Modern church leaders face a unique set of challenges. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, recently commissioned research to identify those challenges and help leaders overcome them.
The purpose of GBHEM’s Leadership Development Needs Assessment was to ascertain the following:
- The primary challenges that leaders in the UMC and other Methodist-related institutions face.
- The performance measures, that if improved, indicate the challenges are being addressed.
- The gaps in leader behaviors and competencies that need to be closed in order to address their most challenging needs.
This Leadership Development Needs Assessment was conducted by the ROI Institute, Inc. The study included a survey that was informed by a combination of interviews and focus groups. Through the process, researchers identified leadership development needs and opportunities to address those needs.
Interviews were conducted with a sample of GBHEM’s key constituents including lay and clergy leaders (e.g. bishops, general secretaries, board members, presidents and deans of colleges, universities and seminaries inside and outside the U.S., and GBHEM leadership). The survey was sent to 12,361 people of which 2,162 participated, a 17.5 percent response rate.
The Church Performance Measures that Matter
Respondents to the Leadership Development Needs Assessment indicated that the church should be monitoring measures that point to making a difference or impact in the world. Improvement in growth and sustainability, as evidenced by the performance measures below, should lead to an increase in difference makers to lead the UMC.
Performance measures that would lead to significant impact if improved:
- Membership. This category represents membership growth within the church as well as in Methodist-related agencies, schools and other institutions.
- Diversity. While increasing membership is important, the majority of research participants agreed that the UMC must embrace diversity.
- Engagement. A diverse membership in mere numbers is not enough. Research participants were clear that church members, employees, faculty and students must be engaged in the process of learning, serving and leading.
- Retention. Retention of leaders, employees, members and students was top-of-mind for many of the research participants. Church members responding to the survey indicated that retention of pastors is critical for cohesive, active church membership.
- Financial. The majority of respondents agreed that without financial success, programs to serve the UMC will not thrive or survive.
Are you being called to be a difference maker? To investigate your call into church leadership, contact Cynthia Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.