Relationship With Others 106: Leading A Church

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How To Disciple Others

You should only pursue spiritual leadership if you’re ready for it

  • Make sure that have experience discipling before taking on what is effectively group discipleship
  • Scripture gives very clear standards for leadership (1 Timothy 2:12-3:13,Titus 1:5-9)
    • If you’re a woman, you cannot exercise authority over a man (1 Timothy 3:12-15)
      • This is highly controversial, but the Bible makes it very clear that only men should fill leadership roles
      • However, some so-called “pastors” in many churches are actually preachers, since a pastor is actually administrating the church
    • If you want to serve in a ministry leadership position
      • Has to be honorable
      • Can’t be deceptive, alcoholic or greedy
      • Must believe strongly in the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
      • If married, spouse must be honorable, self-disciplined and not speak badly of others as well
    • If you want to be an elder in a church
      • Have a good reputation among non-believers and other believers
      • Stay monogamous with children that are also believers and with a good reputation
    • If you want to be an actual pastor/overseer of a church
      • Must have a well-behaved household with submissive children, since a spiritual leader is still parenting in a sense
      • Can’t be a new convert, since it’s easy to get very prideful while still a new believer
      • Has a good reputation among non-believers and other believers
      • Can’t be conceited, quick-tempered, alcoholic, violent or greedy
      • Must be hospitable to others, loving good, disciplined, morally upright and holy
      • Has to hold strongly to Scripture
        • Needs to be able to effectively teach good doctrine to others
        • Must be able to rebuke people who contradict Scripture
  • All of the rules of Level 4 and Level 5 leadership apply to leading a church
  • If you’re married, you need to make sure you aren’t neglecting your wife or children
    • Your wife is possibly the most vulnerable person in a church, since she has the least support and is expected to perform the most
    • Your children are going to see your true genuineness more than anyone else, so treat their negative behavior as completely your fault
  • No matter what work you’re aspiring to do, make sure it’s part of God’s design
    • Make sure God is telling you to do it
      • Every inspiration comes from either your own mind, others’ thoughts, God’s instruction or Satan’s thoughts
      • God isn’t going to make it vague, and you’ll have confirmation that it’s from Him (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  • Look at how much it will cost
    1. Think about all of the anticipated needs, research the costs and write them all down
    2. Make a budget with the costs in mind
      • Avoid going to extreme poverty or opulence
    3. Ask what you already have
      • Even when it seems like nothing or not enough, God can still use it
    4. Think about who you can tell about your need
      • Though it may not seem like it, asking for funds from others is a matter of faith
    5. Look at what you can do to get started
      • God uses our inertia, so doing nothing while waiting for an answer to the problem will get you nowhere
  • Your lifestyle will change, but only for the better if it’s God’s legitimate calling
    • Even with a lifestyle funded by others’ donations, you need to live with the right family budget
      • Don’t live far above or far below the lifestyles of those you are serving
        • Your car, house, lifestyle, etc needs to help you and not hinder you in winning and discipling people for Jesus
      • Watch for greed or comparing yourself to others, let Jesus rule your finances and learn to be content
        • Keep giving to the Lord as He leads you
    • God has promised He’ll give many, many resources for your success by following Him (Psalm 37)

