Tag Archives: Leadership sermons

The Cost of Spiritual Maturity.

         Christians follow others for many reasons. Personality, charisma, doctrine, integrity, social status, etc. The reason most people follow a Christian leader is because of the relationship with God that is evident in their life. All great Christian leaders have one thing in common, a genuinely intimate relationship with God that is obvious to all.

          The reason God sent Jesus was to restore man to an intimate relationship with Himself. The message of the Gospel is one of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of relationships. It is the removal of all barriers that stand between God and man. Jesus is our peacemaker. If a Christian is not continually growing in this revelation, and living out this truth, he/she is not able to reach their full potential as a leader. 

Ephesians 2:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

          A leader’s influence should be used to bring others into a deeper relationship with the Father. Deep down this is what we all want. This can only be done by example first and teaching second. It is impossible to lead someone to a deeper relationship with God than you have personally experienced. No matter how good a teacher we may be. we can’t lead anyone to a place we’ve never been. Jesus said of Himself; “I am the way, the truth, and the life… John 14:6

If we don’t know “The Way,” we can’t show the way.

          Jesus is the example of leadership that we must follow. We can look at His life and glean many leadership principles that we can live by, but I will only address one main principle that we see Him practice throughout the gospels. The practice of being intimate with the Father.
          There are no shortcuts to intimacy, it costs time, discipline, effort, devotion, and commitment. Above all, it requires a love for Him. Pursuing intimacy with the Father is the greatest indication of our love for God and the greatest investment we can make in ourselves and others. Our faith will only rise to the level of our love for God.

          Jesus paid the price to restore our relationship with the Father. Are we paying the price to nurture and develop that relationship? This is a question we all must answer for ourselves. Intimacy with God is what leads us to maturity. Many Christians follow others because of their “spiritual gifting,” not understanding that gifting can easily be manifest without spiritual maturity.

Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

          Our identity is not found in our gifting or our calling, but in our relationship with the Father. Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is not who we are, it is how we were created to serve. We must find our identity in our loving relationship with the Father, not our gifting.

          Disciples are made when people willingly follow you, and your living example. If you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father, what are you reproducing? Do we really need two or more like you?
Our priority should be a growing relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace being alone with God and pursuing intimacy in that relationship with the busyness of religious activity.  Another trap is to allow our “quiet time” or “devotion time” with the Lord to become a lifeless activity where we go through the motions and never connect with God on an intimate level. We can read a daily chapter or two, run through our laundry list of prayer requests, and never take time to be quiet and listen to the one we are talking to. I have been guilty of this myself. It is tragic to become lifeless in our devotions to God and call it a relationship.

            We can learn about God from reading and studying the Bible, but to truly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, and listen to Him.

          Jesus set our greatest example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is always necessary.

          If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to truly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, and listen to my responses, spend time with me. It is the same with God.

          When intimacy becomes a lifestyle, reading the Bible takes on new dimensions and bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through His divine nature, we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word. This is when the scriptures begin to come alive for us.

          The Lord taught me a powerful lesson about who I am, and I would like to share it with you.
I pray often that God would live in me and through me in fullness. That people would see Him in me. I remember some time ago, ministering to a lady on the phone one day, she asked me if I was a Pastor. I said “No, my wife is a pastor,” The Lord then spoke to me in the middle of this phone conversation and said, “But I Am a Pastor, and if you deny Me that expression in your life I can’t answer your prayer to live through you in fullness.”

          God was showing me that titles and labels don’t define who we are, He does. Many times we limit His expression through our lives because our words and beliefs are not aligned with His heart. It gives us a twisted view of our identity. Intimacy with God not only gives us an understanding of who He is, but it also shapes our beliefs and gives us an understanding of who we are in Him.

