Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 5
The Priority of the Board
The Priority of the Board
PC108-05: Lesson 5 - The Priority of the Board
I. The Task of Leadership
A. Be Shepherds of God's Flock
B. Understanding the Role of a Shepherd
C. Characteristics of a Healthy Church
II. The Motivation of Leadership
A. Serving as Overseers
B. Leading Willingly and Eagerly
III. The Accountability of Leadership
A. Being Examples to the Flock
B. Receiving the Crown of Glory
- 0% CompleteIn 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteDiscover 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteGain 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThrough 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteAs 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.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn 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.0% Complete
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.
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
Leading the Small Church: How to Develop a Transformational Ministry
Shepherding the Small Church
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
The Priority of the Board
[00:00:00] In the last session, we were looking at the character of the pastor and of the leadership that if we are to be effective leaders, it begins with our character. But we still have to wrestle with what is our task? What is it that we're called to do as leaders? What are the things I think we struggle with in leadership today is that we don't have a theology of leadership. So we come into the church board. And because we don't have a biblical understanding of of what is our role as leaders, we bring into it a secular perspective. We approach it like we do in the secular world, in the business world. And so we focus upon the organization of the church, on the facilities, on the budget, on the programs. But when we look in scripture, we find a different perspective. And so what I want us to do in this session is to look at one passage of scripture that gives us a brief overview of what is our role as leaders within the church. And that passage is found in First Peter Chapter five, beginning at verse one and down through verse four. So you can follow along as I read this portion of Scripture, and then we're going to go back and break it down for us in terms of our understanding of how this describes for us our role as leaders. Peter writes to the Elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's suffering, and one who will also share in the glory to be revealed, be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be, not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
[00:02:00] And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. Now, as we look at this portion of Scripture, what we see Peter describing for us in terms of our understanding of leadership is really three aspects. First of all, we see the task of leadership. What is it that God desires for us to do as leaders within the church? The second is the motivation of leadership. What is it that is to motivate us in this responsibility that we've been given? And then thirdly, the accountability of leadership that we are not only called to be leaders in the church, but we're actually accountable for how we lead. He begins there with the task. He says to the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's suffering, and one who will share in the glory to be revealed. Now, to set the context of this passage, we need to recognize that in the previous section, Peter has been addressing the suffering that Christians are going to face. He describes the difficulties that we're going to face because of our claim to be followers of Christ. And although Peter is writing here before the real intense break out of persecution that the church suffered under Nero, he's writing really as the persecution and the winds of persecution are beginning to blow against the church. Although it's not as intense as it will be under Nero. And the following years after that, it's beginning to occur as the the popular opinion is turning against the church because of the the Jewish influence and then also even because of the Roman influence. And so Peter writes this to encourage them as they face this encouragement or this persecution.
[00:04:07] And having said that, he then moves to this whole discussion now in our English text, it doesn't really show clearly, but but there is a connection between chapter five, verse one, and what he's just said. And that connection is in the fact that he's now going to give the implications in light of the persecution that's going to come against the church. He says, therefore, we need strong leaders in the church that we we appeals to the elders within the church. One of the things that we have to recognize as leaders is that difficulties in the church, whether it's external in the form of persecution or other pressures that may externally come upon the church, or whether those difficulties are internally within the church, whether it's dealing with. Budgets, whether it's dealing with programs that are not going well, whether it's dealing with budgets and conflicts within the church, whatever the difficulty is, we need to recognize that it requires strong leadership with the board, that the elders need to provide the kind of leadership that is both spiritual and biblically governed. And so that is what he's addressing here as he addresses these individuals that he wants to set for them in light of these difficulties that they're going to face and in light of the need of strong leadership, Peter is now going to describe for them what that entails. And so he begins then with that to the elders among you, as you right now, again, as we've already pointed out in previous sections, we need to recognize that our position as leaders within the church while being placed in that leadership through the process of the selection of the church or the vote of the church. We need to ultimately recognize, though, that we are put in this position by God himself.
