Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 1

The Call to Leadership

In this lesson, you will explore the challenges of serving on a church board and the importance of developing a biblical theology of leadership. The lesson highlights the differences between secular and biblical leadership and presents Christ's teachings on leadership found in Mark 10. You will also examine the concept of servant leadership in the Bible, focusing on the Old Testament's depiction of God as a shepherd and the imagery of a shepherd in leadership roles. This lesson will help you understand the significance of serving as a leader in a church context and equip you with the knowledge needed to discern God's will in your role as a board member.
Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
Lesson 1
Watching Now
The Call to Leadership

I. Challenges of serving on a church board

A. Desiring to make a difference

B. Struggling to discern God's will

II. Developing a biblical theology of leadership

A. Secular vs. biblical leadership

B. Christ's teachings on leadership in Mark 10

III. Servant leadership in the Bible

A. Old Testament: God as shepherd

B. Imagery of a shepherd in leadership

  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the challenges of serving on a church board and learn about the concept of servant leadership in the Bible, as well as the differences between secular and biblical leadership, with a focus on the role of a shepherd in leadership positions.
  • Through this lesson, you'll gain an understanding of the church as the body of Christ and a spiritual community, focusing on love and interconnectedness, and explore the differences between secular organizations and spiritual bodies, ultimately shaping your approach to spiritual leadership.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of organization in the church, exploring elements found in the Book of Acts and the significance of leadership, emphasizing the church's mission based on the Great Commission and the goal to make disciples.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the crucial importance of character in Christian leadership, as it demonstrates God's work in our lives, allows for influential leadership, and fosters spiritual growth in others. By learning from biblical examples, you will discover the necessity of relying on God's strength and guidance in your leadership journey.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insight into the importance of the church board's role, focusing on spiritual care and guiding the congregation towards a healthy church, which includes unity, obedience, growth in understanding God's word, active evangelism, and authentic worship, while being motivated by service and eagerness to lead, and understanding the accountability of leadership.
  • Discover the significance of prayer in leadership through the lives of biblical figures like Moses, Samson, and Samuel, and understand how prayer enables leaders to face challenges, find victory despite failures, and maintain spiritual strength.
  • In Lesson 7, you learn about the watchman's role in protecting the church from external and internal threats, the importance of church discipline, and its scriptural basis in Hebrews 12. The lesson emphasizes holiness as the primary goal and discusses the role of discipline in promoting spiritual growth and purity for individuals and the congregation.
  • This lesson teaches you the essential role of shepherding in the church and how to make spiritual decisions that benefit both the congregation as a whole and the individuals within it, emphasizing the importance of prayer, seeking guidance from Scripture, and reflecting the character of God.
  • Gain insight into the challenges small churches face in equipping people for ministry and learn the biblical basis for laypeople's involvement in ministry, understanding how to provide direction, identify spiritual gifts, offer training and mentoring, create opportunities, and give support.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about the church's purpose to glorify God, represent His character to the world, and transform people into the character of Christ, while also understanding the importance of good theology, connecting it to Christian living, and realizing a leader's role in overseeing church theology and fostering transformation.
  • This lesson emphasizes the importance of teamwork in ministry, explaining the New Testament concept of team ministry, the role of coworkers with Christ, and how partnering with others helps overcome individual weaknesses and fosters corporate wisdom.
  • As change agents in the church, the board must adapt to societal changes while preserving the core message of the Gospel. This lesson emphasizes the importance of addressing sinful behavior, examining the health of the church, and learning from the apostles as change agents.
  • In this lesson, you'll understand the crucial role of administration in small churches, focusing on spiritual growth and the effective use of resources for God's glory, as well as the importance of recognizing God's authority and Scripture as the foundation for all administrative decisions.

This course on developing leaders in the small church emphasizes the importance of leadership development and the challenges small churches face in doing so. It provides a biblical foundation for leadership development, focusing on examples from both the Old and New Testaments. The lesson then outlines principles for developing leaders in the small church, including fostering a culture of leadership development, identifying and recruiting potential leaders, equipping and empowering leaders, and providing ongoing support and accountability. The lesson concludes with strategies for leadership development in the small church, including one-on-one discipleship, small group leadership development, leadership training programs, and mentoring programs.

