Relationship With Others 106: Leading A Church

Back To Main
How To Disciple Others

Only pursue spiritual leadership if you’re ready

You’ll need experience guiding others before taking on what is effectively group discipleship

Leading a church incorporates Level 4 and Level 5 leadership

Don’t neglect your wife or children

  • Your wife is possibly the most vulnerable person in a church because she’s expected to perform the most with little support
  • Your children will see your true self more than anyone else, so deeply consider their thoughts and behaviors

Scripture gives clear leadership standards (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)

  • Though it’s highly controversial, the Bible states explicitly that only men should fill leadership roles
  • However, some so-called “pastors” in many churches are preachers, since a pastor administrates a church

If you want to serve in a ministry leadership position

  • Must be honorable
  • Can’t be deceptive, alcoholic or greedy
  • Must believe strongly in the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
  • Spouse (if married) must be honorable, self-disciplined, and not speak poorly of others

If you want to be a church elder

  • Have a good reputation among non-believers and other believers
  • Stays monogamous
  • Children (if any) also have a good reputation and are believers

If you want to be a pastor or overseer of a church, you have the most stringent spiritual requirements

  • Must have a well-behaved household with submissive children, since spiritual leadership is a type of parenting
  • Can’t be a new convert since new believers become conceited more easily
  • Has a strong reputation with both non-believers and other believers
  • Isn’t proud, quick-tempered, alcoholic, violent or greedy
  • Must be hospitable to others, love goodness, disciplined, morally upright, and holy
  • Has to hold firmly to Scripture to both teach right doctrine and rebuke others that contradict it

A few pre-planned models have worked throughout church history

The Traditional model grows from a house church to a building

  • Usually has a specific culture group in mind and has a narrow vision of whom it’s reaching
  • The church has a strong passion for evangelism
  • They are the most familiar for most people and are the most balanced decision regarding resources
  • Unfortunately, they often foster complacency from the lack of demographic diversity

The Launch Big model is a high-cost approach that reflects secular non-profit organization growth strategies

  • It has a consumerist and atheist angle that attracts many non-believers
  • Though it can grow enormous, it doesn’t usually send many people out as missionaries or church plants
  • They give a verbal Gospel presentation which reaches potentially tens of thousands of people at once
  • Unfortunately, they often develop a secular culture and are usually weak on discipleship

The Organic House Church model is focused on minimalism and removing any extra church service elements

  • They often don’t advertise and stay small enough that many people are unaware of the model
  • They attract self-starters who network to find them but leave most of the Body oblivious
  • They stay intimate with all members and inspire members more strongly to serve
  • Unfortunately, they can often create a rebellious culture against larger churches and won’t have much leadership accountability

The Multi-Site/Satellite model can be split into a separate campus at any time and then reproduces after reaching a milestone

  • A network of churches creates an enormous pool of resources the whole string of churches can use
  • Unfortunately, a pastor’s personality usually drives them, and homogenous churches can feel disingenuine

The Missional Incarnate model is like the Traditional model, but smaller and more focused on relationships

  • The church’s mission is to move and shift perpetually to its environment’s needs
  • It’s focused on discipleship which builds itself into a church in its surrounding community
  • It combines the benefits of both Traditional and Organic House Church
  • They foster member involvement while allowing room for growth
  • Missional Incarnate churches are only as healthy as their core group

No matter what work you’re planning, make sure it’s God’s plan

Every inspiration comes from either your mind, others’ thoughts, God’s instruction or Satan’s thoughts

  • God won’t make His plans vague and will confirm that it’s His idea (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Look at how much your ministry will cost

  1. Think about all your anticipated needs, research costs and write it all down
  2. Make a budget in mind that doesn’t go toward extreme poverty or opulence
  3. Ask what you already have since God can use anything, even when it doesn’t look like enough
  4. Think about whom to share your need with (asking money from others is an act of faith)
  5. Look at what you can start, since God uses our inertia far more than our inaction

Your lifestyle will change, but God will guarantee it for the better if He’s planning it

  • Even with a lifestyle funded by others’ donations, you need to live with the right family budget
  • God has promised He’ll give many, many resources for your success by following Him (Psalm 37)
  • Keep giving to the Lord as He leads you

Don’t live far above or below the lifestyles of those you serve

  • Your car, house, and lifestyle need to help you with leading and guiding people for Jesus
  • Watch for greed or comparing yourself to others and learn contentedness with Jesus ruling your finances

Every pastor constantly communicates

Learn effective verbal and nonverbal communication

You will use your public speaking skills multiple times every week

You will need to both share God’s love and grace and His hatred of sin and wrath

Your job is to convey the power of Scripture, so never neglect to read it

  • Avoid using terminology and jargon that can alienate people from the simple truth
  • Stay focused on Christ and the Gospel, no matter how much your education and instincts tell you otherwise (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Beyond preaching, you and your wife also need to openly mentor everyone in the church and foster a core group