Every pastor’s job involves a lot of communication

  • Learn how to communicate effectively, both verbally and nonverbally
    • Your public speaking skills will be tested and used multiple times every week
      • You will need to share God’s love and grace while at the same time sharing His hatred of sin and wrath
      • Your job is to bring the power of Scripture to people, so never neglect to read it
    • Avoid using terminology and jargon that can alienate people from the simple truth
      • Keep it focused on Christ and the simple Gospel, no matter how much your education and instincts will tell you otherwise (1 Corinthians 2:2)
    • Beyond preaching, you and your wife also need to openly mentor everyone in the church
      • Many traditional churches don’t involve any discipleship directly from the pastor, mostly because it takes a lot of time
  • The church meeting should be advertised appropriately
    • Clearly indicate when and where your church is meeting
      • If using the internet is common in your region, make sure you’ve devoted plenty of time to a decent website
    • Provide signs and materials that clearly indicate where you’re meeting
  • Share the church’s successes among its members
    • Look at how God ministers to and through you and talk about His ministry with others
    • Inspire people to contribute their own work into the Church by telling stories of successful missionary work
    • Find the positive and inspiring side of tension, since most negative experiences have positive effects to them
  • When asking for funds from others, there is a correct way to do it
    • Always communicate to donors in a way that lets them ask God if and how they should meet needs they see
      • Using guilt or pity invalidates God’s ability to bless the giver and is also somewhat dishonorable
      • The Lord loves a cheerful giver, not a guilty and reluctant one
    • Don’t appeal to the sin condition through greed, fear or the donors’ pridefulness
    • Ask with boldness and confidence that God’s work will be done and that their donation is a means to that end
  • Create an open channel of communication between the leaders and congregation
    • The congregation should ideally be just as much a part of the church’s operations as  the pastor
      • This is hard to hear for many pastors, but the distrust will spread to the entire group
      • If necessary, openly show the financial state of the church with all of its accounting data
    • Create opportunities for members, especially younger members, to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns
  • Every pastor is responsible to show the needs of the world outside the church to inspire believers to act

You will need to use many leadership skills to succeed

  • Keep working hard and steadily, even when you don’t see results
    • Sometimes for the sake of your ministry, it might be worth it to also work a wage job on the side, especially at the beginning
    • A minister’s work is never-ending so enjoy any rest you can get, even if it’s for a few hours at a time
    • Pray and fast diligently
  • Stay faithful that God will provide any increase, even after your expectations start being unmet
    • Focus on what truly matters, since your church will not be a good fit for everyone
    • If your church is successful, it should make non-believers clearly feel out of place (John 13:35)
    • Keep Christ at the absolute center of the Church, since it’s the entire reason for church at all
  • Be hospitable and open to others, especially from other poorer outside people groups
    • Seeing people that hurt more than us is a great encouragement and motivator
    • God made us to be more motivated from the act of serving others
  • Keep your long-term focus on the Body at large, since there is a gigantic body of Christ that has innumerable needs
    • The first priority is to make disciples everywhere, and the management of any spiritual organization is a means to that end
    • A pastor is tasked with the job of unifying the church together under Christ and unifying the church together with the Church
  • Discipline yourself about how to handle perceived issues about money
    1. Don’t worry about money issues
    2. Set the right priorities with the money you have and the money you might have
    3. Be diligent and responsible, and take care of your own needs first
      • Some people have a hard time with this, but it’s what you’ve earned if you’ve worked (1 Timothy 5:17-18, 2 Timothy 2:6)
    4. Instead of hoarding money, invest money and see it grow our character and God’s kingdom
    5. Be generous, since a 10% tithe is more of a minimum than a standard

There are 4 types of people in the Church

  • The breadwinners make up most people, who are getting a salary or hourly wage for their skills and services
    • It can be easy to overlook their value, especially after years working in vocational ministry
    • They represent the driving force of most of what that church will be able to do, since their shared faith will create God’s results
  • There are some that have been sent by God as missionaries or ministers, and their income sources can vary wildly
    • Most ministers are funded through several possible avenues
      • A collective church offering that provides an annual salary
      • Volunteer donations inspired by calls, emails and letters
      • Specific missionary organizations that partially or fully aid that specific minister
    • Some ministers have their own marketable skills or trade that they use to support themselves (Acts 20:33-35)
  • The poor and needy are the lowest and poorest in the Church
    • There is a very specific way to manage how to give when people come to you with a problem
      1. Ask if it’s a crisis
        • It’s only a true crisis if no immediate action will create serious negative consequences
        • If it’s not a crisis, that person has time to take actions on their own behalf
      2. Look at what degree they are responsible for the crisis
        • This could be from bad decisions or from bad circumstances
        • God commands us to give to them, regardless of why they’re that way (Matthew 5:42)
          • The purpose isn’t to punish them, but to ensure that they’ve learned the appropriate lessons they need to learn
          • How you treat them will show where your true priorities are (Matthew 25:40)
        • This can be difficult to do, but God will bless you if you do help them
      3. Examine whether they can help themselves
        • If they can help themselves, even partially, try to help them to help themselves
        • The ideal is to enable them to work for themselves and be self-supporting, if at all possible
        • Don’t ever do things for people that they can do for themselves
      4. If the need isn’t in your resource pool, ask the church publicly for it, with the future recipient’s permission
        • Ironically, this becomes less and less common the larger the church gets, but it’s a vital part of building the Body
      5. Prepare yourself for backlash
        • Professional beggars have a unique skill in building a case of guilt and pity, and giving to them hurts other genuinely needy people
  • Some people are directly supplied by God without any reasonable explanation behind it
    • These people receive “manna” for their daily provision, and it’s a uniquely fascinating experience to witness
    • This rarely happens because God wants to show that it’s better to give than to receive and wants the Body to work together to heal itself through the Holy Spirit