Recommended Books

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

In his more than fifteen years as the pastor of a small church, Glenn Daman has learned what it takes to make a church board successful. In Developing Leaders for the Small...

Developing Leaders for the Small Church: A Guide to Spiritual Transformation for the Church Board

Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
The Call to Leadership
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Why don't we become on a board? One of the challenges we face in terms of the board is what is the purpose? Why did we agree to this position? If we think about the board today, there's a number of challenges of Spar serving on a church board. We come on a church board because we desire to make a difference. And yet sometimes we get frustrated because as we are doing all the work of the the church board, it seems like all we're doing is the organizational structure, the business of the church, and it seems so mundane and so unimportant. And we begin to wonder, is this really that significant that it would require my time to serve? When we agreed to be on the board, we want to do God's work. We want to serve him. We want to help this church become an effective body of Christ, serving the communities and reaching out into the community. And yet we struggle to try to discern God's will. What is it that God wants us to do? And so we feel inadequate to the task. One of the things that we want to do in this session, as well as the subsequent sessions, is look at and examine what does it mean to be a board member, To be an elder? To be a deacon? To be serving on the church board from a biblical perspective. Now, as we think about the church and we think about what it means to be a board member. One of the initial problems we face is that we don't have a developed biblical theology of leadership. When we're asked to serve on the church board, we're oftentimes given little or no training at all. And so we come on to this position with with a little bit of question in terms of what we're to do, what is our responsibility, how do we go about this task? And because we don't have any training, we come on to the church and the church board with the the background of our business model.

[00:02:13] And so we revert back to our training that we received in terms of our careers, in terms of our job. And so we tend to run the church like we would a business. And we view the church just as a business, albeit a secular, a sacred business with terms of people, in terms of programs that are designed to help people in their relationship with Christ. But even as we do that, we always feel that there's something missing, there's something inadequate about the task. So what I want us to do in this session is to look at what is a biblical perspective about leadership. Is there a biblical model? Is the does the Scriptures teach us a model of leadership that we can incorporate within the church and within the leadership of the church that will enable us to be effective in the ministry of the Church? Now, to begin this perspective of the biblical view of leadership, let's turn to mark chapter ten. And in Mark, chapter ten, we find where Christ challenges us with the fact that biblical leadership is fundamentally different than secular leadership. To mark chapter ten, we find a discussion, a request by the mother of James and John. We begin reading in chapter ten, verse 35. Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee came to him. Teacher They said, We want you to do for us whatever. We will ask, What do you want us to do for you? Yes, they replied. Let one of us sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory. You don't know what you're asking. Jesus said, Can you drink the cup I drank or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? We can the answer.

[00:04:08] And Jesus said to them, You will drink the cup. I drank and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right hand in my left hand is not for me to grant. These places belong to those to whom they have been prepared. When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lorded over them and exercise excuse me, and they and their high officials exercised authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must first be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the son of man did not come to be serve, but to serve and to give his life is a ransom for many. Now, many suggest that commentators would suggest that James and John's mother was, in fact the the sister of Mary. And if that's the case, then James and John would have been the first cousins to Jesus. So it was natural for them to feel that they would have a special place in the kingdom of God. And so they came with the request, a request that they would be given the positions of prominence when God establishes his kingdom, that they would be given the position of being basically the second in command of Christ's kingdom. But when they made that request, the other disciples heard about it and they became indignant. As we saw in verse 41, the question is why did they become angry? Well, they become angry because they wanted that position. They wanted to be the the top cabinet members, if you would, and Jesus's government that he establishes.

[00:06:04] And so their perspective and both the perspective of James and John, as well as the perspective of all the disciples, was that leadership is based upon position, it's based upon authority, it's based upon self-promotion. And so their request was really one of elevating themselves in many ways. They are typical of what we see in a modern day concept of leadership in the modern day concept, just as their view was you have the leader and then you have those that are under the the leader and finally you have the the workers, if you would, but all under the authority of the leader. And the higher you go up in the corporate ladder, the more authority and the more power you possess. But Christ challenges that, in fact, Christ seeks to reverse that whole role for Jesus in verse 42, called them together and said, You know, that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentile lorded over them in terms in the term, lorded over that means to to rule over one over someone else to their own advantage. And he goes on to say their officials exercise authority. That is, they play the tyrant and the secular model of leadership. It's all about control. And who has control, who has the the power. But Christ reverses that, He says. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must first be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all, for even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. So in other words, as you look at the perspective of the secular model, the secular model is like a pyramid with the leader on top and then the workers underneath his authority.

