The previous post of this series dealt with the importance of raising up leadership in the churches. This was with pastors and church planters primarily in mind. The need for leaders goes beyond raising up pastors. We need strong leadership among all the men in our church. Training isn’t just for officers and generals; the soldiers need to be trained as well, or there is no army. A pastor must be trained, but a pastor can not carry the burden alone. Godly lay leadership must be raised up for a church to truly prosper. When a missionary hands over a church to the national pastor who he has been training, he should hand over an army of highly trained soldiers for that new national pastor to lead into the fight. Why?
Why number one…because strong leadership among the laymen of the church helps keep the pastor accountable. There is, in many Independent Baptist Churches, the idea that the pastor is untouchable. He is, after all, “The man of God.” While he is the leader and overseer of the flock, no pastor is perfect, and any man who is given absolute power without accountability is a dangerous man. Without strong leadership among the men every one becomes a “yes” man, and sometimes “no” needs to be said. This is important for doctrinal and moral issues as well. I have known pastors who have fallen off into doctrinal error or immorality and needed to be removed from office. It takes strong men to make this stand.
Strong leadership among the men will be a much better help to the pastor. The pastor can not carry everything by himself. He needs some men to help shoulder the responsibility. When I was a pastor in South Carolina, I had one of the world’s greatest deacons. Glen Price was a true asset to our church. The church had a deficiency of leadership when we first came. No one lead in prayer. No one taught Sunday School, or could lead the singing. Glen could do all of these things the problem was that he worked swing shifts and had to miss almost half the services. One of the greatest blessings for me and for the church was when Glen retired. He was there at church for every service; he never missed. Normally he was the first to arrive and unlock the building, and he was the last to leave. It took a huge load off me to have him there. I have seen many of my Pastor friends struggle because they had to oversee everything in their ministries, but for me there were many things I never worried about because of Glen.
What do men need to be trained in? I believe that men should be strong doctrinally to help fight off heresy. Men should be trained in the business of a church. How to handle confrontation Biblically, how to handle church discipline, how an elder is to be rebuked, and how to take care of a pastor. They should be trained in how to work in the church. They should be trained in teaching, caring for each other, discipleship, and evangelism.
Training on how they should lead their homes and family is crucial as well. Strong families equals a strong church. Most of us do not know how to properly lead our wives and love our children; we need to be trained in these areas. Many times we fight culture and tradition in learning how to be the proper husband and father. If there are to be godly men leading their homes in a biblical fashion, then those men will have to be trained.
As missionaries our goal is to raise up not only strong pastors, but also strong leadership among all the men. It takes men to fight wars and we are fighting in the greatest war known to humanity. This war has spanned all of time, and is fought in every country. It is Spiritual warfare, and the need of the day is men in the trenches. Let’s go train men.