These thoughts are the outline for one of the chapters in the book I am writing “We Lead By Faith”
Share Christian Fellowship.
1 Haven Close, Eastbourne
East Sussex BN22 0PP
Over the years working with a number of different churches and leaderships around the world I am listing out what are key issues that need to be dealt with when recognising and appointing people to a position of leadership in the church. (In fact these principles will work in any situation)
There are many scriptures we could use but the following will give a good base 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 2 Timothy 2:1-7, Titus 1:5-9
Does the person have a proven character that is both good & Godly. Also do they have a good reputation with those outside of church? We realise none of us are perfect but our character needs to be Christ like if we are put in a position of leadership.
This is important for all of us but even more so when are put into leadership. Husband & wife must be united in Christ and in a willingness to serve in the church, if not it opens the door for spiritual attack along with weakening the leadership. (From observation this is a major key to blessings or problems)
If there are children still living in the home then how they are responding to their parents and being involved in the church? all have a part to play, if there is chaos amongst the family then they cannot bring order in the church.
Character is essential but needs to partner with ability. Leadership is about influencing and serving others. People will follow what we do not just what we say. We need to discover what gifts people have both natural and spiritual. Every person in any leadership position needs to have experienced salvation followed by baptism in water and with the Holy Spirit and moving in the gifts. Also they must be able to handle the word of God, to teach and disciple others. Acts 6 should be the normal “Full of Faith & Holy Spirit” One of the keys is that the person is not only willing to serve but is already serving without public recognition, also people in the church are responding to and respect them.
Many people have both the character and gifting along with a desire to serve but their problem is time. Because of other pressures like work, family commitments, study or distance it is very hard to be available to serve in the church. Dealing with this requires wisdom as it may be that other things have to be adjusted or changed in order to make them available to serve. They need to realise that to serve in church requires sacrifice of time on their part which can affect the family.
Willingness to serve in any way in order to meet needs: Co-operate with other leaders avoiding division and being loyal to each other even when we disagree on an issue:
Confidentiality at times issues that are being discussed will need to remain confidential, sometimes we will may not be able to share it with our wife or close friends.
Need to protect yourself from people who think that because you are a leader you will give inside information or promote their interests.
Teachable spirit, anyone who comes into a leadership position and “knows it all” is a dangerous person who will probably cause division.
Many people come into a leadership position but land up frustrated because they do not understand what is required of them, in the leadership, church meetings but also outside of the meetings serving and helping people. We must continually communicate this to them, also it is good to spell out what they can expect from the others leaders as well as the body of the church.
This is very important if people have joined from another church or moved into the area. People leave one church and join another for a variety of reasons. We need to find out why people left, because if they left with unresolved issues or out of rebellion to the leadership, eventually that will crop up again. If possible it is always good to speak to their previous pastor to make sure they have no issues with them. How people respond to and submit to authority determines how they will fit into the existing structure. It is always good to explain how you all work together and what you do when you have genuine differences of opinions etc.
Earlier I stated that these were some of they key issues that we need to be clear on in order to avoid problems. One leader said it is very easy to “lay hands on” someone to put them into leadership but it is not so easy to “lay hands off” someone to take them out of leadership. Also we need to make sure that new leaders hold to and understand the vision of the church along with our values and statement of faith.
This is the final point and perhaps the most crucial one we can work together on an agreed vision but the key that keeps us together is strong relationships that are worked in us by the Holy Spirit. We will need to spend time together in worship, prayer, work, fellowship, sharing our hearts and also eating and relaxing together. These are foundation blocks in taking individuals with leadership ability and moulding them into a team.
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