[00:06:10] We see that in Acts chapter 20, verse 28, when Paul is encouraging the leadership there in Ephesus and says, Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. And that's crucial to our understanding of this task of leadership through our role of leadership, is recognizing that we are under the authority of Christ, that we are put in this position by the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. And so we're accountable to him, and we'll see that in a moment further in this passage. But as he begins then, this appeal to this to the leadership. He does so by defining for us the task of leadership, and he does so in verse two, He says. Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care. We need to recognize that the primary role is that of being and of a shepherd. Now, when we think about the title of an elder, the focus of that title is upon our individual qualifications. He's talking about spiritual maturity that the leaders in the church are to be those who are to be godly individuals who are mature in their relationship with Christ. But the term elder focuses upon the priority of feeding and caring and nurturing the flock of caring for God's people. And it's crucial that we understand that he's giving a command here. This is not an optional task that we face as leaders. It's not a sideline in terms of our responsibility that this brother is at the core of our responsibility. It's at the very core of what we're called to do. And he says that we're commanded to be shepherds. Now, as we think about that role in terms of not only the writing here of Peter, but also in the writings of all of the scripture, we find that that concept of a shepherd, as we've already talked about, really defines and captures for us the essence of leadership, that it's pastoral rather than administrative, that the focus of leadership is upon the spiritual care and the oversight of the congregation, rather than just making sure that the programs are running smoothly.
[00:08:49] Now, as we think about that role, we think about the overall condition, he says. Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, that we have that responsibility to oversee the well-being of the flock. That's really our task. Our task is to guide the church toward spiritual growth and the fulfillment of the mission of the church. That as we look in Scripture, Scripture defines for us the kind of character and the kind of of body that the church is to be in terms of its relationship with Christ. And we are to be moving the church in that direction. And we need to recognize that God has given us a mission, a mission of reaching people with the Gospel of Christ, of of teaching them to become the faithful disciples of Christ, and then utilizing that spiritual gifts within the context of ministry. That's what we're called to do as leaders, is to to oversee that that spiritual well-being of the of the church. So as we think about that and we think just briefly here for a moment, what is a healthy church? What are the the characteristics of a healthy church? Because if we don't understand that, we're not going to move the church in that direction. If we don't know where we're to take the church, how can we move them towards that goal? Well, I think there's several characteristics as we think about a healthy church, and certainly we can spend a great deal of time looking at these. But let me just briefly mention a few of them. First of all, a healthy church is one that's united in fellowship. What we see throughout the New Testament that one of the chief characteristics of a growing, vibrant body of Christ is that there is unity within the church.
[00:10:39] There's a lack of conflict, there's a lack of division within the church, that an unhealthy church becomes marred by conflicts, becomes marred by disunity. Secondly, a healthy church is one that's growing in obedience. We continually see in the New Testament that the essence of spirituality is not defined by an experience, but rather is defined by obedience, Christ says. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And so a healthy church is one that's living out its relationship with Christ in the context of obedience to His word. So it's being manifested in the daily life of the church and the daily lives of people. Thirdly, a healthy church is growing in their understanding of the Word of God. That's central to the well-being of the church. Is is that the body of Christ is is hungry for the Word of God. They're growing in the Word of God. They're there digesting the teachings of Scripture. That's a healthy church. And so as part of our role of leadership is we're to to lead the church and guide the church in the understanding of Scripture through our teaching in our life. A fourth characteristic of a healthy church is it's active in evangelism that we're not just ministering inwardly, but we're seeking to to reach out into our community and to present the gospel to a lost and dying world in which we live. And so, as leaders were to lead our church into the moving out of the walls of the church and moving into the community and impacting our community. And then lastly, a healthy church is one that's authentic in its worship. It is a vibrant relationship with God being revealed in the worship of the church, not just on terms of Sunday morning, but throughout the whole lifeblood of the church, that everything we do is done in the context of the glory of God.
[00:12:47] So that's the health of a church. That's what we're responsible to oversee. And we're going to talk more about that in subsequent sessions in terms of what is a healthy church. But we need to recognize that our role as a shepherd is to care for the flock and make sure the flock is healthy. But not only that, but we're also responsible as shepherds to care for those that are that are ill. We need to recognize that there is a natural tendency on the part of of human beings to wander away from God. Part of our struggle with sin is a continual struggle to. To move away from this relationship with God and move back into the world. And part of our role is as leaders within the church is to guard the church and protect the church. And and to those who are starting to wander, we we seek to bring them back into fellowship. So that's the call of of the church. That's our task. So as we think about the task of the church and the task of leadership, it begins with this whole concept of being a shepherd. But not only do we need to be shepherds in terms of our responsibility, but Peter goes on to point out we need to do so with the right attitude and with the right motivation. That strong leadership requires a a right motivation of leadership. Look at what he goes on to say. He says, Be shepherds of God's flock. It is under your care serving as overseers. Not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be, not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
[00:14:45] As we look at this passage, what we see is Paul describing for us the motives that are to govern our life. And he does so by by joining together three couplets, three pairs of descriptive words to describe how we are to go about fulfilling this task of being a shepherd. The first we see in verse two, the last part of verse two, when he says, Not because you must, but because you're willing as God wants you to be. In other words, in terms of our motivation is that we are to be motivated by a willingness to serve rather than a duty. The phrase when he says that we are to serve, not because we must focus upon the burden of a duty. It's a task. It's a it's a job that that we do just because it's been assigned to us. As one commentator puts it and summarizes this verse, he says, Elders are to serve not for their own satisfaction in the job, but as glad volunteers in God's service. So Peter wants to go to the very heart of our of our motivation of why we serve on the board, that we're not doing so because we're forced into the task, because somebody voted us in and we're not doing it because it's a duty that someone has to perform. But rather, there is a there's a desire to serve and to serve Christ and see the church growing in this relationship with Christ. We need to recognize that. I think as leaders, it's easy for us to become indifferent in leadership. When we first start on the board, we're excited and we're we're ready to serve. But as time goes on, we soon become indifferent towards it becomes a duty, becomes one of the jobs of the church.
