Developing Leaders in the Small Church - Lesson 10

Overseeing the Mission

In this lesson, you will explore the purpose of the church and its role in the community. The church's purpose includes glorifying God, representing His character to the world, and transforming people into the character of Christ. The lesson emphasizes the importance of good theology in the church and how it should reflect the character of God. It also connects theology and Christian living, stressing that the Christian life should be an outgrowth of one's theology. As leaders, you are responsible for overseeing the church's theology, ensuring accurate representation of God, and fostering transformation within the congregation.
Glenn Daman
Developing Leaders in the Small Church
Lesson 10
Watching Now
Overseeing the Mission

PC108-10: Overseeing the Mission

I. Purpose of the Church

A. Glorifying God

B. Representing God's Character to the World

C. Transforming People into the Character of Christ

II. Theology in the Church

A. Importance of Good Theology

B. Reflecting the Character of God

C. Connecting Theology and Christian Living

III. Leadership Role in Church Purpose

A. Overseeing Church Theology

B. Ensuring Accurate Representation of God

C. Fostering Transformation within the Congregation

  • 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.

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Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] In the last session, we were dealing with equipping people for ministry and we talked about one of the things that is essential for equipping people is to help them see how their ministry fits in the overall direction in ministry of the church. But oftentimes the struggle is, is we're not sure what that is. And we also face that on on a church level. Now, we've all faced this in terms of of our ministry. That is, we try to lead the church. We see that there are a number of people and they come to us and they have one perspective of the church. If they have that one piece of their pie that they deal with and they are passionate about that area and so they naturally think that everyone should have that same passion. And if the people don't, then they become frustrated because they think everybody should share their burden. And so they also think that we as a as a board and as a church should also share that burden in terms of giving them the resources, the personnel and all the things that they need for that they believe they need to be effective. So we end up then within the church these conflicting passions. And so as as a board, we try to juggle with these. And so one of the important things for us to do is to make sure that we have the big picture in mind. What is the overall purpose and mission of the church. If we don't have that clearly as leaders, then we're going to be driven by whatever the latest pressure point is within the church. And as a result, there's going to be conflicts arise within the church as people jockey for position in order to gain the resources.

[00:01:54] And so it's important for us as a board, as a as a leaders to to have that perspective, to have that understanding of of what is the big picture? What is it that to unite the church as we think about all the different ministries in the church, what is it that unites them? What is it that brings them together to accomplish the overall direction the church's is moving? And to answer that, there's really two questions that we need to be asking. And the first question is this Why does the church exist? This relates to the purpose of the church. The second question is what is the church to accomplish? And again, this relates to the overall mission of the church, and that's what I want to deal with in this session, because as leaders, we have to have the big picture. And oftentimes we don't oftentimes we have the little snapshots of what this picture is to be. So let's look at the pages of Scripture to to discern what is it that God wants to accomplish within the church. So let's begin with what is the purpose? Why does the church exist? And to understand that we need to look at really the fundamental purpose for our existence, not only as a church, but even as individuals. Isaiah Chapter 43, verses six and seven, and Isaiah, he gives us really the purpose of our existence. And this fits not only for us as individuals, but also as a church. Isaiah 43, verses six and seven. He says, I will go to the north, give them up and to the south. Do not hold them back. Bring my sons from afar, my daughters from the ends of the earth. Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed in May.

[00:04:04] So he's given this as a as a challenge, really, to all of Israel. He's saying you were brought into existence to bring glory to God. That's the purpose. That's true not only of the nation of Israel, it's also true of the church. Now, the term glory here means to give weight. Its due refers to that which is heavy to that which is of of great weight. If we were to kind of put that in equivalent today. Imagine for a moment we're having a very important discussion and in this discussion someone asks you, what are you talking about? Well, we're talking about some very heavy things. That was a heavy conversation. Well, that's what he's talking about here in terms of glorious that which is important, that which is of great worth and value. So when we're talking about the glorifying of God or bringing God glory, we're talking about ascribing to him his worth, his substance that he is he is a person of great importance and substance. The opposite of that we find in the the book of Ecclesiastes is when it uses the word vanity or meaninglessness or emptiness every in the book of Ecclesiastes, when he says meaningless and meaningless, all is meaningless. He's talking about that which has no value, that which has no weight. The term there literally means that which is a vaporous cloud. It's just it's just there. But there's not a substance to it. And that's the the opposite of what glory of glory is, of what is of great value. So to give glory to God is to attribute to God his worth. And that's really the core purpose of the church. Our ultimate responsibility as a church is to enhance the reputation of God in the world in which we live.

