How “Lead Measures” Can Help Every Pastor

Pastors lead lots of paid staff and volunteers all while in the whirlwind of ministry. The intentional development and growth of ministry staff and leaders can become a burden. It’s a very pastoral thing to raise up leaders within your organization, but typically not urgent and usually not clearly defined. It’s a difficult leap to go from pastor of the church to leader of ministry leaders who in essence shepherd and pastor the congregation.


Here’s a concept that may help you.  I’ve been reading The Four Disciplines of Execution. The second of these disciplines for getting things done, while equipping and raising up leaders, is to act on lead measures. It’s a simple concept that can pay big dividends.


Lag measures are goals you set, but can’t see the result until much farther down the road. A pastor may desire to have an increase in attendance of 50 people twelve months from now.  So with some energy, marketing, inviting, and sermons on evangelism, the pastor jumps in to reach the goal. Then, comes the lag time – waiting until December to see if it worked – to see if the goal met. You wait to see the numbers roll in and where you stand. At that point, it’s too late.  If you hit your target, great!  But if you did not, you can’t do much about it.  Lag measures are called “lag” because you find out too late in the game if you are on target or not.


Lead measures are the opposite. You still have an end goal – to increase worship attendance by 50 people by year’s end.  But now, you also have in place some lead measures.  These are smaller indicators you can control.  These are the outward factors that can be charted, observed, delegated and reminded of on a constant regular basis.  If it’s not working, it will be noted well before the deadline and it can be tweaked and highlighted.  Lead measures can help chart the day’s work for the pastor of the church and each staff person and church member.  Here are some examples of lead measures:

  • Each staff member sends five handwritten notes every week. You can ask, find out and hold each other accountable each week – was this lead measure accomplished?
  • Each church member shares something about the church on social media once this month.
  • A prayer group, praying for the outreach of the church meets every Tuesday morning at 8 am.
  • The pastor and each staff person report at least one person they visited with each week about coming to church.

For lead measures to work, the leader must help the team and church know the most important goal and keep a scoreboard so people know how they are doing.

But if this little piece can fall into place, the end product and goal will take care of itself.

Lead measures are ongoing indicators of effective, bite size ministry goals. If you are hitting your goals this week and month then there is a much higher probability that by December 31, your main goal will be accomplished.

More than just weekly goals:

  • Lead measures help create a weekly agenda and workflow.
  • Lead measures help to-do lists items, most related to the big goals, rise to the top of each day.
  • Lead measures help fill office down time with productive tasks that benefit the mission of the church.
  • Lead measures help increase the sense of responsibility (more than just tasks) for each team member.
  • Lead measures bring accountability to work and ministry accomplished by church staff and members.

What big goal do you have?  What project are you working on?  Include lead measures in your planning.

If you are a senior leader in your church, pick up a copy of this book!

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.



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