Skip to content

Exploring Church Leadership Development Styles

Church Leadership Development Leadership Styles

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on church leadership development and the various leadership styles that contribute to the growth and success of church leaders. In this article, we will delve into the different approaches to leadership within the church, providing valuable insights and information from multiple sources.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding leadership styles is crucial for effective church leadership development.
  • There are ten leadership styles applicable to both church and non-church settings.
  • Transformational leadership focuses on inspiring positive change and growth.
  • Servant leadership prioritizes putting others first and leading by example.
  • Authoritarian and laissez-faire leadership styles have their own benefits and challenges.

Understanding the Ten Leadership Styles in Church

In order to effectively lead a congregation, pastors must have a deep understanding of the different leadership styles that can be applied in church settings. This section explores the ten leadership styles that are applicable both inside and outside the church. These styles are categorized into five scales: perspective, focus, framework, perception, and engagement. Each scale represents opposing dimensions that leaders can fall on.

  1. Perspective: this scale represents the leader’s approach to decision-making, ranging from autocratic to participative. It determines the extent to which pastors involve others in the decision-making process and how much authority they retain.
  2. Focus: this scale measures the leader’s orientation towards tasks versus relationships. Leaders can either prioritize task completion and achieving goals or focus on building relationships and nurturing the congregation.
  3. Framework: this scale analyzes the leader’s approach to structuring and organizing the church. It ranges from a more centralized and hierarchical framework to a decentralized and collaborative one.
  4. Perception: this scale examines the leader’s perception of themselves and their role in the church. It includes dimensions such as self-confidence, humility, and self-awareness.
  5. Engagement: this scale evaluates the leader’s approach to engaging and motivating the congregation. It assesses the leader’s ability to inspire, encourage, and empower others to actively participate in the church’s mission and vision.

How to Offer Hope about Jesus

Full Lesson

Understanding these five scales and the ten leadership styles associated with them allows pastors to evaluate their own leadership style and recognize areas for growth and improvement. It also enables them to adapt their leadership approach based on the specific needs and dynamics of their congregation.

Ten Leadership Styles in Church

Example Quote:

“By understanding the various leadership styles and their underlying scales, pastors can identify their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders. This knowledge empowers them to enhance their effectiveness in guiding and shepherding their congregations.”

Transformational Leadership: Inspiring Change and Growth

Transformational leadership is a powerful style that focuses on inspiring positive change and promoting growth within individuals and communities. Pastors who adopt this leadership approach prioritize relationship-building and empowering others to contribute their ideas and talents, creating a collaborative and dynamic environment.

Transformational leaders excel at articulating a clear direction for the church and motivating the congregation to embrace a shared vision. They inspire their followers by setting high expectations and challenging them to reach their full potential. By fostering a sense of purpose and meaning, pastors who practice transformational leadership can ignite the passion and commitment of their congregation.

One of the key characteristics of transformational leadership is its emphasis on individualized consideration. Pastors in this role invest time and effort in understanding the unique needs, strengths, and weaknesses of each member of the congregation. They create a supportive and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels valued, heard, and understood.

Furthermore, transformational leaders are excellent communicators, capable of effectively conveying their ideas and vision to the congregation. They use their words to inspire, encourage, and uplift, motivating their followers to take action and actively participate in the church’s mission.

At the heart of transformational leadership lies the belief in personal growth and development. Pastors in this role are committed to empowering and equipping individuals to reach their full potential. Through mentoring, coaching, and providing growth opportunities, they help individuals discover and cultivate their unique talents and strengths.

Transformational leadership is not limited to the confines of the church. It has been widely applied in various domains, including business, education, and community organizations, with remarkable success. This leadership style has the potential to create a lasting impact, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and positive change.

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers” – Ralph Nader

To further understand the impact of transformational leadership, consider the table below, which compares transformational leadership with other leadership styles:

Leadership StyleFocusStrengthsLimitations
Transformational LeadershipInspiring change and growth– Empowers individuals
– Builds strong relationships
– Articulates clear vision
– Requires high energy and dedication
– May not be suitable for quick decision-making
Servant LeadershipPutting others first– Fosters empathy and humility
– Creates supportive environment
– Prioritizes community needs
– Potential difficulty with authority balancing
– May require longer decision-making processes
Authoritarian LeadershipProviding structure and direction– Efficient decision-making
– Maintains order and discipline
– Clearly defined roles
– Potential lack of flexibility and adaptability
– Potential lack of autonomy for individuals
Laissez-Faire LeadershipAllowing congregational autonomy– Encourages individual initiative
– Fosters creativity and innovation
– Empowers congregation
– Requires self-motivated individuals
– Potential lack of direction and structure

As the comparison table illustrates, transformational leadership stands out for its focus on inspiring change and growth while nurturing strong relationships and empowering individuals. This leadership style thrives in environments where passion, collaboration, and innovation are valued, propelling both individuals and communities to achieve extraordinary outcomes.