[00:06:00] So as a church, as the world looks at the church and as they see who we are and what we're doing, they they attribute great worth to God. Peter writes this and first Peter, chapter two, verse 12 lives such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. In other words, as the world in which we live with all of its hatred towards the church, when they see the church acting out the reality of Christ's love in the world in which we live, they're forced to acknowledge who God is. And so as a church, it's important for us to always keep our eye upon the reputation of God in our community. What is the church doing to enhance God's reputation? This is especially true in a small church when we're located in smaller communities. What we do as a church influences significantly the community's view of God. If the church is marred by conflicts and division, that will destroy God's reputation in our community. And so it's important that we understand that. It's important when we make decisions and when we talk about what we're doing as a church and when we're dealing with conflict conflicts within the church, it's important that we keep in mind that our task ultimately is to glorify God and enhance his reputation in the community. So every decision we make should be guided by that, as we've already talked about in a previous session, that that's one of the things we need to look at. How is this going to glorify God? The second thing in terms of the overall purpose is the church exists to reveal the character of God to the world in which we live.

[00:08:02] We are God's representative. Scripture calls us and the body of Christ. In other words, we are the physical representation of Christ in the world and in our community. How we live, how we conduct ourselves, reveals God's character so that we are to reflect Him. This gets back to really our understanding of theology when we talk about theology. Our theology is what is our understanding of who God is, what he does, and how we are to respond to him. So it's crucial that we don't have we have a firm theology that we we have a firm understanding of the very nature of God. So we understand His Holiness. So we understand his love. We understand his justice. So that as we reflect to the world in our in our preaching, in our teaching and in our life, we're reflecting adequately the nature of God. But the tragedy is, as we've mentioned before, that theology is has become kind of the the negative byword of the church today. Let's not talk about theology because it's divisive. Well, the problem is not theology. The problem is how we use our theology. The problem is the fact that we oftentimes focus upon, not upon the core uncompromising truth of scripture, that that is the foundation of theology. We focus upon secondary issues where Scripture is not clear, and we use that as a club to beat people with. And the result is God's reputation is is destroyed in our community. But we need good theology. But it's not just an academic theology. It's not just the confessional theology that the theology that we're talking about has to be a live theology. It's a lifestyle so that we're we're taking what we know to be true about God. And it's guiding what we do and how we live not only as a congregation, but also as a church, as individuals in our community.

[00:10:28] So that our Christian life is an outgrowth of our theology. Now, we're going to talk more about that in terms of of what this looks like, in terms of the ministry of the church and the importance that this has within the overarching ministry of the church. But part of our role as leaders is to to oversee the theology of the church. Are we reflecting in our preaching and in our Christian living, the character of God? And if not, then we need to ask ourselves why and what do we need to do to change so that we're doing that? So as we think about the purpose of the church, the purpose of the church, first of all, is to glorify God. Secondly, it's to represent God to the world in which we live. And this brings us to the third purpose, and that is to transform people into the character of Christ. The heart of the Christian faith is transformation. We're not called just to have a great fellowship where we come together and and we have a lot of fun together. And we we enjoy one another's company. We are called to come together to to challenge one another. To become more like Christ. Ephesians chapter one, verse four in this passage. That is one of the great statements of Scripture regarding our salvation. But he makes his statement. He says in chapter four excuse me, chapter one, verse four. He says, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world. A lot of theologians have spent a lot of ink trying to figure out exactly what he's saying there. A lot of debate in terms of election and all those things. And those are important discussions. But in the midst of that discussion, we missed the point.