Many traditional church pastors don’t disciple anyone directly because of how much time it takes

Advertise the church meeting appropriately

  • Specify when and where your church is meeting
  • Devote plenty of time to a decent website if the internet is ubiquitous in your region
  • Provide signs and materials that indicate where you’re meeting

Share the church’s successes with its members

  • Observe how God ministers to and through you and share His ministry with others
  • Inspire members to contribute their work into the Church by telling stories of successful missionary work
  • Find the positive and inspiring side of tension and stressful situations

Ask potential donors for funds correctly

  • Always communicate in a way that lets people ask God if and how they should meet those needs
  • Don’t appeal to the sin condition through greed, fear or the donors’ pridefulness
  • Using guilt or pity is both dishonorable and invalidates God’s ability to bless the giver
  • Ask with boldness and confidence that God’s work will be done and show that their donation is a means to that end

Create an open channel of communication between the leaders and congregation

  • Ideally, a congregation should be as much involved in the church’s operations as the pastor
  • Far too often, pastors forget their role and distrust too much, which spreads to the entire group
  • Create opportunities for members, especially younger members, to voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns
  • Openly show the state of your church’s finances

Every pastor is responsible for showing the world’s needs beyond the church to inspire believers to act

Pastors must use a variety of leadership skills

Keep working hard and steadily, even when you don’t see results

  • Sometimes for the sake of your ministry, consider working a job on the side, especially at the beginning
  • A minister’s work is never-ending, so enjoy any rest, even a few hours
  • Pray and fast diligently

Stay faithful that God will provide any increase, even after the situation starts failing your expectations

  • Focus on what truly matters, since God designed your church as a good fit for a specific demographic
  • A healthy church should make non-believers feel distinctly out of place (John 13:35)
  • Keep Christ at the center of the church since He’s the entire reason for it

Be hospitable and open to others, especially toward impoverished demographics

  • Experiencing people suffering more than you both encourages and motivates
  • God designed us to develop a motivation to serve others through seeing unfulfilled needs

Keep your long-term focus on the Body at large, since the entire body of Christ has innumerable needs

  • The Church’s priority is to make disciples everywhere, and all spiritual organizations are a means to that end
  • A pastor’s job is to unify a church together under Christ and bring a church into more connection with the Church

Discipline yourself about money matters

  1. Don’t worry about money issues
  2. Set the right priorities with the money you have and might have
  3. Diligently and responsibly take care of your needs first (1 Timothy 5:17-18, 2 Timothy 2:6)
  4. Invest money instead of hoarding it to see it grow our character and God’s kingdom
  5. Be generous since a 10% tithe is more a minimum than a standard

Every church has four types of financial lifestyles in it

A. The breadwinners make a salary or hourly wage for skills and services

  • Breadwinners comprise most of a church
  • Years working in vocational ministry can foster an unfair disregard for their spiritual value
  • Since their shared faith creates God’s results, they represent the driving force of most of what that church can do

B. God sends some people as missionaries or ministers with wildly varying income sources

  • Ministers’ income sources can vary wildly
  • Most ministers get funding from a few specific avenues
    1. A collective church offering which gives an annual salary
    2. Volunteer donations from the minister making calls, emails, and letters
    3. Specific missionary organizations which provide partial or full aid
  • Some ministers support themselves through marketable skills or a trade (Acts 20:33-35)

C. The poor and needy in the Church often need assistance

  1. Ask if they have a crisis
    • A genuine crisis will create severe adverse consequences without immediate action
    • If it’s not a crisis, that person has time to take action on their own
  2. Look at how responsible they are for the crisis
    • Every crisis comes from a mixture of poor decisions and unfortunate circumstances
    • Jesus commands us to give to the poor regardless of how they became poor (Matthew 5:42)
      • The purpose of withholding aid is to ensure they’ve learned proper lessons, not punish them
    • How you treat the poor will show your priorities (Matthew 25:40)
    • Helping the poor against your judgment can be challenging, but God will honor it
  3. Examine whether they can help themselves
    • If they can help themselves, even partially, try to give them the means to support themselves
    • If possible, enable them to be self-supporting through working on their own
    • Don’t ever do what people can do for themselves
  4. With the recipient’s permission, ask the church publicly for the need if it’s not in your resource pool
    • Giving opportunities are crucial for building the Body of Christ
    • Ironically, requesting the entire church for help becomes less and less frequent the more the church grows
  5. Prepare for backlash
    • Professional beggars have a unique skill at building a case for guilt and pity
    • Giving to beggars harms other genuinely needy people

D. God directly supplies some people without any reasonable explanation

  • These people receive “manna” for their daily provision, and it’s a fascinating experience to witness
  • God rarely gives without others’ involvement because He wants to show how giving is better than receiving and wants the Body to work together to heal itself through the Holy Spirit