Transformational Leadership

Servant Leadership: Putting Others First

Servant leadership is a leadership style characterized by humility, empathy, and a genuine concern for others’ well-being. Pastors who embody this style prioritize serving their congregation and leading by example. They actively listen to the needs and concerns of each individual within the church, creating an environment where people feel valued and supported.

“True leaders put the needs of others before their own.”

Servant leaders understand that their role is not about exerting authority or seeking personal gain. Instead, they focus on fostering the growth and development of their congregation members, empowering them to reach their full potential. This leadership style encourages collaboration, trust, and open communication within the church community.

What is Vision Casting – Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish

Check this vision – I would follow this – Greg Gaines

Servant leaders excel at building strong relationships and demonstrating empathy towards others. They actively seek to understand the unique perspectives and experiences of their congregation, providing spiritual guidance and support through compassionate listening and guidance.

Servant Leadership

This image depicts the essence of servant leadership – a pastor humbly standing beside their congregation, offering guidance and support. It serves as a visual representation of the core values of servant leadership – humility, empathy, and putting others first.

The Impact of Servant Leadership

Servant leadership has a profound impact on church communities. When pastors prioritize service and develop a culture of care and support, congregations thrive. Congregation members feel heard, valued, and empowered to contribute their unique gifts and talents to the church’s mission.

By embodying the values of servant leadership, pastors foster an environment of trust and collaboration. This leads to stronger relationships within the church, a deeper sense of community, and increased engagement and commitment from the congregation.

Benefits of Servant LeadershipImpact on the Congregation
1. Enhanced sense of belonging and community1. Increased engagement and commitment
2. Increased trust and open communication2. Improved morale and satisfaction
3. Empowered congregation members3. Growth and development of congregation members
4. Collaboration and teamwork4. Enhanced spiritual growth
5. Positive influence and role modeling5. Greater alignment with the church’s mission and values

This table highlights the benefits of servant leadership and its impact on the congregation. Each benefit contributes to a healthier and thriving church, where individuals are supported and encouraged to grow in their faith and service.

Next, we will explore another leadership style commonly found in church settings – authoritarian leadership.

Authoritarian Leadership: Providing Structure and Direction

Authoritarian leadership is a leadership style characterized by top-down decision-making processes and an expectation of obedience from the congregation. Pastors who adopt this style have a clear vision for the church and provide strong direction to achieve their goals. They set strict rules and guidelines, leaving little room for individual input or creativity.

While authoritarian leadership can be effective in certain situations, pastors using this style need to strike a delicate balance between authority and empathy. It is important for them to understand that excessive control and rigidity may alienate or discourage the congregation. A successful authoritarian leader understands the importance of building relationships and fostering a sense of community within the church.

“As a pastor with an authoritarian leadership style, it is crucial to establish an environment of trust and transparency. Open communication channels, active listening, and empathy are essential to prevent the congregation from feeling oppressed or disengaged.”

Pastors who adopt an authoritarian leadership style focus on providing structure and direction to the church. They excel at making swift decisions and implementing them effectively. The congregation can rely on their pastor’s firm leadership to navigate challenges and drive the church towards its goals.

Striking a Balance

While authoritarian leadership offers structure and direction, it is essential for pastors to remember the importance of empathy and understanding. Here are a few strategies that pastors can employ to strike a balance:

  • Encourage open dialogue: Create opportunities for the congregation to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. By actively listening, pastors can foster a sense of inclusion and ensure that everyone feels heard.
  • Delegate responsibilities: Give congregation members specific roles and responsibilities that align with their strengths and interests. This fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community.
  • Show appreciation: Recognize and appreciate the efforts of individuals within the congregation. Publicly acknowledge their contributions and show gratitude for their dedication to the church.

Example of Authoritarian Leadership

Consider Pastor Jonathan, who has an authoritarian leadership style. He firmly believes in making decisions independently and provides clear directives to his congregation. Pastor Jonathan has a well-defined vision for the church and sets high standards for performance and commitment. Although some might perceive his leadership style as strict, his congregation respects his authority and appreciates the clear direction he provides.

Throughout his tenure, Pastor Jonathan has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the growth and development of his congregation. He understands the importance of transparency and encourages open discussions during church meetings. By fostering an environment of trust and collaboration, he ensures that the congregation feels valued and empowered.

