Shift from program development to people development. Instead of focusing on how busy people are in your church’s programs, focus on how much they’re growing spiritually. Urge people to join God in His redemptive mission in the world rather than just studying God in a church environment that’s protected from the world. Don’t expect lost people to come to your church; instead, take the church to them by building relationships with them wherever you encounter them: at work, at school, in restaurants, in parks, on a bus, in a store, etc. Realize that living out your faith means more than just adding a set of religious activities to your life; it involves changing your entire way of life. When assessing spiritual vitality, don’t look at how involved someone is in church activities. Instead, look at their values and lifestyle. Measure your church not on the quality of its programs, but on the quality of its people. Ask: “Are people growing in every aspect of their lives?”, “Are they becoming more like Jesus?”, and “Are they blessing the world as the people of God?”. Allow time in your gatherings for people to have freely flowing conversations about what God is doing in their lives. Don’t pack in so much activity that there’s not enough for meaningful conversations. Encourage people to build relationships that hold them mutually accountable to each other as they grow in faith. Encourage people to integrate their faith into all aspects of their lives – not just the time they spend in church. Give people of all ages opportunities to serve together and build intergenerational friendships.

Shift from church-based to kingdom-based leadership. Move beyond concentrating on your church’s own institutional maintenance and toward helping your church develop an incarnational influence on the surrounding community. Think more about kingdom impact than just church growth. Encourage your church’s staff members to think in terms of their kingdom assignments rather than just their church jobs. Urge them to get out into the community as much as possible, such as having your pastor serve regularly as a chaplain for employees at a local corporation. Talk about God, not just church. When you read and study biblical accounts of what God has done in the past, keep in mind how God is at work right now in your own community, and celebrate what He’s doing. Make sure that church leaders regularly consider how their own lives are missional, since people in the community will follow them not because of their church positions, but because of their personal faithfulness to God.

Develop key skills. In addition to the training that prepared you for church leadership, build these skills that will help you serve well in missional leadership: coaching, storytelling, conflict management, transition leadership, listening skills, celebrating people’s achievements, missionary training, and prayer.

Adapted from Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church, copyright 2009 by Reggie McNeal. Published by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., San Francisco, Ca.,
Reggie McNeal serves as the Missional Leadership Specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas. McNeal is the author of
A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders, the best-selling The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church and Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders from Jossey-Bass. To learn more go to