Re-Forming Pastoral Leadership, Part 3

Mark Tidsworth,
Pinnacle Leadership Associates


Then pastors are ready for steps four and five in their transition into 21st century pastoral leadership. Those pastors who hear God’s calling to continue in ministry through discernment are then positioned for Step Four in their re-formation: Embracing. These pastors recognize the challenge inherent in leading a congregation through this reformation period; this Modern to Postmodern Shift. Not only do they see it, they find this particular challenge invigorating. They are drawn toward the challenge, rather than being repelled. They recognize God has been cultivating them for this time and place, readying them to lead their congregations into fruitful ministry.

Embracing the challenge also means developing a new leadership paradigm. As leadership paradigms fade, new time-sensitive paradigms rise to inform our leadership. We suggest pastors come to see themselves as Faith Change Agents. Through Jesus-focused faith, these pastors understand their roles to be congregational shepherds. They perceive the primary need of congregations in this time of cultural change to faithfully transition from church-as-we-have-known-it to church-as-it-is-becoming. They are on board with being the pastoral leaders who facilitate deep, adaptive change. These pastors are convinced that if they do not function this way, many congregations are likely to decline into nonexistence. They are invigorated by embracing the challenges inherent in serving as Faith Change Agents. Pastors in this stage (Embracing) learn new skills and competencies which equip them to serve in their new roles, leading change effectively.

Now, pastors are equipped to step forward, Engaging the leadership challenge (Step Five). Moving through these pastoral re-formation stages, pastors are now ready to spend their one beautiful life in God’s service in effective ways. When people are in the flow, finding their purpose and calling, a synergistic energy rises up around them. They engage their context and work with passion and energy. Certainly they encounter problems and experience setbacks, yet they perceive these as part of the holy endeavor to which they are called. These Faith Change Agents help God’s Church adapt to this Postmodern world, embodying the love of God for present and future generations. Now, that’s a pastoral life worth living.