Mentoring for ministers

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Jackson man seeks to provide coaching and business models for managing a church.

By Laura Johnston ~ Southeast Missourian

When Barry Winders of Jackson set out to draft a book about how to develop leadership skills in church members, it was out of necessity.

Corporations have business tools in abundance, from leadership training seminars to best-selling books and coaches who will mentor new managers, but churches seldom have those tools, particularly smaller congregations.

Church leaders are just now learning that they need to equip leaders for the job while they're on the job, said Winders, a 34-year ministry veteran.

"The old model was that you teach them and then release them to do the work," Winders said. Now, churches are offering coaching and courses for developing skills while people are serving in leadership capacities.

As a former senior pastor, Winders knew that churches were lacking when it comes to giving leaders all the necessary skills they need for the job. He started a coaching service called Ministry Indicators and has written a new book based on one of his seminars. He continues to serve as associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Ste. Genevieve.

The book is "Leading with Ministry Intelligence" and is available at area bookstores and online. Winders will be at Gospeland Bookstore in Cape Girardeau from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today for a book signing.

The book explains the leadership shifts that take place as churches address their abilities and resources, and outlines the qualities necessary in a good leader. Good leaders need to practice spiritual disciplines and have a passion to do ministry. Understanding that old perceptions about leadership need to change also is critical, Winders said.

As people seek answers to their spiritual questions, the form of ministry has to change. Churches have to be able to keep up with cultural shifts, Winders said, and sometimes that means making drastic changes in leadership style.

Businesses that used the old CEO model are now learning that it's not working, and churches that "bought into that model" are seeing that shift, he said.

From ethics scandals at Enron to Martha Stewart's financial trading fiasco, Americans are demanding more accountability and better leadership. "Values like truth, honesty and character are at the foundation," and those values cross from the church into the business world, he said.

For some reason, people used to believe that they needed a different set of ethics to run a business than what they needed as a leader in a church. "But now we're seeing that it's just ethics" that people desire in a good leader, Winders said.

Leaders look at the culture around them and adapt accordingly. Often the greatest confrontation that ministry leaders have is breaking the mold from the usual model to a new method. People need to understand why a method is changing, and unless they accept that change, it's not likely to occur, Winders said.

"You have to reculture the culture. You can make a change, but it won't stick unless the culture changes."

Winders works with churches in a coaching relationship to help them as they develop leadership skills and work to make change. He will lead a seminar based on his new book during a June 19 book signing in Farmington.

ljohnston @semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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