[00:12:28] Notice the point. He says that all this, the plan of God's salvation that he has started before, even the creation of the world, that he already had this in mind. He says, for he chose this in him before the creation of the world. Why? And here's the key to be holy and blameless in his sight. The whole purpose of our salvation. It's not just to save us from hell and the judgment of sin, but is to transform us so that we become holy and blameless before him. We see it also reflected in Second Corinthians chapter five, verse 17. Second Corinthians chapter five, verse 17. Paul says this. He says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new is calm. Now, I think it's important that we understand the full implications of that statement that Paul is saying that when we accept Christ, he God doesn't just come in and do a minor rearrangement to kind of readjust. Things have gotten out of whack because of sin, but rather so radical is the effect of salvation that it's as though God was making this a whole new creation. That's radical transformation. That's transformation down to the very core of our identity that God goes in and he changes so that we can be like him. It's no wonder then, that Paul makes this statement in Colossians in defining his ministry. Paul says that the purpose of his ministry in clashes chapter one versus 28 and 29 is therefore we proclaim him admonishing, teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. You see, that's a transformational statement, Paul says. That's why that everything that I do in ministry has that one goal.

[00:14:37] And so as we look at our church. The purpose of our church is transformational. That we're here to transform people. To transform them to be like Christ. So. So what does that mean? What does it mean to be transformed? Because. It's not just that we're being changed, but the question is, what are we being changed to? What are we being transformed to? And to find that answer, let's go back to Matthew. And this is a familiar passage, but I want to go back and look at it again in Matthew chapter 22. All right. In answer to the question of what is the greatest commandment, in other words, what is the one thing that God wants us to do more than anything else? And so Jesus responds, and he makes this statement. Jesus says, Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law on the prophets hang on these two commandments. And so he defines for us the essence of the type of character that God wants us to transform us into, that He desires to transform us inwardly to to a people that love him wholeheartedly, entirely, completely without reservation, and secondly, to love others equally as well. So the question then that we have to wrestle with is what does this look like? So let's look at it. What does it mean to love God for he says to love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. What does this look like? What does this involve? Well, turn over to John, Chapter 14 and John.

[00:16:40] Chapter 14. Christ, I believe, defines for us what this means and is interested in this. As we look at this statement, not only do we see him defining what it means to love God, but I believe he also goes to define for us what is spirituality? You know, spirituality is one of those terms that we throw around in the church. And and if if I was to walk into any of your churches and ask how many people want to be spiritual, everyone would raise their hands. But what does it mean to be spiritual? How do we define that? And if we'd asked that question, we get all kinds of response as well. Spirituality means that I live in the awareness of God, that I feel God's presence. Or that I feel good about God. Well, John here, I believe defines for us what that is, as well as defining what it means to love God, He says in John chapter 14, verse 15, he says, If you love me, you will obey what I command. Verse 21, whoever has my commands and obeys them. He is the one who loves me. Verse 23 If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. Verse 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teachings. Chapter 15, verse verse ten If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. Just as I obeyed my father's commands and remain in his love. There is the essence of loving God. Loving God is expressed not through our feeling, but through our obedience so that we're obeying Him. We're living out our life in the constant obedience to him. That's not popular in today's culture today. That's people don't we don't want that kind of spirituality.

[00:18:44] We want a spirituality that provides us easy life, that provides us answers for our life, that makes us comfortable in life. But God calls us to a radical spirituality that's a that's transformational in terms of obedience, so that we're living now in obedience to him. That becomes the measure of our love. And how do we express that love, where we express that love through our worship, that we worship him and we exalt him and we lift him up? And worship is more than just music. Whenever we use the word worship, we oftentimes do so in the context of our music. We say, Well, that's worship. That's just a very small part of worship, but rather the essence of worship. As we look at Psalms, is the proclamation and the adoration of who God is and what He does. That's worship. And as leaders in the church, we need to to lead the church in the worship of God by focusing our attention upon him. And that involves the public testimony of him. One of the easiest ways to get a church choir is just ask people if they have any pray. And he praises. Also, the church gets strangely quiet and yet really, if we praising God, that should be the essence of what we do should be the focus. When we start praising God, we have a hard time stopping because we want to proclaim who God is. But not only is our love expressed through our worship, but our love is also expressed through our dependency upon him. And dependency upon him is revealed in our prayer. Now, we've we've talked about this in previous sessions in terms of the board and how our responsibility as a board is to be devoted to prayer.

