A Guide to Effective Leadership: A Case Study

By Randy Richards and Gary York

In 1999, Eastview Christian Church, Normal, Illinois was experiencing leadership stagnation. While the church was averaging 2,400 each weekend, processes that had worked in the past were now ineffective. Had the church outgrown its leadership model?

While the reasons for the plateau were many, it was apparent that the processes of the past were now contributing to an unproductive leadership environment.

The elders focused on internal problems. Meetings came too often and lasted too long. There were too many distractions and even personal conflicts at times. Overall, responsibilities and expectations were unclear and morale was at risk.

Over a two-year period, things began to change. A breakthrough occurred. Gary York (senior pastor) and John Martin (executive director) contacted Randy Richards, founder of the Center for Leadership Excellence (cflex), to introduce policy leadership to the elder team.

The transformation has been remarkable. The elders have shifted to an external focus. The meetings have become efficient, guided by leadership policy development, monitoring, and strategic thinking. The responsibilities between the elders and staff have been clarified, and a strong spirit of teamwork has emerged. Empowerment and delegation are championed. The elders now demonstrate effective leadership with a shared vision for the future that inspires progress.


While many factors are always at work to impact progress and growth, the presence of the leadership vision has been a powerful component in the recent progress of the church. Since that breakthrough period, the church has gained traction; attendance in 2004 surged beyond 3,200, and the trend is continuing.

The elders typically devote 70 percent of their meeting time to refining the vision, monitoring progress toward the vision, and overall strategic thinking.

The elders invest 30 percent of their time handling other types of elder responsibilities such as shepherding issues, resolving conflicts, administering God’s Word, and praying.

With this model for leadership, the elders consciously and intentionally demonstrate effective leadership.

—Randy Richards and Gary York

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