My last post, Pastoral Leadership Capital, Part 1: What Is It?, introduced the idea of Pastoral Leadership Capital, drawing from both the ideas of capital and leadership capital.
But, if Pastoral Leadership Capital is “a thing” as I argue that it is, how does one accumulate it and how does one spend (or lose) it?
As noted in Part 1:
Pastoral Leadership Capital shares some components of business-oriented leadership capital, but likely gains more through the relational experiences unique to pastoring. Pastoral Leadership Capital is gained through ministry in times of grief (funerals, loss of jobs, loss of health), times of joy (visiting during new births, weddings), personal discipleship, compassion, long-tenure, and other life-sharing events or journeying together spiritually.
Pastoral Leadership Capital is a way to measure how much confidence people have in you as a leader. Pastors often joke that we should “Charge hell with a water pistol.” If your people have confidence in your leadership you will find them beside you carrying water pistols of their own and gallon jugs for refills. If they have no confidence in your leadership you might find them behind you with sunglasses and popcorn awaiting the fireworks.
We can think of it like making deposits into a “Leadership Account.” A new pastor usually arrives on the field subject to more curiosity than secure in his credibility. Sometimes the success or failure of the previous pastor affects the account balance of the new pastor; it is not fair, but it is often the case.
A counseling session that redeems a struggling marriage deposits 25 credits into the pastor’s account. A couple of weddings add 50 more. Ministry during time of unexpected death earns 100 credits. Every good sermon raises the Pastoral Leadership Capital account balance. Good decisions, ongoing discipleship, genuine love for the flock—all these things give the pastor capital from which to draw when making a challenging leadership decision.
The oft-felt daily grind of sermon preparation, phone calls, emails, hospital visits, funerals, team meetings, and solid preaching slowly but surely increase your capital. Surely, but slowly.
Spending One’s Capital
Leadership decisions always incur a cost. The question is: Do I have the leadership capital to spend on the decision I’m making? Or, Can I finance the leadership journey I’m asking this church to take? If so, the attempt may be successful. If not, your capital may be spent, your account balance left in the negative, and your leadership cred destroyed.
Sad to say, though, that which accumulates slowly usually spends quickly. To modify Kevin Bowser’s axiom, “Pastoral Leadership Capital is earned in pennies and spent in twenties.” One decision may take only a month of accumulated capital. A full change-of-direction may require years of accumulated capital.
A personal example: near the end of last year, I joined a local church staff in a bivocational capacity. I serve as the Groups Pastor. This position was offered to me after our Lead Pastor Daryl Crouch laid the necessary ground work, met with staff and other leaders, and the appropriate teams in the church. I was introduced to the full church via a short interview during both Sunday morning services.
At each step of the way, our lead pastor spent his Pastoral Leadership Capital to convince people that I am the right person for the position.
(On another note: Part of his capital was deposited to my Pastoral Leadership Capital account. He invested in me allowing me to start with a positive balance. You can do the same with leadership in your church.)
Have you ever gotten a overdraft notice from your bank? Not only did you have $7.58 less in your account than you thought, your bank is glad to charge you $25 for letting you know. Banks love fees.
The flip side of good decisions that increase capital are bad decisions that destroy it. Bad decisions that eat away at your capital like fees through a checking account. Blunders—accidental or simply unwise—reduce available capital. Carnality, ignoring the family, and other things that undermine credibility could lead to an account balance so far underwater the pastor’s own family would struggle with a vote of confidence.
Building capital can be arduous. Do not allow fees to consume it leaving you nothing to spend when needed.
Return on Investment
Every “win” of leadership earns capital for future leadership decisions. And, the better your decisions the quicker you may see your spent capital replenished. Smart investments lead to good rewards.
If I serve our church well, lead our groups ministry well, and minister to the flock well, my Pastoral Leadership Capital balance will increase. But, not only mine; my lead pastor’s balance will increase. If I do well, his investment in me will result in a significant return to his account.
The same can happen with you. You may have to spend 3/4 of your available capital on a new ministry endeavor, but if you lead well your expenditure will serve as an investment that raises your account balance. Your credibility as a leader will be increased rather than eroded.