8 Things Pastors And Church Leaders Can Learn From Oprah

The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show will air this Wednesday, May 25th.  While I disagree with the majority of her worldview, you cannot deny the impact of her life.  Truly an Apex Leader, she is arguably the most influential female leader of the last century.

A May 20th USA Today article on Oprah made me reflect on her influence and what that means to Christian leaders across the world.  The following are just a few examples of the power of Oprah:

  • 80,000 copies of Anna Karenina were sold in the month after endorsed by Oprah.
  • 900,000 Lance Armstrong bracelets were sold the day after Oprah ask people to support his foundation and cancer research.
  • It is estimated she generated 1 million votes for President Obama’s campaign.  

So why do people trust Oprah so much?  Here are some of the insights I gleaned from the article:

  1. Personal Charisma – The secret to having charisma is simply possessing a sincere love of people and having an interest in their lives.  Oprah represents the interests of her audience.
  2. Tele-Presence – We live in a visual society.  Today’s most successful leaders use mediums such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the church’s website to connect with their audience and cast vision.
  3. Back Story Of Suffering And Triumph – The one thing all people have in common is that each of us has a past.  The ability to balance not living in the past but utilizing life’s struggles will create mutual empathy with those in our churches.  People need to feel like they know us and can connect with us.
  4. Honesty – Respect your audience.  People know when you are not being authentic.
  5. Resilience – Ministry is hard.  There are constant disappointments, misunderstandings, broken relationships,with high and lows.  Great leaders simply choose to get back up after being knocked down while others do not.
  6. Mentor – Oprah has created numerous stars like Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, Oz, and many more.  The greatest leaders create stars while those who are insecure do not.
  7. Clarity – Great leaders cut through the fluff and value honesty.
  8. Intentionality and Solutions – Designer Nate Berkus says “If I have a meeting with Oprah…I’m aware I’m not going to waste her time.  I think a big mistake is that people think Oprah has the answer to everything and go to her saying ‘What should I do?’  That’s the last conversation she wants to have.  She much prefers, ‘Come to me when you know what you want to do.'”  Problems should be solved at the lowest level possible.  Effective senior leaders train their people to bring solutions to them rather than problems.

Pastors and church leaders, do you possess a combination of the qualities listed above?

It is possible to vehemently disagree with a person’s point of view but respect other aspects of their life.  I feel that way about Oprah.  I have no interests in her thoughts on family, raising children, religion, lifestyle choices, or politics.  However, you cannot deny her ability to build a platform and connect with her audience.

I learned a lot from this post.  I hope you did as well.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

4 Responses to “8 Things Pastors And Church Leaders Can Learn From Oprah”

  1. oprah is against Christians and all that we who follow Jesus Christ and His Word

  2. I agree–Oprah is an amazing leader. (I think all the points you brought up fall under the ‘leader’ category)

  3. Kristin Brænne Reply 05/21/2011 at 9:53 PM

    Be a ★

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