How to be an Effective Leader in the Church

The first Sunday school class I ever taught was a failure.

I had the Sunday school curriculum, I prayed, I prepared, I had a willing spirit, but I just couldn’t seem to engage the youth in the class. I was glad when my stint of teaching was finally over, and I think they were too.

My own less than stellar experience is one reason that I’m concerned for effective leaders in the church today. Whether it’s teaching a Sunday school class or serving on a church board, as a member of the church or in ordained ministry, it’s a joy to see leaders having a positive impact on others and a positive experience for themselves.

I believe that one of the keys to being an effective leader in the church is on-going learning.

I might have thought my first Sunday school class was a failure, but it was also a learning experience. I’m only sorry that it came at the expense of the youth in the class, and by God’s grace I hope they learned something anyway. It certainly helped me grow into leadership and continue growing even today.

Transferable Leadership by Abe Funk is a new resource designed to grow leaders. Transferable_Leadership
As a former pastor, church planter, and Executive Director of the Baptist General Conference of Canada, Abe knows churches and leaders. Out of his rich experience, he has developed a basic leadership course for new and current leaders in the local church.

The book of eight teaching sessions offers:

  • congregationally based training – While there’s definitely a place for Bible colleges, seminaries, and other dedicated places of learning, you don’t have to go away for leadership training. With this book, you can begin right where you are in the local congregation.
  • on-the-job training – Designed to integrate learning and leadership in on-going ministry. You can immediately start practicing what you’re learning.
  • easy-to-use leader guide and student handouts – While I’d rather take my own notes than fill in the blanks, others will appreciate the student handouts in pdf format included on the companion cd.
  • a solid framework – Including what the Bible says about leadership and reflecting on your own story, learning to organize and lead a ministry and attending to the heart of the leader, with stories from Abe’s own ministry and encouragement to add your own illustrations.

Thank you, Abe, for this useful resource. For more information, see Transferable Leadership.

Hope_for_the_Small_ChurchAlso by Abe Funk is Hope for the Small Church (Essence Publishing, second printing, 2009). I couldn’t resist reading this too, even though my congregation is mid-size and getting bigger. After all, we’re also actively engaged in planting a church within a church, and our new church plant is a small church with a great hope.

Like Transferable LeadershipHope for the Small Church focuses on leadership training, with sixteen shorter sessions on vision, mission, and practical leadership, all related to the unique personality and life of smaller churches. As Abe says,

size is not an issue, but health and effectiveness are important. Small churches in small places can have effective ministries. (page 8)

Each session begins with one or more inspirational quotes and ends with questions for discussion, a time of prayer, and room for your own brief notes. I especially appreciated these words quoted from Carl S. Dudley (author of Effective Small Churches in the 21st Century):

In a big world, the small church has remained

In a fast world, the small church has been

In a complex world, the small church has remained

In a rational world, the small church has kept

In a mobile world, the small church has been an

In an anonymous world,the small church

Disclosure: For this review, I received complimentary copies of these books from the author. All opinions are my own.

Your Turn: How are leaders trained in your church? How important is on-going learning to you as a leader?

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