I am persuaded that a lot of leadership situations in churches unravel badly because leaders fail in some very basic areas. These areas can be considered under the general heading of reliability.
What church members desire is to have leaders they can trust. Obviously fundamental to this is that the leader is sound in the faith, is of solid character and has the appropriate gifting. But things often start to go wrong in the more mundane areas.
- Time Keeping. A leader who is always late is a leader who is not engendering trust. If you are a pastor / elder in a church, I suggest you should always be aiming to be 15 minutes early. Through this you can make sure everything is in order. You can be there to greet people when they arrive and through this people will know that they are not walking into chaos or having to wait outside.
- Responding to communications. Frustration starts to develop among church members when a leader never responds to communications. E-mails go unanswered, texts are not responded to, telephone messages bring forth no reply and church members become frustrated. Their trust in the leader starts to fade.
- Forgetfulness. Now we are all capable of this. But when a leader is given information then he must do his utmost to retain that information. For example, when someone comes up after a meeting / service and starts talking about an issue which has been previously discussed and the leader has totally forgotten then despondency can ensue.
- Keep to your commitments. If you have committed to something make sure you keep to your commitment. If you fail in this on a regular basis then people lose heart.
If a leader is weak in these areas then a strategy has to be found to help overcome such weakness. I, for myself, use a “things to do” book which is indispensable to me.
I want to say finally that ongoing failure in these areas can be ultimately catastrophic to our ministries. What can happen is that if you start in a new area of service and you have the goodwill of the people but being unreliable means that that goodwill gradually seeps away. The people then get frustrated and downhearted and the ultimate outcome can be the shipwreck of a ministry, not because of erroneous teaching or lack of ability, but simply because you proved unreliable.