          Who we think we are, must come second to who He wants us to be at any given moment. He showed me that He is the embodiment of the five-fold ministry and if we will maintain intimacy with Him and be sensitive to His desires He will be free to move through us and touch lives in ways that we could never do through our strength and ability.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

          Without intimacy. we will not produce the fruit of who He is in our lives. May we grow in this wonderful relationship until we love as He loves.

          As we seek Him, we will find Him. As we draw close to Him. He draws close to us. As we embrace Him, He will embrace us. We love Him because He first loved us. He proved His love by laying down His life for us. May we lay down our lives for Him. He is worthy

          He is worthy of our attention, our affection, our life, and He is worthy of our death should it be required. He is worthy!

Christian Leadership Development #7

The Skill of Delegation

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          As the ministry grows, the necessity of delegation grows as well. The need for delegation arises when we reach our own natural and spiritual limitations. When a ministry becomes more complex, a point is reached where the leader is no longer able to cope with every aspect of the ministry on their own, realizing that neither time, nor their own efforts, are adequate to meet the needs of the people they are leading. Before this point is reached a plan for delegation should already be in place.

          The inability or unwillingness to delegate to others can stall ministry growth and produce burnout in the senior leaders. This is a common mistake that small ministries make and many times it is the reason they stay small.

          A great analogy for delegation is, “the ability to score without touching the ball.” Learning to accomplish things through others involves the skill of delegation. It is an imperative part of effective leadership.

Self-Awareness

self awareness

          The Art of Delegation begins with self-awareness and an honest assessment of our own limitations. Identifying the areas where we are weak will help us target the right people with the right graces and abilities to compliment the ministry. No one likes to admit they have areas of weakness, but the reality is we all have them.

          An honest self-assessment can be difficult and usually requires the input and feedback of other leaders and peers. If married, our spouse can be a huge asset in this department. The point is, we don’t just trust our own point of view because our perspective can often be filled with blind spots. We all have blind spots and we need others to help us see from a broader point of view. The need for delegation is often a blind spot with many leaders.

          In Exodus 18 we see a powerful example of the need to delegate. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he came to a point where Jethro, his father-in-law, had to point out his need to delegate responsibilities. Moses was sincere, but the need to delegate was his blind spot.

Exodus 18:13-23  And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”

15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”

blind spot

          Bearing the burden of ministry yourself is never God’s plan. As individuals we are not capable, even with God’s help, to fulfill all He has called us to do. We are called to community and relationships. Every part of the body has a role to play, a function and purpose that will help edify the body as a whole.

          Every leader must come to the realization that he needs to surround himself with solid relationships that he can share the load of ministry with. This is the only way to fulfill God’s plan.

          There is a powerful truth in Ephesians 4 that will help us understand this.

Ephesians 4:16 – From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.

          A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. It is the RELATIONSHIP between the parts.

          A healthy joint (relationship) causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be.

          It is the relationships between the parts that bring the needed supply for ministry growth. If relationships are healthy, every part in place effectively working and doing its share, growth and edification in love is the result.

          This is why it is so important to be deliberate and intentional about who you delegate to. Maintaining a healthy relationship with those to whom you delegate is essential for success.

effective-delegation

Some Guidelines for delegation:

  • Delegate early.  

Make an effort to delegate responsibilities early to avoid unnecessary pressure. This avoids undo stress on the leader and sets up the person you are delegating to for success. Waiting until things get to the point of neglect makes it difficult on everyone involved.  

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ~ John C. Maxwell ~

  • Select the right person.

Ensure that the person has the character to represent the ministry and the time to take on the responsibility. Before sending them out to tackle the new responsibility, make sure the person has all the training and resources needed to succeed.

“Delegate to people who are better than you and let them do the work. Look for people who will aim for excellence and not settle for anything less than the remarkable.” 

  • Set clear goals and expectations.

Be clear and specific on what is expected. Give information on what, why, when, who and where, but leave the “how” to them. Don’t be too concerned about how it gets done, but that it gets done right and on time. Confirm and verify goals and expectations on a regular basis and get updates on progress. This gives you an opportunity to give needed feedback and encouragement.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton ~

  • Delegate authority with responsibility.

