Pastoral leadership is much more than preparing messages and preaching once or twice a week. Some of the most meaningful moments for pastors are actually spent outside of the pulpit through their daily interactions, acts of servant leadership, and efforts to help their church operate efficiently. So, how can one person manage all of these things? Well, understanding your leadership style can certainly be a helpful first step. In this blog, Dr. Tony Garza shares how the Leadership Grid Theory can help you make sure that those around you feel valued and heard while making the most of the strengths God has given you!

Pastoral leadership is a delicate balance of the calling “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ” as stated in Ephesians 4:12, while at the same time dealing with the everyday “operations” of leading and attending to the needs of the church. In managing this balance, I have found that different leadership theories present strategies that can be applied within this context for pastors and all Christian leaders. Some of the most common leadership theories are the Situational Leadership theory, Transformational/Transactional Leadership theory, and the Servant Leadership theory-perhaps the most associated with pastoral ministry.

I believe that all three of these theories can be applied successfully to pastoral ministry. However, in this blog, I want to focus specifically on the Leadership Grid theory developed by Blake & Mouton in the 1960’s. What sets this theory apart from others is its focus on two variables:

  • concern for people (relationships) oriented leadership

  • concern for production (task) oriented leadership

If you are interested in finding out which of the two variables you lean more towards, click here to access a Leadership Grid theory questionnaire from Boston University.

Based on your results, you will find that you will fall within one of five different categories of leadership styles. The five styles include authoritarian, country club, middle of the road, impoverished, and team leader.

So, what does this mean? Let me explain.

Five Leadership Styles

1. Authoritarian

A leader with High concern for production and Low concern for people.
I think this is self-explanatory and none of us want to be here.

2. Country Club

A leader with High concern for people and low concern for production. Everyone will have a good time, but nothing productive will get done.

3. Middle of the Road

A leader with medium concern for both, people and production. This may seem ideal at first glance, but comes down to being mediocre.

4. Impoverished

A leader with low concern for people and production. It may be time to see your counselor.

5. Team Leader

A leader with High concern for people and high concern for production. There’s nothing like being excited about your people and your mission!

So, where do you see yourself? As you are self-evaluating, I think there are two critical questions to ask yourself.

Questions to Ask

As a pastor or leader, you can gauge your relationship with your staff and those you work close with.

1. Are you concerned with them as a person as much as what they have to offer in production?

You can apply this from a ministry perspective. Whether it is your main service, youth, children’s ministry, or media, I think you need to ask:

2. Is your ministry team focused on serving the people and developing relationships? Or, are they more concerned with the “production” side of their ministry?

Ultimately, it comes down to being genuinely concerned for the people we serve and work with, and not just about how well we can produce. Proverbs 27:23 reminds us to, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, and give careful attention to your herds.” Although this refers to shepherds with their sheep, I believe it can also apply to our role as pastors and spiritual leaders.

Jesus demonstrated genuine concern for people, while also meeting their earthly needs. Our primary goal as pastors and leaders continues to be the making of disciples and seeing changed lives! There is nothing like seeing peoples’ lives transformed by the message of the gospel! Perhaps you can find areas of ministry that can be improved in both, relationships (people) and quality of service (production).

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