BUILDING THE CULTURE OF A CHURCH FOR GROWTH.
The church must recognize that the Pastor is God’s man to lead the congregation.
His personal integrity and honesty must be beyond question. Humility and transparency are also vital.
He must recognize the importance and responsibility of being a Pastor and he must develop a Pastor’s heart, which means loving and caring for the people (1 Peter 5:2,3). They must sense this in him (1 Cor. ). Servant hood is a great key to leadership.
Solomon’s leadership was established in great wisdom. Likewise, there are certain principles and qualities that will establish the Pastor’s leadership in the church.
He must prepare himself through prayer and fellowship with the Holy Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit Who will continue to establish his leadership (Acts ).
Everything the Pastor does should be through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Paul received clear direction from the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:7-10. 13:1-3). Ascension gifts are established through Christ and the Holy Spirit (Eph. -13; 1Cor ).
Some of the greatest qualities of leadership are vision and creativity, yet at the
same time the Pastor must have the ability to give himself to the details required
in leading a church. He must be full of ideas, plans and visions, and yet equally have the ability to implement these plans. He must ensure that every part of that vision is fulfilled, especially tying all the pieces together. As a Pastor I had a great vision for the church, yet at the same time much energy was spent in the small details of the vision.
The Pastor must be a soul winner himself. He must lead by example and share with the congregation his own experiences of people that he has reached for Christ (2 Tim. 4:5). He will also inspire the congregation by sharing the life of other great soul winners e.g. D.L. Moody, Uncle Vassar etc.
There needs to be a soul consciousness in the heart of every believer in the Church.
This inspiration should come from the pulpit by example and preaching on the subject. The Pastor must explain and teach what soul winning is and inspire the people to participate. It is not just a “decision” for Christ, but rather bringing many to righteousness (Dan.12: 3). There is no greater joy than reaching a soul for Christ (Phil. 4:1).
The leadership must create a strategy for evangelism. Simply having a Prophet, Evangelist, special programs or gifted artist is not sufficient. Much fasting and prayer must precede every special event. A “soul conscious” Church that has been praying and witnessing to people will invite their family and friends to these special events.
Pastor Cesar Castellanos of Bogotá, Colombia, developed a concept called the “Prayer of Three” where each month people find three unsaved people that they believe God wants to be saved and they pray strongly for them, viewing these people in the condition described in the Word of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 26:18; Eph. 2:2 etc). They adopt a posture of victory, and through visions and dreams “see” them saved, kneeling at the feet of Jesus. (Notes for this are available through Klimionok Ministries International.)
Also a systematic “follow up” program must be instituted. A simple, but very effective 12 lesson course called “Successful Christian Living” is recommended. This is also available from Klimionok Ministries International. The first lesson called “The First Forty eight Hours” can be freely reproduced. When a person surrenders to Christ, it is only the beginning of their salvation. Too many fall through the cracks.
I believe Pastor Cesar Castellanos has
developed an excellent program called “Encounter” which is conducted regularly
for newly saved people (although all people of the Church should go through
this for effective cleansing and transformation). These Encounters take place over a weekend
where strong teaching on various subjects such as Salvation, Repentance,
Forgiveness, Prayer, Inner Healing, and Deliverance etc. is shared. (The church in
3. DEVELOP THE PRAYER LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
The church must be led into a strong life
of fasting and prayer. That more than
anything else will break a city and a nation open for God. It would be extremely helpful and inspiring
to visit and study Dr. David Yonggi Cho’s Church and
Prayer can become very traditional and boring in the life of the congregation so there
must always be a clear focus and strong leadership in the prayer meeting. There is
great power in having the people pray audibly in unison. Make it an exciting time. Inspire people to commit to pray by having them stand during the Sunday services and indicate what day they will pray, rather than try to develop prayer chains etc. Share clear directions as to what they should pray for.
