bits from bob....

Empowering Leadership--Structures for Encouraging and Enhancing Ministry

by Robert J. Young
Main and Oklahoma Church, McAlester, Oklahoma
July 21, 2002
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
"This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed...whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, thought he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain...." (Mark 4:26-28)

Note: This article is the third in a series of eight articles which discusses church growth. The first article introduces seven essential ingredients for "automatic" church growth. The following articles summarize the quality characteristics.

The quality, growing church is characterized by an effective leadership which equips the entire church for ministry (Eph. 4). Effective leadership provides a framework for the effective functioning of the body of Christ. Effective leadership leads. Effective leadership facilitates partnerships in ministries.

Effective leaders (elders, deacons, pastor-teachers, evangelists) weave together the body of Christ for effective work. The familiar word used for this process is equipping. Elders are not mere decision-makers, but are teaching shepherds/overseers. Deacons are not officials nor are they the only workers. They are ministering servants, helping the body minister in works of service. Evangelists function according to their gifts and the needs of the body--prophetically, in encouragement, teaching, challenging (2 Tim. 4:2). Pulpit ministers (whatever that means biblically) must return to evangelism and broader ministry concepts. Teachers are not information imparters but models and mentors, spending time with students outside the classroom, teaching by example.

The leadership style of Scripture is bottom up, servants of all leading the way by demonstrating Christianity. This approach focuses on people more than projects, relationships more than results, and teams more than individuals. This style is empowering, not authoritarian. The leadership tasks include encouraging, equipping, supporting, motivating, mentoring, and delegating.

According to this church growth model, leaders spend the majority of their time in discovery, discipling, development and delegating (Matt. 28:20). Such leaders are spiritual but not superman or superwoman.

Does this describe the church and leadership structures where you worship? Church growth studies indicate the value of this empowerment model. More important, the Bible clearly describes this bottom-up model of servant leaders. Let's talk about it!

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Last updated July 17, 2002.