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Leadership Development in Small Congregations
The greatest challenge for leaders in small congregations is burnout. Along with the general resources for Leadership Development, here are some specific recommendations for small congregations.
- Make sure you have a clear mission and vision, and that every active member is in alignment with that mission
- Work on your "strategic no." It it best to do focus on a few areas of ministry and do them well rather than spread yourselves too thin. If you can't find a volunteer, maybe that's a sign to let a program go.
- Get connected! Reach out to other congregations and find ways to partner and share resources. Maybe you could plan a joint leadership retreat, or host an outside consultant for a workshop and invite other congregations
- Reach out! There are lots of free and low-cost resources available from your district and region. Note local conferences and free webinars on your church's calendar.
- Relationships matter—talk to people one-on-one about their gifts and passions and how they might find a way to serve.
- Create transparent systems: Small congregations tend to depend on informal relationships to recruit leaders. Provide opportunities for people to explore serving without making a commitment.
- Don't twist arms. You may get someone to fill a role now, but doing a job that you don't want to do is a sure recipe for burnout.
- Create accountability, but only for what is under someone's control. e.g. You can ask someone to do an every-member canvass but not to increase giving by 20%. You can ask someone to offer quality religious education but not to increase the number of participants.
- Change in Small Congregations by the Rev. Dr. Ken Brown (podcast and article)
- Dependency in Congregational Life, or "Mommy! Daddy!" by the Rev. Kenn Hurto (podcast and article)
- Visionary Shared Leadership is the Key by the Rev. Dr. Tom Chulak (podcast and article)