3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part Two
By Greg Perkins, SMD Healthy.Church
In this week’s blog, we will focus on the first of 3 Factors Your Church Needs To THRIVE.
Factor 1: Committed Leadership
Dr. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I think we have all seen the proof of this statement in all areas of life, but probably no place more critical or noticeable than in the local church. Of course, I am referring to the critical need for senior leadership in the form of a Senior or Lead Pastor, but I am also referring to the need for additional core leaders within the church. Having a committed leader in the Senior or Lead Pastor role is essential, but not the sole solution.
Let’s first discuss the need for Committed Leadership in the Senior or Lead Pastor role.
The Senior Pastor is key to the direction and overall spiritual health of a church. As the senior leader of the organization, the pastor is responsible to provide clear vision, sound teaching, and correction when it is necessary. But let’s be honest—many of our churches are in the condition they are, because they were LED there. We can blame the previous pastor, or even internal power struggles for SOME of the health concerns of the church, but not all of them. Some of the issues faced in churches today are the direct result of poor leadership by either the Senior Pastor, or a leader placed in a position of influence by the Senior Pastor. PLEASE HEAR ME…I don’t say these things to be harsh or hurtful, but to offer an honest assessment of what hinders many churches today. All of us who pastor a local church must seek to increase the level of our leadership, because the Church deserves to be well led!
leadership, because the Church deserves to be well led!
The Senior Leader must be Committed to GROW!
As church leaders, each of us must commit to grow personally, spiritually, and professionally. We do this through prayer, reading God’s Word, and accessing the many leadership resources available to us in the form of books, blogs, podcasts, and conferences. We also need to develop discipline in our daily and weekly schedules to maintain a healthy balance between family and ministry..
Pastor and author Erik Reed of The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN says, “Show me a healthy church and I will show you a healthy pastoral leader. Show me a sick or dying church, I will show you a pastor not leading well.”
The Senior Leader must be Committed to SACRIFICE!
An effective leader must do the hard things when no one else will (i.e. confront, correct, say “no”). That often means that a leader will do what is RIGHT even when it doesn’t benefit them personally. Being the leader means that we often wake up earlier, go to bed later, and don’t always get to do the things that make us popular with everyone. We need more leaders who will make that sacrifice.
The Senior Leader must be Committed to YIELD!
Submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit is not always easy or convenient, but since the Church doesn’t belong to us, it makes sense that we would yield to the leading of the One to whom it does belong. This will take considerable amounts of prayer, as well as quiet times of intentional listening for the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.
A yielded leader must ALSO submit to the authority and governing structure of the church (i.e. local board, as well as the district and national leadership structure). A leader that cannot or will not follow established authority should not expect anyone to yield to their leadership. We are expected to set an example of accountability to those we lead.
Secondly, let’s consider the need for Committed Leadership in the supportive roles of the church.
In order for the church to fulfill its responsibility to equip and prepare God’s people to serve, we will need a group of leaders. Ephesians 4:11-13 describes this group of leaders as apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers who will help build up the Body of Christ and raise up other leaders to do the same. Paul gives no indication that this group of leaders are staff members of a church, if they were paid, or if they even held credentials. Some (if not all) would be raised up from within the church to accomplish this task.
Even in situations where a church has the blessing of multiple staff members (paid or unpaid), our responsibility to build up the Body of Christ and raise up more leaders is the same. A senior pastor cannot (and should not) be the only leader in a church. One leader can only be effective with a small group of people. The church MUST have committed leadership at all levels of the organization in order to thrive. The most practical (and Biblical) way for that to happen is for senior leaders to recruit, train, mentor, and empower new leaders to serve within the church.
Healthy churches don’t wait for leaders to “show up” – they develop them to become the pastors, deacons, ministry leaders, and teachers they need to fulfill their vision and mission.
Committed Leadership is a key factor in helping your church thrive. Check out next week’s blog to see another key factor!
Church Development Director