Being the New Leader in Town

Today marks one month since we left the United States to begin this amazing journey of interim pastors for six months in New Zealand. It has been a good month for us as we lead this church. As we have been adjusting to our role and meeting the people on the community, here are some observations.

  1. Leaders must know how to read those they lead if they are going to get them to follow. It would be easy for us to come with all our ideas of leading a church and just ask the people to do those things. At best, that kind of leadership generally leads to a few who follow initially, then flame out because they had no real vested interest. At worse, people will stand back and let you do what you want without supporting you.When you take the time to read the people and learn their stories, the history of the organization, the fears of the people and what they celebrate, then you can lead in a way they will follow and support.
  2. Get to know the key leaders and top influencers in the organization. Never take it for granted that because you have been brought in as the leader that you have power and influence. This is a common mistake leaders make, and their leadership is usually short livedThere is a tendency to judge existing leaders and top influencers as difficult and stuck in the past. But most of the time they are afraid, just like anyone of us would be, to lose control over something to someone they don’t know. This is a natural human response. Rather than thinking you must fight them, consider getting to know them. Meet with them one on one and ask lots of questions so you can get to know them, their fears and their dreams.
  3. Go where the people are rather than waiting for them to come to you. This is another mistake some leaders make. They have the tendency to think that because they have assumed leadership of the organization, people will come to them. The reality is, if you don’t show people you care by going to where they are, they will not be inclined to follow you.Even if you see them regularly, you must go to where they live, work and play. Spend time with them in their natural environment outside of the organization. People feel valued and respected when we show up in the places that are important to them.
  4. Always believe the best about people. It is very easy to buy into talk you hear about people, and judge them based on what you have heard. When you first arrive, people generally “clue in the newbie” about other people. Listen, but avoid measuring others by what you hear about them. Keep an open mind; you may be amazed by what you will learn. Besides, it is much easier to lead when you believe the best about people.

Exciting it is, and learning we are, as we continue this journey that God has brought us to in New Zealand.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.