Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 3

Leading a Small Church

In this lesson, you will learn about the organizational aspect of the church and its importance. You will explore the organizational elements present in the Book of Acts, such as designated leaders, the process for choosing leaders, church programs, strategies for ministry, and church membership. Furthermore, the lesson discusses the significance of leadership in maintaining a healthy church organization and the church's mission, focusing on the Great Commission and the goal of making disciples.
Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Leading a Small Church

PC108-03: Leading a Small Church

I. Organizational Aspect of the Church

A. Importance of organization in the church

B. Organizational elements in the Book of Acts

1. Designated leaders

2. Process for choosing leaders

3. Church programs

4. Strategies for ministry

5. Church membership

II. Leadership and Healthy Church Organization

A. Importance of leadership

B. Church mission

1. The Great Commission

2. Making disciples

  • 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

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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...

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Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] We've been talking about the church and the nature of the church. And we looked at the church as a spiritual organization and we looked at the spiritual element of the church. And certainly the priority and the focus of the church is upon the spiritual nature that the church is a spiritual body of Christ. Now, when we talk about the spiritual aspect of the church, normally we think of in the context of the universal body of Christ. That's the ultimate focus. But we also see that in focus in the local church. As the local church becomes the visible expression of the universal church, but also within that local church. We see that there is an organizational element to it that while it subservient to the spiritual nature of the church, it's also a key component to the church. We see, for example, within the early church in the body of Christ that there was this formal organizational aspect that they performed. And it doesn't replace the spiritual because that's still central, but it is also a crucial part of the effective church. So when we think about the organizational aspect of the ministry of the church, we're talking about the fact that it has a mission, that the church has a focus, that the church involves the whole body of Christ, that there's teamwork involved. That we cannot perform the work of the church in the ministry of the church. We cannot accomplish the mission that God's established without teamwork, without the whole body conducting the ministry of the church. We also see in terms of the organizational aspect of the church that it involves growth, it involves change, that if the church is to grow and become the body of Christ that God desires it to be, there has to be an ongoing process of intentional change.

[00:02:14] We also see that it involves some level of structure that the church, if it's to be effective, has to have a structure to it. So that's what we're talking about when we're talking about the organizational aspect of the ministry of the Body of Christ. Now, as we think about that, I want us to begin, first of all, by looking in the Book of Acts, because in the Book of Acts, while we don't see an organizational structure mandated in terms of an outward form, what we do see in the Book of Acts is that there did exist an organizational element of the body of Christ. We see, for example, that that the early church had designated leaders in Acts chapter two, verse 42. It says this that they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship and to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And so there was this element of the designated leaders that the leaders were the apostles, that they were the recognized leaders of the church. And so that people followed their teaching and their instruction and sought to recognize their leadership. And we also see that in the early church they had a process for choosing the leadership. In chapter six, we see a glimpse of this process beginning in verse one says, In those days, when the numbers of disciples was increasing, the Christian Jews among them complained about the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the 12 gathered all the disciples together and said, It is not right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers choose seven men among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom, and we'll turn this responsibility over to them and we will give our attention to prayer in the Ministry of the Word.

[00:04:21] So what we see in this event is there was a a need within the body of Christ that arose because there were some conflicts going on. That part of the church was being neglected in terms of the ministry. There was those widows who were not having their needs met, and as a result, there were some some perhaps some ethnic tension within the church. And so they recognized they needed to appoint more leaders within the church that the disciples, the apostles, who were the primary leaders of the church could not perform all the necessary tasks that the church required. And so they developed the process of choosing these seven men. And so we see that they were a process by which they recognized these individuals. They were to be known among them. They were to be those who demonstrated a commitment to Christ. They demonstrated a spiritual maturity. And there was a recognition then, even by the church of these individuals. And so you have the appointment of these individuals and a prioritizing of their responsibilities. So you had in this case, both the process of choosing leaders as well as delineated responsibility that they were to give. So we see an organizational structure element within the church. We also see that the church had programs, as we see in the first verse of Chapter six of the Book of Acts, that there was this program by which they're ministering to the needs of the widows, that the early church had a number of individuals that were destitute. They were in need of assistance. These widows and the church then had a program to take care of them, to distribute food for them and to provide for their needs. And so we see a glimpse into the early church of a program they had.

