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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

05 Sep '12

Choosing the right leaders in your church: You get what you choose!

This is the time of the year that many congregations choose leaders for their congregation. Whether it is called the Leadership Board, Church Council, Deacons or by some other name the quality of those you choose will in large part determine the health of your church and ministry in the years to come. 

This is not an area to take lightly or to compromise. Churches get what they deserve when it comes to choosing leaders - for better or for worse. In fact it takes only one bad choice to poison a whole board - or to keep the board tied up in trying to deal with the individual rather than on missional issues.

I believe that he New Testament spells out six core responsibilities of leaders for the church and these responsibilities have a significant bearing on who we choose to lead. If they are not qualified to do these things you need to think again. 

The six responsibilities of church leaders are:

  1. To keep the spiritual temperature high
  2. To ensure the congregation is well taught
  3. To ensure that the congregation is protected from heresy, division and ongoing serious and unrepentant sin
  4. To ensure the congregation is cared for
  5. To ensure that people are developed, empowered and released in meaningful ministry (inside and outside of the church)
  6. To ensure that the congregation is led well in missional ministry
If those are the six key responsibilities of church leaders what are the personal profile of a good church leader. If we look at the New Testament for its explicit and implicit statements on the matter we see 13 non-negotiable characteristics of a good church leader.
  1. They exhibit a Godly Character and lifestyle
  2. They have a deep passion for Jesus
  3. They exhibit personal humility
  4. They love people
  5. They are life long learners
  6. They agree with God's leadership assignment for church leaders
  7. They are able or willing to grapple with the future
  8. They are team focused
  9. They are a willing leader
  10. They have positive influence on others
  11. They are purveyors of hope
  12. They have a action bias
  13. They have good Emotional Intelligence
In case you wonder where #13 comes from in the New Testament - it is implied as you cannot fulfill many of the other characteristics without good Emotional Intelligence.

Remember, it takes only one bad apple on a board to destroy a board's effectiveness. Every board should have a job description including qualifications and a board covenant that spells out how the board operates. The health of the board will be directly reflected in the health of the church. Be clear about what you want in board members and focus a great deal of attention on building a healthy board team.

See these articles as well:

Operate without a board covenant at your risk

Signs of a dysfunctional church board

Rethinking leadership selection for the church