People Are Looking for These 5 Essentials in You

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What do people want from their church leader?

You might be a senior pastor, volunteer small group leader, campus pastor, head usher, student pastor or leader of the parking team.

Ultimately, people want the same basic things from you as a leader.

Some of the people you serve may place a lot of demands on you, and you'll go crazy if you try to meet all those demands.

But I have found, in general, that most people are reasonable, and at the core, they want the same essentials from a leader.

If you let the few "unreasonable" people consume your time, wear you out, and beat you down, you'll never move forward. Be kind but say no. Love them but hold firm. If they leave, let them know they are welcome to come back.

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Focus your energy on these 5 essentials hat reasonable people want.

1) They want to know that you are full of faith.

Leaders possess great faith. Faith in the achievability of the vision and faith in the fact that God is with you in that vision. If you don't have confidence, your people won't!

However, we also stumble in our faith, experience seasons of lesser faith and moments of uncertainty. You need a place to be honest about the level of your faith. This will be helpful as you learn to cultivate faith as a leader.

It helps me to reflect on the things God has done in the past. When I remember what He has done, I'm refreshed and renewed about what He can do. It's God's church. He wants it to succeed!

2) They want to know where you're going.

People are busy, and they carefully evaluate their hours each day more than ever before—even just a couple hours on a Sunday. Because of this, they look for value, not just activity when attending church.

Essentially, we compete with all the demands of people's lives. The good news is that what we do through the church revolves around a purpose of arguably ultimate value.

Therefore, your mission-critical responsibility is to be clear on your purpose and where you are headed, regardless of your specific role as a leader.

It's important that you clearly and succinctly communicate the direction your vision takes the church, your campus, team or group.

3) They want to know you care.

It was over 30 years ago that my friend and mentor John Maxwell first said to me, "Dan, people don't care how much you know till they know how much you care."

That changed my leadership life!

How well do you communicate that you love and care about the people you serve? Caring about people isn't automatic. You've probably experienced a professor, doctor, waiter or boss that you're pretty sure just didn't care.

Loving someone and genuinely caring about them is something that must be intentionally cultivated when you work with so many people. It might be easier with, for example, just your family. But when there are dozens, hundreds or thousands, it requires significant leadership energy at a heart level.

4) They want to know you are positive.

In the same way, people don't follow insecure leaders; they don't want to be around negative leaders either.

Positivity isn't about hype and selling. Sincerity is essential. Being a positive leader is related to faith but carries the more practical side of being a cheerful person who sees the cup half full. A positive attitude is not reserved for those who were "born that way." Any personality can do this. Attitude is a choice.

When we approach problems and difficult situations with a positive disposition, it's amazing how much better it goes.

5) They want to know you are trustworthy.

This is so important. Trust is the currency all leadership is based on. If you blow trust, you are a bankrupt leader.

The two primary components that make a leader trustworthy are character and competence. You can be a leader of solid integrity, but if you're not good at what you do, they won't trust you. You may be brilliant in leadership, but if your character is flawed, the people won't trust you. It's that simple, and that complicated.

Honesty, transparency and working on your craft are key to the continued cultivation of trust.

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

This article originally appeared at

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