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On Thursday, September 1, you will be able to read Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, and I suggest you do if you’re involved with your local church.
Eric is my boss (well, one of them), and I manage his blog as part of my job at LifeWay. Does that mean I’m biased? Of course it does. But if I didn’t like his book, I just wouldn’t write about it.
In the last week, I’ve sped through Designed to Lead and think it is a gift to the leadership of the local church.
I’m part of a “book club” of sorts at LifeWay that reads through business leadership books and talks about them. As I’ve read Designed to Lead, I have come to think this is like if a secular business leadership book and a church leadership book had a baby. It is a helpful combination of theological truths and leadership development principles.
One of the primary theses of the book is this: “The Church is uniquely set apart to develop and deploy leaders for the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel.”
That is not to say the purpose of the Church is to develop leaders; the purpose of the Church is to make known Christ and the gospel to all peoples everywhere. But, in the Church’s Great Commission work is the need for leaders and leadership development.
The Church is unique. It is unlike any other corporation or organization. Geiger and Peck write:
Because the core of sustaining and transforming leadership is the Church, no organization should outpace the Church in developing leaders. Why should we not be outpaced? No other gathering of people has a greater mission, a greater promise, or a greater reward.
Indeed, when the Church is developing leaders, they’re developing them toward an eternal purpose. The leadership of a Christian leader resounds throughout eternity because the leadership of a Christian leader is purposed to make much of who God is and what he has done. Non-Christian leadership terminates with this life. A leadership legacy not rooted in the God of the universe dies with the leader.
This was one of the most compelling ideas in Designed to Lead for me. My life changed significantly when I began to view everything I did with an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one. We should have such a posture toward our leadership.
The people who make up the Church of God are driven by an eternal purpose unlike anyone else in history. This eternal purpose necessitates the need for leadership development. Further, the leaders developed by the local church should look different from leaders developed elsewhere; again, because of this unique, eternal purpose.
As I was reading Designed to Lead, I was reminded of one of the most common misunderstandings I regularly see in the local church. Many people who go to church on Sundays think that it’s the pastors’ job to do ministry and the attenders’ job to be ministered to.
This is incorrect, though.
The pastors’ job is to equip the saints to do the ministry.
The typical American worship service perpetuates this false idea, many times. You and I show up to church, the worship pastor ministers through music, the lead pastor ministers through preaching, the executive pastor ministers through announcements, and we all go home. Until I was in college, I just assumed this was how church worked. “Super Christians” served in Sunday school or led community groups, but 99% of the ministry of the local church was to be done by the pastors.
The problem with that idea is the Bible.
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And he [Jesus] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
Jesus gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers not to do the work of ministry, but “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Pastors, being saints too, are to do ministry. But the saints, or the Christians in our local churches, are just as responsible to do ministry as pastors are.
This all applies to leadership development.
If you hope to develop leaders in your churches, you cannot expect the pastors and staff to do all of the work. In the same way that pastors need volunteers to help lead small groups, Sunday school, and other such ministries, pastors need help developing leaders.
Geiger and Peck write near the end of the book, “The Christian faith has continued to advance because the Lord has continually raised up new leaders to disciple others.”
Yes and amen.
Pastors, lead your church to be full of people to develop leaders. You cannot bear the burden of leadership development alone.