[00:20:42] And we're to pray for a church, we're to pray for the ministry of the church. But that's true not only as a board, but it's also true as a church. Corporately. We need to pray and we need to get together that in the book of Acts that says that they they got together regularly to to hear God's Word and to pray. It. Oftentimes prayer is talked about in the church, but it's oftentimes absent in terms of the practice within the church. And so if we love God, we're going to we're going to praise him. We're going to we're going to express our love through dependency, through prayer. And so how then how do we do it? How do we lead the church in terms of developing this kind of love for God? Well, let me suggest you several things. As leaders in the church, we need to make sure prayer becomes more of a of a central part of our of our service, becomes more of a central part of our of our prayer, of our of our ministry and our our times that we get together becomes it becomes part of the lifeblood of the church. So that we were willing to pray together. We're bringing the prayer out loud and we need to set the model. We need to set the standard because the church will only do what we model. And if we're not modeling it, the church won't do it. Secondly, we need to also focus upon the public praise of him. And again, that starts with us as leaders. Do we publicly praise God in our conversation one on one with people? Do we talk about what God has done then in the context of our church? Are we willing to share what God is doing in our life? And then we need to focus upon obedience to Him, not just what feels good.

[00:22:39] We need to challenge people to walk out, to live out their Christian life in terms of obedience. So in terms of the purpose and transformation were to transform the church into a church that loves God, but secondly were to transform the church into a congregation that loves people. Now, there is a great deal that we could talk about here in terms of what it means to love out, to love people. But I want to focus upon several things that I think are critical in terms of the context of the small church. The first is to love people. We need to to accept new people into the church. James, Chapter two versus one through four warns against the dangers of favoritism. And there it's in the context of of social standing. But in a small church, we can we can fall prey to that same danger through our cultural standings. That we show favoritism to people that may have the right social standing in our community. But not only that, but also people that are like us, that people that are like us culturally. And if someone comes in that's not culturally like us, we tend to to ignore them, we tend to overlook them. So we need to look at and see how are we accepting new people. Now, the good news about the small church is its small church is hard to get out of. Once someone is involved in the small church, there is no back door that they can sneak out of. But the tragedy of this small church is sometimes we're reluctant to accept new people into the church, not just to accept them into attending, but to accept them and and get them involved in the ministry of the church and the leadership of the church.

[00:24:36] And our our task as leaders is to make sure that we as a church are inviting and including and accepting new people. So that we're unified within the church. So now does it mean we accept them within but we also maintain the unity of the church? And then lastly, it involves sacrificial service. Galatians Chapter five, verse 13. Paul writes you, My brothers were not called to be free, but work. Excuse me? You, my brothers were called to be freed, but not to use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather to serve one another in love. So we were called to. Part of our calling of salvation is a call to sacrificial service. That means we're willing to sacrifice our time, we're willing to sacrifice our energies, we're willing to sacrifice our dreams. We're willing to sacrifice our agendas. In order to more effectively serve people. And again, it starts with us as leaders. We have to set the model. We have to set the example for people to follow. See, that's the purpose of the church. The purpose of the church is to glorify God. The purpose of the church is to reveal him to the world in which we live. And how do we do that? We do that through the context of radical transformation as we learn to love God and we learn to love people. But now we come to the second question. The second question is what does it mean to. What is the mission of the church? What are we to accomplish? And as we think about that in terms of the mission of the church, we find it in Matthew and Chapter 28, 19 and 20 in the Great Commission says the mission of the church is to go and and make disciples of all nations baptizing them and teaching them in the name of the father and the son, so that we're we're to go and we're to to reach people for Christ.