Draw a clear line between your church’s needs and conveniences

Needs are requirements for the church to operate or what Scripture commands

Music which sings praise to the Lord

Teaching or discipleship through preaching and Bible study

Opportunities for evangelism and other ministries, sending missionaries and ministers, and minister elections

Communion/ Eucharist, public baptisms, marriages, funerals

Public prayer to God

  • Scripture indicates prayer as a private experience, which makes prayer groups debatable

Church conveniences have benefits but can sometimes impede the church’s purpose

Some conveniences make operating a church easier

  • Rooms for nursing mothers
  • Grade school ministries, college ministries, separate Bible studies for specific age groups
  • Contact cards, data collection for church demographics
  • Consistent weekly location in the same place
  • Technology to show worship music, videos or ice-breaker content

Some conveniences make a church more enjoyable

  • Climate-controlled room, comfortable seats, interior design, and decoration
  • Musical instruments
  • Sound amplification, slideshow for lyrics and announcements, and elaborate lighting

Some try to speed up converting to Christ and fostering fellowship

  • A few minutes to greet neighboring attendees
  • Altar calls or in-service evangelistic efforts
    • The original persecuted church in Acts couldn’t risk non-believers joining their worship services

Though people don’t often want it, churches need hardships to find purpose

In a non-persecuted church, a large portion of the congregation will only attend from conveniences with many of them as non-believers

  • God lets church conveniences occasionally fail to help His Body remember the purpose of gathering

Churches grow through a pattern

Churches grow exponentially

  • One person brings two people, those people bring two more people, and so on

The church will concentrate a core group of more influential members

  • Your core group determines the limits of what your church can do
  • The types and quality of core group members reflects mostly on you as a leader
  • Many pastors forget that core group members are usually volunteers and abuse their service

Keep a plan for when your church reaches a certain size

  • The Bible isn’t directly clear on how to manage church growth
  • Though you must trust God, a lack of planning at some point becomes intentional ignorance and will usually lead to management by crisis

Most churches move into progressively larger buildings

  • Moving into a larger building has risks
    • Potentially impersonal experience for members
    • Each size church requires different skills the leaders may not have
    • Concentrating many systems in one building might stifle presenting God’s Word
  • However, growing together has benefits
    • Larger ministry events become simple to coordinate
    • The whole church can act together on ministry endeavors
    • Leaders can manage church divisions thoroughly and quickly

Some churches split once they reach a certain level

  • Splitting has risks
    • Restructuring the organization becomes challenging and often causes splits
    • All the systems have more logistical components that could fail
    • Any church conflicts can create bitter, permanent divisions
  • Splitting off does have benefits
    • Every member keeps a personal experience at church
    • The church never has to manage most large organizational challenges
    • The church can reach more individuals from the added service variety

Once your church grows enough, send a missionary

Equip that missionary with as much moral support, information, prayer support, and finances as they need

  • Missionaries receive support proportionally to how much you share their ministry with the congregation

Missionaries have tremendously challenging jobs, and the church is responsible for taking care of them

  • Over a mission, a missionary will slowly become a “third culture” person, where they’ve merged their serving culture with their home culture
  • Churches need to give as much support as possible during and after the mission, not only before
  • When a missionary returns home, formerly familiar objects become strangely unfamiliar through their new perspective

Try to avoid making impoverished people groups’ situations worse

Foreign people groups can receive aid at varying degrees

  1. Respond to the locals’ set agendas and provide moral support and occasional help (Community Initiated)
  2. Combine locals’ and outsiders’ knowledge to make goals and plans, then work together to carry them out (Co-Leading)
  3. Locals work with outsiders to determine priorities which the outsiders direct (Cooperation)
  4. Outsiders ask locals’ opinions, then make a decision and direct what to do (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)

Many secular organizations enable third-world countries’ citizens to stay impoverished

  • Many citizens have stopped farming or performing a trade and wait for an aid helicopter to drop supplies
  • Secular organizations attack the physical problem (e.g., no food, clean water, shelter) but don’t address the spiritual issue of a sin condition or the need for God to transform them
  • Focus more on rehabilitation and development than providing relief

The people group you’re helping must be deeply involved in every stage of assessing, designing, applying, tracking and evaluating systems

  1. Make an initial assessment to understand their situation, capabilities, skills, and resources
    1. Look for resources and solutions coming from inside the individual or community as much as possible
    2. Impoverished people and communities are full of possibilities God has given them, so avoid treating them as victims
  2. Given everything available, determine the appropriate response
    1. Only respond when the local people or organizations aren’t willing or able to meet pressing needs
    2. Don’t give resources, spiritual guidance, knowledge, labor or management they can provide themselves
  3. Fairly and impartially prioritize assistance toward vulnerability and needs
    • Make sure aid workers have the right attitude and are qualified and experienced enough to put the correct programs in place
    • Bringing in too much or too early can undermine the group’s ability or willingness

