In the church family, every follower of Jesus is a member, every member is a minister and every minister is a leader.
For me, leadership is not a job description, it is a character trait. However, the problem with my definition of functional leadership is that it cuts across the grain of conventional-wisdom and practice in our churches. We all know the old idiom, “too many chefs in the kitchen spoil the pot.” Or some may be familiar with the less politically correct adage, “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” But does this sentiment really apply to the church? I would guess that most people think it does. A reader on my blog, More Than Cake, when confronted with my definition, wrote me and said,
“Joe, I agree that every believer in a member and minister, but everyone a leader? Sure, every believer could become a leader – but You seem to be miss-using the term “leader.” By its simplest meaning – in a group, the leader is the ONE person who is leading – out in front with both the authority and responsibility of decision. The others are “followers.” Without this distinction, then no one is really the leader and the group goes nowhere. see ‘committee’.”
Unfortunately in our Western culture, we prefer to think of leadership as referring to the “one person” making decisions, calling the shots and telling others what to do. I think, however, Jesus saw leadership as something deeper. Biblical leaders serve, sacrifice, and lead by example rather than force. In a healthy church, there is not “one leader,” but a fellowship of many leaders.
1. Leaders of a Different Kind
The goal of making every follower a leader in the church, does not mean all leaders have the same authority or the same purpose. A leader is…
…a teenager who influences their peer group at school
…a gal who takes initiative and leads a women’s Bible study
…the couple who hosts a home group and models hospitality
…the teenager who organizes others to serve in the community
…a woman who demonstrates integrity at her workplace
…an older man instructing a younger man in the ways of Jesus.
…my 7 year old son who gives leadership to his younger brothers,
…and yes, a leader is even the Elder who teaches and oversees the Body as a leader among leaders.
2. Leaders for a Different Time
Leadership is not a permanent job status. A mature Christian can step in and out of a leadership role depending on the situation. A leader can lead for a season and follow in another season of life. According to the book of Acts, Barnabus began the First Missionary Journey as the leader-prophet, but eventually Paul became the leader-teacher of the mission.
I know some men who have served as pastors for years, and now they have moved out of pastoral ministry into other areas of leadership. They may no longer have the “up-front role”… yet they are still great leaders, just in a different role.
3. Diversity of Leaders for a Diversity of Groups
Leadership happens in different spheres of influence. I can lead my church as an Elder, but if I go on a missions project that someone else puts together, I don’t step in and take control. According to God’s design, I allow the other person to be the leader, to set the agenda, to give direction, to speak, etc… Ultimately, even as an Elder, I am still just one brother among the many and can accept direction, honor others, be a servant, and foster leadership of others.
In summary, the church can never have too many leaders because biblical leadership is not the job description of a CEO, it is not the idea of “one man commands and everyone listens.” Biblical leadership is a character trait of a mature disciple. The role each one plays within the Body is very different, but in Spirit-gifted church, every follower is a leader and every leader is still a follower.
Dr. J.R. Miller is a former planter and now professor in California with his wife and three sons. He is an author and avid blogger. You can reach him at either www.MoreThanCake.org or www.EmergingLife.org.
Lately there has been a lot of shifting in the internet marketing community. Google is slapping overly optimized affiliate websites out of existence. Facebook has taken over as the most visited website online. It seems like more and more that social media is the weapon of choice for online traffic. Has social media marketing become the next online king?
In the past the most popular marketing strategy was search engine optimization. The problem with SEO is that it is not interactive and it definitely is not viral. A website still needs to be optimized in order to rank online, but when a visitor arrives on the site, they are now influenced by social signals.
The power of social media marketing is exhibited by its viral nature. The “like”, “Google +” and the “follow” button is more than just a click of the mouse. Every time these buttons are clicked, the message is made visible for all friends and followers. The search engines have also join the social media bandwagon by tagging search engine results with social signals as well.
Web developers can no longer ignore the power of social interactions. That is the reason why any website online today is not complete until social media buttons are implemented. When a visitor arrives on a website to notice that a few of their friends have already “liked”, are following or “Google +” that site, it is the equivalent of a personal recommendation.
This trend has also spilled heavily into the business world. All the top businesses including CNN have social media pages with Twitter, Facebook and now Google. The businesses that are not taking advantage of these tools for whatever reasons are leaving money on the table for their competitors.
The reason why social media has taken over the business world is simple; People like to do business with people they know. Socializing online helps to bring a human side that a website alone can not bring. When a business owner post pictures of their family on their last vacation, or a joke of the day, it helps to give a potential customer a personal insight into the people they will be doing business with.
