Three Pastoral Leadership Insights That Will Transform Your Church

By Derwin Gray

InsightsDear Pastor-Elder,

How are you doing?

If I may, I’d like to share three pastoral leadership insights with you that are making me a better pastor-elder, thus is making Transformation Church more effective in advancing God’s Kingdom on earth.  Maybe my experiences will help you too?  For goodness sakes, we need each other, don’t we?


Pastor-Elder, perpetually be a student of effective and gifted pastors, but please do not rob Jesus of His glory by trying to copy someone else’s preaching or leadership style.  At our disposal, in an instant, we can download a great pastor’s sermons or attend a conference with a lineup of pastoral All-Stars and have access to great leaders and what they’ve done in their ministries.  This is a blessing.  But it can become a curse if we don’t allow Jesus to take us to a place of utter desperation that causes us to rely on Him so He can innovate through us. Never forget, desperation produces innovation. The most innovative things we’ve done at Transformation Church, were birthed from the womb of desperation.


Pastor-Elder, the essence of greatness isn’t found solely in what we accomplish, but in how we EQUIP and EMPOWER those we lead to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:7-16).  And please, if you ever speak at a conference, don’t say, “I planted the church.”  No one person plants a church.  God uses a team of people to plant a church.  You and I may be the point leaders, but you best believe it’s, “Team Work That Made The Dream Work.”  Give public praise to your teammates.


Pastor-Elder, it’s criminal to put more emphasis on the “Weekend Worship Experience” than on pastoral care. What good is it to have buildings full of spiritually-bloodied and beaten people who rock-out at weekend service, but hemorrhage throughout the week and are too spiritually battered to be an effective witness to transform the world?  I wonder what would happen if we took the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend on videos, stage design, smoke machines, and AV systems and invested them in pastoral care.  Please don’t get me wrong, we have great stage designs and AV system at Transformation Church.  However, my prayer for the church you serve and the church I serve is that the greatest and most powerful witness is not a weekend worship experience, but beautifully transformed people who reflect Jesus and advance His Kingdom in their spheres of influence.

Pastor, thanks for reading and listening.  I pray that together we make much of Jesus, bless His people, so they can reach and transform the world through the glorious Gospel of grace.

Marinate on that,

Pastor Derwin

Derwin Gray

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), ourselves correctly (Inward), and our neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

Gray met his wife, Vicki, at BYU and has been married for 19 years. They have two children, Presley and Jeremiah. After graduating from Brigham Young University, he played professional football in the NFL for five years with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-1997) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1998). Gray is the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart (Summerside Press, 2009) and is a highly sought-after communicator. He’s also recognized by many as the Evangelism Linebacker. He’s had the honor of teaching in a variety of settings including Billy Graham Evangelistic Association events, the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Exponential Conference, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, Greg Stier’s Dare 2 Share Ministries, Tommy Nelson Song of Solomon For Students Conferences and at universities and conferences around the country.