7 Roadblocks That Prevent Pastors From Leading Well

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What are you learning from failed leadership experiences?

In my talks with pastors and ministry leaders, I hear some repeated themes.

One common theme is that they have a story of a failed leadership experience. Their first church. The church experience that went bad. Or, many times their current ministry and that’s the reason for our conversation.

They grew (or are growing) from the time, but looking back, they wish they had known then what they know now.

You’ve probably got some of those learning experiences too. It may have been an incident or the entire time in that ministry, but there were critical errors that kept you and the church from accomplishing all God had for you. Errors in leading. Why don’t we learn from each other?

I’ve reflected back on some of those conversations and there are literal words I have heard consistently over time.

Here are seven things I’m hearing that kept a pastor from leading well:

1. “I failed to delegate.”

Many pastors try to be a solo leader. They know the expectation placed upon them and they know what they want to achieve, and they begin to think if it is going to be done right they must do it. They begin to try to control every outcome.

Sadly, it can even limit the leader’s willingness to walk by faith. It doesn’t take long until a pastor burns out, potential leaders disappear and people are never developed and discipled. It’s a recipe for eventual disaster in leadership.

2. “We couldn’t see beyond today.”

Many pastors get a tunnel vision in leading people. They only see what they see. They don’t consider the unseen … the yet to be imagined … the hidden gems of opportunity.

Again, often this is a matter of faith, or laziness, sometimes a personality wiring, or maybe just falling into a rut of routine. In the sameness of today, things become stale and eventually people become bored … and someday they disappear.

Ron Edmondson Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.

More from Ron Edmondson or visit Ron at http://www.ronedmondson.com/

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  • Thomas Myers

    In my first church the mistake I made was thinking that my vision of what the church could or should be would also be their vision of what it should be. I made changes that I thought were for the best – huge improvements on the quality of worship, in my mind. But to them it was perceived as needless rocking of the boat. In the end, we were both happy to be parting ways. I regret my experience there. I certainly learned from it. But it’s always preferential to not have to have a bad experience to learn from in the first place.


    Thanks, these points are good reminders for me.

  • benny inventor

    Thanks pastor, i am very much willing to get involve in this type of ministry, i would like to expound my knowledge about leading efficiently and effectively…your words of advice is quite helpful for me and the rest..