How to Develop Needed Skills for Missional Leadership

What does it take to lead a church into joining God in God’s mission in the world?  One thing it takes is a pastor/leader who has the skills to do that.  The question is, what skills does the leader need to develop?

Photo by delarge (Creative Commons)Photo by delarge (Creative Commons)

My own learning process

Back in 2008, I started a process of learning what skills I needed to develop in order to lead more effectively. Here’s what that process looked like for me.

In order to begin a process for missional development at my church, we used the Mission-Shaped Pastor/Leader Suvey (now called the Pastor/Leader 360), designed by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk.

You see, one of the greatest challenges when it comes to missional development has to do with the pastor’s ability to lead missionally.  In other words, if the pastor is unable to lead missionally, there is little hope that the congregation will become a missionally-focused church.  The purpose of the survey was to initiate thoughtful reflection and conversations around the pastor’s (my) skills and capacities in regard to missional innovation.

It was a little scary, but it was also exciting to learn what my strengths and weaknesses were.  The survey results provided a snapshot of my ability as pastor to lead missionally in Northminster’s current context. 

Who took the survey?  A total of 25 church members and staff (including me) took the survey.  The results showed what the respondents thought about my leadership, what they thought my strengths were, and what they thought my weaknesses were.  Once I got the results, my job was to begin to discern what skills and capacities I needed to develop in order to lead more effectively in this time of discontinuous change.

What to do with the survey results

Now that I had the survey results, I needed an environment in which to process the results.  To do that, I took part in a small cohort of local pastors beginning in late 2008.  All of us had participated in the Pastor/Leader 360 survey.  After the survey results were returned to us, we met monthly for one year to digest and discuss the results. 

We helped one another discern both our weaknesses and strengths and what would be required for our own growth in the area of missional leadership.

Here are the areas of growth emerged for me:

  • The need to be able to cultivate the skills of church members for missional engagement
  • Creating coalitions (for example building teams for missional engagement)
  • Understanding and communicating the concerns of the people in our local context

Over the years, these are the skills I’ve been working on developing.  And I think I’ve improved.  But I’ll tell you more about that another time.

What skills do you think you need to develop to grow as a missional leader?  Have you used any assessment tools like the Pastor/Leader 360 to help you discern where you need to grow?

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