During my years as a principal, I was often asked to fill in for a teacher for short periods. What I learned during those experiences was that each teacher had a different leadership style and each classroom had different personalities which impacted the function of the classroom. Effective teachers empowered students to be in charge of their learning which resulted in a classroom that ran itself regardless of who was “in charge”. Personalities in the classroom when given the opportunity, learned to work together and “took charge” of their learning and the classroom.
Over the last many years as a member of my past congregation and through my experiences in leadership, I have learned that effective leadership is the same in congregations and other organizations as it is in a classroom. Leaders empower others to take charge of their organization or congregation because ultimately, the people know how the organization works. The membership learns how to function and how to improve. This is where the term “learning organization” came from in business.
Another important lesson I have learned through studies and life experiences is confirmation of the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Effective leaders new to an organization spend at least 6 months and up to a year listening and learning; the personalities, cultures and values of the organization, before attempting any change or improvement.
I have been blessed and I believe led by the Holy Spirit in my spiritual journey to my position as administrator in our church. Don’t expect any major changes coming from me but do expect many questions and some learning opportunities. At my last church, I was very involved in leadership and lead efforts within the congregation to better understand how an effective church operates. During my 25 years in that church, we had 4 different pastors and 6 different associate pastors. We learned that for the congregation to function effectively, we needed to be “in charge”. In the next few months, I hope to learn from all of you. In addition, I want to share some of the research on effective congregations which I believe reinforce many of the things we do now and will help us do things even better!
So, who is in charge? We all are! We have great leaders in our congregation who are helping our church continue to work effectively. Filling in as administrator for 6 months for Pastor Tim, who I believe is an effective, empowering leader in a congregation that is effectively running is a pleasure.
Thank you for all you are doing to make Waters of Life a great place to worship.
Blessings, Eric Kaiser