Exploring models of pastoral leadership

Pastoral leadership models have become a topic of interest to many congregations. Most current leadership models were created in a time where the world (and congregational life) was very different. Effective pastoral leadership requires different skills, structures, expectations, etc., as the context of ministry changes. Perhaps the links below can help you and your congregation fruitfully explore this issue.

This article in Christianity Today asks, “Does your church have the right model?” Writer Kyle Rohane suggests two filters that can help a congregation choose an effective model: The filter of “Leadership Autonomy” and the filter of “Missional Strategy.” It also has links to a book you may want to explore entitled, The 2017-2018 Guide to New Church Models.

Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, CT has adopted a team model for pastoral leadership utilizing three Lead Pastors. This brief article provides insight into the church’s thinking about using this model, and some helpful links to other congregations who have adopted a team model of pastoral leadership.

This Thomas Bandy article entitled, The Demise of the Church Growth Model, critiques this common (and still widely-used) leadership model in congregations. In the beginning of the article, he also provides a helpful overview of previous eras and models of pastoral leadership. It might serve as an interesting lens to evaluate the leadership model in your current congregation.

The link above is to a The National Congregations Study directed by Mark Chaves, Professor of Sociology, Religious Studies, and Divinity at Duke University. This report was written by Mark Chaves and Alison Eagle, and designed by Spring Davis. It is a much revised and updated version of American Congregations at the Beginning of the 21st Century, written by Mark Chaves, Shawna Anderson, and Jason Byassee after the 2006 NCS. I would draw your attention particularly to page 12 in the report (the “Leadership” section), which provides some valuable insights about church staff configurations, generalists and specialists, and other information related to staffing models.

Grace and peace as you live out your calling day by day!