[00:08:04] Christ reverses that and he says the leader is actually at the bottom of the pyramid. He's there to serve the people, he's there to serve others. So they would be effective, so they would be successful. And so Christ challenges that in fact, later on in the next portion of Scripture. Sure. He tells the story of Prometheus, who came to to Christ to receive his sight. And what's telling is in verse 51. Now, I think it's significant that this event follows right after in terms of the record of this request of James and John, because what Christ does now in this next story is give us a illustration of what that leadership looks like for in verse 51 when they they came to him and and others were rebuking them because this man was crying out for for mercy so that he might receive his sight. They brought him to Jesus. And in verse 51, Jesus is very perplexing question. He says, What do you want me to do for you? Now we understand that Christ was all knowing He knew what this individual was. Furthermore, it was very obvious. If a person is blind, what do they want from someone? They want their sight. So why did Christ ask this question? Well, I believe the reason he asked this question was not to find out what the person wanted, but he asked the question to illustrate to the disciples what a servant leader is. A servant leader is someone who comes to serve. And so when Jesus says, What do you want me to do for you? Who is saying I'm your servant? How can I help you? As an illustration to the disciples, that is the mark of a leader? In the secular model, a leader is someone who dictates to the people what they should do to benefit himself.

[00:10:06] Christ reverses that by saying that a leader is someone who comes as a servant to benefit the work of others. And so as we see this, this model of leadership that Christ develops. Now, the question then is, is there in the Scriptures a consistent model that we see? Is this consistent? What is the model that Scripture teaches regarding this type of servant leadership? Well, to understand that we do find one and we begin in the Old Testament and we find it in the context of a shepherd in throughout the Old Testament. The imagery, the metaphor that Scripture used to describe a leader was that of a shepherd. It was what defined the leadership from the time of Abraham all the way through the Old Testament and even on into the New Testament, we see that there was this consistent metaphor being used that a leader is referred to as a shepherd of the people. Now, the imagery of a shepherd was more than just a convenient metaphor that was chosen because it was an agrarian society. It was chosen because it captured the very essence of what biblical leadership is all about. And so we find in the Old Testament that God is referred to as the shepherd of the people of Israel. In Ezekiel chapter 34, verse 11, we see this record that says that this is what the sovereign Lord says. I myself were search for my sheep and look after him, Christ says, or the God. The father says that he is the shepherd of Israel, the nation of Israel, and Psalms 95 versus six and seven. We see this again affirmed when it says, Come let us bow down in worship. Let us kneel before the Lord, our God, our maker, for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care, that as the leader of the the world, as as the God of the world, his relationship in the terms of leadership was regarded in the context of a shepherd sheep relationship.

[00:12:21] So he refers to his people as his flock. But not only was that true of God being the shepherd of the whole nation of Israel, but he's also the shepherd of each individual. In Genesis chapter 48, verse 15, we see Jacob referring to. God is his shepherd. When he says, then he blessed Joseph and said, May the God be for whom? My father. Abraham and Isaac walked the God who has been my shepherd all of my life to this day. In other words, God described or Jacob describes God in the context of one who's been his shepherd, his leader throughout his whole life, so that all the events that have happened in his life were orchestrated by God, who is guiding him and caring for him throughout all these events. David refers to the same thing in that familiar passage in Psalm 23. So I'm 23 is a very favorite psalm of of all of us in terms of describing God as our shepherd. But sometimes we fail to recognize it in the context. It's also saying God is our leader and how does he lead? He leads by being a shepherd. And then so David says, and Psalm 23, verse one, The Lord is my shepherd. That you have this individual. Relationship with God is the shepherd. We also find in the Old Testament that not only was God viewed ad in the context of this Shepherd relationship with the people, but he's also the chief shepherd. In Jeremiah chapter 49, verse 19, we read Like a lion coming from Jordan. Stick it to a rich pastureland. I will chase Edam from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me and what Shepherd can stand against me? In other words, he's saying that he is the the highest shepherd and none can challenge his authority.

