A Day in the Life of a Pastor – Lead Up, Down and Out


I love leadership. I have been very blessed in my twenty years in Tampa, that my pastor believes in the study and application of leadership. Very early into my time here, P. Craig and I attended a John Maxwell one day conference. We purchased ten leadership books that day and for the next few months, I would study those books over lunch. I have added many since then and continue to passionately grow in leadership.

There is one concept that I have never seen in all my studies. The concept of “leading up, down and out” is imperative in the Executive Pastor role. Ironically, unless you are the “tip of the spear,” you are in the place to do this. This even goes beyond the church environment – it applies to all of us who work or serve under a boss or supervisor.

Lead UP! Your boss needs you to lead up! They might not ask for it but an effective leader leads up to bring new vision, solid assessment and viable solutions. You need to create opportunities to communicate ways to move your organization forward. Leading up is not being a “yes” man, but knowing when and how to communicate differences so the leader can process that information. It also demonstrates honor for your supervisor’s position and a commitment to help them succeed in all their endeavors. Leading up is powerful. The final comment is this – you want to lead up really well because of the law of sowing and reaping. I firmly believe that what you sow into someone else, you will reap back. Bringing your best to someone else means that one day someone will bring their best for you.

Lead Down! So much on leading people out there, so let me give you a curve ball. Recently, I was leading a discussion with our Minister In Training and I asked this question, “Who’s responsibility is it to learn the other person’s strengths and weaknesses – the leader or the follower?” I believe it is the leader’s responsibility. The leader has all the vision, resources and forward momentum. You should learn all you can about how to maximize your employees and volunteers. That requires you to lead down to learn, provide and empower them to exceed your expectations. Do the work and give them all the credit. They deserve it!

Lead Out! Whether you have a congregation or a customer, your ability to lead those you serve is a huge. In the church environment, we need to lead our congregation. I need to serve them according to our vision in conjunction with their needs. Servant leadership is all about relationship. That is why this principle applies to churches and the business sector. Effective relationships allow for solid communication and growth between your organization and those you serve. When it is about meeting their needs, you will find yours are met as well.

Ready to lead at a different level? Do a check up on your ability to lead up, down and out!

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