No Crying in Baseball, No Sabermetrics in Church

I don’t get baseball and the only reason I go to games is for the ambiance and theNo Crying in Baseball singing. I don’t understand sabermetrics and specifically I don’t want to understand W.A.R. (Wins Above Replacement.) Too much math.

But this article struck my fancy recently, especially in regards to assessing our leadership skills.

In a recent conversation with one of my extraordinary colleagues about closing/shifting/creating congregations he asked: Do we have any leaders who could pull this off?

We have challenging congregations out there needing skilled pastors. And we have lots and lots of pastors out there looking for work/a new call.

But do we have leaders who are skilled at guiding our challenging congregations?

How do we learn skilled leadership? It doesn’t seem to be taught in seminary. Maybe it can be absorbed by osmosis in field education (and that’s assuming the field education supervisor is skilled.) But most of our best leaders tweak and fine tune and assess and develop their skills on the job, bolstered by effective evaluation, coaching, and mentoring.

From Marty Fukuda’s article cited above, these are great questions for reflection:

  • Is your leadership making your team and everyone on it better?
  • Do your leadership and personal actions strengthen your organization’s culture?
  • How would you evaluate the strategic decisions you’ve made for your organization over the past year?
  • How do you rank against the average worker when it comes to overcoming obstacles and adversity?

That last question is the kicker and it seems especially connected to our spiritual depth. Do we trust God in times of uncertainty? Are we the kind of leaders whose first response to conflict is self-protection? Is this ministry first and foremost about me?

We cannot measure church leadership like statisticians measure baseball performance. But, thank God, there’s crying in church. And thank God that we can learn more skilled leadership for these days.

Image source.

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7 responses to “No Crying in Baseball, No Sabermetrics in Church

  1. Three other questions: 1) will challenging congregations admit their need for a skilled leader? 2) will challenging congregations accept the guidance of a skilled leader? 3) can judicatories assist in paying salaries appropriate for the kind of skilled leadership required to work with a challenging congregation which often face financial problems/budget shortfalls?

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  3. There are no sabermetrics for managers, only tendencies.

  4. I was in seminary 40 years ago. I did not learn to lead. I learned to listen, and to be a scholar, how to be a theologian, and to do funerals and weddings and the like, and I learned a lttle polity. It was very good. And my first church nearly destroyed me. Then I did some years in interims, and then a stint of over 20 years in one place. The interims taught me some things about church dynamics that I would never have learned in the normal course of pastoring. I still need to learn more. I would love to have a “coach” sort of on the level of a spiritual director. I think that would help a lot of churches and pastors. The Methodists have bishops and superintendents but they don’t coach either.

  5. Indeed we are at a crossroads… Seminary taught much but it has been the education in the trenches that has helped the most. Coming out of 21 years in the non-traditional military setting as a Chaplain to the church that is a lot different from the one I left in 1990 has been an experience! How do we teach each other to lead and to follow… How do we see ministry as a shared responsibility between pastor/shepherd and flock instead of the all too common, “hey, we pay you to do that stuff” mentality… Much to ponder… Looking for that spiritual director as well, Dennis!

  6. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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