If the church’s financial situation starts looking bad

Check your heart to ensure you’re not sinning or disobeying God in some way

  • You might be reaping past sins or choices
  • If the group is financially struggling for no apparent reason, check whether anyone in the group is sinning
    • God providing for you is only dependent on your obedience
  • You might be independent and prideful even if you can’t find any sins
    • God wants us to be dependent on Him and interdependent with each other, not independent
    • Financial problems help us realize our need for support

Make God more important than things

  • Materialism creeps in slowly
    • Observe whether you’re more concerned with your needs met or learning what God wants to teach you
  • Stay grateful and content for God’s provision
  • Heaven’s treasures are our relationships and what God teaches us

Live by faith, not by presumption

  • Stay in touch with God’s glory and presence
  • Look at your faith with small things
    • God gives us responsibility for small things before big things
  • Give any fears about the future to Him
  • Ask God to supply your needs, even the smallest ones
    • Look at God, not people, to answer those needs

Since borrowing isn’t ideal, only borrow with wisdom

  • Only borrow what you can reasonably expect to repay
  • Purchase items with legitimate resale value to pay back your debt if you can’t meet your obligations

Consistently and regularly tithe your money

  • Don’t tithe in a way that indirectly helps you through your ministry
  • Generously give beyond your tithing

Failing in your spiritual leadership will create congregational issues

A church doesn’t function if it’s not using its talents and motivational gifts

  • Little or no teaching makes a church theologically vague
    • Strong doctrine labeled as unloving or no longer relevant gets dismissed inappropriately
    • Poor teachers will foster complacency by failing to give structure for members to change
    • Focus more on a thorough study of Scripture and create leaders who more thoroughly study their Bible
  • Little or no prophecy/declaration makes a church obsessed with good feelings and happiness
    • Love will express itself as sentimental affection more than a desire for others’ best long-term interests
    • These churches will do good works but will battle ineffectiveness from missing Christ’s boldness and audacity
    • Invite more bold speakers to teach the congregation and discuss controversial issues more frequently
  • Little or no encouragement/exhortation makes a church of unhappy legalists
    • Members will feel strongly compelled to religious action from not experiencing God’s grace
    • These churches often become overly systematic and rigid while trying to gain God’s approval
    • Preach more on God’s grace and love and show how to listen and value others genuinely
  • Little or no ruling/administration creates a chaotic mess of people which barely resembles a church
    • The church will poorly carry out organizing and won’t structure itself
    • This type of church will have all the passion and none of the action
    • Get more organizationally-minded people running the church and consider a full-time staff position for their work
  • Little or no serving fills a church with very few volunteers to support leadership
    • Most of the leaders will grow to dread plans, ideas, strategies, and prayer meetings from being overworked
    • These churches constantly beg for volunteers but have many programs running
    • 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 few people are modeling biblical giving
    • Churches over time without enough donors will become reclusive from stinginess about new programs
    • Clarify needs to the congregation that indicate specific people or circumstances
  • Little or no mercy will make a callous and rash church
    • The church will treat first-time attendees unlovingly and reject them, though everyone expects that behavior
    • Not showing connection to strangers makes these churches stop growing
    • Expose them to the most extreme suffering in the church’s region
  • Little or no faith makes a church reluctant to hear God’s will
    • New programs become rare, and new ideas get assaulted with benefit-cost analysis and risk assessments
    • Church growth only comes through attracting non-believers who like the comfortable atmosphere
    • Try something new and bold, pray for guidance and take a challenging risk that might backfire if God doesn’t provide

If the church has more than two issues from deficient motivational gifts, the church might not have enough hardship

  • Hardship brings out character and hope for individuals as well as a group (Romans 5:3-5)
  • Pray for hardship to bring spiritual growth and ask trusted leaders to do the same

Watch for the constant sin condition in believers

  • Make sure your church is transforming the world more than the world is changing your church
  • Don’t condemn the world’s actions as much as you magnify Christ
    • Needlessly condemning trends shuts off opportunities to take advantage of them for the Gospel
  • Focusing on the end times and the world’s activities has no spiritual gain
    • When you bring up the world, show how our lives should differ from its culture
  • If you want to bring up problems in the church, be very specific and avoid vague statements which 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

  • Christians in this world will experience constant conflict
    • False doctrine creeps in everywhere (1 Timothy 4:6-7)
    • We’re perpetually in a spiritual war with Satan (James 4:7)
    • Persecution will come to any practicing Christian (2 Timothy 3:10-13)
  • Measure success by how equipped Christians are, not on numbers or feelings
Next: Christian Conflicts