Leadership Transparency

Leadership Transparency

4 Ways to Build It

Leadership transparency can build or break trust. Without trust, leadership suffers. However, when a staff, customers, or congregation trust their leaders, good things happen. Several years ago, our church made some significant changes to our governance and our church constitution. After a two-year study process, our board of elders presented the changes to our church resulting in overwhelming approval, a unanimous vote. A key reason the process went so well was because they ruthlessly practiced leadership transparency. Here are four ways to practice leadership transparency and move your church or ministry forward.


  • Communicate-communicate-communicate.
    • Our board went out of the way to communicate the proposed changes. They included some key influencers in the re-write. They provided copies of the change several weeks in advance. They convened a focus group of key influencers to get their take before it came to the church. We asked for a strong congregational attendance at our annual meeting where these kinds of issues must face a vote. We had a great attendance.
  • Welcome input and questions.
    • In addition to the focus group, our board gave plenty of time during the annual meeting to field questions. Our head elder who led the meeting kept encouraging questions without appearing to rush the meeting in any way.
    • Often, throughout Scripture, we see Jesus ask questions of His followers. He encouraged them to think and respond. Matthew 9:5 says, ‘Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?’

Jesus encouraged people to think and respond. What about you?

  • Be graceful in the face of difficult questions.
    • A few people raised some tough, but fair questions. Neither the head elder nor the assistant head elder who fielded questions responded defensively when those questions were raised. They acknowledged the question, affirmed the person who asked it, and answered the question without a defensive or off-putting tone.
    • Grace has been given to us and we are called to give it to others! Colossians 4:6 says, ‘Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.’
  • Be totally forthright.
    • Some of the proposed changes required a significant change from congregational rule to a board rule form of governance. When such questions were raised, the head elder didn’t attempt to beat around the bush. He answered clearly and explained the why behind each answer.
    • Jesus spoke in a way the people listening could understand and He didn’t sugarcoat it when the answer was tough. Luke 14:26 says, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.’

I hadn’t lead a church in some time that held such significant congregational meetings. Yet, the Holy Spirit guided and the board provided a textbook example how good leadership transparency can move the ministry forward.

What other ways have you seen that builds leadership transparency?

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Charles Stone

Both my wife Sherryl and I have a heart for pastors and pastors’ wives. We’ve taught hundreds of pastors and their wives in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico.

I earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’m completing another masters degree in neuroleadership. I’m also an avid Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket fan.

I’ve been professionally trained in these areas by these organizations:

Life Coaching through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute
Strategic Planning through Ministry Advantage (certified)
Vision Clarity through the Church Unique Process (certified)
Conflict Management through Peacemakers
I’m the author of 4 books – Daughters Gone Wild – Dads Gone Crazy (Thomas Nelson, 2007), 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them (Bethany House Publishers, 2010), People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership (Inter-Varsity Press, January 2014), and my brand new book, Brain-Savvy Leadership: the Science of Significant Ministry (Abingdon, 2015).