Equipping Leaders for Leadership

Posted on August 19, 2011


The Adventist conservative leadership community has belittled and criticized Adventist pastors and church leaders who have attended Willow Creek Leadership Summits over the years.  It wasn’t until I attended a Leadership Summit did I realize how wrong the judgement was.  The yearly Leadership Summit is exactly that… a summit on teaching church leaders how to be better leaders. 

After being a church leader for over ten years, I now see how we are lacking in the leadership department.  Many pastors and church elders do not know how to cast a vision for mission, train the laity for effective outreach, and organize churches into mission machines that passionately minister to the communities they reside in.  Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit specializes in training church leaders how to do all these things. 

Is there anything wrong with Adventist leaders attending these summits for leadership tools?  No. 

Should we go to Willow Creek for basic theology or the theology behind spirit-filled worship?  No. 

When it comes to Biblical theology and the theology behind real worship, we have NO reason to go outside the Church for spiritual education.  We have so much truth to draw from and need to utilize the information we currently have instead of sliding backwards into darkness.

Think about it… The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy was a lot to say about worship, spiritual development, prayer, healthful living, parenting, marriages, doctrines, and yes, even church leadership.  Now we just need to use the information we have for training our church members and leaders for active ministry instead of babysitting them in the pews.

Every church should be a training facility for missions… every conference should be sponsoring leadership events… and every union should be conducting leadership summits.  If we had leaders who were truly leaders, our church leaders would not feel like they have to go outside the Church for leadership training. 

Until we get our act together, let us make sure we are not jumping the gun and using our judgemental words to judge something we know nothing about.  If you need to know, the Willow Creek Leadership Summits is a great resource for leadership training.  We just need to make sure we do not adopt their rock and roll worship style as a tool to attract the unchurched. (I know about the open letter Bill Hybels wrote about how his church was not being fed the spiritual food it needed to grow spiritually.  I just know that Hybels loves the Lord and is good at equipping people for church leadership)

FYI – Cold formalism and old fashion worship services are not the answer either.  We need a healthy blend of new and old while ministering to people of every generation.     

Here is a video clip if Bill Hybels talking about church leadership and the Leadership Summit…

Watch this short video clip and see what you can learn about church leadership…

GE CEO: Jack Welch

In other words… make sure your church leaders are equipped for effective ministry and are excited about what they are doing.  If our church leaders are NOT excited about Jesus and His mission, the members will NOT get excited about serving (for the most part).  If we continue going through the traditional nominating committee process the way we have been, we are going to continue to end up with churches that are spiritually and actively dead (filling leadership positions just because).  

In closing… Do we have leadership training events?  Sure.  There is SEEDS at Andrews University and other leadership events.  We just need to be a little more intentional in making events like these more accessible to our pastors and other church leaders.  We also need to make sure we present a Christ-centered balance when teaching leadership.  Ultra conservatives and ultra liberals sponsoring leadership events usually turn out bad (I have attended both).  The key word is “intentional.”  We need to be more intentional about equipping our church leaders with the tools they need to help bring about the change needed in our churches and communities.  Jesus is coming soon… and now is the time to effectively work the harvest for Him.   

Posted in: Leadership, Videos