Fruitful Clergy Leadership

The following groups participated in the development of this Portrait of Fruitful Clergy Leadership:

  • WNC Board of Ordained Ministry
  • WNC Cabinet
  • WNC Leadership Development Team


A Portrait of Fruitful Clergy Leadership

A fruitful clergy leader is one who…


Serves out of a conscious and obvious relationship with Jesus Christ and a set-apart call to ministry

Has spiritual depth and is formed by the theology, history, and tradition of the Church as shaped by the Wesleyan and Methodist movement

Continued effectiveness of fruitful leaders is dependent upon a life-long journey of growing in God’s grace, being grounded in Scripture, cultivating a desire for the presence of God in Jesus Christ, and living a life of vital piety and social holiness. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is formative:  how we understand Scripture, how we are informed by the history of the Church, how our reason continues to adapt to new challenges, and how we see through the lens of our experience.

Is faithful in preaching and teaching the faith

In a world where stories abound, a fruitful clergy leader is creative and effective at preaching and teaching the Story of our faith as the primary narrative which shapes the life and witness of the Church. They have a robust life of prayer and study, are adept at reading their context and community, and are able to help individuals and the Church understand how their story connects with, is challenged by, and ultimately is redeemed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Practices empathy and builds trust

A fruitful clergy leader understands that relationships are key to effective spiritual leadership. They have the capacity to listen for understanding, to honor where people are, and to build a level of trust within the system that makes change and growth possible.   

Develops and leads from clear vision and goals

The fruitful clergy leader effectively guides his or her ministry setting in discerning and articulating a clear vision to which all decision-making, budgeting, and planning is aligned.  They keep this vision before the congregation and lead the congregation in setting goals that move the Church closer to the vision.  They can develop the strategy and leaders necessary for accomplishing the goals.

Focuses on collaboration and partnership with laity

A fruitful clergy leader is one who is focused on building up the ministry of the laity, empowering the laity for the work of ministry, and training and encouraging them to fulfill their mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Realizing that ministry is more than the work of the Pastor and Staff, the leader establishes mentoring and leadership development as a key strategy in fulfilling vision and alignment.

Understands context and community

Though every congregation is connected to the whole body of Christ, each still has a unique quality and character.  Understanding the uniqueness of those qualities and how each group lives in relationship with the community that surrounds it is critical.  The Church exists to call the community into relationship with God. How this call is communicated is vital.  Understanding community history, diversity, and structures, as well as interacting with community leaders is a part of that process.      

Values and promotes innovation and change

The fruitful clergy leader is aware and makes others aware of how the Spirit is continuously at work reshaping, renewing, and perfecting our lives and the life and ministry of the Church.  They non-anxiously and intentionally lead others to lean into innovation and change as a means of finding new ways to creatively and effectively connect new people with the life and ministry of the Church.

Demonstrates agility and adaptability

In the midst of uncertainty about the future of the church, a fruitful clergy leader shows evidence that he or she has taken the next faithful step as a leader in their context. The clergy leader has demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to experiment, to risk failure, and to reflect on their learnings.

Expresses curiosity and is committed to continual improvement

A fruitful clergy leader is curious about people and possibilities. There is a degree of positivity as the leader wonders about next steps for ministry and for developing capacity for fruitful leadership. The clergy has adopted a mindset of lifelong learning and embraces opportunities to learn and grow.

Has skills in management and administration

A fruitful clergy leader demonstrates a working knowledge of financial and operational management. The clergy understands biblical stewardship and the church budgeting process and assumes leadership for encouraging connectional apportionment payments.  There is evidence the leader meets deadlines, solicits and engages feedback, and works with the Pastor Parish Relations Committee to supervise and evaluate paid staff and any contract workers.

Recognizes conflict is inevitable and leads through it

A fruitful clergy leader must come to recognize the inevitability of conflict and not be paralyzed by it.  The effective leader anticipates conflict, works to communicate clearly through it, and is quick to initiate a process of reconciliation when conflict has emerged.  The leader understands family systems so that conflict, an expected part of change and development, does not become personal and internalized.







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