Monday, March 28, 2011

Pastoral leadership perspective #2: He's an networker

Jim flew this Diamond Eclipse for 30 minutes. A gift from his congregation!

When it comes to talking about himself, Pastor Jim Kane is decidedly understated. As a senior pastor of a rural congregation—First Church of God in Kendallville, Indiana—Jim has a surprising commitment to studying cutting-edge leadership in the church. In fact, he’s probably read more books on leadership than almost anyone I know, save a couple of professors. He’s also quite attached to his IPad, and you can easily connect with him on twitter. I know—you like him already, right?

The first thing I noticed about Jim is his focus on reciprocity. That’s a big word that simply means he seeks out and grows through interactions with others—and in turn, he’d like to encourage you to grow, too. We met up first on twitter, where Jim contacted me about grantwriting for his church. I encouraged him to seek out another person for his grant, but that one Skype call led to two growth opportunities for me: 1) I asked to interview Jim for my leadership paper; and 2) Jim asked me to preach at his church. As you can see, Jim is not only a networker and encourager, he is also brave.

Leadership in a Rural Church:
Jim pastors a church that almost shut its doors in 1999; he started his ministry there in 2000. Citing a resource that says a rural church takes about 15 years to turn around, Jim sees slow but steady growth in numbers—and more importantly, a change in the spiritual temperature of the church. As he models leadership for the church, he crafts his 30-minute sermons to include some evangelism, but mostly discipleship, as he teaches them how to become all God has created them to be. Additionally, Jim recognized the need to attract young people to the church and started a second service where a group of teens now lead contemporary worship music.

On Being a Change Agent:
Jim believes the core of the Christian life is about change: as we center on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ we proclaim change to the world. Jim does this through preaching, he does this through involvement in the community, and he encourages a “flattened-out” leadership approach”—informally mobilizing those with leadership gifts to offer what they have to the church. He’s an “early adopter,” always reading to learn about new ways to attract leaders to growth and service opportunities.

Advice for New Church Leaders:
For some reason, Jim’s simple answer to “listen” first sticks with me. He spent a year visiting attenders of his small, struggling congregation to get down to the pulse of the church, to listen to them so he could effectively lead them.

Current Reading List:

Blogs He Follows:
-Will Mancini Clarity Evangelist -
-Michael Hyatt (CEO, Thomas Nelson Publishers) -
-Samuel Bacharach (Professor of Labor Management, Cornell University) -
-Alan Fadling (Spiritual Direction and Leadership Development) -

Find Rev. Jim Kane on twitter.

Pastoral leadership perspective #3 coming soon: Anthony Payton

Your turn. What can you do in your sphere of influence to initiate change for Christ? Let's hear your tiny, small, medium-sized, and super-sized ideas, please. (Can I have fries with that?)


  1. Blog and be faithful in intentionally being present in current relationships.

  2. Natasha, I love that you've narrowed your "change agent" stuff down to just two things. At present, I'd have to say I am change agent in seminary just by virtue of being a woman getting a theology degree. I am also a change agent as I conduct a Bible study for women in addiction recovery, and point to Jesus as the only one who can truly break our self-addiction. Lastly, my husband and I are change agents in shaping each other spiritually.