[00:06:25] Now, we don't know all the programs they had. Certainly they had other programs as well because they talk about there in Acts chapter two in terms of the fellowship, the breaking of bread, the prayer. And so there was structure, there was there was meetings, there was ministries going on that they had. And so there was structure to that. We also see in the early church in terms of its organizational structure, that it had clear strategies that it conducted in Acts Chapter 11 versus 29 in verse 30. We see here a strategy that the church had for not only providing for individuals within their their own body, but also to develop a strategy for ministering to those who are suffering because of persecution In Chapter 11 versus 29 and 30, we read the disciples each, according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gifts to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. And so they they sought to provide then a strategy for how can we help the individuals in ministry within the church. We see it also in the strategies of of Paul as well in terms of how he went about his ministry, that Paul had strategies, he had a strategic plan and he talks about that of how he was going to go to to Rome and his strategy of going different places. We also find in the Book of Acts that there was a formula by which they had membership. In chapter two, we see a glimpse again into that. That's formal church membership that they had in verse 41 of chapter two of the Book of Acts that says those who were accepted, his message were baptized. About 3000 were added to their number that day.

[00:08:35] And so as part of the process of being counted as members within the church, there was no requirement. It seems to be a baptism. So they had a structure by which they identified those who are a part of the church, those who are genuine believers and those who were not. And so the church then, as we look at the early church in the Book of Acts, maintained a level of organizational structure, while the focus and certainly the focus in the New Testament is upon the spiritual nature of the church and the church as a spiritual body of Christ is a community of God's people come together to encourage one another and strengthen one another. Nevertheless, there was still an organizational aspect to that, and we see that today in the church as well, that the primary focus always has to remain upon the spiritual aspect of the church. Nevertheless, no matter what the size of the church may be, whether it's a large church or a small church, there still is an organizational aspect that the church is responsible to have godly leaders who give direction to the church. In Titus chapter one, verse five is Paul is writing to Titus and in the. Process of planting churches and developing new churches. Paul encourages Titus in Chapter one. To establish leadership within the church. And so we read in verse five of Titus one the reason I left you in Crete was so that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town as I directed you. And so from this passage, we not only see the appointment of elders as the norm for the church, but also the necessity of it. You said I left you there for this task, that before the church could really be planted and left to to function, there needed to be leadership.

[00:10:48] And as leaders, we need to recognize that that is our responsibility, that we have the responsibility of leading the church, both spiritually and organizationally, that we have the responsibility to move the church toward spiritual health. But as leaders within the church and as those serving on the board and in terms of leadership, we also have the responsibility to make sure the church is healthy organizationally. So the question then is what is that? What does a healthy church organizationally look like? And again, at this session, I just want to give us an overview of this. But it begins, first of all, with the recognition of a mission that the church has a mission. It has a task that has been assigned to it by God, that serves to give direction to everything that we do. Now we find that mission in Matthew chapter 28 and in a passage that perhaps we're familiar with, we recognize is a great commission. But in this passage, Christ gives us the task of the church. He gives us our marching orders. He gives us our mission that we're to to seek to accomplish. And he gives that in Matthew chapter 28. Let me just read beginning in verse 16. Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When he saw when they saw him, they worshiped him. But some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age that as we look at these verses, what we see is the the task or the focal point of the ministry of the church.

[00:12:51] Now, there the focal point is really found in the one command in this passage. And this past year there's one command, and that is to go and order to make disciples that the task of the church is to be single focus, and that is to equip people to be disciples of Christ who are living out their life in obedience to Him. Now, as he gives this command, he gives us the process by which to accomplish it. The first thing he tells us is that it involves going. Now, we normally associate this with evangelism, and rightfully so, that that this aspect of going is taking the gospel and communicating the gospel to a dead and dying world in which we live. But it's not just doing that. It also involves the whole focus of penetrating our community with the Gospel of Christ, that we have the responsibility of taking the ministry outside the church walls and going out into our community to reach people, to minister to people, and to provide an avenue by which we can share the gospel with them. Now, one of the challenges that we face in a small church is that oftentimes we face limited resources. We have limited limitations in terms of our financial resources. We have limitations in terms of our the number of people that we have to volunteer for different ministries. And because of these limitations that we have, the tendency in the small church is to become inward focused. In other words, if we were to look at our budget and look at all of our programs that we have in the church, the vast majority, and if not all of them are geared for ministering to the needs of people already in the church. You take a church budget, for example, and you see the amount of money spent with see and worship and the use and all these different ministries, which are good ministries.