Intentionally draw a line between a church need and a church convenience

  • Church needs are things that either Scripture commands or are necessary for a church to operate
    • Music that sings praise to the Lord
    • Some degree of teaching/discipleship through preaching and Bible study
    • Opportunities for evangelism and other ministries, sending of missionaries and ministers, minister elections
    • Communion/Eucharist, public baptisms
    • Public prayer to God
      • Prayer groups are debatable, since Scripture indicates prayer as a private experience
  • Church conveniences all have their place, but they can sometimes impede the genuine reason for the church
    • Some make operation of a church easier
      • Rooms for nursing mothers
      • Grade school ministries, college ministries, separate Bible studies for specific age groups
      • Contact cards, data collection about church demographics
      • Weekly location that is consistently the same place
    • Some make being in a church more enjoyable or convenient
      • Climate-controlled room, nice seats, ornamentation and decoration
      • Musical instruments
      • Sound amplification, slide show for lyrics and announcements, elaborate lighting
    • Some try to speed up the natural process of converting to Christ and growing in Him through fellowship
      • A few minutes to greet someone near you
      • Altar calls or evangelistic efforts
        • Non-persecuted churches may have this, but the original church in Acts didn’t have the luxury of non-believers joining their worship services without major risk
        • Evangelism is more easily done out in the world
  • In a non-persecuted church, a large portion of the congregation will only attend based on conveniences, and many are likely non-believers
  • God has a way of making church conveniences fail from time to time to help His Body remember the difference

Understand how churches grow

  • Church growth happens exponentially (1 person brings 2 people, those people bring 2 people, etc)
    • The Bible isn’t directly clear on what to do with church growth, but trust His guidance
    • Have a plan for what you will do at certain sizes of church growth
      • No plan at some point becomes intentional ignorance and will usually lead to management by crisis
      • Most churches will simply move into larger and larger buildings
        • There are risks to it
          • The experience can become impersonal for the members
          • Running different sizes of churches require different types of skills that the leaders may not have
          • God’s Word might become stifled in the concentrated effort of running many systems under one roof
        • There are benefits to growing together
          • A larger building means larger ministry events are easier to coordinate
          • The church can act as a shared unit on any ministry endeavors
          • Divisions in the church can be managed properly and simply
      • Some churches go the route of splitting once they reach a certain level, but it also has risks
        • There are risks to it
          • The ability to restructure the organization is extremely difficult and can easily cause splits
          • There are more moving parts in the system for simply meeting together
          • Any divisions in the church will usually cause bitter and permanent splits
        • There are benefits to splitting off
          • The experience always stays personal to each of the members
          • The church never has to deal with most of the challenges of large organizations
          • The church can reach more individuals from the increased variety of the services
  • There are a few pre-planned models that have worked throughout church history
    • Traditional model goes from a house church to a building
      • It usually has a specific culture group in mind and has a narrow vision of who it’s reaching
      • There is a strong passion for evangelism in the church
    • Launch Big model is a high-cost approach that reflects secular non-profit organization growth strategies
      • Because it has a consumerist and atheist angle, it will attract many non-believers
      • Though it can grow enormous, it doesn’t usually send people out
    • Missional Incarnate is like the Traditional model but smaller and more focused on relationships
      • The mission is of the church is constantly moving and shifting to its environment’s needs
      • It’s focused on discipleship that builds itself into a church in its surrounding community
    • Organic House Church model is focused on minimalism and removing any extra parts of a church service
      • Because they often don’t advertise they stay small enough that many people are unaware of the model
      • They attract self-starters that actively research to find them, but leave most of the Body oblivious
    • Multi-Site/Satellite model creates a model that can be reproduced and then simply reproduces at the right time
      • The network of churches creates a strong pool of resources that the whole network can pull from
      • It’s more common than not that they are based on a pastor’s personality, and reproductions can lose their genuineness

