Tomorrow's Shepherds Today - Beyond the Qualifications Part 2
Management Because churches constantly have decisions that need to be made and things to be done, management is without question a part of being an elder. After all, Paul spoke about managing the household of God (1 Timothy 3:4). Management can be described as, “a set of processes that keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly” and contains aspects of, “planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving” (Kotter 28). Being a manager is something that is taught in the corporate world, the home, finances, and more. It is a comfortable area for many and is easily transferable to the next generation. All that has to be done is to show and tell how things have always operated and expect the same to occur. In Church Leadership, Lovett Weems, described management as “doing the right things” (34). Managers “manage” the status quo and keep things operational. It is an important aspect of the church.
Management training can be implemented by dividing the twelve into four groups of three. For one year, with the oversight of the older men, have each group manage a different area of the church for a quarter at a time (much like what was discussed earlier). For instance, one group could manage the finances and budgeting. Another group could manage the operations of the building. The third group could manage the worship and education. One group could manage benevolence, outreach, and missions. Upon the completion of the quarter each group can rotate, so as to gain experience managing all four areas. Again, these are just suggestions for the areas to be managed. Perhaps there will be a more beneficial area for management development.
Leadership While management is definitely an important role in the church, it is often misunderstood as leadership. Weems says that, “administration and management are required for effective leadership. However, administration and management alone do not equal leadership… It is impossible to lead without vision and values” (34-35). One can be a manger and not be a leader. Leadership involves a completely different set of actions from management. A leader will also possess certain qualities that someone who is simply a manger may not. John Kotter explains it this way: “Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite obstacles… successful transformation is 70 to 90 percent leadership and only 10 to 30 percent management. Yet for historical reasons, many organizations today don’t have much leadership” (28).
Because management is more prevalent in the business world, unfortunately, it can also be most prominent in the church as well. This is why leadership training is so important. Much of the development and experience gained in the vision planning will go hand-inhand with leadership training. Part of leadership is vision, planning, and goal setting. To expand on that exercise with regard to leadership, motivating others to get involve and serve is important. Each of the twelve young men should look to get at least one member of the congregation involved in accomplishing their goals and vision. Another important aspect of training here is to read no less than one book a year on leadership. Following the reading of each book the group should get together and discuss things they learned, liked, did not like, etc.
Developing Others Perhaps the most important part of leadership is the ability and desire to develop others. The future of the church depends on it! The old fish analogy holds true in leadership as well: “Give me a leader for a generation and I will perpetuate the organization for a generation. Help me to develop leaders in every generation, and I will perpetuate the organization forever” (Adair 195).
According to the Apostle Paul, Christ gave the gift of the shepherds for the purpose of equipping the members to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). One of those ministries is serving as an elder. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the shepherds to train and equip others for the work of shepherding. Dr. Lynn Anderson says, “One of the roles that God has given shepherds is that of mentor – winsome, strong, and faithful. God desires winsome mentors who naturally attract followers to them; God needs strong mentors who do more than tell others how to live, but show them; and God needs faithful mentors who inspire others with he courage to continue on” (74).
If current leaders are not focused on developing future leaders, there will be no future leaders. Thus, the whole reason for this project. Training in this area can manifest itself in two ways. First, by simply having each of the twelve young men finding someone in the church to be a mentor to. It does not necessarily have to be another potential future elder (though it can be), but anyone to help grow spiritually. Do this for a year. Seek them out and ask them or their parents if they would help you in this in area. Tell them you will pray for them daily. Do something with them recreationally at least once a month. Teach them how to study, read Scripture, lead singing, do a devotional, teach, etc.
Second, by humbly engaging in mentorship within the group. Since the goal is to be developed as future elders, spend time with one another in a mentoring capacity, discussing and evaluating areas and developmental needs. The Twelve Apostles worked together to become the shepherds Christ wanted them to be, so why not apply the same principle today?