Pages Menu
Categories Menu

5. The Leadership Challenge

Print Friendly

The Leadership Challenge!


INTRODUCTION: The Need for Leadership in today’s church

  • The greatest gift God can give His church is gifted leadership (Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-12; 1Pet 5,2; Heb 13,17)
  • Most churches today are not being led, they are being managed. The difference is this: “Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing” (Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge, p. 21).
  • Illustration: Life Cycle (A church’s health is directly related to the health of it’s leaders)
  • What is a leader?

–          A self-defined person with a non-anxious presence (He knows himself)

–          Someone who influences others to accomplish God’s vision for the church (He motivates others to take action)

–          The difference between a leader and a follower is perspective (He communicates the “know-why” and the “know-how”)

–          He is results-oriented, outcome focused (He strives for effectiveness)

–          He has 20/20 vision: near-sighted and far-sighted. Illustration: Bi-focals

  • Note: “If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll get what we’ve been getting”.




Fact: Most people see hindrances where God sees opportunity (IL. The twelve spies. Ten reported only the predicable. Two saw God’s opportunities – Jud 6:22-27; 7:2-22).


A.    God and Jesus had great visions for their people


God called Abram to be the father of a great nation through which salvation would spread throughout the entire world (Gen 12:1-3). God promised to make a dynasty out of David’s lineage (1Chron 17: 10-13).



I will make you fishers of men (Matt 4:19)

I will build my Church (beginning with Peter) and the gates of hell will not withstand it (Matt 16:18-19).

Jesus is transfigured before his disciples, thereby granting them a glimpse of His glory (Matt 17:2-8).


“Where there is no vision (revelation) the people cast off restraint” (Prov 29:18)


B.     What is a God-given vision?

A vision is catching sight of what is not yet reality, but possible through faith. God’s vision of His preferred future is always above and beyond our means and capacity to fulfill. The realization of this kind of vision can only be met by divine provision.


Five characteristics of a God-given vision (George Barna):

  1. A clearly internalized mental picture
  2. A welcome change (contrary to the Status Quo, results in improvement)
  3. A future focus (not anchored in the past)
  4. Given by God (His will for His kingdom and how He wants it to be built)
  5. Communicated through a chosen leader


C.    How is a God-given vision developed?


It is the answer to three questions:


1. Who are we? (What is our history?)

2. Where is God leading us in the next three to five years? (This is focus)

3. How will we get there? (Goal-setting and planning)


Illustration: Summits and resources


Three important components to developing a strong vision for the local church:


  1. Mission: This is the general program of God as seen in His word and expected of every church (e.g. Great Commission, church health and growth, church planting, evangelism, discipleship). Note: The mission is not enough! It is too general to be inspiring.


  1. Vision: The specific application of the mission through the local church (strategic, verifiable, e.g., a small group in every district of our city, everyone gets cared for, and no one cares for more than ten, every four years a new daughter church planted).


  1. Urgency: Urgency is the mother of need. Urgency answers the question: “Why do we need to act?” Without a sense of urgency people are not motivated to change. Without change there can be no growth. Without growth plateau and decline are inevitable.


Excursis: Ways of developing urgency


  • In older churches, revisit the circumstances surrounding their beginnings. Why was the church planted to begin with? How? What did it cost the core group to do it back then? Note: This is an attempt to reawaken the spirit of courageous beginnings for the present situation. “We need the same courage and faith today!”


  • Highlight the present spiritual need of our area. How?

–          Count the number of bars/ taverns and compare them with the number of evangelical churches in the area.

–          In a 20 km radius around the church, calculate the seating capacity of all evangelical churches taken together. If every church were filled to current seating capacity, how many would still be unreached?

–          Interview a non-Christian about his reasons for not believing. Show it to the church and begin praying for the tens of thousands who that particular non-Christian represents.

–          Interview a relatively new Christian, asking him what kept him from God and the church for so long.

–          Have church members determine their oikos (relational network). Add the numbers together to gain a picture of the “potential church”.


  • Motivate from the Bible

–          As Jesus saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion (Matt 9)

–          Paul was willing to surrender his salvation, were it to lead to the salvation of his Jewish brethren.

–          The shepherd left the 99 to seek the one lost sheep.

–          Hell is a real place.

–          Sowing and reaping are biblical principles


  • Develop a Vision-path (write it in a document)


–          Focus in on three to five results in the next three to five years

–          Begin with the end and work backward setting manageable goals.

–          Choose a word picture that would best transmit the vision succinctly.

–          Openly and honestly discuss the risks involved.

–          Delegate responsibilities to individuals.

–          Meet regularly to monitor progress.

–          Celebrate victories along the way

–          The pastor is the guardian of the vision and the chief vision-caster!




New leaders don’t just happen. They must be purposefully and skillfully identified and trained. In many churches raising up new leaders is not done purposefully. Yet the health and growth of the organism are dependent upon this. Doing ministry well is not enough. Every effective minister should be training others to do what he does well. The key to quantitative growth (growing tall) is enlarging the leadership base (growing wide). Illustration: Triangle.


Illustration: Three types of leaders


Illustration: Cell Group – Leader and Co-Leader


A.    Scouting potential leaders


Leith Anderson: Leaders are made via three components: opportunity, experience, and development. But where to begin looking for a potential leader?




Character qualities:

  1. Faithful
  2. Available
  3. Teachable
  4. Truth-telling
  5. Sensible
  6. Energetic


Spiritual qualities:

  1. Open heart toward God
  2. Servant’s attitude
  3. Uses his spiritual gifts
  4. Shares Christ with others


Relational qualities:

  1. Able to listen well to others (“listening is loving”)
  2. Respected by others


Convey strategic vision to potential leaders

  1. Begin with a vision of a preferred future (results-oriented)
  2. Underline the importance of the ministry to the overall objectives of the church
  3. Tell him/her why you believe they can accomplish the task
  4. Assure them of on-going training


Shepherd them into ministry incrementally


Six steps:

  1. The new leader observes the experience leader as he ministers
  2. Evaluative conversation ensues (what was done and why)
  3. The leader observes the new leader as he takes on one segment of an assignment
  4. Evaluative conversation ensues (strengths and areas of improvement discussed)
  5. The leader finds ways of turning weaknesses into strengths
  6. The new leader is given full responsibility of leadership


Important: On-going coaching of the new leader is essential!


Six elements of coaching:

  1. Personal well-being (How are you doing?)
  2. Reflect on progress made since last session
  3. Praise all progress
  4. Discuss further hindrances and barriers to reaching future goals
  5. Discuss options available in surmounting obstacles
  6. Set goals for the next month


Important: Schedule time and place for the next coaching session!




Who is a good leader? A good leader is someone who strives to become a better leader! He can only become better if he purposefully attends to his own leadership progress. The most difficult for the leader to lead is the leader himself! How does the leader grow?


1. By prayerful reflection on his own leadership

2. By requesting honest evaluation and feedback from followers and coworkers

  1. By reading good books on leadership
  2. By taking on new and more challenging leadership assignments
  3. By taking formal leadership training