That was the question posed by Nancy Beach, one of the speakers at the Leadership Institute sponsored by the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City two months ago. It’s a question that strikes to the heart of our culture, our ways of being the church as we go about the tasks of ministry.
Nancy Beach, who works as a consultant for churches seeking to thrive and grow in ministry, said that what she looks for is the spiritual health of the leadership body. Because everything about the church community emanates from the quality and depth of relationships at the core.
She suggested the following indicators of spiritual health:
When healthy leaders gather, there is laughter in the room. They are able to relax and have fun with one another. They set aside time for celebration and renewal.
The team’s joy is rooted in intensity and passion. All know why they are there and why they do what they do. Healthy teams believe they are making a difference. Leaders communicate a vision in a way that captures imagination and inspires engagement.
All leaders have blind spots, she said, and tend to believe things are going better than others in the organization may experience. Healthy leadership teams routinely seek feedback and establish metrics of accountability.
As St. Paul writes in Romans 12, healthy leaders think of themselves with sober judgment, and know both their gifts and their limits.
Without trust, people are reluctant to invest. Trust is the fruit of character, when leaders are willing to be known, and to be consistent in values and action.
Commitment to speak candidly
Ministry, Nancy Beach observed, is a series of difficult conversations. Healthy leaders cultivate an environment of openness and curiosity, asking others to speak their truths and committing to do the same in love.
The closer I get to senior leadership, Nancy said, I hope to find genuine love–people willing to show up for one another, and genuinely care.
The first step toward greater spiritual health in leadership is simply asking the question, “How are we doing?” On a scale of 1-5, how would we rate ourselves on these qualities?
Or to return to Nancy’s opening question, “Who will we be while we do what we do?”