          Giving people the authority to make certain decisions, use their own creativity, and even recruit others to help accomplish the task allows the person to take ownership of the responsibility and shows that we value their opinions and trust their judgment. This helps maintain a healthy relationship and grooms them for leadership.

          It is frustrating to be given a task and no authority to make decisions on how it gets done. Micro-managing every task we delegate will run people off and prevent us from building a strong leadership team. The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.

“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” ~ Craig Groeschel ~  Founder of Life Church

  •  Evaluate and recognize performance. 

          Evaluate results more than methods. Celebrate the wins and give credit where credit is due. Analyze the cause of any insufficient performance but don’t be too quick to take a project away from someone. Rather, continue to work with the person and ensure they understand the project to be their responsibility. Give advice on ways to improve and be willing to be a resource yourself. This sends a message that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed. This approach inspires people and ensures dependability.

“No Leader will build a great ministry that wants to do it all themselves or take all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie ~

          Delegation is one of the most essential requirements for a successful ministry. It is the key to fulfilling God’s vision with excellence and provides an opportunity for others to de­velop their skills and abilities, gaining enough competence to fill higher positions in case of need.

          Every person we lead has amazing, God given gifts and talents. Delegation is a great way for people to function and develop in their gifts. This promotes growth in the individual and brings healthy challenges that stretch their faith and empowers them for Kingdom use.

“The greatest leaders are those who empower others.”

Question: What are two reasons that delegation is important?

Question: Why is self-awareness important when delegating responsibilities?

Question: What are two areas you are weak in?

Question: Can you name three guidelines for delegation?

Question: What was Moses “blind spot” in Exodus 18?

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Christian Leadership Development #6

Communicating Grace

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            Once we have given our due diligence to skillful listening, we enter the arena of communicating grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and can be easily defined as,

“The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”

            Grace is God’s influence, not necessarily ours. Keeping in mind that God’s influence, should be palpable in our speech will keep us humble, gentle, and conscious of what is being imparted in our conversations.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

            The word corrupt in the previous passage simply means, “Worthless and of no value.” If our words are not ministering grace to the hearer, it shouldn’t be coming out of our mouths. We should constantly be judging our words before we speak, asking ourselves, “Is this going to edify, help, and bless? Am I truly speaking from the Lord’s perspective, or just mine? Is my tone right, are my motives pure?

grace05            As leaders, we must understand that God uses us as a mouthpiece to speak to others. God does not take this lightly and neither should we. The Bible is replete with scriptures about the power and significance of words and the effect they have on our lives. What we say and how we say it can literally be ministering death or life to a person.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

            This reinforces the importance of being a skilled listener, but even more so, the importance of our own intimate relationship with God. Our spiritual condition has a profound effect on our ability to communicate the heart of God.

Love is the license to speak truth

            An area I see young leaders often miss it is in their delivery of truth. Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a double-edged sword. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “putting them in their place.” Let me explain:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            Many times this scripture is used to justify the Bible bashing, finger pointing, and judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. Usually it is a self-centered, self-righteous assault on people that comes from not understanding their identity in Christ, and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits.

            Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8. So we can conclude that if the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

nausia.03            Let’s say you love a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak. It may be your favorite food in the world, but if I serve it to you wrapped in a dirty diaper you aren’t going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

            If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot we may need to stop and reschedule a time to finish the conversation, giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader. Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

silence speaks

“When we speak, be sure it’s an improvement on silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

            Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently so as to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill, it is a discipline.”

Question: What is the definition of grace as it pertains to communication?

Question: What defines a “corrupt” word as stated in Ephesians 4:29?

Question: What are 3 things to keep in mind before we speak?

Question: Before we speak, what should our words be an improvement on?

Question: What license must you have before you can speak on God’s behalf?

