In Matthew 28:19-20 we see the command to go and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe everything that Christ taught them. We don’t see instructions here on how to program this, or track numbers on how many have been discipled.
If every believer is a minister, then clearly the role of a ministry leader is to prepare, not to perform.
I believe that leading volunteers is truly a great test of one’s leadership. In many ways, leading volunteers is the ultimate test of one’s ability to lead others. When I interview someone, I don’t only look for their work with “paid staff”; I pay close attention to their history leading volunteers. I have hired people from the local church to lead large teams at LifeWay because I believe their ability to build and lead teams of volunteers would easily translate into leading a team. On the flip side, many leaders in companies are only able to direct people because of positional authority and title and not because they are able… [Read More]
Pastoral burnout is an epidemic. It is happening all the time to pastors of large and small churches alike. This is a real problem. Pastors must keep people around them who can keep them accountable to avoiding burnout. Jonathan Dodson shares some insight on this at the LifeWay Leadership blog. Kevin Peck and I just released our book Designed to Lead which we hope is a tool to help churches create healthy, effective leadership development structures. This article from Entrepreneur this week about building a leadership pipeline is along those lines, and it may be helpful for some of you who are in a business context instead of a church context. “Your people… [Read More]
As many of you know, my good friend Kevin Peck and I have been working on a project over the last few years called Designed to Lead. Kevin and I have been friends for several years. We have spent lots of time talking about the Lord and His Church, our families have vacationed together, and I have seen the fruit of his leadership as he practices what he preaches and intentionally develops others through Austin Stone—where he serves as lead pastor. We believe the Church is uniquely designed by God to develop and deploy leaders into all spheres of life for God’s glory and the spread of the gospel. Designed… [Read More]
I recently spoke to a group of “emerging leaders,” and was asked to speak about essential leadership practices—areas of leadership where ministry leaders must continually focus. There are at least four essential leadership practices that transcend a role on a local church staff. Regardless of the ministry role, whether leading as senior pastor or in kid’s ministry, student ministry, worship ministry, or missions, these four leadership practices are essential: 1. Shepherd your soul. In ministry leadership, personal holiness matters. Leaders reproduce who they are, so character is essential. Because our hearts are prone to wander, leaders must care for their own souls, must continually repent and look to Jesus, must… [Read More]
With the team I lead at LifeWay, I regularly discuss succession with those on my team. Props goes to Earl Roberson, the associate VP in our division, for encouraging me in this several years ago, setting the example, and operationalizing the practice with our team. We have discussions about who would be ready to move to a broader role, and specifically we ask: “Who is showing that he/she would be ready to move into your role if something happened to you?” In the last 18 months, I have moved two leaders into roles of significantly greater responsibility (in terms of number of employees to oversee, budget to manage, etc.) that… [Read More]
Throughout history God has greatly used young leaders to challenge and lead His people, and the Scripture gives us the sense that a church should believe in young leaders. A church that does not believe in young leaders is a church that has drifted from our great history. Because of this, I have challenged churches to believe in young leaders. Today I want to challenge younger leaders, those who have been rescued by Christ and for Christ, to believe in your church. Your local church is not perfect, but she is very important. Your church is a local body of Christ, a local expression of the bride of Christ. Here… [Read More]
Churches must be developing leaders, as we’ve talked about a few times this week on the blog. Last week, on the LifeWay Pastors blog, Tim Parsons shared four essentials for any leadership development program in the church. I think these are helpful. “I made a mistake” and “I was wrong” are not even close to meaning the same thing. Leaders, especially church leaders, must know the difference between these two phrases, as Scott Cochrane explained this week on his blog. This week, on the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Barnabas and Todd talked with Pete Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Leader and other books about just that: emotional healthy leadership. It’s a good… [Read More]
Churches often struggle with empowering younger leaders, with handing significant responsibility to the next generation. Yet the Scripture gives us the sense that a church should believe in young leaders. The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul was convinced that, in his young age, Timothy could set an example for others. In many ways, younger leaders who walk in humility are uniquely positioned to set an example. Instead of trusting their own wisdom, younger leaders are positioned to trust His wisdom. Because they know… [Read More]