Common Sense in Pastoral Leadership

Common Sense in Pastoral Leadership

Emotional Intelligence is one of the fields of research that currently is being applied to pastoral leadership.

I think it holds great promise for effective pastoral leadership because the nature of leadership in the context of congregations is more about understanding relationships in the emotional field than about anything else typically associated with what constitutes leadership (e.g., management skills, education, intellect, good looks, personality style, gender, expertise, etc.). But I think in many cases, common sense may be as valuable an asset for the leaders as a high score on any emotional intelligence inventory.


Here are some common-sense practices too many congregational leaders, pastors, and pastoral staff, neglect:


If those sound rather basic and self-evident it is because they are. Anyone with common sense will do those things.

But that’s the point: more pastors and staff lose their effectiveness in ministry (and not too few have lost a congregation) by lacking the common sense to actually do those things.

Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.

His books on Christian education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).

Galindo contributes to the Wabash Center’s blog for theological school deans.


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