The Importance Of Leadership Training in the Local Church

The Importance Of Leadership Training in the Local Church
By Rev. James Smith

How important is it? Consider this. Early in Jesus’ ministry, he chose out 12 men who would become his disciples. His purpose in choosing these 12 men went beyond their need for salvation. His vision was that he might make them “fishers of men”. Jesus understood immediately upon starting his early ministry that his role was to not only bring salvation to this world, but to also raise
up others who would do the same after He was gone.

What would happen to the church or ministry the Lord has given to you should you be removed from the picture today? Is there someone you have been training to do your job? Have you mentored anyone to take your place? Or have you like most ministers been so busy doing your fathers business that you don’t have time to train other leaders.

Jesus understood that this was paramount to all he did in this world. He realized that unless he mentored these 12 men, all he accomplished in this world was in vain as there would be no one to continue it after he left.

Many ministers don’t see the need to raise up other leaders in the church. In fact, many ministers view this as threatening to their own position in the church. Can I suggest to you that this is “small thinking”. Whose kingdom are we working for anyway? If it is ours, we will lose it. If it is God’s, we will gain it. Small thinking hinders revival.

We all so often can find fault in our congregations regarding the lack of growth in the church. We point out all the ways they fail in outreach and preach them into a level of guilt that kills their joy stymies their efforts to share Jesus. Yet, we need to ask ourselves honestly, how many people do we pull aside on a weekly basis to mentor and raise up?

It is a fact that our church will only grow to the level that it’s leadership is able to minister to. A single man or woman will never effectively pastor a church of 200 or more people. It is impossible. A single person can only effectively pastor 70-80 people “if” he is full time. Someone one would say, “But I don’t have time to train other leaders in the church”. Can I say to you, “This should be the first thing you are doing.” You might say , “but I am too busy teaching, preaching, praying for the sick and ministering to the needs of others.” Can I ask you something? What would be so wrong with raising up 5-10 men in your church to do most of these things or even do much of the teaching and some of the preaching for you?

Jesus took his focus off of the multitude on occasions to focus on his 12. He sent them out to do what he had been doing all along. Did they do it exactly like he would have done it every time? Doubtful, but they did get the job done and in greater measure than He alone was able to do it. Jesus understood that 12 was more than one. Do we really understand that? Or do we think “I” am the only one who can do this job. “I” am the only one called to do this job. “I” am the only one anointed to do this job.

The kingdom of God would benefit greatly if we would ask ourselves, “What can I do to cause others to come under this burden, anointing and calling.” “Share the Love” is a common phrase in the world today. I have a new catch phrase for the church, it’s “share the load.”

I used to view a good church leader as someone who is able to do everything that needs to be done. A kind of Super Man type pastor or a Moses who judges the people all by himself. However, this type of ministry is limited to this one man or woman’s time, gifts, abilities.

I now view good church leadership as someone who is an orchestrator or director of ministers and their ministries within the local church.

I’m not so sure a Pastor has to get up and preach every service to effectively minister to the congregation. In fact, it may be possible that the folks could use a break. Nothing satisfies a congregation more then seeing one their own come up into the ministry. We are so afraid at times to let a younger minister get behind the pulpit. We are so worried of all the mistakes they will make. I don’t know about you, but I’m still embarrassed about the mistakes I made in my first messages 20 years ago. Thank God somebody saw enough in me to say, “I’ll give him a chance.” A congregation will likely overlook the mistakes or immaturity of one of their own.

Often a pastor would rather send his young preachers out somewhere else to preach the first few times. There are some advantages to doing this, but can I suggest that no church will overlook nervousness, mistakes, and youthfulness like a young ministers home church. In fact, can I also suggest that you may be causing harm to another Pastor’s church by sending a young minister out
without properly training and exercising him behind the pulpit.

Ask yourself today, “What am I doing to raise up good leaders in the church?” Do you have a plan of action? Do you meet regularly with a “team” of people who you are training to help you carry the burden of ministry?

Recently while speaking along these lines to another Pastor, he replied to me, “Jim, I wouldn’t know how to raise up leaders in the church.” He also said, “I’m barely able to do what I am doing now.” This man stated two problems that every Pastor faces.

One, he has not been shown how to mentor and train others how work in the ministry. Two, his time is already stretched. This Pastor’s second problem will be reduced when he solves his first problem. If we can somehow learn to raise up other leaders around us, our own load will be lessened and we will be better positioned to do what God has really called us to do.

Your calling is a great calling, this is sure. However, it’s important to realize that He has placed within our reach, people who He expects us to bring along side us in this work He has called us to do.

From Newsletter
Nov. 30, 2004