[00:14:55] But how much of our budget is geared for doing ministry outside the church to the unsaved? We also see that in terms of our programs, we have our children's program, we have our Sunday school program, we have our Bible study programs, we have our youth programs. But how much of it is geared for reaching out into the community? And so as a church, we need to be challenged to take the focus from the the inward focus and taking it to an outward focus where we're taking ministry to the to the community and reaching people with the gospel of Christ. We are engaging our culture and we do that by ministering to the needs of people outside of our church. For example, one of the ways that some churches have done this is by going out and and helping the elderly in the community or helping those who are facing difficult situations in their lives. And so they're not able to to properly take care of their home and their need of assistance and making their homes warmer and safer and drier. And so a church can go out and start ministering to them. There's a number of ways that we can do that. But we have to be creative in in moving the church outside the walls of the church. The second aspect of the mission of the church is we think about this mandate that is given us. The second aspect, he says, is to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now, normally when we think of baptism, we think of the physical act of baptism, and certainly that is part of what he is communicating here. But it's not just that. It also moves with the whole concept of the the purpose of baptism.

[00:16:42] The purpose of baptism is to identify oneself as a disciple of Christ, is to become identified with the person of Christ. So when we think about evangelism and we think about this whole process of what we're to do in terms of helping people grow in crisis, not to just a matter of getting them to say the prayer, but it's helping them to move along to where they reach a point where they become committed followers of Christ. They become committed disciples of Christ, that they're identifying themselves with Christ. Now, part of the role of the church in that process is that we need then to accept them within the fellowship of the Church. That one of the challenges that we face is as we move outside the ministry of the the walls of the church and we start ministering to the needs of people that as we we share the gospel with people and they start coming to church. The challenge for us is to reach out our arms of fellowship to them, to include them, to accept the new, the new believer and all the spiritual baggage that they bring into the church. And they will bring that. You see, one of the dangers we face in a in the church, particularly smaller churches, is that we tend to become culturally isolated. And so as a result of that, if someone comes into our church and they don't talk like us, they don't act like us, they don't dress like us, we tend to exclude them. We we tend to look at them differently. But God calls us to be open and accepting of these new individuals. Because if we're doing our job right, if we're reaching out into the community, the one thing we have to recognize is that we're bringing broken people with lives filled with problems, needy people into the body of Christ.

[00:18:43] And because of those needs, they're going to be high demand. It's like a newborn baby when you bring home a newborn baby into the family. There's a high degree of of of need there. There's a there's a an inconvenience that comes with a newborn baby. They wake up in the middle of the night and you have to wake up and feed them. And they're very needy. They have a high need to their life. That's true of a newborn Christian. And so as we bring these people into the church, we have to accept them and minister to them, even though they're very needy individuals. The third aspect of this command race is make disciples. And not only involves going and moving outside the church into the community involved, identifying them with Christ, but then thirdly, he says in verse 20 and teach them to obey everything that I command. Then at the heart of discipleship is teaching people the Scriptures so that they can learn to be not only followers of Christ, but they can live out that knowledge in obedience to Christ that their faith is becoming evident in their life. And that's one of our central task as leaders. Our task as leaders, as we oversee the organizational structure, the church, the responsibility that we have as leaders is to make sure that these things are happening. We need to make sure that the church is moving outside the walls of the church. We need to make sure that the churches is including people and bringing people into fellowship. And we need to make sure that this people are then being taught the scriptures that this is we're not a social club where people come just to socialize. That the church exists, to teach people to be fun.

[00:20:35] Come followers of Christ in Ephesians Chapter four, as Paul outlines the task of the leadership of the Church. He gives us this responsibility and says it was he who gave some to be apostle, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. In other words, what he's saying is it's God's the one that appoints the leadership. That we need to recognize as leaders that we are appointed by God. And then he says is why does God put people in position of leadership within the church to prepare God's people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The task of the leadership then, is to equip people for both ministry as well as for maturity. Now, if we're going to do that, it's going to require teamwork. That central to the fulfillment of this mission is we think about the outworking of the mission of the church. It involves the whole congregation. If we are to accomplish the task that God has given us there in Matthew 28, It's not done by one person. It's not accomplished merely by the pastor working hard. It's not accomplished even by the leadership. It inquiry involves the the involvement of the whole congregation, the whole church being involved in the ministry. That's teamwork. You see, when we talk about teamwork in the church, that occurs when the pastor and the board and the congregation are all working in unison for the spiritual growth and the well-being of the congregation. That each person understands their spiritual gift and their utilizing their spiritual gift, their utilizing their their roles and responsibilities in value in one another to accomplish the ministry of the church.