Once your church has been growing, look into sending a missionary

  • Make sure you’re equipping that missionary appropriately and fully with as much information, moral and prayer support and finances as they need
    • The more details you can share about their ministry with the congregation, the easier it is to find supporters
  • There are degrees of aid that can be given to foreign people groups
    1. Respond to the agendas that the locals have set and provide moral support and occasional help (Community Initiated)
    2. Combine the knowledge of locals and outsiders to make goals and plans, and then work together to carry them out (Co-Leading)
    3. Locals work with outsiders to determine priorities, and then the outsiders direct everything (Cooperation)
    4. Outsiders ask locals’ opinions, then make the decision and direct what needs to be done (Consultation)
    5. Outsiders decide the agenda and direct the process, then assign locals to tasks with incentives usually involved (Compliance)
    6. Outsiders determine all of the plans before starting and direct the entire operation, while the locals submit to the plan (Coercion)
  • When reaching out to a poorer people group, try to avoid making their situation worse
    • Many third-world countries’ citizens supported by secular organizations have a unique problem on their hands
      • Many citizens have stopped farming and working a trade to simply waiting for the aid helicopter to drop supplies
      • This is because it attacks the physical problem (no food/clean water/shelter/etc) and doesn’t address the spiritual problem of a sin condition or a need for God’s transformation
      • The big problem with helping a poorer country comes in providing relief when there should be a bigger focus on rehabilitation and development
    • When helping a people group make sure they are deeply involved in every stage of assessing, designing, applying, tracking and evaluating the system
      1. Make an initial assessment to understand the situation, capabilities, skills and resources
        • Look for resources and solutions that come from inside the individual or community and not outside, as much as possible
        • Poor people and communities are full of possibilities that God has given them, so don’t look at them as simply victims
      2. Determine what the appropriate response is, given everything available
        • Look at building and rebuilding relationships among local individuals, associations, churches, businesses, schools, governments, etc.
        • God intended for the various individuals and institutions in communities to be interconnected and complement each other
      3. Only respond when the local people or organizations aren’t willing or able to meet pressing needs
        • Avoid helping to provide resources, spiritual guidance, knowledge, labor or management that they can provide themselves
      4. Fairly and impartially target assistance based on vulnerability and need
        • Make sure the aid workers have the right attitude and are qualified and experienced enough to effectively putt the correct aid programs into place
        • Be careful about bringing in too much or bringing them in too early, since it can undermine the group’s ability or willingness

Watch your own heart if the financial situation starts looking bad

  • Check your heart to be sure you’re not sinning or disobeying God in some way
    • You might be reaping past sins or bad choices
    • If the group is financially struggling for no clear reason, check whether anyone in the group is practicing sin
      • Remember that God’s providing for you isn’t dependent on anyone’s obedience but yours
    • Even if you can’t find any sins, you might be independent and prideful
      • God wants us to be dependent on Him and interdependent on one another, not independent, and financial problems can help us realize that
  • Materialism creeps in very slowly, so be vigilant that you always love God more than things
    • Stay grateful and content for God providing for you
    • Pay attention to whether you’re more concerned in learning what God is teaching you or in having your needs met
      • The treasures in heaven are what God teaches us and our relationships, not what we get physically
  • Make sure that you’re living by faith and not by presumption
    • Stay in touch with God’s glory and presence
    • Look at your faith in the small things, since God gives us responsibility over small things before big things
      • Give any fears of the future to Him
    • Ask God to supply your needs, even the smallest ones
      • Check that you’re looking at God and not people to supply those needs
  • Though borrowing isn’t ideal, only borrow with wisdom
    • Only borrow what you can reasonably expect to repay
    • Purchase items with a value that can be sold to pay back your debt if you can’t meet your obligations
  • Consistently and regularly tithe your money, and don’t do it in a way that helps you indirectly through your ministry
    • Make sure you’re being generous after you’ve paid your tithes

