Leadership development is vital for leaders of every kind. Church leaders are often so busy, on the go, and at the forefront of so many activities that they may not realize or feel able to attend to their own personal development and enrichment needs.

Pastors and church leaders require an especially diverse set of leadership skills and capacities to balance the faith, family, professional, and interpersonal relationship elements of church leadership. The boundaries of these areas can often get blurry and challenge even the most astute leaders.

So what can church leaders do to help themselves stay fresh and sharp in the New Year? How about dedicating time for leadership development?

New Year, New Questions

The personal development side of pastor and ministry leadership can be challenging and to stay in top shape in this area leaders need to reflect and ask themselves tough questions. These questions could be about whether they may need counseling to work through personal issues, or a leadership or business coach to help them isolate and pinpoint goals and areas where they need to stretch or improve themselves, or maybe they might wonder if a spiritual advisor or mentor would help them with relational and ministry concerns.

Asking questions can help leaders begin to uncover issues, outline personal goals, and map out probable paths to achieving those goals. Asking questions can also be the first step in a larger discernment process.

Discernment

Pastors and ministry leaders are often strapped for time as they attend to the needs of their congregation, staff, and daily church business. Creating a personal discernment process is an effective way to for church leaders to develop and take their ministry to the next level, especially at the start of a new year. Discernment is a huge part of the initial call to ministry so it seems important that this process is repeated throughout the career of pastors and ministry leaders.

As leaders begin to set aside special time to reflect, they can consider tapping into resources like spiritual and business advisors, coaches, online classes, retreats, and mentorships to help move them forward in their evolution as a leader. Through a discernment process, leaders can discover areas that need attention, find the guidance they need, and begin locating the necessary tools to address and strengthen these areas.

Tech Tools for Development

Technology provides tools for advancement in nearly every avenue in our modern world. Digital tools are available to train and introduce church leaders to new information and resources through online classes, supportive leadership communities, and even virtual leadership development retreats.

Discovering new and innovative church technology tools can be very helpful and can be used to develop a game plan for growing your ministry’s effectiveness and the impact of church leaders.

Online/Offline Learning

Online classes and communities are convenient spaces where spiritual growth is taking place every day and online learning platforms often include online communities where leaders can connect, share information, and offer one another support. Making time for both in-person training and leveraging virtual training opportunities give leaders a double dose of guidance. Virtual learning environments can also be great preparation for in-person leadership conferences or good for follow up after attending a conference to deepen the learning and community building opportunities.

Attending in-person leadership development conferences is a way church leaders can build new skills, create new relationships, and leverage new learning opportunities and resources to advance their own personal and professional development. It can also be a refreshing break from the rigor of daily and weekly church office routines. Church leaders should check out top leadership conference offerings for 2018 and schedule time to attend in the new year if possible. Dedicating time to attend conferences can breathe new life into church leaders and give them focal points for renewal and expansion.

Time-Saving Tech Tools

Utilizing and designing innovative digital tools to teach and train church staff and volunteers can improve church communications and help leaders save time in the new year as well. Using online training modules can increase effectiveness and save time by allowing leaders and volunteers to learn from the comfort of their own computer or device at a convenient time that works for them. This can eliminate the consequences of falling behind due to missing a meeting or delays due to scheduling conflicts.

Technology was created to save time, right? If so, using these online tools for ministry team training could free up evenings spent sitting in meetings, while also putting effective training modules in the hands of your volunteers and allowing them to access them anytime and repeatedly for deeper learning.

Leaders are encouraged to enroll and test these online training modules themselves first to determine if they are effective and would benefit their ministry development teams. This is also a great way for leaders to gain new insights and knowledge along the way, and begin to build a resource kit of ministry development tech tools and stay on top of tech trends like social media and live streaming (also see http://socialmedia4pastors.net/ and https://socialchurch.co/).

Feedback Serves

Feedback is another crucial part of growth and development that often leads to deeper and greater insights for leaders. Growing and developing church leaders may do well to solicit regular feedback from their congregations, ministry teams, staff, and peer clergy persons, especially as part of any conscious leadership development work or after introducing new concepts, tools, or programs.

Feedback can come in the form of simple online surveys, small group meetings, or one to one conversations. Whichever way it is done, feedback back brings to light information that can inform leaders and better connect them with their congregations. Welcoming feedback can also set an example of open, respectful, collaborative, and inclusive leadership.

Creating dedicated time and space to reflect, grow, and flourish is vital for church leaders so they are able to grasp the bigger picture of their church’s needs and their own needs too. To develop themselves, pastors and ministry leaders need the capacity to develop ideas that can be seeded and have room to grow into fruitful projects and programs for their congregations. Technology can help this process and online tools can open doors and windows to new skills and techniques for compelling leadership.

Effective and resourceful church leaders are often the ones who are making decisions and introducing new tools and innovations to their congregations and ministry teams. This is all the more reason that pastors and church leaders need to frequently take time to recharge their batteries, learn new skills, discover new tools, reach out for support, and develop new abilities to think creatively about what their church really needs to move forward as they do God’s work in the New Year.