Summary: Some Christian researchers have said that at least 30% of new churches that start fail to grow qualitatively or quantitatively due to the ineffectiveness of leadership. Most of Christ’s three years of ministry were given to the training of His disciples.
How To Disciple Leaders in a New Church
1. The students will explain why it is important to train, disciple, and equip leaders in a new church.
2. The students will write a short paper on how Christ discipled His followers so that the church would grow qualitatively and quantitatively.
Introduction - Once you have helped start a church, it is necessary to train leaders who can help shepherd the new flock. Some Christian researchers have said that at least 30% of new churches that start fail to grow qualitatively or quantitatively due to the ineffectiveness of leadership.
Most of Christ’s three years of ministry were given to the training of His disciples. Jesus knew that the success or failure of His church would be measured by how well his disciples carried on his ministry. Perhaps, the same could be said about the success of our church planting efforts as well. Unless, we train leaders to shepherd, teach, counsel, administrate, evangelize, pray, give, serve, and fellowship in a spirit of truth and love; all our efforts may be in vain!!!
Let us ask the Lord for wisdom in understanding principles of discipling leaders for the churches that we will help begin.
I. Understand the Problems in Failing to Train Leaders for the New Church
A. Without leaders people tend to stray like sheep without protection, guidance, and feeding.
Example - One missionary started a church in Mutu of Bendel state. The church grew so quickly that the people gladly erected a 500 seating capacity building. However, since the church planter failed to train the leaders to withstand attacks, the church died. Today, the building is unoccupied and the government is talking about taking it over.
B. A church planter is by his identity, not to remain and shepherd the church for a long period of time. A church planter is to help start the church, see that it is established, and then move to a new area to begin another church.
C. Multiple leadership (A Pastor and elders) is the model used in the New Testament church.
D. Without leadership people lose their sense of purpose, relevance, and unity.
E. Prov. 24:3,4 says, ``Any house is built with wise planning, it becomes strong through understanding, and profits wonderfully by keeping itself abreast of the facts.’’
F. Prov. 15:22 says, ``Plans fail without consultation, but with many counselors they succeed.’’
G. Jesus said in Matt. 9:36-38, ``The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send our laborers into His field . . . for the people are like sheep without a shepherd.’’
H. Without leaders, people tend to lose their motivations.
I. Christ did not start a church, but chose to spend His time preaching, teaching, healing, and training the 12 apostles who would eventually form the foundation of His church. (Matt. 16:18)
II. Pray For Wisdom in Choosing Those Who Will Share the Leadership
A. Jesus spent all night in prayer before He selected his 12 apostles. (Lk. 6:12)
B. Jesus called those who He wanted to help lead His flock. (Lk. 6:13). Be sure the people who you pick for leadership are led of God and committed to their positions.
C. Jesus observed, analyzed, and took His time in selecting those who would lead His church.
D. Jesus chose men who were willing to learn, make sacrifices, and follow Him. (Matt. 4:19)
Example - If a Pastor inherits elders from a previous Pastor, he should try to work with the elders as far as it is possible. But, in the event that the elders are found lacking in spiritual qualifications (I Tim. 3:1-6) he should ask the D.C.C for help in calling for a new election of elders. One Pastor was rejected by the elders of a certain church. Apparently, the elders had been loaning each other church money. The elders knew that the knew Pastor would find out about their dealings and become angry. The elders tried every means to block the new Pastors coming by spreading vicious rumors about the new man. Eventually, the D.C.C. stepped in and the church accepted the new Pastor!
E. Jesus concentrated on a few selected disciples instead of preaching thousands of sermons to the masses. Most Pastors find it easier to preach a sermon than to disciple an elder in their church.
F. Occasionally, Jesus tested His disciples to see if they were still committed to Him. (Jn. 66-68)
G. Jesus selected men on merit not on political motives. (I Tim. 3:1-6) Here are the qualifications for leaders:
1). ``Leaders should be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wind, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.’’