Praying the Word of God, especially the
Psalms, which was the Prayer and Praise book of
Personalise these Scriptures. God will never deny His Word. When Moses prayed
the Word, God changed His mind concerning
Establish “sanctification” weeks in the life of the church. Three or four times a year
a whole week should be given to deliberate cleansing. During these weeks, the Church has times of fasting, prayer and deep cleansing. Pray such prayers as David’s cleansing prayers found in Psalm 32 and 51, Daniel’s prayer found in Daniel 9. These times must always be concluded in great victory and faith. It has been discovered that great break-throughs of growth and power have come to the church after these times. (This concept also came from Pastor Cesar Castellanos).
4. PREACH PROBLEM-SOLVING MESSAGES.
Ensure that the people in the church know how to overcome and cope with life’s problems. Teach them their position in Christ and how to take authority - life in Christ is both practical and supernatural. Life will always have problems so they must be taught to keep their eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:1,2; 1Cor. ). Constantly give them keys that will solve the problems of life. Preaching “how to” messages will help to do this. The Pastor must constantly seek God for divine truth that both change him and the congregation. He must minister out of his heart and the experiences that he has with God. This comes out of his prayer life and the time he spends in the Word.
Messages must be always positive and uplifting. Keep their eyes on Jesus. The truth of the Cross and the Resurrection should always be the focus of the message. Build into people’s lives faith and hope for every situation. There is always something positive in every problem. The Apostles preached Jesus and the resurrection (Acts ).
Preach strong Bible centered messages. The Word of God has an answer for every
problem and need.
5. KEEP THE CHURCH FOCUSED ON THINGS THAT ARE
IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY ITS
Establish a clear vision for the church and
never lose that direction. Pastor Rick
Warren of the
The purpose the local church establishes is what God has called them to do. That vision will keep the church united, strong and focused in its direction. If the vision is clearly taught and embraced by the people until it becomes their vision then the
Church is poised for growth. The vision must be strongly centered in the Word of God.
Part of the vision of Pastor Cesar
Castellanos is: “ To Win…To Consolidate
(Establish) … To Disciple…To Send…”.
Keep reminding the people of the things that are important. They can be so easily sidetracked. The Pastor cannot make the church do the essentials of Christian life but he can enlighten them to such things as character development, fellowship, prayer, giving etc. (2 Peter 1:5-12) “…add to your faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience …". Peter said “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things….”verse 12.
Ever keep a World Vision before the church.
Jesus saw the world and was moved with compassion. Likewise He asked us to view
it in a similar way (Mat. ). The more selfless people are, the more they
will be blessed of God. One of the
There must be a sense of World conquest. The people must believe that they can win everyone for Christ, their city and the world. They may never reach their ultimate
goal but they should ever be pressing toward it.
6. MAKE ROOM FOR THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Many people come to Christ because of atmosphere. We describe that as the presence
of God. The worship created in song and the words of faith that are spoken are crucial to atmosphere. Leadership must be allowed to move in a God ordained supernatural way. The congregation must be led into a powerful place of worship. They must be given insight as to what true worship is which places an awesome responsibility upon the ministry of music.
The church must be open to what God is saying at this present hour and always sensitive to fresh moves of the Holy Spirit. There are various anointings that come upon a church commensurate to the needs of the hour.
David had to bring back the Ark of the Covenant in a certain way (which was a
type of the presence of God). A careful study of the great churches around the world will show that there is always a strong divinely appointed leadership that has the freedom to govern the church .in a Theocratic Biblical way, Democracy recognizing Theocracy. Biblical structure brings Biblical power. Things in church life must be done God’s way.
7. EMPOWER PEOPLE WITH THE POWER OF CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The Pauline prayers are strongly centered in the power of Christ (Col. 1; Eph 1.3. etc.). Leadership should pray these Pauline prayers for their congregation.
They must be focused on the Holy Spirit, as Jesus taught concerning the Holy Spirit (John 14-16). He said that the Holy Spirit would teach, guide, comfort, lead into all truth and empower - the Holy Spirit would make them stretch beyond their natural potential, and He would always glorify Jesus.
