Jeff Woods on Four Options for Church Leaders

In yesterday’s teleconference, Jeff Woods, Associate General Secretary for American Baptist Churches USA, shared his thinking about four approaches church leaders can take.

1. Character Leadership. The leader expresses the fruit of the Spirit in their own life, exercises authority out of their character, models their own learning. This is an ongoing necessity for leader.
2. Focused leadership. This involves setting goals and encouraging followers to move toward the goals. It also includes the overall vision for the ministry.
3. Transformational leadership. This goes deeper than focused leadership. There may be a conflict of values that needs to be addressed, such as where do we want our outreach to be directed. This involves building relationships, asking good questions, building a team. He said, “I’ve never seen transformation happen without a team.”
4. Shifting leadership. This involves utilizing the expertise of others — inviting someone else with expertise who actually takes over leadership in a particular area. For example, if a church finds a new senior citizens center is being built across the road, someone in the church who understand the needs of seniors might be asked to lead the whole congregation toward a new ministry.

I gave some examples from my own interpretation of Jeff’s matrix in my last post here. Leaders need to assess which of these is appropriate at any given time, and most of us need ongoing learning to develop ourselves in all these areas. He suggested the third and fourth are more difficult for most of us.

The recording of the teleconference is available. E-mail me at, and I’ll send you the link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *