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10 Leadership Styles That Make a Difference in Church

leadership styles

10 Leadership Styles That Make a Difference in Church

Synopsis: In this article, we look at 10 different leadership styles in the church. All come in handy in various situations, and with different donors or church members. Studying these personality traits will also help you during leadership coaching or training volunteers in the church.

Knowing Your Leadership Styles

What makes the ideal church leader? Anyone with a leadership role in the church knows that this is not a one-size-fits-all career. All pastors have to adapt, adjust, and learn on the journey.

The type of leadership needed also depends on the type of mission field. Some situations require leaders who are committed to always being present and coaching their members, for example. Other church mission fields and projects can function with remote leadership and online instructions.

That said, there are a variety of leadership styles to be aware of. Knowing this and learning how each benefits the church in different ways will help you in your administration roles, plus help identify the skills that each of your volunteers and church leaders should be adept in.

Let’s now discover 10 leadership styles that are common in many churches Do you recognize your own style on the list?

The Coach Leader

The Coach is someone who is naturally good with people. They recognize a person’s strengths and weaknesses and know exactly what they need to grow. Support is given without being demeaning. Good listening skills are paramount, and you are always one to take your time with people. You understand that time is the greatest gift you can give to your donors and church members.

The Visionary Leader

If you are this type, you are instrumental in meeting church goals such as giving campaigns, and driving progress. You keep a clear perspective of the vision and know what each step requires to get there. The Visionary is great at building confidence, establishing order, and helping during a transitional period. Church members look to you for your ability to see what they may not: the possibilities, and the potential of each mission. You are bold and often takes risks because you see the value in it.

The Servant Leader

Do you have a people-first mindset where you live to help others feel fulfilled? Do you often feel that you can go without a lot of physical comforts, as long as the needs of the church are met? Then you are a true Servant Leader at heart. Your donors respect your authenticity, your ability to engage, and your skill in building morale. Because of your deep desire to serve, you can easily motivate your congregation.

The Authoritarian Leader

You are someone who focuses on results and efficiency. You may be less susceptible to following your feelings about a situation and would rather make decisions based on the outcome. For church members who need a lot of guidance, your leadership is ideal. Just beware that some people may feel that an Authoritarian Leader stifles their creativity a little too much. The good news is that you are extremely dependable, and always get the job done.

The Hands-Off Leader

This style of leadership is the entire opposite of the Authoritarian. A Hands-Off Leader is gentler and would rather focus on the mission than on micromanaging church volunteers. The church members who expect leaders to always motivate them, set boundaries, or look over their shoulder may be surprised by your easygoing attitude. Work with this, and show them you have faith in their capabilities. Encourage them to use digital tools to make their tasks easier. This will encourage others to be more proactive on church projects and could benefit all.

The Democratic Leader

How you value feedback defines you as a Democratic Leader. You are not too quick to decide without proper counsel and input. This makes others appreciate the way you consider their feelings, voice, and suggestions. You do well in situations where there is a lot of dialogue and discussion. Your flexibility and mediation skills are perfect for community programs.

The Driver Leader

This leadership style is necessary when aiming for quick results. A Driver Leader doesn’t beat around the bush, and they don’t employ people who will only slow the mission down through their reluctance to serve or work hard when necessary. You hold each donor and church member accountable and expect them to do their part to reach a goal. Because you often have high expectations, this may not be an ideal fit with team members who need extra mentorship and coaching. On the upside, you are energetic and can be a bright light on the darkest of days.

The Transformational Leader

The Transformational Leader thrives on clear communication, commitment, and organization. You can work well on your own and do not need the support of many people to accomplish your tasks. This is ideal if you are, for example, in a far-flung mission field without a lot of personal contact with other church community members. You love to give encouragement to the donors and are one of the best kind of leaders when it comes to inspiring dedication in the church.

The Transactional Leader

Do you have a laser focus on leading in the church? Do you often set the pace for other managers and leaders for reaching goals and even financial ones? Are you an excellent fundraiser and know exactly what to say on stage during church outreach programs? This comes from your experience with a wide range of donor types. As a Transactional Leader type, you are experienced and highly valued in the church for your ability to thrive under pressure.

The Bureaucratic Leader

Detail-oriented and accustomed to working in structured organizations, the Bureaucratic Leader is an asset to the church because of their highly effective style of leadership. You know the rules and how to follow them, and you expect the same from others. Long procedures and bureaucracy do not easily discourage you. Your great work ethic and experience tell you that this is just another hurdle to jump… and you know how to fly!


How to Apply These Leadership Styles in the Church

We hope this list of leadership styles encourages you to find and define your own voice when leading in the church. It might also give you hope for growing more donors and church members who simply respond differently in different situations.

Remember, that the Body of the Church is like a hand — all fingers are needed, just as all personality types might be necessary at different times. Never belittle one, or hold one in higher regard than the next. Remember what the apostle Paul had to say to the members of the Early Church:

1 Corinthians 1:10

(King James Version)

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Essentially, it is important that no matter your leadership style, your foundation for leading the church is based on the stable and sure principles outlined in Scripture. Knowing your style can help you adapt, or even tone yourself down if necessary. It can help you perform better in a situation, or even guide you to be a better leader through strengthening the values you need to work on.


For more tips on leadership, tools for growing your church, and updates on the latest technology available to pastors, follow our DonorWerx blog. You can also contact us for a Discovery Call and find out more about our donor resources. We provide excellent tools for anyone who believes in an easier, simplified way to drive donor engagement and grow the church.

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