How do churches raise up leaders who will take the baton and lead faithfully in the next generation?
After my first year of full-time pastoral ministry, this is something I’m wrestling with and seeking to do well. The call to leadership development is clear for leaders in the church: we are told to pass on the faith to others who can do likewise (2 Tim. 2:2) and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). The power is in the people and the quicker pastors (like me!) realize this and live out of this core, the more faithful and effective the church will be.
While local churches have leaders who specialize in oversight, teaching, preaching, etc., it is clear that “ministry” is not only something that happens for 30-45 minutes on a Sunday morning with one guy talking at everyone else. Don’t get me wrong. I highly value preaching and aspire to be great at it. However, traditionally organized church has turned gospel ministry into a once-a-week event in which people come to listen to the “anointed” minister.
Think about Acts 8. After Stephen’s death a great persecution broke out. The believers scattered, but the apostles stayed in Jerusalem. And it was the scattered believers, the “laypeople” (gasp!) who preached the word wherever they went (v. 4). Now, not all Christians are called to be leaders in the church. However, all Christians are called to do the work of ministry in the church and outside the church.
In this helpful video below, Andy Davis, David Helm, and J.D. Greear discuss some of these ideas and how to raise up leaders in the local church.
What do you think? How can the church today raise up leaders and resist making ministry a one-man show?