[00:14:37] And there was to be the recognition of that that as the leader of his people, all the leaders that were that were leading the people were under his authority. And that's something important for us to remember as a board. And we'll talk more about this, that we need to recognize that as we are serving as leaders, we are still under the authority of the chief shepherd and that God will hold. As accountable, just as he held these leaders in the Old Testament, personally accountable for how they led his flock in insecure chapter 34, verse 11, we read for This is what the sovereign Lord says. I myself wash, search for my sheep and look after them as the shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them. So I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places they were scattered on the day of clouds and darkness. Why? Because God places himself as the ultimate shepherd. Now, how does he lead? How does he exercise that shepherding role? Well, we find, as we look in the Old Testament, that he does so oftentimes through the context of human leaders that as the chief shepherd, he appoints people and works through people as his under shepherds to lead his people. So we find in Isaiah chapter 44, verse 2028. Who says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd and I will accomplish all that I please, he will say of Jerusalem, Let it be rebuilt and of the temple, let its foundations be laid. In other words, is God appointed Cyrus to be the the the leader who would bring the people of Israel back into the land? God says that I will appoint him as a shepherd, but he can't be in that position to accomplish his will.

[00:16:39] He has to accomplish my will. That he will accomplish all that I please. We see the same thing in Second Samuel Chapter five, verse two Regarding David. When God tells David, he says, In the past, while Saul was king over us, you are the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, You will shepherd my people, Israel, and you will become their real leader. And so here was David, appointed by God to become the shepherd of the nation of Israel. But again, as he fulfilled that role, he did so under the authority of the chief shepherd, so that he was under the authority of God. And we find that that model that that we see in the Old Testament of the leaders of Israel and of leadership in general in the context of a shepherd. We find that also carried forward into the New Testament. It begins with the Messiah himself. In fact, in the Old Testament, it was prophesied that one of the roles of the Messiah was that He would come as a shepherd of the people of Israel. And Ezekiel Chapter 34 again, and versus 23 and 24, he says, I will place over them one shepherd here in a in a prophetic way, referring to the coming of the Messiah. He says, I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them, He will lead them, and they will be it will be their shepherd. I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant, David, will be Prince among them. I, the Lord, have spoken. And so there was the expectation that the Messiah would come as a shepherd fulfilling that role. So we come to John chapter ten, verse 11, when Christ says, I am the good Shepherd.

[00:18:43] He was not just referring to himself as now the leader, but he was referring to himself as the one who is coming to fulfill that prophecy of a coming of a shepherd to lead the people. Furthermore, he uses the context of the Good Shepherd. The term good refers to one who is a model, and in fact, that's what Christ was. Christ set the example of what leadership was. He established the model of leadership. So if we want to understand a shepherd model of leadership, we need to begin by looking at the person of God and looking at the person of Christ and how they exercise their leadership over the nation and over the people that they served for. Christ didn't come just to be the shepherd. He also came to appoint shepherds, and so he came appointing others to be shepherds. In particular, he appointed, first of all, the disciples in John chapter 21 versus 15 and 17, when Christ restores Peter after his denial of him at the crucifixion, he says to Peter after asking that question, Do you love me? He says, Feed my lambs or care for them or tend to tend to them. And he repeats this three different times in three different ways. Again, going back to affirming that Peter is to be the shepherd now of his people, but he makes it clear it's not Peter's people, but it's his own. And he's still the chief shepherd. But Peter is now to serve those people. It's no wonder then in Matt and John excuse me in first Peter, chapter five, verse two, when Peter wants to write to those of the church, to the leaders of the church, to the elders, he does so in the context and imagery of a shepherd.