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Christian Leadership Development #5

Skillful Listening

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            Great leadership depends on effective communication. A leader who cannot communicate well will not lead very well or for very long.

            In his famous prayer, St. Francis of Assisi asked God to help him to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

listen1            Understanding doesn’t come by talking, it only comes from listening and learning. Being a skilled listener is the most important part of being a great communicator. Learning to hold your tongue is a valuable skill for anyone, but for leaders, this is a must.

James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

            To be quick to hear and slow to speak means having both humility and respect for others. It means you take the necessary time to sincerely listen to people instead of just voicing your opinion.

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3 Keys to effective listening:

  • Listen to God

            Good communication with people starts with good communication with God. After all, it is His people we are ministering to. Always keep in mind that we are the gift He has chosen to give to the people. Like St. Francis, if we will prayerfully seek Gods will and direction before ministering to others, inviting His involvement, and be mindful of His perspective, we will tap into His wisdom and better express His heart in any given situation. If leaders will first practice this in their prayer life, the fruit of it will show up when communicating to others.

            When leaders don’t first communicate with God they tend to lean too much on their own understanding or their own strengths and abilities. This often leads to trouble, like misunderstandings, offenses, broken relationships, and eventually burnout. Trusting in God brings good direction and success.

            Leaders must learn to first communicate with God before they even consider communicating with people. Don’t find this point to be over-stressed, it’s not. That’s the order that will produce the greatest level of effectiveness and success.
            So often in the church we find too much counseling of others without first seeking God. Too many meetings in which the church’s affairs are discussed without first seeking God’s guidance in prayer, and far too many decisions being made without adequate preparation in prayer, and yet we still expect God to bless it.

           Prayer is the most important part of any leader’s life. Not their talents, not their gifting and abilities, not their personality and charisma, but getting direction from The LORD on how to proceed.

“He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” ~Aristotle~

            The BEST leaders are ALWAYS the best followers of Christ. If a leader is not being led by the Lord, where and how is he leading those who are following? To be an authority with dynamic influence we must submit to God’s authority and invite His influence. Christians follow leaders primarily because of their relationship with God, a relationship that is birthed and cultivated in the secret place but is evident to all.

  • Listen to people

listen3.jpg            Listening to people is more than just hearing words. Listen with our eyes when people are talking, pay attention to how they enter a room, to their tone, body language, eye contact, emotions, and any emphasis on words or phrases. Listening to people is about gathering information so we can provide the proper response. If we pay close attention and let people do most of the talking up front, the proper responses will usually become clear. Many times from the one talking.

Proverbs 18:13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.

            Give people plenty of time to share their thoughts and don’t interrupt. Interruptions send a message that we don’t value what they say. If we’re going to truly understand a person’s situation and honor them properly, we should always let them fully express themselves. Silence can be our friend. A nod and a thoughtful look will many times keep them talking and bring out more important details that they may be hesitant to share. The skillful use of silence can do some heavy lifting in a conversation.

A great little rule to keep in mind is:

“When we speak, it should be an improvement on silence.”

            Making a habit of weighing what we say against the current silence will prevent us from speaking harshly or out of turn. It avoids offence and protects relationships.

Beware of the lobbyist.

            Some people are not looking for answers or council, they are just lobbying for agreement. If a person uses phrases like, “God said, or God told me,” don’t get trapped into a debate or argument. If God truly did say something, that leaves no room for us to argue or disagree and we need to make that clear to them. This puts the responsibility of their future actions squarely on their shoulders.

            We can ask questions like, “are you absolutely sure that God spoke to you?” If they insist that He did we can council them to be patient and pray for God’s will, timing and purpose to prevail in the situation, but we shouldn’t speak against what they believe God said unless it blatantly opposes God’s Word. On the other hand, if they are sincere and submitted to leadership, using language like, “I think God is telling me this, or I believe God is directing me to,” then we have an open door to lead and council.

  • Listen to your heart

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.