Furthermore, news networks have become reliant on social media for more than just branding or marketing. Social media websites in some instances have also become the first source of news that is happening right now. This was truly evident during some major news events like the Haiti earthquake. Many of the images were sent via Twitter and Facebook.
In my opinion, social media is the undisputed king of online marketing, branding and breaking news. For all the affiliate marketers that are being slapped by Google, have no fear. The clear answer is to create quality content that people would want to “like”, “Google +” or “follow”. Once you follow those guidelines, the search engines will not have a choice but to rank your site high in the rankings because the people have spoken.
Marc Marseille has been marketing online since 2006. He currently is the owner of Front Page VIP an internet marketing consultant company for local businesses in Atlanta. You can read more about Marc’s online marketing techniques by visiting http://optinemaillists.org.
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” ~ Robert Browning, ‘Andrea del Sarto’
One of the most common frustrations of ministry is our desire for things to happen faster than they usually do. We may think they should go faster (and perhaps according to some standards, they should), but they don’t.
How do we react? Do we redouble our efforts? Do we work to motivate staff to do more? Do we take projects away from volunteers and staff and drive them forward ourselves?
It is hard for us to recognize and cope with the fact that the delays may be of God. ―God’s timing‖ truly ―may not be our timing‖ as much as we hate to hear it.
Ted Engstrom has a good reminder in the old classic ―Renewing Your Church Through Vision and Planning‖ from the Christianity Today ―Library of Leadership Development‖ series.
Engstrom notes that when he became frustrated with ―the gap between what we think should be done first and what we can actually do, it usually arises from the pull between priorities and our ability to move the resources needed to attack the priorities.‖
He talks about his three foundational priorities in his life.
1. Bedrock for Engstrom is his relationship with Jesus Christ. (as I hope it is for all of us).
2. Second is his commitment to the Church.
3. Third is the work that God has given to him. That work ―rises directly from my commitment to Christ and his church.‖
Engstrom notes ―Usually, if I appear to have a conflict, a clash between what I think I should do first and what I’m actually able to do because of the people involved, I need to examine these levels to see if my priorities are in the right order. This forces me to put people before programs. If I find myself frustrated in driving toward a goal, I need to check and see if I have put level three before level two. Have I put the work of Christ ahead of the body of Christ? That’s very easy for any of us to do, especially in light of the fact that our families are part of the body.‖ (p. 160)
Here are four red flags Engstrom uses to keep us out of the ditch of misplaced priorities.
1. Are my motives pure? Why do I want to accomplish a particular task or promote a program? Will it make me look good? Will it move me up a rung or give me a little more leverage?
We may frown at the idea that we could be less than sincere, but motivations are complex. We all struggle daily against the desire for recognition and power. The same program, for example, that will comfort the sick may also score points for the pastor. This is where our human reasoning often fails us, and we need to ask the Spirit of God to search our hearts. This is a time to pray as David did, ―Search me, O God, and know my heart … and see if there be any hurtful way in me‖ (Psalm 139:23–24, nasb).
2. Do the goals of the program fit my theology? Time magazine told about a church in Florida that runs a bar in its parish hall. The pastor believes it brings people together in a good setting and contributes to the life of the church. That’s an extreme example, and most of us would fault the practice. But the issues are often more subtle, and while we’ll always have well-meaning people who will think up off-the-wall programs, we must test all proposals through the grid of our theology. If we don’t—and find ourselves stymied along the way to implementation—perhaps we have skipped this important question.
3. Will the program enhance the lives of the participants? A ministry to the medical complex might change the lives of many patients, but it may also jeopardize the workers. We have to ask whether this or that program will put novice Christians in leadership roles,
tempt the weak with celebrity status, or pull mothers and fathers away from their children one more night of the week.
These are tough questions, but they provide the checks we need to avoid putting level three before level two.
4. Have we been seduced by our culture? Do we have a numbers orientation? Are we prone to think bigger is automatically better? Has society’s worship of size, success, speed, production, promotion, and glamour crept into our evaluation of church programs?
I don’t like to think along such lines. I LIKE to think that my priorities are always upfront and known to me. But, they’re not. Sometimes God has to slow me down IN ORDER to make me reevaluate. Or simply to have think time.
Or simply to be reminded that He is God…and I am not.
What do you think? Drop me a line & let me know.
Dr. Calvin Habig ministered in local congregations for thirty years and currently does professional coaching with ministers and other value-driven leaders. He lives in Portland, OR. For more information, visit Cal’s website at http://www.calhabigcoaching.com/