Early this week I finished my third book for the year called, Winning on Purpose by John Kaiser. Kaiser uses the analogy of a soccer game in order to give a picture of what should be happening in accountable ministry at the local church.
Just as a soccer game has components such as boundaries to the field, a goal, a score board, score keepers, referees and a purpose that by playing within the rules, the winning team is the one who is able to score the most goals in a the given period of time, so also ought the church operate itself in a similar manner.
Winning on Purpose was a gift sent to me by the the director of our regional church association. As I begin to institute these principles at the church I serve, I believe that I will find a deeper appreciation of the gift I have found within its pages.
Kaiser suggests that the role of lay people is to do the work of the ministry. Staff, whether they are paid or unpaid volunteers, exist to help train and equip the members to do ministry work. The Pastor leads the team through the teaching and equipping of staff and laity, leading mission and vision, and reports to the board.
The board is the accountable leadership that functions as both the referees and cheerleaders to the pastor, and makes sure that the mission and vision is being accomplished within the boundaries of the rules. The rules are what Kaiser calls Guiding Principles. Together, when everyone faithfully executes their position, they become a team that works to accomplish the goal in the church, which is the Great Commission.
Some of the ways that Kaiser’s accountable leadership model will benefit your church is that it marries responsibility with authority and accountability. It will promote church unity to accomplish one purpose in a meaningful way, no matter what your role is on the team. Mission and vision become the driving force of the church, and not policies and programs.
This book is not a book for everyone, but is beneficial for pastors, elders, deacons or equivalent leaders. This book might also be beneficial for boards of non profit organizations to glean from to make sure that their leadership is both accountable and effective.
If you are a church leader and find yourself wondering each week why your church exists or why you are doing certain programs that seem to be exhausting and provide little return on investment, this book is for you. If you wonder what the relationship of the board should be to the pastor and what accountability should look like, then this book will help. If you have been hired to do ministry and do not feel empowered by your church, then this is a must read for you and those you report to.
The church is the place where unity ought to be found and a great purpose should be proclaimed and lived out. Too often it is an embarrassing culture of back biting and fighting and people aimlessly wandering through church doors wondering what they are doing week after week. If you are a leader in the church and that is your weekly experience then don’t delay any longer and pick up a copy of Winning on Purpose and find those you minister with and work together to establish these biblical principles as the bedrock for how leadership is performed in your church.
Disunity is terrible. Unproductiveness toward the mission and vision of the church is inexcusable. Let’s get to work!