“Give your heart time to tell your mouth what to say.”

            There is tremendous power in being slow to speak. It shapes the atmosphere, transforms relationships and allows us to hear the Holy Spirit speak to us before we speak to others. It’s so easy, when someone comes to us in a hurricane of emotions, to write them off because of their delivery and not listen to what they have to say. It’s times like this, we really need to lean on the Holy Spirit for patience, love, and grace so that we don’t respond in kind.

listen“Good communication is a two way street. Good communicators promote an equal amount of traffic in both lanes, understanding that the listening lane is the first one traveled.”

Question: Why is listening important when communicating?

Question: What is the first key to effective listening?

Question: What percentage of time do you spend listening when in prayer?

Question: How would you describe the communication in your prayer life?

Question: On a scale of 1-10 how would you rank yourself as a skilled listener?

Question: What can you change to raise that number?

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Christian Leadership Development #4

  Developing Culture.

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Culture = the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterizes any organized group of people.

Culture identifies what is important to a body of believers, reflecting the vision, values and purpose of the assembly. A well-defined culture promotes momentum, creates unity and provides stability.

            With culture, everything rises and falls on the leadership. Leaders provide more influence in shaping a church’s culture than any other factor and the senior pastor/leader is the key player when it comes to establishing culture.

3 ways leaders shape culture:

1) Leaders shape culture through personal influence.

            All leaders must embody the culture in which they are endeavoring to establish. Culture is always established within the leadership team before it can be effectively established in the congregation. Once there is unity of culture in the leadership team you can begin to cast the vision of culture to those following. Remember that establishing culture is a marathon and not a sprint.

2) Leaders set direction and cast vision.

culture2            The focus of the congregation on its future and direction is vital to the success and health of the ministry. The vision of the church must be well defined and consistently emphasized. Not with long wordy explanations, but with short concise statements that embody the culture of the ministry and speaks to who you are as a people. The skillful use of language and terminology is a powerful tool. Language impacts the way people think and behave, what they value, and ultimately what they begin to believe. It is the belief in the vision that the leader is after and being creative in how you cast vision and set direction shapes culture faster and more effectively.

3) Leaders equip the saints and hold God’s word in the highest regard.

Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ          

            The purpose of 5-fold ministry is to equip the body to do the work of the ministry. Not all leaders are 5-fold ministry gifts, but all leaders are called to help equip the saints. Great leaders shape their church’s culture in ways that reflect obedience to the Word of God. The most powerful way to shape or change a church’s culture is through teaching what God’s Word has to say about the church. Associate pastors, team leaders and department heads should be knowledgeable in the Word, emphasizing what is spoken from the pulpit and inspiring the flock to run with the vision of the house.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            In order to change the behavior of a church, the values of the church must first be changed. To change the values of the church, the beliefs of the church must be changed. The most effective way of addressing people’s deeply held assumptions and wrong beliefs is to teach God’s Word. Many people will not change what they believe simply because the pastors and leaders believe it. They must be shown from the Bible why they need to change.

            Great leaders always demonstrate to the people that the change they are proposing is rooted in scripture. This helps them recognize the need for change and see that the authority to demand that change goes beyond the influence of the pastoral leadership and comes directly from God.

            Developing a culture where the Word of God is final authority is the only solid foundation to build upon. Taking time with your leaders to help define the culture of the house will produce much fruit in the future.

            Don’t be rushed into defining your culture. Have leadership meetings to discuss ideas and hold it up as a prayer target. Visit other successful ministries to experience their culture. Read books on church culture. Give a survey to the faithful, active members of your congregation and get their feedback. Allowing these people to have a voice develops influence. You don’t necessarily have to follow their suggestions, but allowing them input gives them a sense of belonging and importance that makes them feel like they are a part of the process and an important part of the ministry.

