annie spratt tbhoun6urgu unsplash 1

Issue #2: The Principle of "Leadership Change"

Feeding & Leading the Sheep

Every pastor makes decisions that are either putting leadership change in their pocket or spending it from their pocket. Everyday.

You Need Capital

Pastors lead the church by making decisions.

We make decisions about programs, events, staffing, what worship gatherings look like, how money is spent, and many other things. 

These decisions either gain you capital or lose you capital. Think about “leadership change” as the capital you either collect or spend with every decision you make, based on whether it was a good decision or bad decision.

When you make good decisions, and collect a few leadership wins, you put change in your pocket. As people see how your decisions are benefiting them and the church, it puts more change in your pocket.

When you make mistakes, misspeak, make a bad call, etc., you give up some leadership change. You lose some. The bigger the mistake, the more change it cost you. The greater the success, the more change you gain.


So if you have a ten year track-record of making great decisions and leading faithfully, you may have a massive pile of leadership change in your pocket. If you make a bad hire or insist on doing something that doesn’t go well, you lose change, but because of your track-record of good decisions you still have some in your pocket.

Losing change in that scenario doesn’t jeopardize your leadership. 

But if you barely have any change, and you make a huge blunder, you may lose all the change you have. When you are out of change, you lose your ability to lead. People will no longer follow you or trust you. You are bankrupt as a leader. You have lost your credibility. 

Point of Wisdom

Always know how much leadership change you have in your pocket, and measure decisions with an awareness of what it will cost you if it goes awry or gain you if it goes well.

Important caveat: Not all decisions cost the same.

If you are brand new to your role at a church, you begin with a little bit of change in your pocket, not because you’ve done anything to earn it, but because you have a “honeymoon phase” of instant credibility. It’s not a lot, so you can’t go in and make drastic changes. This is why new pastors should never start changing things the second they arrive. They don’t have enough change to cash it in.

One more caveat: Not every exchange of leadership change is about good decisions or bad decisions.

A pastor may recognize that in order to accomplish something that will help the church fulfill its mission, he may need to challenge people to give sacrificially for a season of time. This may initially cost him leadership change to ask this. But if he has the leadership capital (change in his pocket), then he can do it and the people will follow (even if they’re not giddy about giving sacrificially). But if people see the results of the sacrificial giving, and the church accomplishes its goals, the pastor will get the leadership change back…plus more.

Making the right decision, even though it cost some initial leadership change to execute it, eventually puts leadership change back in the leader’s pocket.

Final Words

This concept is a principle that will help you understand the connection between credibility and decision-making in your leadership.

Threads on Credibility & Decision-Making