Friday, April 3, 2009

Leadership Development - Better Pastors

One day Moses’ father-in-law and mentor, Jethro, came for a visit to see how the exodus was going. He saw that Moses was overwhelmed, the people weren't being cared for, and the newly formed nation was coming apart at the seams. He gave Moses some excellent advice:

"Select capable men from all the people – men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain – and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens." (Exodus 18:21)

Moses saw the wisdom in his father-in-law’s advice. He broke the nation of Israel into small groups and community-size groups, and he commissioned leaders over them. He continued to be the primary vision-caster and the one ultimately responsible for the direction of the children of Israel, but he entrusted the day-to-day care and feeding of the people to trusted leaders. You might say that Moses created the first example of plurality of leadership or small groups.

The key to success for Moses’ effort is the same for any church today: leadership development.

Finding, training, and deploying effective leaders are essential to successfully building a church. It seems simple, but people often underestimate the importance of leadership.

While different churches handle staffing with a great variety of approaches, one role common to almost all successful models is that of pastor – the term most commonly used today to describe the leader who will convey the DNA of the church, recruit the core team, develop the new leaders, and carry on the ministry.

Here are some key DNA ingredients:
  1. practical life-giving messages
  2. a sense of God’s power in worship
  3. a relaxed nonthreatening atmosphere
  4. excellent children’s ministry, and
  5. relational small groups

Many people feel the success of the church rises and falls on the leadership of the pastor. The importance of the effective execution of this role cannot be overstated. Following are four tips for selecting and developing better pastors:

  1. Know what qualities you are looking for in a pastor. Churches with experience in developing pastors tell me they look for these qualities:
    a. A leader who completely buys into the church’s vision and is loyal to its senior leadership
    b. A team player with strong relational skills
    c. A team builder who can reproduce vision in others
    d. A pastor, someone with a desire and heart to shepherd groups and individuals
    e. A flexible entrepreneur
  2. Develop an intentional and accessible process. It helps to develop a leadership pipeline that carries people from attender to member to small group leader – with continuing development to pastor. The process must thoroughly integrated use of an online strategy for greater access to the associated tools and tracking mechanisms. God has presented us the best technology today that man has ever known to accomplish this today.
  3. Remember that leadership development is more relational than anything else. One error that we often make when looking at leadership development is to mistake a program or class with building leaders. When Jesus developed the 12 men to whom He would entrust the most important mission of history, he didn't send them to a class or put them through a program. Jesus developed his leaders by hanging out with them, eating with them, and experiencing life with them. The most effective means of leadership development is sitting around a dinner table, sharing the ups and downs of life. One of the reasons that development must be relational is that one of the variables in growth is timing. “Mentoring is not dumping all you know onto the protégé,” says church management consultant Bob Biehl. “It’s finding the teachable moment to ask, 'What are your plans?' and 'How can I help?'" Most leaders grow on a need-to-know or need-to-grow basis. Unless you have a pastor who understands leadership and group dynamics, the growth stops. If a ministry doesn't have strong leaders, it falters. In short, churches face a leadership-making challenge because ministries cannot grow or stay healthy without leaders. Teachable reflection is one of the factors that leads to the formation of great leaders.
  4. Take advantage of the various communication tools available. Many of them are free via the Internet. Use videoconferencing and teleconferences to connect pastors and trainers located in different parts of the country. This saves travel costs and allows you to meet as often as needed, focus on upcoming concerns, and enhance the sense of community.

What say you? (Click "comments" below.)

[Based on an article by Greg Ligon]

5 Ships Needed to Take Your Church into the Future

One of the most common mistakes made by leaders is changing courses too fast. A church is a lot like a ship. If you turn too fast, you will turn the boat over.

The sea of life if full of sunken ships that would have survived if the leaders would have transitioned instead of forcing abrupt and immediate change. Change is not accepted merely because it is needed. Many people know things need to change, but would rather settle for mediocrity than venture into the unknown seas of an uncertain future. People will only accept change if their leader has enough influence, track record and integrity to ensure a safe trip into uncharted waters.

Changing a church requires at least 5 ships: Leadership, Worship, Discipleship, Stewardship and Fellowship.