3 important questions to help you define your church culture:

1) What do you care most about as a ministry or congregation?

important            The truth is, you can’t care about everything. This doesn’t suggest that there are some things you actually don’t care about, but helps you understanding that each ministry and every local assembly has a specific role to play and a specific mission to accomplish. Your church/ministry is a part of the body, not the whole body, and each part needs to focus on, and emphasize the things that God has assigned to you specifically. Clearly defining God’s assignment is the foundation upon which culture is established.

Here are a few questions that will help identify what is important to your culture. 

  • What has God put on your heart and the heart of the leadership team?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What keeps you awake at night because you feel something must be done?
  • What ministries are currently thriving and effective?
  • What ministries are non-negotiable?

            2) What are you doing about what you care about?

            What you do is an expression of who you are. Selecting what ministries you do and don’t do plays a major part in setting the culture. It’s not enough to say “we have a heart for the homeless,” what are you actually doing about it?

James 2:18-20 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

  Culture is an expression of your faith, a reflection of your beliefs. What you do, and don’t do, from missions to local outreach, to how you embrace first time guests, to developing leaders all plays a significant role in shaping your culture. You don’t need to tell visitors what your culture is, they experience it. What you do from the parking lot to the pulpit shouts culture.

            Every ministry will find its own cultural expression. Culture is impacted by things like age demographic, location, and ethnic mix. Also, style and preference play a big part. Is your church more casual or formal? What is your style of worship? Don’t worry too much about these factors, they will develop naturally. It is what you do about what you care about that sets the culture.

3) How do you do ministry?

            It’s a given that churches do ministry differently. Leadership style, theology, ministry priorities, finances, etc. will naturally cause the leaders to practice ministry a little differently from church to church. How you do what you do sends a message about who you are.

            Every church should strive for excellence in ministry in every department, from the cleaning team to the worship team to the leadership team. Excellence is simply doing your very best with every task, every function, in every area, and every department. Your best is only your best until you can do better.

            If you are starting a ministry you may have all the responsibilities, from cleaning the toilets to preaching from the pulpit. This doesn’t excuse you from excellence. You should give Christ your best in every situation and if you start with this attitude it will be easier to acclimate others to a culture of excellence as they come on board.

Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

            This has a huge impact on culture. Excellence, as with most things, begins and ends with leadership. Leaders should regularly be asking themselves, “Can we do better?” As more staff and volunteers are added and more resources become available the level of excellence should evolve and become more apparent.

excellence

            Excellence is a mentality that requires constant training, emphasis and maintenance. People can easily slip into the “it’s good enough” mentality. This shows a lack of understanding about what they are doing and why they are doing it. A congregation will never rise above the level of excellence portrayed by their leaders so it is your responsibility to model excellence in everything you do.

When culture is healthy and well defined, it prepares you for growth and success in ministry.

3 things that happen with a well-defined church culture:

1) Evangelism will increase.

            People will love being there and talk to others about the amazing church they attend. It creates a desire within the body to invite others to get involved. Your church will become attractive to the community and make it easier to fulfill its vision.

2) Spiritual growth increases throughout the body.

            People flourish in the place of their assignment. A strong culture creates a sense of belonging and inspires people to get involved, taking ownership of some portion of the ministry. This allows people to develop and use their gifts and talents causing growth and strength in the individual. In turn, this develops strong, healthy relationships and edifies the body as a whole. One of the most rewarding things for leaders to witness is growth and health of their followers. This is what makes leadership exciting and rewarding.

3) It attracts great leaders.

            Up and coming leaders will join themselves to the ministry. This creates a pool of leaders to mentor and disciple which will prepare you for future growth and additional ministry outreach.

Question: Can you define the culture of your ministry right now?

Question: Who sets the culture of a ministry?

Question: What systems need to be in place in order to define your culture?

Question: What is happening right now in your ministry that does not reflect your culture?

Question: Is excellence in ministry a focus of the leadership?

Question: What areas of ministry can you do better with minimal effort, and why aren’t you doing it?

Question: What changes need to take place within your leadership team?

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC