Leadership Training and Growth Important

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When we put leaders on pedestals, like as though they’ve arrived, we’ll likely find ourselves disappointed when they fail to live up to those expectations perhaps even disillusioned and ready to quit the church. What we tend to forget is that leaders, like us, are human beings. We’re all in process.

Leaders can deceive themselves into believing they’ve arrived which makes them feel superior to others, leading to pride. That puts them in a vulnerable position as “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). What they tend to forget is that just like everybody else, they too are in process.

The Apostle Paul, perhaps one of the greatest church leaders to live, said,

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)

What Leaders Mustn’t Do If They’re Going to Stay in Process

From Philippians 3:12-14, we can learn as much from what Paul did not do as from what he did do. He …

did not think too highly of himself. (“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect”, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it”)

did not rest on past accomplishments. (“forgetting what is behind”)

did not coast through his leadership efforts. (“I press on”, “straining toward”)

did not function with a narrow perspective. (“press on toward the goal”)

Leaders Must Continue Training and Growing to Stay in Process

The Apostle Paul acknowledged that he had so much more to learn and grow for he didn’t use a mere human or worldly standard of leadership. Rather, he said he wanted to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. That’s a standard of Christlikeness to which we will never attain but we can keep growing and advancing toward it.

Elsewhere Paul referred to the Christian life as a race. He said, “Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. ” (1 Cor. 9:24). Strict training is intentional and continual. Runners can’t stop training, thinking they’ve arrived, and expect to win. Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). That’s a goal with an eternal prize which we won’t fully realize until eternity. It’s therefore a goal that requires perseverance (Heb. 12:1), “straining toward what is ahead” (Phil. 3:13).

Are you a church or ministry leader who realizes that you have not yet arrived? Check out the site, TrainChurchLeaders.com, developed by Ministry Tools Resource Center, for church leaders wanting to stay in process.Leadership Training at TrainChurchLeaders.com

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Ministry Leadership Resources and Ideas

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Resources abound to help equip and provide ideas for today’s church and ministry leaders. We just need to know where to look.

The Best Source of Help for Ministry Leaders

While God may use a variety of means, like those that follow, our best resource is God Himself. What a difference it makes when we line up all we do with the character of God as described in His Word. We can learn from His heart and ways as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. — Check out this devotional: The Ministry Worker’s Devotional: A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Best Source of Leadership Resources Begins with Fear of the Lord
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov. 9:10)

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:9)

Other Means God May Use as Leadership Resources

A variety of avenues exist from which leaders can learn. Here are four suggestions with what we need to remember when seeking help from these sources.

  1. Learn from other churches and ministries’ experiences.

Remember, though, to tailor what you do to the specific needs and resources of your group (Prov. 27:23; 1 Cor.9:19-23).

  1. Learn from books, articles, and online posts.

Remember, though, to filter all that you read through the grid of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Thess. 5:21).

  1. Learn from the wise counsel of others.

Remember, though, to always seek God first (Prov. 16:1, 9; Matt. 6:33).

  1. Learn by trying new ideas to see what works.

Remember, though, to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6).

If what we learn from these sources isn’t consistent with God’s character as described in Scripture, we need to abandon the idea immediately. But, even if it lines up with God and His ways, we still must seek Him further as to whether the idea is right for our church or ministry. Even the best ideas aren’t good if God is not leading us to implement them in our church or ministry. Just because God blessed someone else who did it, doesn’t mean it is right for us. Let’s make sure we’re submitting to the Lord and not merely following our own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6).

Go Here for Some Resources and Ideas: Church Leadership Resources

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Leaders & Teachers, Avoid Stagnation

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Stagnation happens in bodies of water when the water stops flowing or moving. Stagnated water can lead to contamination, becoming a breeding ground for insects, bacteria and parasites which leads to disease and possibly death. Because that’s a dangerous situation, hazardous to health, we should avoid stagnated water. And, we should also avoid stagnation from developing in the Body of Christ.

When Churches Become Stagnated

Stagnation happens in bodies of believers when teachers and leaders become satisfied with status quo. They basically stand still, making little headway. Soon the church becomes unhealthy, no longer able to offer a cup of life-giving water to others. Some of these churches eventually die.

Leaders can plateau, maintaining rather developing or moving forward.

Teachers can get stuck in ruts, using the same methods over and over.

How Church Leaders and Bible Teachers Avoid Stagnation

Think about what it takes to prevent water from stagnating. We can draw similar parallels for what it will take for leaders and teachers to avoid stagnation.
Be Teachable, Keep Growing to Avoid Stagnation

  1. Movement: We’ll prevent stagnation by keeping the water moving, stirring it up. We set goals, based on prayer and constantly work toward them, always looking ahead to what God wants us to do. Stagnation isn’t an option. — “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on …” (Phil. 3:12-14)

Instead a resting in the way we’ve always done things, we try new means, or methods, of accomplishing the same task. We keep seeking to get better and to reach more. We never stop learning but take the time to keep growing.

  1. Drainage: Letting water seep out as new water comes in can help avoid stagnation. And so, we invest into people’s lives rather than simply run a program or teach a class. We reach out to others beyond our group, giving to them from the vast reservoir poured into us. As we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), so we bless others. — “Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matt. 10:8)

Are you taking steps to avoid stagnation?

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Starting Point for Training Ministry Leaders

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Someone commented on a previous post about ministry training that they want to train leaders but find it overwhelming on where to start. Though training should be tailored to specific needs in one’s church or ministry, the response given to this comment may prove helpful to all. It suggests a starting point for training ministry leaders applicable to all of us wherever we’re located, whatever the size or makeup of our church or ministry, and whoever the leaders might be.

Make the Big Picture the Starting Point for Training Ministry Leaders

While we should provide training specific to the ministry leader’s area of oversight, it can be helpful to first provide the framework on which to hang the particulars. The big picture lays the foundation for what we do. Here are two factors that should infiltrate and guide all we do as leaders.

1) Our Purpose

Individual ministries will have specific purposes for which they exist which must be understood. But, God provides an overarching purpose that applies to all ministries — to love God with all of who we are and to love people (Matt. 22:37-40). Our purpose to love is so important that no matter how spectacular our ministry might seem, we gain nothing without love (1 Cor. 13:1-3).

The following links will take you to resources for a group of up to twenty-five so you can provide training for all ministry leaders at a greatly reduced cost. They are also available for a single copy.

A Starting Point for Training Ministry Leaders Might Include Our Big Picture Purpose

2) Our Standard

Of utmost importance, is that we learn to do ministry God’s way. He is our Standard. The Word provides overriding principles that should be applied in whatever capacity we might serve. These are principles leaders should apply in their leadership but also should encourage both paid and volunteer staff to pursue.

Resource: Key Elements to Doing Ministry God’s Way

These two factors are important for leaders to effectively oversee their own areas but also to pursue a coordinated effort among all leaders so the whole Church heads in these directions.

Also Provide a Broad Look at Biblical Leadership

Who does God tend to call into leadership positions? How do our spiritual gifts affect the way we lead? How do the basics of our life in Christ affect the way we lead? What challenges might we face? How might we as leaders affect the church’s culture? How do we measure ministry success?

Resources:

Then Help with Training Related to Specific Areas of Oversight

Once again it might be helpful to begin with the big picture for that particular area of ministry. What are some of the specific tasks and needs? Where should the focus be? What is the potential?

Check out the Ministry Manuals Related to the Following Ministry Areas:

Christian Education
Nuts & Bolts, Serving Types of Ministries
Outreach
People Helping Ministries
Prayer Ministry
Shepherding
Staffing
Teaching
Worship

If it seems too overwhelming to provide training for all the different ministry areas, start with the greatest areas of need. As you are able, provide training for other areas. Sometimes you just need to start small and build on that.

Leadership Training Also Needs to be Tailored to One’s Setting and Leaders’ Needs

At some point, you would need to provide training that would be tailored to your specific ministries and leaders’ needs. However, beginning with the big picture, as well as a broad understanding of biblical leadership and specific ministries, often gives leaders sufficient foundation upon which to build and head in the right direction. During that kind of training, specific needs tend to surface, making the next step or direction for further training obvious.

If you’re interested in developing future leaders, go to: Developing Future Church Leaders: The Training Process

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Different Types of Leaders to Help Us Accomplish God’s Work

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Training Category: Leadership Ministry
God's Handiwork to Accomplish God's Work

Though we aren’t saved “by” good works (Eph. 2:8-9), we are saved “for” good works in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10).

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God not only planned out what we should do but also provided the help we need to accomplish His Work through gifted leaders.

How God Used Different Types of Leaders to Help Us Accomplish His Work

We can identify three different types of leaders based on spiritual gifting who each contribute in special ways to the accomplishment of God’s work.

  1. God has provided us with shepherding types of leaders, with the gift of pastor, to build people up to prepare and equip them to do those good works.

People matter because “we are His workmanship”.

  1. God has provided the Church with administrative types of leaders, with the gift of administration, to help us effectively implement the tasks God has given us to do.

Task matters because we were “created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD works”.

  1. God has provided visionary types of leaders, with the gift of leadership, to help us see what those good works might be.

Goals matter because we aim at what He has “prepared in advance for us to do”.

Learn More About These Different Kinds of Leadership Approaches:

The Leadership Ministry Manual includes content similar to this page plus more. It considers how these leaders affect church life in general.

The Balance in Church Leadership Based on Spiritual Gifting resource looks at how the different leaders approach various leadership tasks and responsibilities.

(Both of these resources can be ordered together in the Balanced Church Leadership Bundle for a more comprehensive view. Or, you can get either of them separately.)

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Fulfilling God’s Purpose to Love

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Training Category: Church Purpose

Loving God and people, what Jesus identified as the Greatest Commandments (Matt. 22:37-40), has always been God’s intent. What has changed, however, is that the Christian has a greater motivation, a greater power, and a greater confidence “to live a life of love,” as commanded in Ephesians 5:1-2, than those in previous ages. While we will always have more to learn about loving as He loves, it is possible that our “love may abound more and more” (Phil. 1:9-11).

The Church’s Ability to Fulfill God’s Purpose to Love

Our Motivation:

Prior to the church, people could only look forward to the highest example of love — the death of Jesus. We stand on the other side of the cross, looking back at what He has done. We have a fuller understanding of what love is which becomes a source of motivation for us to love as He loved.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 Jn. 3:16)

Our Power:

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised His disciples the Holy Spirit who would come and permanently dwell within them. The Spirit always existed and always worked but in the Old Testament time He came on people temporarily as the occasion required to do a work for God. As we live by the Spirit within us, we will “not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” but rather exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, primary of which is love. We have a Helper within us unlike those in previous ages.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)

Our Confidence:

When Jesus died, the veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in half symbolizing the direct access we now have to God. We no longer must go through the human agent of a priest. We are direct recipients of all God has to give us. That builds within us a boldness to approach God’s throne and a confidence to love as He loves.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.(1 Jn. 4:16-18)

Do the Greatest Commandments to love God and love people form the basis of your church purpose?

Learn to Fulfill God's Purpose to Love in the Church Purpose Ministry Manual

Learn more about God’s purpose for us to love God and others in the Church Purpose Ministry Manual. There you will find the content in this post as well as benefits of making this your church purpose, obstacles you might encounter, using a purpose statement, the practical outworking of this purpose, plus more.

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