Transformational Leadership for Ministry Innovation

There are a variety of leadership models available for aspiring ministry leaders to choose from. As the pace of life is continually moving faster and churches struggle to keep up with consumerism demands to keep individuals engaged in the gospel message of Christ, a leadership style conducive to change and innovation may be ideal. For this reason, considering adopting a transformational leadership style may be ideal for ministry leaders who want to be innovative and ahead of the consumerism curve.

Transformational leaders provide a general way of thinking about leadership that emphasizes idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration (Northouse, 2013). All necessary aspects for creating a culture of change and innovation. Out of these four aspects of transformational leadership comes freedom to make choices, explore possibilities, and dream without fear of ridicule, rejection, and recourse even when the ideas are extreme (Northouse, 2013). In a ministry context, this is rare because there is often fear of change and radical innovation because congregants may respond negatively and leave the church.

What transformational leaders understand, though, is that the level of creativity of staff and congregation are tied to the level of freedom they feel to engage in the creative process and try new things (Michalko, 2010). Transformational leaders rely on their confidence, competence, and their ability to articulate and express strong ideals that draw others toward a central vision. They are not threatened by ideas from others or opposing viewpoints, which promotes a spirit of cooperation between leaders and followers (Northouse, 2013).

As transformational provide such freedoms and engage others in the creative process, people are inspired by possibilities, feel safe in the journey of exploration, and embrace the future to come. They believe in the destiny being created, and made possible, by their transformational leader (Michalko, 2010).


Michalko, M. (2006). Thinkertoys: a handbook of creative-thinking techniques (2nd ed). Berkeley, Calif: Ten Speed Press.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

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