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Essential Leadership Role of the Pastor

How should my time be spent while serving in a congregation where every member is a minister? Some pastors are tempted to think that since most needs are being met in the small groups that their load of responsibility will somehow become non-existent. Jesus made it clear that His "burden is light and well fitting." Like Moses' experience in Exodus 18 when the responsibility for the care of people is delegated to the level of groups of 10, then the leader is freed up to deal more effectively with the more difficult counseling issues. What are key issues requiring the focused attention cell pastors?

1. Provide environmental impact.

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When new construction is being considered in a city, the City Council always calls for an "environmental impact study" to count the cost of the project in terms of how it will impact the entire environment surrounding the project. As pastors our job to impact the entire environment within the church and everything that is around the church. We must create a healthy spiritual environment where people are challenged to respond to the gospel message, and then to grow to spiritual maturity in Christ. The worship services must lead people into the presence of Christ where the Word of God is faithfully preached, and there is freedom to respond in obedience to God's revealed will. An atmosphere is created where God honoring values are lifted up and lived out.

2. Champion God's heart for His church.

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Cast vision for what can be to God's glory when we join Him in what He wants to do to build His church. God has not stuttered when it comes to his desires for His church. We need to proclaim God's heart with enthusiasm and power! Much has been said about discovering what God has called each church to uniquely be, while missing the clear message of what God has clearly called the church to be!

3. Build a structure.

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As we understand God's heart for His church, how do we accomplish the task? This is the genius of cell ministry. The structure makes it possible to provide quality care for every member in the church. Once the vision is cast and grasped, the leader must arrange an entire structure to produce the desired outcomes. What is God's heart for His people? What does He want His church to look like? The structure, like bones in a body, gives strength and stability to the organ-ization (ism). The wise cell pastor will work within the existing structure to grow people to maturity in Christ.

4. Equip leaders.

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Ephesians 4:12-13 clearly reveals that the pastor's job is to equip and provide the necessary tools for the believers to do the work of building God's church. Cell ministry grinds to a halt when the pastor fails to see that as the groups take on the primary care for the needs of people in the church, the pastor now must focus upon caring for the needs of the leaders. Research shows that teaching hospitals are not only birthing centers to surgeons and physicians, but they also provide the best overall care for the patients themselves. Like the teaching hospital, when effective equipping is being practiced, a healing environment is being generated.

5. Provide a spiritual growth track.

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Like the play book on a football team, a spiritual growth track helps everyone to understand how operate in the heat of the battle. This play book makes it possible for all of the coaches, assistant coaches and players to have a common understanding of team plays, offensive and defensive formations, special teams, and overall strategy. When a new player gets drafted, or a veteran joins from another team, the first priority is to learn the play book. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church, has written a powerfully practical book called, "The Purpose Driven Church". Rick is correct in stating that our job as a church is to grow people spiritually at every level in the spiritual maturity process. Many resources are available today, it is not necessary to personally generate these materials in house. However, decisions must be made as to which tools, resources and materials are recommended for use throughout the organization. Many become stifled in helping others in the growth process because they are not sure of what to cover next. Rick Warren speaks of the process using a baseball diamond illustration where first base is membership, second base is maturity, third base is ministry, and home base is missions. Rick and his staff have thoughtfully considered how to grow people at each level of the growth process because they are a "Purpose Driven Church".

6. Set the pace.

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The term for leadership in the Greek is "proistemi". It means, "the first to stand", or "to stand before". The very nature of a leader is to "lead". Every cell pastor must be living out the values of basic Christian community in a small group. We never outgrow our need to experience lifechanging relationships in the context of a small group. Though the cell pastor need not necessarily lead a small group, at the minimum there must be active participation in one.

7. Provide needed inspiration.

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Help people to set their eyes on things above. Ultimately, our leadership is going to be evaluated on the basis of the degree to which we move a group of people toward the God-given vision. It takes faith to see each obstacle and difficulty as an opportunity for ministry. Cell ministry means that we are more aware of the needs and hurts in the lives of the people to whom we minister. Though our schedule may be lighter because we are not running programs, we carry a heavier emotional load than ever before. Leaders often become aware needs and problems in lives about which they wish they never knew. These problems have been brewing below the surface, holding people in bondage for months and years. The cell pastor must inspire leaders to bring every need before God in prayer. The future is always as bright as the promises of God.

By Pastor Stan Lubeck copyright 2005

©Stan Lubeck www.stanlubeck.com Email