Authoritarian Leadership

By adopting an authoritarian leadership style, pastors can provide structure and direction to their congregation. However, it is crucial for them to strike a balance between authority and empathy to foster a supportive and engaged church community.

Laissez-Faire Leadership: Allowing Congregational Autonomy

In the realm of church leadership, the laissez-faire style stands out as a unique approach that promotes congregational autonomy. Pastors who adopt this leadership style take a hands-off approach, providing minimal guidance and allowing members of the congregation to make their own decisions.

Unlike other leadership styles that involve direct control or strict authority, the laissez-faire approach empowers congregational members to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. This style can be particularly effective when working with a mature and capable congregation that is self-motivated.

By granting congregational autonomy, pastors foster an environment that encourages creativity, innovation, and a sense of ownership among the members. This autonomy allows the congregation to express their unique perspectives, talents, and ideas, leading to a more engaged and committed community.

However, it is essential to maintain clear communication channels and establish expectations to prevent confusion or a lack of direction. While pastors provide minimal guidance, it is crucial to ensure that everyone understands the vision, mission, and values of the church. Regular and open communication helps align the congregation’s efforts toward a common purpose.

The image below visually represents the concept of Laissez-Faire Leadership:

“Laissez-faire leadership allows the congregation to flourish independently while fostering a sense of ownership and commitment. It empowers individuals to explore their strengths and contribute meaningfully to the collective vision of the church.” – Rev. Michael Johnson

Discovering Your Leadership Blend

Understanding your unique leadership style is crucial for personal and professional development. As pastors, discovering your leadership blend allows you to harness your strengths, address weaknesses, and foster growth within yourself and your congregation. By exploring the concept of leadership leaning, which encompasses the placement on each of the five leadership scales, you can gain valuable insights into your leadership style.

Discovering your leadership blend involves a thoughtful evaluation of where you fall on each scale, considering factors such as perspective, focus, framework, perception, and engagement. This self-reflection process helps you identify your core leadership tendencies, providing a foundation for understanding your approach to decision-making, communication, and relationship-building.

With a clear understanding of your leadership blend, you can leverage your strengths to effectively lead your congregation and navigate challenges. Additionally, recognizing areas for growth allows you to develop strategies for continuous improvement in your leadership skills.

Leadership Leaning: A Combination of Scales

Leadership leaning refers to the combination of placements on each of the five leadership scales. Each scale represents distinct dimensions that contribute to your overall leadership style. Let’s explore these scales:

  1. Perspective: This scale determines whether you tend to take a long-term or short-term view of situations. Are you inclined to focus on immediate results, or do you prioritize long-term goals?
  2. Focus: The focus scale assesses whether you concentrate more on tasks or relationships. Are you task-oriented or people-oriented in your leadership approach?
  3. Framework: This scale measures your preference for structure and flexibility. Do you thrive in structured environments, or do you prefer more flexibility and adaptability in your leadership?
  4. Perception: Perception refers to your leadership style’s emphasis on intuition or data-driven decision-making. Do you rely more on your intuition and gut instincts, or do you prefer analyzing data and facts?
  5. Engagement: The engagement scale evaluates how you interact with others. Are you more assertive and direct in your leadership style, or do you prioritize collaboration and consensus-building?

By identifying where you lean on each scale, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your leadership blend and how it influences your interactions with others and your decision-making processes. This knowledge empowers you to tailor your leadership approach to suit diverse situations and be effective in inspiring and guiding your congregation.

Leadership ScaleLeadership Styles
PerspectiveLong-term focus
 Short-term focus

Understanding your leadership blend is a dynamic process that requires ongoing self-awareness and reflection. As you gain insights into your own style, you can adapt your leadership approach to suit the needs of your congregation, foster a positive work environment, and inspire spiritual growth.

Discovering Your Leadership Blend

The Importance of Leadership Development and Practical Application

Once pastors have discovered their leadership styles and leanings, it is crucial to prioritize the development and cultivation of their skills and knowledge. Effective leadership development enables pastors to enhance their abilities and effectively lead their congregation.

“Leadership development is a continuous process that allows individuals to grow and adapt their skills in accordance with their leadership style. It is about shaping leaders who can inspire, motivate, and guide their congregation towards a shared vision.”

– John Maxwell

A clear development plan is essential in order to focus efforts and set achievable goals. It helps pastors identify areas for improvement and provides a roadmap for personal and professional growth. A well-defined plan ensures that leadership development efforts are strategic, intentional, and aligned with the overall vision of the church.