[00:22:43] So we we value one another. We value our differences in the body of Christ, and we seek to involve everyone in the task of the mission of the church. You see, the danger that we face in the church is that we can come to the church with conflicting agendas, that everyone has their own little niche of ministry. And as they they minister in that niche, that becomes their focal point to the point where that's their agenda and that's all they're concerned about. And as leadership, we need to make sure that we keep the big picture in mind so that we're reminding people how their ministries fit with the other ministries and how we're to work together to accomplish the task rather than competition over budgets and over personnel. But we're working together, and so it involves teamwork. Furthermore, as we think about the outworking of the mission, it involves change. A crucial aspect of growth is change. We cannot grow if we're not changing. If a child, if a young child is is no longer changing, we become concerned. We take that child to the doctor and we say, Look, doctor, there's something terribly wrong with this child. This child is still in the body and the mind in the shape of a two year old. But it's he should be older than that. He's he's beyond that. And we'd recognize there's a medical concern there. And we do all kinds of tests because the child is stopped changing. And there's truth in the body of Christ. It is it is a body of Christ. If we're due to grow in in Christ, there has to be change, but the change has to be intentional. Now, let me say this. As we think about change within the church, it's important to understand that our message does not change our theology, does not change our values and our adherence to biblical truth that can never change.

[00:24:45] But what changes is the methods by which we apply that in our context. Paul himself was a master of that in First Corinthians Chapter nine verses 19 to 23, when he says that he becomes all things to all men, by by all means, he might win some. Paul understood that when he was ministering to the Greeks, he needed to change his methodology to to reach the Greeks. It was different than when he was trying to reach the Jews. And so we recognize that we adapt our methodology. But that's not only true in our programs and methodology, but it's also true that the church is a growth agent in the lives of people, that we must challenge people to grow at the very core of their identity, at the very core of who they are. Not only is that true of individuals, but also as a whole congregation. And so we're to lead the church in change, but not haphazard change, but intentional and deliberate change that brings them closer to their relationship with Christ. So as we think about the outworking of our mission, it requires teamwork, it requires change. And thirdly, it involves organization that as we think about the organizational aspect of the church, there is a a formal organizational process that needs to be implemented. Paul writes in First Corinthians chapter 14, verse 33 for God is not a God of order or excuse me, but God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. And he goes on to say in verse 40, But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. It's interesting. Colossians chapter two, verse five, he says, writing to the church there at Corinth, he says, For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith is in Christ.

[00:26:54] And commentator suggests that the whole concept of order there when he says to see how order you are, is that the orderly refers to the way that it conducts its affairs and carries on its worship. He says that's the organizational structure, that the purpose of the organizational structuring is to make sure that we're doing things in an orderly way to accomplish the mission of the church. And so as we think about organization, we're going to spend more and in a subsequent session dealing with these aspects. But as we think about this, this organizational structuring involves three things. First of all, it involves organizing in mission driven ministries. As we think about the programs that we do, that's the ministries and the various tasks and programs we have within the church. The one thing we need to make sure is that their mission driven. In other words, we should be able to look at every single one of our programs and ministries of the church and say, okay, how does this help us accomplish the mission that God set for the church? Because that's mission driven ministries. And as we do that, then we need to develop mission driven goals. Another end goals are nothing more than looking at where we are and then saying, okay, here is where we need to be now, how do we get there? Paul understood this when he when he writes a personal goal, when he says this things, you know, not that I've already attained all this, but one thing I do, I press on towards the mark. Paul understood that he had a personal goal and that was the holiness of Christ. And he says, I'm not content until I reach that goal. And so as we think about the goals of the church, these are not just something we do to to to pad the numbers in the pews.

[00:28:58] These are goals that we establish to help us make sure that we're on track with accomplishing the mission of the church. And then lastly, it involves a mission driven budget. So as we look at our budget, too, oftentimes we approach budgeting based upon our current finances. We look at how much money we got in the bank, how much we spent last week, last year. And so that becomes our budget rather than saying, what is it that we're out to accomplish now? What funds do we need to accomplish that mission? So our budget becomes driven by the mission rather than the mission being driven by the budget. And then it involves some levels of of organize some structuring as we do that. That's our constitution. The Constitution is not just something that that we develop and then set aside. It's to be the guy that helps to give us structure in what we're do so that it too, is mission driven, so that the Constitution becomes driven by the mission. It's there to help us accomplish the mission, but it gives us the structure to do that. And then the policies that we establish help to define and set the the parameters of how we go about doing things. You see, as leaders, we need to recognize we need to be spiritual leaders of the church. That's certainly primary. Our primary purpose as the leadership of the church is to lead the church in spiritual growth, to become more Christ, become a community of God's people. But we also have the responsibility then, of leading the church organizationally, so that not only are we well-organized or, as Paul says, we're doing everything orderly, but we're doing it with a purpose. And that purpose is to accomplish the mission.

[00:30:56] And in the subsequent sessions, we're going to look more at how we go about doing this so we can be effective in the ministry of the church.