Northwest Conference Church Leader,
Welcome to this issue of The Northwest Conference Leader. In this issue, we discuss Maintaining Leadership
Effectiveness and also provide information on the important work of church planting and how churches can participate. We also suggest other resources that may be of use as your church explores its use of the Internet along with other articles on leadership.
Maintaining Leadership Effectiveness
A researcher, teacher, and writer on leadership that I have personally benefited from is Dr. J. Robert Clinton. Bobby Clinton is Professor of Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. His seminal work is the book entitled The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development. I recommend it to you as a great read.
I want to highlight several thoughts mentioned in chapter seven of this book The Deepening Lessons: Life Maturing Processes. One of Clinton's core principles is the phrase, "The ministry of leadership flows out being." What he suggests by this phrase is that quality leadership does not come easily. It requires time, experience, and repeated instances of God's maturing process in the leader's life. Clinton suggests that mature ministry flows from mature character, formed in the graduate school of life.
Mature, quality leaders learn from all kinds of sources. They learn from Scripture. They are pressed by their situations to see new truth in the Scriptures and in the situations themselves. They learn about their own uniqueness. They build on the natural abilities they have. They acquire skills needed by the challenges of the situations they face. They learn to use their spiritual gifts. They learn from other leaders. This kind of processing forms for them a major source of lessons for effective leadership. Therefore, effective leaders maintain a learning posture throughout life.
We know that ministry can be effective for a while through giftedness alone; but a leader whose ministry skills outstrip his/her character formation will eventually falter. Clinton reminds us that mature successful ministry flows from one who has both ministry skills and character that has been mellowed, developed, and ripened by God's maturing process.
Leadership, therefore, evolves and emerges over a lifetime. In fact, leadership is a lifetime of God's lessons for us as we allow God to be the source of our development. And we are reminded in Philippians 1:6 that, "He who began a good work in us wants to carry it out to completionů" So why don't many leaders finish well? I ran across a summary of research findings by Bobby Clinton that offers a sobering alert to this area of maintaining leadership effectiveness. What follows are six barriers that potentially derail a leader's ability to effectively run the leadership race to completion. It is important to note that the leaders that don't finish well predominantly lose it in the middle of the game, not at the end of the game.
Six Barriers to Finishing Well as a Leader:
There is a proper pride in recognizing who you are and operating out of what God has done for you, but there is also a danger of an inordinate pridefulness.
2. Abuse of Power
It happens when leaders operate unjustly or unfairly with people or because of their position they start expecting and/or assuming privileges or they influence people wrongly.
3. Lack of Integrity with Finances
4. Family Issues
These range from divorce to dysfunctional relationships between husband and wife or children.
5. Sexual Issues
Not simply adulterous affairs but also pornography and other sexually related issues.
Some plateauing is good. If you have been through something very intense, it allows you to take a step back. However, if you get stuck, you are in trouble. Your leadership stagnates. You eventually have to move off the plateau and move on.
Let's encourage one another as leaders, and those whom we lead, to be lifelong learners, allowing God to continue to shape our abilities and our character for God's ongoing Kingdom work. Let us also guard ourselves and others from falling prey to these common leadership snags. As Clinton suggests, "The ministry of leadership really does flow out of being."
Churches Planting Churches
As reflected in the Conference's mission statement, church planting is an essential part of what we do. Churches Planting Churches is the Covenant's stewardship endeavor to financially support church planting and give every Covenant congregation the opportunity to be directly involved in the planting of at least one new church. We want to assist local congregations in this mission to their "Judea and Samaria." Church plants are a partnership of the Covenant, the conference, and existing churches. There are two ways in which an existing church can provide support to a church plant.
This is similar to supporting a child on a monthly basis through World Relief. The vision and logic of the planting project is communicated to the entire church, and the individual families are challenged to commit to the project in the areas of prayer, service, and finance. The requested financial commitments is for 24 months.
Capital Fund Campaign:
At various times, churches undergo capital programs to buy land, build or expand facilities, reduce debt, or expand staffing, programming, or missions. Churches Planting Churches will professionally manage a capital campaign when the church commits a percentage of the funds raised to the ministry of planting churches within the Northwest Conference. In this way, rather than pay a fee to a professional fundraiser, the church instead directs those dollars into a mission field within the Conference. The church may even help identify the project.
Church planting reflects a biblical model for reaching people for Christ. In a sense, every church has at one time been a church plant. What is happening now is a strategic and systematic approach to planting churches to reach people and impact communities.
Congregations throughout the Northwest Conference are including church planting in their range of outreach ministry. For more information on how individual churches can connect to a church planting project, go to www.churchesplantingchurces.org. And for more information on how to provide financial support to church planting in the Northwest Conference, contact Don Fensterman at 952-432-8211, or email Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd like more information on church planting in general, contact Mark Stromberg at or at email@example.com.
Whether it's surfing your favorite sites or the increasing reliance on email, the Internet has become an important part of many of our lives. If your church is considering a Web site or looking for an Internet Service Provider (ISP), we have a couple of things for you to consider. One, if you are a leader or a staff member and feel a little uneasy in this area, make sure you ask your congregation for help. It's likely that there is someone that can help you work through the issues. Use your bulletin to ask for help and consider forming a communications committee to address this and other related areas.
When it comes to ISPs, availability and reliability varies depending on where you are
geographically. That makes it even more important to ask for recommendations from your congregation.
As for easy ways to create a Web site, you may want to look at www.homestead.com. They provide an easy way to create and host a Web site at a reasonable price. And for youth groups in particular, check out www.youthglue.com.
For further reading on leadership issues, we recommend:
- Youth Specialites' article on The Next 20 Years of Youth Ministry
- Jackson Carroll's article on Leadership in a Time of Change.
A Note About Links
In this newsletter we try to provide links and resources to you that reflect insightful thinking in the area of church leadership. We want to inform, challenge, inspire, educate, and sometimes even entertain. We attempt to link to sites that are "safe" and consistent with the values and the faith that we share and we try to verify that there is no offensive material. But the nature of the Internet is dynamic, and sites can change from moment to moment. We also may completely overlook something that you might find offensive. Please be assured that this is not our intent.