What leadership traits in a turnaround multicultural church characterize a pastor of uncommon character? Initial research of turnaround leaders in multicultural contexts across the United States shows ten traits that support bridging the gap unity.
Leaders of Uncommon Character
Jan Paron 11/5/12 Over the last year, I researched six bridging the gap actions for biblical unity in different multicultural churches from urban regions across the country. The actions involved intentionality, openness, adaptability, calling, and impartiality/inclusion and communication. My goal was to uncover trends and practices of thriving, heterogeneous multicultural churches that had experienced renewal or turnaround. Along the way, I noticed patterns in leadership qualities emerge from pastors of these churches. These traits supported the fifth bridging the gap action, the call to the all, ministering to the all of society. In all, ten initial qualities emerged that distinguished leaders of uncommon character. Pastoring a multicultural church comes with challenges and successes, said and unsaid in current writings. Even though these findings represent preliminary research, they give insight for further research in multicultural church turnaround and discussion for training program development of future leaders in this context.
- “CALL” FOLLOWERS. Since church’s start, uncommon leaders have had a strong sense of calling and purpose to the four premises for unity, which include vision of purpose/knowledge, unified witness, reflection of God’s glory and perfection of one in Him (Matt 28:18-20; John 17:20-23). Today’s leaders show no exception.
- VISIONARIES. Leaders not only function as visionaries, but also have big visions. They boldly follow the Holy Spirit’s leading for accomplishing vision and purpose.
- RISK TAKERS. Some might label uncommon leaders as “out of the box” thinkers, while others view their method as unusual. These leaders move forward undaunted and unconcerned with opinion, but working within biblical realms.
- CHANGE AGENTS. Following the Holy Spirit’s direction and relying on God’s promises, leaders act as conduits for change.
- REACHERS. Their leadership range of influence and impact extends beyond the immediate congregation to a wide audience. At the same time, they intimately know their community and stay in tune to change. They reach out to a broad constituency, leaving Christ’s imprint where they go.
- DISCIPLERS. While all aspects of reconciliation stay at the forefront, making disciples is the leaders’ first priority.
- BRIDGE BUILDERS. Uncommon leaders understand and teach the concept of unity—believe it, show it, talk it and walk it. As leaders, they connect, build relationships, work alongside, support and serve people cross-culturally with the love of Christ to save souls. They show a strong focus on bridging for the sake of the Gospel.
- COMPASSIONATE SHEPHERDS. As ambassadors of Christ, leaders never forget to show compassion in the ministry of reconciliation. They see a person through the eyes of Christ, and remember to keep God’s lambs and sheep at the forefront (John 21:15-17).
- OVERCOMERS. Leaders stand ready and firm in what God has for them to do, fueled with His divine energy. They endure and embrace challenges, undaunted by issues of diversity.
- FAITH WALKERS AND LIFE SPEAKERS. Leaders depend on God, showing crazy faith. Trials do not challenge, nor deter them. These leaders pray through and speak to the mountains. They talk about God’s past, present and future blessings and provisions.
These qualities present one side of a leader’s journey as a pastor in a multicultural church. I am awed by how God moved in each of their churches, and at the same time, the enormity of the call to pastor. The study profoundly affected me as an assistant pastor of a multicultural church and dean of its college. One day in the quiet of a moment, I believe I heard the Lord say,
Keep your thoughts on me. I have already said that I will be with you unto the end of time. Rest in Me. Lean on Me. Find your strength and knowledge in Me. Have no fear in the purpose and task before you. I will make the crooked paths straight and narrow lanes wide for you to accomplish all that I have set before you. I in you and You in me, together as one. Arise and use My weapons of warfare. Speak to the dry bones that the nations would arise in Me.
God’s words gave me great comfort, reminding me that He is with me in every leadership situation. Jesus’ message to His disciples in Matt 28:20b, brings to bear what makes leaders uncommon comes from Christ, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (ESV). It is the Christ within leaders that shapes them with uncommon character. Jan Paron, All Rights Reserved 2012