There is a way to make room for the Holy Spirit. Make the Church a
supernatural church that functions with dignity and yet a powerful anointing.
Guard and keep the anointing on the church. It is in the human make up to traditionalise. Some traditions are powerful, but some stagnate the Church. Be adaptable to change.
In effective worship the old and the new songs can be blended together
8. RELEASE PEOPLE TO THE MINSTRY THAT GOD HAS DESIGNED
Everyone is called of God and everyone has a ministry (Eph 4:4-8). The Church must be willing to come under the Pastor’s leadership and be discipled by him. Develop training programs and create opportunities. Release people physically and emotionally. Over control is dangerous so there must always be a level of trust.
The local church is the greatest key for effective training. The purpose of leadership is to bring people to the next level of effectiveness. Every person should pursue a
higher level of:
Seeing God’s work in their lives
Reaching the next level of divine opportunity
Fulfilling God’s purpose through them.
Learn to have a ministry of prophecy. Prophesy into people’s lives the future that
God has for them. Wait on the ministry of prophecy and prophesy according to the proportion of faith (Rom.12: 6; 1 Cor. 14:1).
9. LEARN TO PREACH WITH REVELATION KNOWLEDGE.
Preach faith inspiring prophetic messages. Faith inspiring messages will lift
the congregation. The prophetic voice will bring direction. Revelation knowledge
will give God’s Word for this hour.
The church must always be led into a life of faith because faith always pleases God. It will take the church to heights beyond their natural capacity (Heb. 11:6).
10. THERE SHOULD BE ALWAYS AN ELEMENT OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN EVERY SERVICE.
There should be an expectation of the supernatural in the realm of salvations, and anticipation of the miraculous in every service. In the week that I was preparing this article we witnessed the healing of a man with a broken back. The healing electrified
There are miracles that can shake a city. There are healings that will show the
compassion of Christ.
There are miracles that render the powers of darkness ineffective.
11. DEMONIC POWER SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD AND DEALT WITH.
Satan accuses and divides the church. His plan is to destroy the church; to stifle the growth of the church; to sidetrack the believer; to create criticism and unrest; to minimize the authority of the leadership of the pastor. Some spiritual warfare is useless. It should focus on the method Satan uses to destroy the church. The word “satan” means “to accuse and to speak to divide”. That is his greatest work. This he achieved in heaven and now he tries to do this in the life of the church today.
Lay leadership and individuals can fall under demonic influence. This must ever be recognized and broken through teaching, prayer, using the Name of Jesus and the power of His precious blood. At times some of the greatest leaders fall prey to the enemy.
Satan strongly works in the area of pride, offences, unforgiveness, bitterness, and slander. These and many others all have eternal implications (Mat. ; , 35).
12. KEEP A SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY IN THE LIFE OF THE CONGREGATION.
There are things that produce life in the congregation. For example having new spiritual babies (new converts) is one of them. But the truth of generosity is as powerful as any truth that I know. God, because of His love has always been generous towards us. He gave us His Son, and He keeps giving things. He is generous in His mercy and kindness and even in His provision towards us. His children likewise should possess the same spirit of generosity. They should be generous in complimenting each other, generous in saying great things about each other. One word of encouragement will do more than ten thousand criticisms. The Pastor should say great things about other leaders from the pulpit.
There should be great generosity in giving to missions and visiting ministry. One
characteristic of any great church is its generosity. Revival has always produced the spirit of generosity.
The number twelve is the number for government, hence I have created twelve
truths that should help a Pastor build the culture of the church. It is difficult
to change an already established church. It is easier to commence a church and build it on proper Biblical foundations; however to try to change an existing church will take great wisdom, much time, strong leadership and great patience. Perhaps the Pastor should share his philosophy with the church before he accepts this new position. The study of great leaders and great churches will empower a Pastor to effectiveness and growth.