Training for the ministry involves both academic and practical education. Although the formal portion of my practical education starts this year, I have spent enough time in churches to identify some issues worth mentioning.
One of the biggest crises facing the church in the area of leadership. In my opinion this crisis applies equally to both lay leaders and ministerial leadership. There are many in leadership who seem to forget who the church belongs to. The church certainly does not belong to the pastor, to the deacons, or even to the membership, but there appear to be many in leadership who forget that. So, whose church is it? Let's look at Matthew 16:18:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.Notice that the verse does not say "I will build the church" or "I will build a church." Jesus states pretty clearly that he is going to build his church. My point is that those in leadership should not do with the church as the wish simply because they have the "power" to do so. Every decision should be made only after prayerful consideration and study. Being a church leader is a huge responsibility, a bigger responsibility than we can possibly handle on our own. We need to remember that all of us are "servant leaders" and that we should only help the church go where God wants it to go and should not blaze our own trails.
So, how do we know if we have made the wrong decision? If the decision has to be kept quiet, it is probably the wrong decision. If the decision has to spun in order to be presented to the church, it is probably the wrong decision. If a board, committee, or staff decide to do something that they believe is contrary to will of the church as a whole, it is probably the wrong decision. If you decide to take an action simply because it is the recommendation of the senior pastor, another minister, chairman of the deacons, or someone else in authority without seeking the will of God, you probably made the wrong decision. Finally, if you make a major decision without taking the time to pray about it first, chances are very good you will make the wrong decision. If more than one of the above is true, you definitely made the wrong decision.
To be continued...