If you’re failing in your spiritual leadership, you’ll find major problems in the congregation

  • If the talents and motivational gifts of the church aren’t being used, the church will not run correctly
    • Little or no teaching turns a church into a theologically vague
      • Strong doctrine is dismissed if it’s labeled as unloving or no longer relevant, even if that’s not the case
      • This kind of church will fail to give structure for its members to change upon and create complacency over time
      • Focus more on solid study of Scripture, and create leaders that are more thorough in their Bible study
    • Little or no prophecy/declaration will make a church focused on good feelings and happiness
      • Love will be interpreted as a sentimental affection more than a desire for the long-term best interests of others
      • These churches will do good works, but will lose the bold and audacious side of Christ, making them ineffective
      • Invite more bold speakers to teach the congregation and bring up controversial issues more frequently
    • Little or no encouragement/exhortation makes a miserable church with unhappy legalists
      • Many people will feel strongly compelled to religious action, since they don’t experience God’s grace as strongly
      • These churches often become overly systematic and rigid in trying to gain God’s approval
      • Preach more on God’s grace and love and show how to genuinely listen and value others
    • Little or no ruling/administration creates a chaotic mess of people that barely resembles a church
      • Any sense of organization or structure will be thought through and carried out very poorly
      • This type of church will have all of the heart and none of the action, which will drive away anyone who wants results
      • Get some more organizational minds running the church, consider paying them or a full-time staff position for their work
    • Little or no serving fills a church with many leaders and nobody willing to volunteer
      • There will be many plans, ideas, strategies and prayer meetings but not enough action
      • These churches are constantly asking for volunteers and never seem to lack programs at the same time
      • Emphasize the importance of serving and start church-wide volunteer events
    • Little or no giving makes a poor church with a constant shortage of resources
      • The church will constantly ask for money and donations, since there aren’t enough people to show biblical giving
      • Over time, churches lacking motivational givers will become stingy about any new programs and become reclusive
      • Be more specific in needs to give towards that involve specific people or specific circumstances
    • Little or no mercy will make a church with callous and rash undertones
      • Most first-time attenders will feel unloved and rejected, even if they’re treated like the rest of the church
      • These churches have a hard time growing from their lack of showing connection to strangers
      • Expose them to the poorest and hardest suffering people possible in the surrounding region
    • Little or no faith makes a church that has a hard time listening to God’s will for it
      • New programs will be rare and new ideas will be assaulted with benefit-cost analysis and risk assessments
      • If this church grows, it is only through attracting non-believers that like the pleasant atmosphere
      • Try something new and bold, pray for guidance and take a challenging risk that could backfire if God doesn’t provide
  • Even if you’re not failing as a pastor, watch out for the constant sin condition that comes with leading the Church
    • If the church has more than 2 of the above problems, then the church might simply not be suffering enough hardship
      • Hardship brings out character and hope, for individuals as well as a group (Romans 5:3-5)
      • Pray for hardship to bring out spiritual growth, and ask trusted leaders to do the same
    • Make sure your church is impacting the world more than the world is impacting your church
      • This isn’t about condemning the world’s actions as much as magnifying Christ
        • If trends are condemned needlessly, it shuts off opportunities that take advantage of them for the Gospel
      • It’s easy to get consumed with the end times and the world’s activities, but it doesn’t produce any spiritual gain
        • If you need to bring up the world around us, share how our lives should differ from the culture
      • If you want to bring up problems inside the church, be very specific and avoid vague statements that apply to nobody
  • Instead of treating the church like a resting place from a long walk, treat it as an equipment cache in a war
    • A Christian will experience constant conflict if they intend to be in this world anywhere
      • False doctrine creeps in everywhere (1 Timothy 4:6-7)
      • There is a constant spiritual war against Satan (James 4:7)
      • Persecution is going to come to any practicing Christian (2 Timothy 3:10-13)
    • Focus on success based on how equipped Christians are, not on anything numerical or on how people felt
Next: Christian Conflicts