7 Elements of a Strategy for a New Leadership Position

Whenever I enter a new position, I want to be strategic. In my new church, it has been challenging and fun at the same time. I’ve met so many wonderful people, but there are more opportunities than time it seems. It is proving to be a great ministry assignment. Thank you God for the opportunity.

Several asked what my strategy for the opening days. If you know me at all you know that I’m pretty strategic.

Here are 7 elements of my strategy for the beginning days:

Get to know key leaders – I am trying to get to know the staff and key Influencers in the church. I believe God uses the influence of others to build His church, so I want to know who I will be working with in the days to come. Think of it this way. If Moses was implementing the Jethro method, his primary energy would need to be communicating and investing in those leaders he enlisted to lead others. I’m using that approach. If I hope to make any substantial changes I’ll need these influencers support.

Let people get to know me – For an introvert it’s been exhausting, but I’ve been very visible in the early days. In fact, in my ministry I’m usually always very accessible, just as I am online. I have written before (HERE) that I may not always be available but I can always be accessible. I want them to feel comfortable with me and trust my leadership, so I think they need to see me frequently, even more so in the beginning days of my pastorate.

Set my initial vision – People want to know where I am going with my leadership. I set an initial 7 part vision for the people. I really wanted 3 or 4 initial initiatives, but I landed on 7. They are all things I’m passionate about implementing. Some will gets started faster than others, but the church seems anxious to get behind all of them.

Identify quick wins – I’m looking for some things I can immediately impact and change for good. These are things I believe everyone can agree with, don’t require a lot of resources or long debates. There were a few minor paperwork nuisances that impacted staff were happy I changed, for example. I invested some energy in some areas of ministry that never received a lot of attention. Those areas are especially excited.

Do the unexpected – It seems like such a small deal, but I roam the balcony on Sunday morning. It takes a little more time, but it has proven to be a big deal. I talk to the person who will be changing my slides on the screen prior to the service. That’s been a surprise to them. They say it’s never happened before, but it’s proven to be a big deal. I’m roaming the halls of the offices during the day, walking into people’s offices, and allowing drop ins to my office when I’m available. All unexpected, but bringing very positive feedback.

Pace myself – I realize I’m only one person and although everyone wants some of my time right now and there are more ideas than we could ever accomplish, I know I will burnout if I don’t pace myself. That’s meant I am saying no to some things…really many things. It isn’t easy to say no to such eager people, for me or them, but I know it will prove best in the end if I’m able to last for the long run.

Move slowly on the biggies – Being honest, there are some big items I’d like to change now. I am wise enough, however, to know that some changes are too big to launch quickly. I could. I’m in a honeymoon period. I could probably “get away with them”, but the people don’t really know me yet. I may win a battle, but lose the war. (Not that there is a battle. Just using a cliche. Why do I even have to say that?)

I’ll continue to update along the way. What questions do you have for me?

That’s how I’m operating these days. Ever been the new guy…the new pastor? What advice do you have for me?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “7 Elements of a Strategy for a New Leadership Position

  1. I like your strategy. I appreciate you taking the time to share it with us. I also hope that you keep sharing about your time of transition and what you are learning from it.
    Twitter: ericspeir

  2. I will be watching these posts with a learning heart… I am constantly the “new person”! My husband is a traveling construction superintendent. His company puts him up in the state where the job is for as long as needed until it is finished. The only thing stable in my life is my online church ministry (wherever I go, it goes) and a home in the MTNS that we come home to every now and then. The most hardest transition for me every time we move (which is usually every 8mths to a year) is that I have not changed, I am still a seasoned servant who has been trained and equipped by God and have served in many types of ministries. But, people don’t trust you, yes Christians… they don’t trust you when you come into a new church. You are stepping into their family room as a stranger. I have found you can’t come in dragging the past with you, telling them everything that you “used” to do; you have to find a place to fit in the God Purposes that are in play in their living room. Every time we move, we have to find a new church, and every time they require you to go through their “new members class” 101, 201… etc before you can serve. I used to resent it so much… not another “new members class”… but I realized even though I may be more trained and experienced more ministry then all of them combined, I need to come into the situation like Jesus did with a heart that is “abased”, willing to lay down my rights and step into the Kingdom Purposes that are already in play!
    Twitter: kmac4him

  3. I love your insight and thanks so much for sharing. Having a love for the church, the people, I think it is always a wise move to show appreciation which is exactly what you are dong by connecting with many levels of operations like the A/V staff. Appreciation is so underrated yet a huge builder of motivation. Several followers leave organizations because they do not feel appreciated. Some people like to hear it, some like to see it, and some like to have a pat on the back, but all followers need it. Blessings in your new assignment.

  4. I am going to be transitioning into pastoral ministry, soon. I have already been working up an initial set of strategies and tactics. I was wondering about your initial vision. How do you set a vision without treating the church as though it is just another platform for your ministry, especially without having met the people or really learned the church culture there?

    Also, I loved the idea of identifying quick wins. Can you expand on that some more?

    • I'm taking the slow approach. I spent a lot of time researching and asking about the church's history. I've asked a lot of questions. You can view my second message where I addressed the church's values and history. I'm really trying to avoid sacred cows.I'm also moving slow. I have 7 initiatives to move the church forward (outlined in my 3rd message) and in each of them I'm asking the team set up to study them for some “quick win” suggestions. I'll post more as we continue to move forward.

  5. What is your theory on assimilation?
    Specifically how should new guests be plugged in?

    Ie where is the hand off between Guest Services/Welcoming Ministries to Adult Ministries?

    In a large church how can you measure success in that? Is it even possible?

    I work in adult ministries- my boss is a micromanager. I study and research and "interview" other pastors of other churches and get my proposal for how we can best connect people and every single time- my boss turns it down and tries to guide me in another direction.

    It almost feels like my boss has in her mind what she wants me to do, but is trying to get me to
    Come up with HER idea by redirecting me..with 'new assignments' …it's pretty frustrating!

    Thanks for your blog! I'm a faithful reader!
    Ps GO CATS!!

    • I absolutely think there should be a connection. I'm thinking from the time a person thinks “church” for the first time and drives on our parking lot, until the person reaches glory…I think it's all part of discipleship.I'd love to have some of your ideas. We are looking now.