12 Key Leadership Traits of Effective United Methodist Pastors

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. Bishop Hagiya of The Pacific Northwest Conference who shared his dissertation research results around the question: “What traits, qualities, or characteristics, if any, do highly effective and successful United Methodist Church ministers exhibit specifically in regard to growth of their churches when compared to less effective United Methodist Church ministers?”

From in-depth interviews in response to this question, Bishop Hagiya found:

12 Key Leadership Traits of Effective United Methodist Pastors
  1. Excel in Emotional Intelligence
  2. Excel in Transformational Leadership – They see the gifts in others, name & cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry & community
  3. Possess a deep well of faith in a Triune God, from which spring their values, behaviors, attitudes and decisions.
  4. Have a passion for their work in ministry, and are engaged and focused in their work.
  5. Possess a deep humility that stems from their allegiance to a higher authority & calling.
  6. All have mentors who have shaped their formation, leadership in ministry and provided trust and counsel.
  7. Demonstrate entrepreneurial traits and behaviors.
  8. Excel in oral & written communications. They are some of the top preachers of their annual conferences.
  9. Demonstrate resiliency in their personal & professional set-backs, and attribute such resiliency to their faith life and practice.
  10. Have a personal vision, and that vision does have an impact on the larger vision of the church where they serve.
  11. Understand systems theory and organizational development.
  12. Adapt to and are impacted by the local church’s situation and context.

You can download a PDF of Bishop Hagiya’s  full presentation here.

Top 13 Characteristics of Effective Clergy

Some of the hoopla around guaranteed appointments is around the question – How do you determine what makes for an effective clergy person? That’s easy. Straight from paragraph 340 of the Book of Discipline, an effective clergy person will…

  • love God and love their neighbor.
  • preach, teach, lead worship and engage people in witness.
  • provide spiritual guidance.
  • marry and bury.
  • visit people in their homes to provide care.
  • practice integrity in maintaining confidences.
  • be responsible for sharing baptism and holy communion.
  • provide administration for the local church, annual conference and general church.
  • be inclusive.
  • live as a servant leader.
  • organize the church to live out their faith in the world.
  • equip others in the care and spiritual formation of others.
  • work for unity in the church.

If a clergy person is gifted and effective in these things, there will be clear evidence in the church.

A clergy person with evidence of gifts and effectiveness will continue to be appointed regardless of her or his appointment being guaranteed.

Questions about The United Methodist Church

Yesterday morning I enjoyed an hour with a small group at Resurrection lead by Nancy. My task was to talk about Methodism – at large. I am passionate about knowing who I am as a United Methodist and helping others claim their identity as well. I began by asking for questions. I sought to respond to each one there and let them know they could check my blog for a short written response as well. So here goes…

  • What are distinguishing features of the United Methodist Church?
    • There are several distinct characteristics of the United Methodist Church. One is the approach to organization which involves Christian conferencing. Another is the understanding of grace:
      • Prevenient – God is at work in our lives before we are aware of it.
      • Justifying – There is a moment when we recognize and claim God’s grace for ourselves.
      • Sanctifying – We are always moving on to Christian perfection, the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian.
  • Is the UMC connected with Catholicism?
    • There are some similarities in that property is held in trust and priests / preachers are sent to their location.
  • Has there been split or controversy within the denomination?
    • The denomination split around whether or not to have bishops and slavery. Major reconciliation for both of these issues. Today the ordination of homosexuals continues to be a controversy.
  • Why is there a decline and decrease in relevance within the denomination?
    • I believe that we forgot our task of spreading scriptural holiness across the land. No good answer in a couple sentences…
  • Say more about the Moravians.
    • John Wesley learned from the peace he saw a group of Moravians experience during a storm at sea.
  • Is there a connection with the Anglican church?
    • Methodism began as a renewal movement within the Church of England.
  • How are Methodists connected with the Protestant Reformation?
    • The UMC is a protestant denomination
  • How important are saints?
    • One cannot become a United Methodist saint. However, the value of saints, mothers and fathers of the church is of value.

Thanks to the class for great questions and your desire to be on the journey of knowing, loving and serving God. It is an honor to be one of your pastors.

I want to be an excellent strategic planner.

Where are you going?

How do you get there?

These are key questions for individuals and for congregations that are essential for strategic planning. I have learned the practice of annual goals as an employee and annual strategic goals for the congregation while here at Resurrection. As Stephen Covey would suggest, begin with the end in mind. I have found that setting a measurable goal with a target date to be effective in helping me move forward in ministry and in my personal development. I hope to continue to grow in this area and utilize this skill set in the arenas to which God calls me.

I believe that this will be an important role no matter what future church setting I might find myself in.

  • What have you found to be helpful in this area?
  • Are there any resources or events that you would recommend?

Over the past three days, I have highlighted some of the characteristics that I hope to develop as a church leader. I am interested in your thoughts and passion. What are characteristics as a leader that you would like to develop?