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The Leader and Connecting to Others


I have a confession. I am a task oriented type of a guy. Sometimes I have to learn to slow down in order to let people into my life. There was a time in church ministry that it was popular to be a fast-tracker with a full day-timer. But we will only impact people spiritually and permanently by the one-on-one contact that can't be substituted. In our digital world of video chats, zoom meetings, text messages and other forms of teleconnecting, there is still no substitute for quiet, prolonged exposure of one's soul to another.


When consulting with churches without pastors, I'm usually asked two questions. "What best characterized a successful pastor?" and "Why are the good ones so hard to come by"? The answers to the first question explains the second. No matter how well intentioned a minister may be in his effort to guide, teach, counsel and demonstrate Christian principles to the membership, the efforts will reap a limited harvest if the "sower" fails to realize that the key to healthy church leadership lies with interpersonal relationships. If the pastor does not understand or have knowledge of how people are motivated and interact with one another and the flexibility to apply "people skills" appropriately, no minister or lay leader can be truly effective. When sound relationships are missing, people will be unenthusiastic or negative about even the most worthwhile ministries in the church.


5 Principles of connecting with your people:


  1. View People Properly: Our underlying perceptions of and assumptions about people are critical. Do you see people for who they are or do you see them for what value they add to you. How you answer that question will largely impact your future relationships. John Maxwell makes the following observations about people: Everyone needs to feel worthwhile. Everyone needs and responds to encouragement. People buy into the leader before they buy into his or her leadership. Most people are naturally motivated

  2. We need to be honest about our motives: When we take time to connect with someone, is it because of the value they bring to the subject or is it because we are genuinely interested in them as a person?

  3. We need to intentionally build relations with key leaders: Key leaders who have better interpersonal relationships than you do can be helpful, because they can help communicate for you. And allow others to see a side of you that is difficult for you to show on your own.

  4. We need to demonstrate a "pastor's heart" to all of our people: The leader needs to understand the dynamics of the people in the room. He needs to be aware and sensitive to all the people. Consider the casual interactions, the crisis times, and the special events in peoples lives. Celebrate with them, cry with them. Show the care of a pastor.

  5. We need to provide assistance and support to people and help them grow and succeed in ministry: Be ready to come beside them and help them win in their role of service. Give them the resources they need to serve the Lord better.