Faith Community Online

Great Church Great People Pt 1

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Jan 29, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

Great Church Great People Pt 1

“What makes a great church is having great people.”  Dr. Jack Hyles

Great churches are not the richest ones, nor the ones with the most educated people, they are not the ones that have the best facilities, or even the ones with the greatest history. These things may contribute to the success of a church, but they are no guarantee that the church will impact and reach their generation resulting in what I would call, “greatness”.

What makes a great church? If you go on line and ask that question you will get a number of answers. This is a question that many are asking.  Why? Because the quest to become something great is actually a very common one. In fact, I would conjecture that it is even universal. In reality, everyone wants to be great in some sense. The desire is seen in our dreams of wanting to make a difference, or leave behind a great legacy, or even in our wanting to be the best in a certain field of study or expertise. This desire can also become the cause of depression in many people who find that they are not accomplishing more with their lives, or are experiencing feelings of failure, or even in that vague uncertainty concerning the meaning of life itself.

For the leader, this question becomes even more crucial. What makes the church I lead a great church? Do I want to lead a church that is not great? What are the problems in a church that is not great? If my church is not great what do I do about that? I love this last question because it centers on where the problems come from and begins a search for how to solve it.

John Maxwell coined the phrase, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” We can blame the economy, the culture, the people, the pressures everyone is under, etc. But the truth is… the lack of greatness in a church rests on the leader. To whom did Jesus write when sending correction for the problems of the 7 churches in Revelations 2-3? “The angels” were who He wrote to and they are best understood as the spokesmen or leaders of the assembly. The warning and encouragement was first given to the leaders and then they were to pass it on. The danger for the church who did not reach its capacity for greatness was the warning that they would be removed.

A great church is led by great leaders! That much is becoming clear as we think about this issue. Is the church being led by a leader who is more like King Saul or King David? What a contrast we can see between these two leaders and what a contrast to their kingdoms!  One was a leader whose kingdom was mediocre or average (the worst word in the English language!) and the other was great!

I have not yet really given the Biblical definition of “great”, but consider the consequences of ignoring or downplaying the importance of this. God sent His Son to die, for what? Acts 20:28 clearly states His blood purchased or paid for the church!  Yes, His death is focused on the victory and success of His kingdom on earth!  He has gone to the extreme of laying down His glory, His rights, His comforts, His position as God, and His very life for something extremely important and precious: the church we lead! His desire is that it is to be a beautiful bride, a glorious church without spots or blemishes. He wants her flame to shine like a brilliant light in your community, and to warm the cold hearts around her with the mighty love of Christ.

Jesus addresses the desire for greatness. He wants His kingdom members to be great. He wants us to be great leaders who develop a great church.  In Matthew 5:19 Jesus defines greatness as “those who take every command of God seriously, obey His commands with sincerity, and teach others to do the same”. So a great church is led by a great leader who, firstly, wants to know what God expects of him or her. Start there. The commands of Jesus are the passions of our heart. We want to follow Him because we love Him. But we love Him because He first loves us. This is the starting place for all greatness!  The source for our life of greatness and for a great church is the very love that Jesus has for His leaders and for His church. Our awareness of that fact stirs our hearts to want the name of Jesus to be great, and the Kingdom of Jesus to be great as well. Why? Because we love Him and want others to love Him as well.  He truly deserves that!

Secondly, the commands of Jesus must be known before they can be obeyed or taught to others. This takes time to read and study so that we can be approved as workmen of the word who know what their Esteemed Leader wants done. Our passion for Jesus leads us to the Bible to research and embrace the truth of His will. We have no other passion but to please Him. Jesus clearly pointed out that if we love Him we will show it by keeping His commands. He commands us to trust Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and to develop our lives to be useful for good works.

Thirdly, the great leader practices what he learns. He puts what he knows and believes into daily habits and choices. This is called spiritual formation or spiritual disciplines. It becomes the leader’s character and reputation. He becomes known as one who consistently obeys whatever God says. This leader puts off the old self-centered way of living and puts on the new mind of Christ. Others see it and observe it in the leaders’ lives.

Lastly, the leader teaches others to do the same. Aha! The missing element in many churches is right here.  “What?!”  You say, “Don’t we weekly preach the Bible and exhort our people to follow this Divine counsel?” I hear that objection and respond with this. Speaking to a crowd is only half of our duty. We must also do as Jesus did, we must personally train and develop people as He developed His men. He spent personal time with them away from public preaching and spent much of His time explaining the deeper meanings and insights. He clarified and dialogued back and forth about the truths He taught. He asked a lot of questions to make them think and ponder. Then he checked up on their progress to see if they were doing as He taught them. This process is called mentoring or discipleship. It is a must for every leader.

You see, our churches that we lead are a reflection of us even more than we realize. The church is like looking into a mirror. Our neglect shows, our distractions are their distractions, our frustrations are their frustrations, our love is what they will love, and our focus is what they will focus on as well. These issues and qualities will all be seen in the health and victory of our church.

Do you have the desire to be a leader that develops a great church? The first step is to start with yourself. Begin today and make it your goal to become a great leader who loves Jesus sincerely. Search for His will and begin to live by His commands… make them your habits in life! Lastly, find those with whom you will personally take time to train and develop. Start the path of multiplying your life in someone who will multiply their life in another as well.  Let’s become great leaders who develop great people and grow our church into a great church!

Father, we love You and are thankful for Your confidence in us that we can become great leaders who develop great churches. The dream of this is powerful and delightful. But we confess this work is difficult and demands our best efforts. We start out strong and then find ourselves becoming weary. Please inspire and empower us to accomplish this call to greatness. We want Your church to be a bride without spots or blemishes, a victorious church, a glory to Your Son. In His Name we ask it. Amen.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment