
  • Complete an annual evaluation with both the church and District Superintendent
  • Show evidence of continuing effectiveness reflected in these annual reviews
  • Participate in continuing education and formation.
  • Willingness to supervise and mentor others

Shall, may, guarantee or not all this seems reasonable to me. How about you?