Creating A Healthy Leadership Culture For Women In The Local Church

It’s been over three years since I left the role of lead pastor and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on things I did while I was in that role. There are some things I wouldn’t change for anything and there are plenty of others that I wish I could get a do over as a husband, dad and disciple. I recently made a list of 50 things that I would do differently if I were to re-enter the role of pastor. I won’t drop all of them in this one post, but here are 10 to consider for yourself as you work in ministry.

I’ve never been a senior pastor, but it’s the most difficult position in the church. Like a quarterback, a senior pastor must possess a wide array of skills, and like a quarterback, he bears much of the weight of victory and defeat. Therefore, it’s important for the rest of us on staff to think of ourselves as left tackles.

Here are 4 ways for staff members to support our senior pastors.

But what do we do when we are the ones who are tired or discouraged? What do we do when we feel like we are the candle that is burning the wick on both ends and yet the needs of those we serve are still there?

So how can we be an encouragement to others when we feel we are operating on fumes?

The act of being aware is a life-long journey, a discipline that should be developed for life-long discovery.

Through this process of becoming more self-aware (disclaimer: I am not an expert and I’m still on this journey!), I have come to understand four truths that apply to us all as pastors, leaders, and disciples of Christ. This is not an exhaustive list of what self-awareness is, but I hope it helps further the conversation of why self-awareness should be part of any organization’s leadership development process.

Everyone – male or female, pastor, children’s worker, youth pastor, executive pastor – whatever leadership role you have, I just wanted to remind you that every Christian leader is first and foremost a Christian follower.

Every one of us is called primarily to be WITH Jesus, to follow Jesus, to be disciples before we are leaders.

The best leaders in the Church are always the closest followers.

The challenges of our culture make it increasingly hard to sustain a life dedicated to the local church. Ministry of any kind is difficult, draining and discouraging. It is harder than ever to stay the course.

Whether you are a youth pastor, lead pastor, or in some other type of ministry position, how can you pursue longevity in ministry? There are no easy answers to that question, but here are a few things that have been helpful to me along the way.

I don’t think the weakness or struggles of others ought to normalize it for any of us, but I do find it informative and helpful to know about. For those of us who are normal, everyday men and women, it’s good to know some of our heroes had to fight this battle also.

If you’re struggling with depression or even a deep discouragement right now, it’s time for you to kick the black dog of depression.

From my experience, let me give you some pointers…

Why I Shouldn't Quit

But if you long for a different singularity. A different metric. A different commendation. You might just make it. You might actually thrive, even in the ashes. Find the ember in the ashes and it will whisper to you: “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Remember the widow’s mite. Nobody saw it, but He saw it. And He made sure it would echo in eternity. You can as well. Even if nobody sees it here.

perfect or growing leaders

I think there is value in letting go of our self-imposed expectation to be perfect leaders, functioning at high levels all the time. Instead, like Paul, let’s boast in our weakness, for His grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in weakness. Our task isn’t to be perfect leaders. Our task is to be growing leaders.


But some things shouldn’t change with the seasons. Our vigilance to pursue purity and joy in the gospel should never take a vacation. The famous Puritan pastor John Owen wrote, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you. . . . There is no safety against it but in constant warfare”

We must remember to encourage each other and the people we shepherd to not take a break from fighting against lust.

difficult conversations

What is the essence of ministry? How do you define it? A definition we’ve come to appreciate at our church goes like this: Ministry is a series of difficult conversations. 

The easy stuff works itself out. But the entrenched patterns, the destructive habits, the corrosive relationships, those don’t seem to go anywhere. Until there’s a hard conversation.

busy leader

Is caring for your soul a priority? If you answered “yes,” the next question becomes, “how will you do that?”  What will you do that strengthens your own soul so that your leadership flows from a place of fullness and not emptiness?


Pastoring is a relational job. Each of us have a certain relational capacity. Normal people in normal times have a certain amount of death, divorce, drugs and other problems hit them and their family. But not the pastor.

The pastor is in a war zone that he cannot control. The amount of damage we witness and experience is devastating. 

steward of pain

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking more about stewarding our stories, our own personal experiences. The things that we’ve done and have been done to us. The things that we’ve seen, heard, and felt. The pain that we’ve caused and that which has been thrust upon us, brokenness in all of its various forms.

Eastern District Association
PO Box 3547
Camp Hill, PA 17011