Practical application is a vital component of leadership development. Pastors should seek opportunities to apply their leadership skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios. This hands-on experience allows pastors to gain valuable insights, learn from their successes and failures, and refine their leadership approach.

Moreover, practical application enables pastors to test different strategies and techniques, adapting them to the unique needs and challenges of their congregation. It enhances their ability to make sound decisions, solve problems effectively, and respond to dynamic situations with confidence.

Recognizing potential dysfunctions is another crucial aspect of effective leadership development. By understanding the limitations and potential pitfalls of their leadership style, pastors can proactively address them. This self-awareness empowers pastors to leverage their strengths while actively working on areas that may hinder their effectiveness.

Leadership development is not a one-size-fits-all process. The needs and aspirations of pastors vary, and it is important to tailor development efforts to individual requirements. Understanding one’s leadership style and preferred learning methods can help pastors identify the most effective development opportunities and resources.

Leadership Development in Action:

Table: Leadership Development Opportunities by Leadership Style

Leadership StyleDevelopment Opportunities
Transformational Leadership
  • Attending leadership conferences and seminars focused on empowerment and growth.
  • Joining leadership development programs that emphasize relationship-building and networking.
  • Engaging in mentorship or coaching relationships with experienced transformational leaders.
Servant Leadership
  • Participating in community service and volunteer projects to strengthen empathy and compassion.
  • Exploring literature and resources on servant leadership philosophy and principles.
  • Seeking feedback from congregation members on areas where servant leadership can be enhanced.
Authoritarian Leadership
  • Attending leadership workshops or training sessions focused on communication and team-building.
  • Engaging in self-reflection exercises to identify opportunities for collaboration and participatory decision-making.
  • Exploring alternative leadership styles and principles to integrate into the authoritarian approach.
Laissez-Faire Leadership
  • Participating in leadership activities that encourage delegation and trust in others’ abilities.
  • Seeking feedback and input from congregation members to strengthen decision-making processes.
  • Collaborating with leaders from other organizations to share experiences and learn from their approach.

By investing in leadership development and actively applying their skills, pastors can become effective leaders who inspire and guide their congregation towards spiritual growth and fulfillment.


This article has provided an in-depth exploration of church leadership development and the various leadership styles that pastors can adopt. It highlights the importance of self-awareness and continuous development in fostering effective leadership within congregations.

Leadership training programs and development initiatives play a vital role in equipping pastors with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the challenges of leading a church. Investing in church leadership training can enhance pastors’ abilities to inspire, motivate, and guide their congregations towards spiritual growth.

By understanding their unique blend of leadership styles and leveraging their strengths, pastors can create an environment that fosters collaboration and empowers individuals to contribute their ideas and talents. Leadership development for pastors goes beyond theoretical knowledge; it requires practical application and adaptability to meet the specific needs of their congregation.

In conclusion, church leadership training and development programs are essential for pastors seeking to enhance their leadership capabilities. By remaining self-aware, continuously developing their skills, and applying their unique leadership blend, pastors can effectively lead and inspire their congregations towards spiritual growth and meaningful impact.


What are the ten leadership styles in church?

The ten leadership styles in church are Transformational Leadership, Servant Leadership, Authoritarian Leadership, Laissez-Faire Leadership, Adaptable Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Charismatic Leadership, Democratic Leadership, Ethical Leadership, and Situational Leadership.

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational Leadership is a leadership style that focuses on inspiring positive change and growth within individuals and communities. Pastors who adopt this style prioritize relationship-building and empowering others to contribute their ideas and talents.

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant Leadership is characterized by humility, empathy, and a genuine concern for others’ well-being. Pastors who embody this style prioritize serving their congregation and leading by example.

What is Authoritarian Leadership?

Authoritarian Leadership is characterized by top-down decision-making processes and an expectation of obedience from the congregation. Pastors using this style need to strike a balance between authority and empathy to avoid alienating or discouraging the congregation.

What is Laissez-Faire Leadership?

Laissez-Faire Leadership is a hands-off approach where pastors provide minimal guidance and allow congregational members to make decisions independently.

How can I discover my unique leadership blend?

By understanding your placement on each of the five leadership scales – perspective, focus, framework, perception, and engagement – you can gain insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth.

Why is leadership development and practical application important?

Leadership development and practical application are important because they help pastors develop and cultivate their skills and knowledge, utilize their strengths, and recognize potential dysfunctions to effectively lead their congregations.

Source Links



  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family https://jesusleadershiptraining.com/about-us/

    View all posts
Spread the Gospel