[00:20:38] And so he says to the leadership, be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care serving as overseers, so that as he assigns the leadership, that is, he calls us to leadership, that our role then is to serve as under shepherds caring for his flock. So what does that involve? If we are to be under shepherds, what does it mean to be a shepherd? And if it's in this context and we need to understand this, this whole context of being a shepherd then moves us away from the secular model of being a CEO, of being a organizational leader, and moves it into the realm of being a spiritual leader within the church. The question is, what does that mean? Well, as we think about that, first of all, the focus then is upon the spiritual aspect of the church and of leadership, not just the organizational. It's what moves us beyond the organizational so that the goal of leadership is not to run just a smooth organization and to make sure everything is running smoothly. Rather, the purpose of leadership is to lead people in spiritual transformation in galoshes. Chapter one. Versus 28 and 29. Paul really captures this for us in terms of his own ministry as he saw himself as a shepherd. And so he says in clashes, chapter one, verse 28 and 29, we proclaim him admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom. So that and this is the purpose is it says this is why he is doing what he he does as a leader, he says, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ to this and I labor struggling with all his energy, what so powerfully works in me. So in other words, as we think about our role as leaders, our primary role as a leader is to lead the church toward spiritual maturity.

[00:22:47] And we do that by beginning. First of all, by submitting to Christ, we are to submit to his leadership. We are to recognize that we are accountable to him in that passage in First Peter, Chapter five. Peter goes on to say this in verse four, and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away. But he reminds us, he's the chief shepherd. We're the under shepherds, so we're accountable to him. We're to submit to him so that how we exert leadership in the church must be done. So in the context of Christ leadership over us. Paul says the same thing in First Corinthians Chapter 11, verse one, when he says, Follow my example as I follow Christ. The word that is used there, for example, is the word that we get. The English word mimic means to imitate. You see, for Paul, the legitimacy of leadership in his own ministry was based upon the manner in which he was following the in imitating and mimicking, if you would, the example of Christ. He was only a legitimate leader if he was following Christ. And that's true of us. Our position as leaders in the church is based upon our following and mimicking the Chief shepherd, the person of Christ. So we're to recognize our responsibility to Him. We recognize that we're accountable to him. In Hebrews chapter 13, verse 17, the writer of Hebrews says, Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. Now, here's the sobering statement. He says, They keep watch over you as men who must give an account that we were called to give an account before the Lord. So then how do we do that? What is the role of a shepherd? Well, briefly, let me just suggest to you five aspects of this role.

[00:24:47] The first thing a shepherd does is a shepherd leads. Psalms 23, verse three says, He leads me in the paths of righteousness. That part of our role as leaders is to lead the church, to lead the congregation into the spiritual transformation of walking with Christ, of manifesting righteousness. Today, as much is written about developing a clear vision and having clear goals of the church. And that's important. But we must make sure that they're done in the context of leading people in spiritual direction that God has outlined in His Word. Secondly, a leader provides He provides nourishment. In John chapter 21, verse 15, he tells Peter to feed his flock if we are to feed the congregation. How do we do that? Through the proclamation of God's Word that our role as leaders is to make sure that the people have a steady diet of the Word of God. Thirdly, a shepherd, a leader protects the people in Psalm 23. He gives us a picture of a shepherd who protects. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. And so critical is this role is that one of the characteristics of a false shepherd? Is that a false shepherd? When the danger arises, they flee. Fourthly, a shepherd heals. In his eco chapter 34, verse four, God brings an indictment against the leaders of Israel, and He condemns them for not strengthening the weak or healing the sick or binding up the injured. As shepherds of God's people. As leaders, we are called to bring a healing ministry to people, to provide spiritual care for them, to encourage them and strengthen them.

[00:26:57] And then lastly, a shepherd is one who is a companion for the people. In Psalm 23, a central theme is the presence of God that He is with his people. He is with David at every junction of his life. An effective leader is someone who is with the people, someone who's involved in the people's lives. You see, as leaders, we have to be integrated into the life of the church, but not only into the life of the church as a whole, but also into the lives of each individual within the church involved in their lives. You see, that's what moves us to spiritual leadership. The next two sessions, I want to look at the focus of the leader and the focus that that as a shepherd we are to have is to provide spiritual leadership. It's going to look at the next session. This is primary and the most important that as leaders we are spiritual leaders, but it also involves and this is where we will look at the following section. It also involves an organizational aspect of that leadership. But that's what a shepherd does. So as we think about our role within our church, as we seek to try to define our role as a board, it begins by seeing ourselves as a shepherd of the God's people.