[00:16:50] And so we come to the board meetings and and instead of being excited about being, there, were more concerned about how we can quickly pass the agenda so that we can get home and watch the latest sports game or do some other activity. But Paul calls our Peter here, calls us to a different standard. He says, don't do it just because you must is a duty, but rather because you're willing, as God wants you to be, that there is a sense of eagerness to serve. There's a passion in our service that we're passionate about serving effectively on the board, that it's a priority of our life. You see, if we understand leadership and we understand what God is calling us to do, we need to recognize that this responsibility of being a shepherd is not something that we accomplish in 2 hours when we meet once a month and discuss the agenda that the responsibility of being a shepherd is a 24 seven job. It's a task that God has given us to be formed daily in our life. And so we need to embrace that and recognize that this is a priority of our life. It's not just a job within the church, but this is a calling that God has placed upon our life, and it's due to permeate everything that we do within our life, that we're doing it in the context of ministry so that we embrace this responsibility with joy and with purpose and with a desire to please God. The second couplet refers to a lake. It goes deeper to our motivation and focuses that we are to serve rather than seek personal gain. That the focus of leadership is upon service, not gain. Look at what he says.
[00:18:52] He says Not greedy for money, but eager to serve. We're not to do so with what we get in response. There's always some benefits in leadership. There's recognition. There's authority that comes with it. There's there's privileges that come with it. People look up to us. Paul or Peter says, Don't get caught up in that. Don't focus upon what we get out of this responsibility. But rather, he says, focus upon serving with eagerness, recognizing the privilege of the the serve so that we're not doing it for any money. But we're eager to serve and eager to sacrifice for the cost. As we approach leadership, we need to understand that there is a cost of leadership. There is a cost of service. There is a cost in terms of our time that it requires time on our parts, that if we are to be effective in this role, it's going to take time. It's going to take commitment. It's going to take time during the week. It's going to take time to get on the phone and call people and ask them how they're doing and to pray with them. It's going to take time on Sunday as we serve within the church. There's a cost to leadership. There's a cost financially as we think about the church as leaders. We set the standard. We set the example for for people in terms of even our giving. And so there's a cost. And in our finances, there's a cost in terms of our energy and our personal comfort. Ministry is not always fun. Ministry sometimes very difficult Ministry requires sometimes that we do things that we don't want to do. You see there is a cost. But he says, when we do that, we need to do so with eagerness, not because we're trying to get something out of this task, but because of our desire to serve Christ and to serve the body of Christ and to see the body of Christ grow in this relationship with one another and with God.
[00:21:13] And then he concludes with this third couplet that the focus of leadership is upon influence rather than authority. Look at what he goes on to say in verse three, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. The secular perspective of leadership is upon authority. But Peter says it's not about authority story. The idea here of not lording it over those entrusted to you is is. The idea is to exercise one's authority for one's own advantage. You see, one of the dangers that we come in leadership is as we come into the board, we come with our agenda. We come with. A a goal in mind, something that we want to see. We we sometimes can have an ax to grind that we come and we're ready to push our agenda through. And if we're not careful, we can become dogmatic to the point where we're demanding of our way. Peter is. That's what Peter is warning against here. He says such an approach, such an approach that that sees authority as something to control and to to get one's way. He says that is fundamentally against the very nature of godly leadership. That is, in fact, it's an abuse of leadership. He says we're not to lord it over those entrusted to you, but what are we supposed to do? What's the the focus of leadership if it's not authority? Well, he tells us that the focus of leadership is about being an example. An example. For the people to follow, as we see also in the writings of Paul as he writes to Timothy, that we set the pattern, we set the mark for people in terms of their life. The most important role we have in the church is not the decision making role we make at the board meeting, but it's the pattern of life that we live that people can follow.