[00:27:00] We're to disciple them. We're to teach them to be faithful disciples of Christ. And then lastly, we're there to involve them and recruit them and equip them in ministry. That's the mission of the church. Now, what does this look like and the meaning of our time here? I just want to kind of all I'm very briefly a model of what how does how does this implement it in the church? And I believe as we think about this in terms of making disciples, there's four aspects of of making healthy disciples. The first involves growing deep in our relationship with God in John chapter 15 versus one through eight. In that familiar parable, Christ says, I am the vine, you are the branches, that there is this dynamic relationship that we are to have with with the father, where his life is the basis of our life and his life is being lived through us, and so that our life comes from him. God's desire is that we have a in depth relationship, a vital connection with him. And that comes through being grounded in scripture and through prayer. How do we grow deep in this relationship with God? How do we develop this this relationship where we do it through the context of of Scripture and our knowledge of Scripture and in our prayers? And again, this takes us back to the importance of giving biblical teaching in our church, as well as leading the church in prayer. And so if you think about the picture of a tree in Matthew chapter 13, Christ uses the the parable of the the mustard seed, and he says that the Gospel is like the small mustard seed that's planted and grows up to be a huge tree that the birds can find shelter in.

[00:29:05] Now he's talking to me about the growth of the gospel and the growth of the church that it starts with just that disciples. And yet from that it grows into this massive tree that we call the church today. But what? What does that mean? Well, to have they have to have the root system that's growing deep. Where do we get our nutrition from? For our spiritual life. Well, we get it through our prayer and through the word. Then we need to grow strong. Picture the trunk of the tree. The stability of the tree is only as strong as the trunk. If the trunk is weak, the tree is going to become weak. If the trunk becomes rotten. And so we we think in terms of trees and in there there's heart rot where a tree is outwardly looks strong, but inside the heart has become rotten. And so a wind comes along and it breaks off. Why? Because it doesn't have any strength in the trunk. That's where our faith. That our doctor and that our doctor becomes the basis of the stability of our of our church in Ephesians chapter four. Paul talks about this verse 14 after talking about how we're going to be built up in the faith. He says, Then we will be no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Then if we're going to have a strong church, we've got to have a strong doctrinal state, a doctrinal basis that's derived from Scripture. And becomes the stability of the church. So as the wins of doctors, all the different philosophies that assault the church today, the church remains strong.

[00:30:57] So that's growing strong in our faith. And then thirdly, we need to grow up in our character. The goal of the Christian life is not happiness but holiness. And so as you think about this tree and it begins to grow, if all you have is the root system and all you have is a trunk, but there's no growth, it's a dead tree. And so the tree has to grow up. It has to to grow strong and it has to grow, grow. And that's the Christian, that's the character that as we we derive our sustenance of life from from the roots. We grow strong. But then we begin to grow up. We develop character. In Christ likeness. Ephesians chapter four versus 2224 talks about this and he says, You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You are taught with regard to the former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted, is deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your heart, mind and to be put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So that's the character transformation. But again, if that's all there is, we're still not a healthy tree. Because there has to be fruit. Remember the parable or a story where Christ is walking with the disciples and he went up to the fig tree and there's all kinds of foliage and all the tree outwardly looked healthy, but the tree had no fruit. And so Christ condemned the tree and it withered and died. Because it had no fruit. You see that's growing out in service.

[00:32:50] That's the fruit of ministry. There were call to exercise our spiritual gifts for the growth of the the kingdom. So a healthy church not only has a strong foundation in Scripture and always has the solid stability of sound doctrine and its growing and character, but now it grows out into service by serving people locally and then globally. She has a church and that's what a healthy church is to be. So we have to look at our church and look at all of our ministries in the church. And we need to ask ourselves, are we teaching people the foundation of Scripture so that they're deriving sound doctrine that results in a changed life so that we can go out and minister to the people around us? See, that's what we're called to do and everything that we do as a church. Needs to be centered on those four things in terms of the mission of the church, because if we're going to reach people for Christ, if we're going to teach them to be disciples of Christ, and if we're going to equip them for ministry, this is what we how we need to do it. We need to look at our ministries and see the ministries that are grounding people in Scripture. What are the ministries that are teaching good doctrine? What are the ministries that are challenging people to grow now spiritually in terms of their life change? And what are the ministries that are reaching out into the community in which we live? See, that's the mission of the church. The church is called to be a dynamic ministry. To grow and impact the world in which we live. And it's our responsibility as leaders to make sure that we're doing and moving in that direction.