Church leaders

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by Stan Mitchell

“Every nation,” declared French philosopher Joseph de Maistre, “has the government it deserves.”

Do churches have the leadership they deserve? The kind of leaders we have does, I contend, say something about ourselves.

Do we foster and develop leadership in our congregations? Are our young people grounded and developed in God’s word?

Are congregations developing men who will one day be on the mission field, in ministry, or elders? How do we as a people ensure good leadership in our churches?

Here are some suggestions:

Ground them in the word of God. At home, and in Bible class, teach them God’s will. Remember, in the church we are not developing leaders, we’re developing spiritual leaders!

Let your children know the importance of worship and Bible class. Do so by asking them what they learned from class. Do so by being there and participating yourself.

Be a part of what happens in church. Attach yourself to a ministry or a program. Members who constantly criticize what takes place are invariably those who contribute little. The ones who row the boat usually do not rock it.

Foster and support those who lead. Do so by lovingly cooperating with their efforts. Do so by occasionally patting a gentle hand on their shoulder and thanking them. Do so by praying for them. (When is the last time you spoke a word of encouragement to one of your Sunday school teachers, ministry leaders, and the secretary? Has it been a while? Has it ever happened?

Remember that leadership in the church is not like leadership in the world. There are entirely different paradigms for each. “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” may be an effective slogan for a worldly corporation, but our motto must be

“Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26,27).

We are not developing leaders according to the model of Donald Trump; we are developing servant-leaders on the model of the carpenter from Galilee.

Begin by developing yourself. That is the quickest and most legitimate way to “improve” a congregation. Improve yourself.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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