[00:23:27] That's the calling of a leader. So it's our lifestyle, not just our administrative duties. And so we see that Peter calls for us not only for a task of being a shepherd, but that we do this task with the right motivation. And the basis of that is recognizing our accountability to God. Look at what Peter goes on to say in verse four. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. You see, we need to recognize the Chief Shepherd. We need to recognize that we are under shepherds. Rather, he refers to two Christ as the Chief Shepherd. And the idea of the chief shepherd here is that he is the one who exerts leadership and authority over the other shepherds. That's accountability. We need to understand that the churches that we are serving as leaders are not our churches, but rather the churches that we are serving are God's churches. Scripture refers to him as the head, as Christ is the head of the body. That not only is referring to the fact that Christ is the lifeblood and the source of life for the church, but it also is is a position of authority, that crisis in the ultimate position of authority within the church. And we need to live and exercise our leadership with the awareness of his position over us. And we need to be reminded of the fact that fundamentally we are servants in our position and that the position of leadership is a responsibility that has been assigned to us not to enhance our own status or agenda within the church, but to prayerfully seek God's direction. For the church. And that we are under his authority to do his will, not ours.
[00:25:43] And he gives here both a promise, but also an implied warning. He says, And when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive a ground or a crown of glory that will never fade away. Peter implies here the reward you see he gives us is a promise that if we are faithful to the task, there's a reward. That if we are exercising our leadership in a correct way, there's a reward that comes. But there's also an implied warning that if we fail to fulfill this responsibility, if we fail to be obedient to Christ and to be submissive to his leadership, we will face judgment as well. James makes it all the more clear in James chapter three, verse one, when he warns, Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because we know that those who teach will be judged more strictly. So what are we accountable for? Well, first of all, we're accountable for our character and our leadership. If you looked at our last session, the character qualities that God desires for us to to model were we're going to be held accountable for that. We're held accountable for the direction we lead the church or we lead them in God's direction. We're going to be accountable for the manner in which we lead. Do we read lead in the right way? And to do that, we need to recognize the supremacy of Scripture. If we're to follow God's will. If our responsibility is under shepherds, is to recognize that he is the chief shepherd. And so that we're following him, then then it mandates that we know his will. And the way we know his will is through the study of his word, so that his word, first of all, becomes supreme in our life.
[00:27:42] It governs our own lives individually as leaders. And then secondly, it becomes central to the ministry of the church and the teaching of the church. And that our leadership then is is leading in a way that's done in the context of Scripture so that our decisions are governed by Scripture. But not only are we going to be recognizing Christ supremacy through our knowledge of his word, but also through prayer. We're going to talk more about this in the next session, because I think it's important that we recognize the importance of prayer as a fundamental task of leadership. But we need to recognize that if we are to follow Christ leadership, we need to be dependent upon him. And that's the essence of prayer. So how do how do we put this into practice? How do we as leaders. Put into practice on a on a practical level in our churches, our responsibility. Let me suggest you several things, and I would encourage you to continue as a as a church board to to discuss with one another what it means to be a shepherd, what it means to be spiritual leaders in the church. But let me suggest you several things. First of all, I believe as leaders, we need to be spending the bulk of our time talking about the spiritual needs of the church rather than just the organizational. In most cases, if we were if someone were to come in and tape our board meetings and analyze our board meetings, the bulk of our time is spent on administrative issues. We talk about programs, we talk about the facilities, we talk about the finances. Now, certainly these are important things that we need to address. But the tragedy is, is we never talk about what is really important, and that is the spiritual well-being of people in the church and the spiritual direction of the church.
[00:29:45] And that needs to be a central part of our of our dialog every time we get together as leaders. Secondly, it's important for us to recognize that that not just the pastor but the whole board, every single one of us needs to be active in ministering to the spiritual needs of people. It means we need to be active in praying with people that are going through difficult times. If you know, if someone in the church is going through a difficult time in their life, you need to get on the phone and give them a call or or maybe even go over and visit them and just pray with them and share God's word with them. That's not just the responsibility of the the pastor. It's responsibility of the whole board. And then thirdly, we need to serve with a recognition that our position is under the authority of God. We need to recognize that we need to be driven by Scripture and focused in prayer, that when we come to a church meeting, when we come to a board meeting, we're not there for our agenda. We're there to follow God's agenda. And that means that as a board, we need to wrestle with Scripture regarding its application to our to our decisions that need to be made. We need to spend time in prayer asking God's direction for the decisions that we need to be making. He said that's what it means to be a shepherd. God doesn't call us to be administrators. He doesn't write here, Paul or Peter doesn't. Right. Say be administrators of God's flocks. He calls us, rather, to be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care. You see, that's the task of leadership that God calls us to do.