What are the most essential skills for ministry leaders to have?
Regarding leadership in the business world, Harold Geneen said, “The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation and Communication.”
Not only are these skills important for the business world, but ministry leaders should be first and foremost in the conversation of displaying these skills in their leadership positions. By the way, there is a sixth skill every ministry leader needs to have mastered! (see below)
With these things in mind, we look at the 5 essential skills for ministry leaders:
1. Concentration. Your ability to get things done in ministry is directly related to your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Note I said “task,” not “tasks.” It’s all too easy to get distracted by email, social media, and other things that come up. What’s your strategy for staying focused? I’ve learned that some background music helps me stay focused when working on projects and writing. What could you do to improve your focus?
2. Discrimination. This word carries a bad connotation, but in this specific sense it is referring to your ability to choose carefully between your tasks. What is the right direction for you to move today? What is the most important thing you need to get done today? What is the least important? Determining your priorities daily will help you use discrimination successfully to make the most impact for your ministry daily.
3. Organization. This is one of those categories that we recognize, applaud, and usually forget to implement. Organization can be a time-saver, but the difficult part is the initial investment into the organizational process. I would encourage you to take one or two small steps each week in this direction. Set aside an hour each week to consider, “what can I do right now to become better organized?” In case you aren’t sure where to start, I might suggest looking at this list of 50 Apps for Leaders or the Free Task Management Systems for Churches.
4. Innovation. This word has become an enigma in the ministry world today, but we don’t always know how to actually be “innovative.” It is simply a new product, method, or idea. Is there something new you can try in your ministry that you haven’t done before? That will be innovative for your ministry. Now, your idea might not be innovative for others (in the fullest sense, innovation would have to be a completely new idea), but it will be something new that you can use to raise the level of your ministry. If you don’t consider yourself an innovative person, then surround yourself with innovative people either in your ministry team or through other ministry colleagues. Innovation can be difficult at times because of the work required, but it is one of the biggest factors in keeping a ministry effective and relevant.
5. Communication. Numerous ministry conflicts arise from a lack of communication or poor communication. Are you being intentional to communicate well with others? If you are looking for a few new ways to improve in this area, take a look at How To Text Message Parents in Your Ministry and 8 Ways to Improve Your Communication.
6. Relational. I added this one, because I think it is most essential skill for ministry leaders. The biggest distinction between ministry and the business world is that the church is called to be focused on people. Putting people before tasks is the most important skill you can obtain for leading well in your ministry. In order to be effective ministry leaders in God’s eyes, we need to care about people first.