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The Five Effects of Competent Orthodox Parish Leadership
  1. Parishioners feel both loved and valued by God and by the priest.
  2. Parishioners know that spiritual intelligence acquired through worship, ascetic effort, learning and service are of primary importance.
  3. Parishioners feel that they belong to the Body of Christ as manifested and experienced in the life of the parish.
  4. Parishioners feel that the offering of time, talent and treasure is meaningful and makes a difference in changing lives and saving lives. They pull together to reach the identified goals and objectives of the parish.
  5. Hope and charitable acceptance of others, together with humble purposefulness, are easily discerned as primary attributes of the parish - not every day or all the time (parishes have their occasional "lapses" just as every person does), but most days, most of the time, these attributes are palpable.

Important Tasks the Senior Priest dare not Delegate

“Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, 
a leader and commander for the peoples.” (Isaiah 55:4)

Of course, the priest dare not delegate liturgical leadership, managing the relationship with the bishop, or working with the parish council. Yet there are other leadership and managerial tasks that the priest dare not delegate as well. The 10 items below are related more to the managerial aspect of priestly service.
  1. 1. Vision.Vision is the essence of leadership, so if a priest attempts to hand off the creation of a vision to someone else (a consultant, the second priest, the parish council, the chairperson of the parish council), they may as well be delegating away their leadership. It’s often a good idea to get others involved in creating and fulfilling the vision for a parish but the ultimate responsibility is the rector’s. It’s the most important task he must fulfill. His parish needs this from him.
  2. 2. Hiring decisions. Hiring talent is one of the most important things a priest can do to ensure a smooth-running parish committed to providing the best possible service. Of course, the parish council may be involved in the process but the priest must be engaged and have the final decision.
  3. 3. Orienting a new employee. Irrespective of the level of a new employee the priest needs to take a hands-on role in helping a new employee feel welcomed. They should take an active role in the orienting and training plan, and clear their schedules as much as possible in order to make time for the new employee.
  4. 4. Discipline. The priest must accept responsibility for managing the office. This cannot be delegated to a parish council member, though help is often needed. If an employee must be corrected or spoken with regarding their behavior or performance, this is the responsibility of the priest. In very large parishes, it may be the parish administrator.
  5. 5. Praise and recognition. Yet another important task is acknowledging good performance and important accomplishments. Many employees and volunteers regard their work as service to the Lord. A kind word or expression of appreciation can go far in helping them to feel that their work is meaningful.
  6. 6. Motivation. It’s up to the priest to create a motivating environment. He does this by modeling servant leadership, just as was done by our Lord Jesus Christ.
  7. 7. Leading transformational change. The priest is the primary change agent within the office and within the community. He needs to be directly involved – no, not just involved, but leading the effort when it comes to large scale, transformational changes. It’s the priest’s role to establish the vision for the change. There are just too many things that can go wrong to leave transformational changes in the hands of committees.
  8. 8. Reorganizations. Again, as with many of the other important tasks on this list, involvement of others is a good thing. It’s very difficult for a management team to objectively reorganize themselves – oftentimes the priest needs to make the tough calls that no one else wants to make.
  9. 9. Development. A priest’s ongoing personal development can’t be delegated to anyone else. The priest needs to “own” his own development, though he may be assisted by the bishop, other priests, consultants, executive coaches, etc.
  10. 10. Performance appraisals. This is a difficult but important task of the priest. Of course, the chief objective of all performance appraisals is not fault-finding but performance enhancement.

What activities could be developed at parishes?
  • The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation (Atlanta, GA) offers parishioners aTime & Talent Card with multiple choices of activities that cover all imaginable ways of practical participation in the everyday life of church community.