  1. Leadership - Unless the leaders are on board, change will be resisted and confusion is imminent. All of the questions have to be answered among the leaders, before the visions is cast to the rest of the congregation. Corporate vision casting should never catch your leaders off guard.
  2. Worship - The key to a successful worship service is flow. A worship service that doesn’t have constant interruption points gives you a seamless experience with God. A service with flow gets you into His presence, and there your mind can be changed. Change must be perceived as spiritual growth. Nothing says that like a seamless flow in a worship experience.
  3. Discipleship - Solve your problems in the smallest possible component. The quickest avenue of change is through small groups. Your discipleship program not only gives you the best results for personal growth, but also provided the perfect vehicle for corportate growth. Vision trinkles down from the top. As the leaders cast the vision, the small groups leaders can have unprecedented influence in creating positive momentum.
  4. Stewardship - The first question concerning change is, “can we afford it.” Churches have got to start thinking outside the offering plate. Growing churches need to create income streams that fuel their ministry budgets. A stewardship plan up front makes a huge impact on how people perceive ideas for change.
  5. Fellowship - The larger a church becomes, the better it has to do small. Connectivity is the key to cohesiveness. Never underestimate the power of a night of eating, laughing and enjoying each other. The church is in the relationship business. We create an environment where individuals can have a personal relationship with God and the family of God. Friends can change the hearts of another friend much quicker that the best ran campaign.
    All Aboard!

[Bryan Cutshall]

Today's Quote

"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people." -- Lee Iacocca, Auto Executive

Is the Glory of God Central To Your Church Plant?

I just spent an amazing week walking and worshiping God in the hill country of central Texas (which is prettier than this boy thought it would be … please forgive me, Texas!).

(Every pastor and/or church planter needs time away to recharge.) When you get away from the city, leave the laptop and cell phone at home, and run after God it’s amazing how fast He catches you!

One afternoon, while I was basking in His glory in a meadow, it struck me that I can’t honestly remember the last time I remember a Church Planter telling me, “I want to plant a church for the glory of God.”

I think we sometimes assume too much when we assume all churches are being started for God’s glory … and not our own.

Who’s getting the glory in your church plant?

[Guest Blogger: Bobby Vaughn, Church Planting Director - NorthWood Church]

Celebrate Easter at a Bible Theme Park

Fields of the Wood

Murphy, North Carolina

Celebrate Easter at Fields of the Wood!

Saturday, April 11th

All Day Singing

Easter Pageant beginning at Sunset (Activities will begin at around 11:00 AM)

Sunday, April 12th

Sunrise Service at 7:00 AM with breakfast following at the Fields of the Wood Worship Chapel


Gift Shop - Burger Mountain Café - Picnic Areas - Nature Trails - Baptismal Pool – And More!

10000 Hwy 294 – Murphy NC 28906
828-484-7855 or 423-559-5100


Six Stages of Attitude Change

  1. Identify problem feelings
  2. Identify problem behaviors–what actions result in negative feelings?
  3. Identify problem thinking
  4. Identify right thinking–what is the thinking that is right and what you desire?
  5. Make a public commitment to right thinking–public commitment becomes powerful commitment
  6. Develop a plan for right thinking (written definition of right thinking)
    a way to measure progress
    a daily measuring of progress
    a person to whom you are accountable
    a daily diet of self-help materials
    associating with right-thinking people

[John Maxwell]

National Day of Prayer - May 7

Greetings from the National Day of Prayer Task Force!

As Chairman, I want to encourage you to mark Thursday, May 7th on your calendar and take time to pray for our country on that day. Our theme for this year's National Day of Prayer is "Prayer … America's Hope!" It's based on Psalm 33:22, which says, "May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You."

This is an extremely critical time in America's history. From economic pressures, to the ongoing threat of terrorism, to the unraveling of our culture's moral fabric, many people are dealing with a deep sense of uncertainty and apprehension.

Visit, to find local events, connect with other volunteers in your area, download prayer resources and participate in our online video contest, where the winner and a guest will join Honorary Chairman, Beth Moore, and me in Washington D.C., for our national NDP observance. In addition, the winning inspirational video will be aired on GOD TV, which is available in more than 200 countries around the world!

The video contest begins on Monday, April 6, and concludes on Friday, April 24, 2009. Michael W. Smith will kick off the contest with a special announcement which you can watch on

There are many other ways you can get involved:
- Join our LIVE online prayer room every Thursday at Noon CST
- Request free devotionals
- Sign-up for weekly prayer tips via email
- Support Regan Smith, driver of the NDP and Furniture Row race car at NASCAR's Talladega event on April 26th
- View GodTV's LIVE webcast and television coverage of the National Observance from Washington D.C. from 9-noon EST on May 7th.

Again, I hope you will join with our Task Force and millions of other Americans on Thursday, May 7th, to observe the 58th annual National Day of Prayer.

Thank you, and may GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Shirley Dobson, Chairman
National Day of Prayer Task Force