Developing Leaders for Service

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The Christian Reformed Church and its institutions have produced many leaders in business, education, medicine, the arts, and other sectors of society. So why is it sometimes so difficult to find leaders to serve the church?

It would be an overstatement to say no church leaders are available. It does, however, seem increasingly difficult to find people who are equipped and ready to lead the church in its various ministries.

Church leaders in the CRC, especially those who attend Calvin Theological Seminary, are trained to think biblically and theologically. Compared to many other faith traditions, our historic commitment to an educated clergy has paid rich dividends.

We don’t do as well, though, when it comes to providing organizational leadership skills. It is not uncommon to hear pastors say that preaching and pastoring are what they do best, while administration (that is, leading) is not their gift. In today’s church environment, that situation is increasingly untenable.

Preaching and pastoral care are very important, but church leadership requires more than delivering sermons and tending to the flock. It is a multifaceted responsibility that involves leading people “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:12). Leadership requires just as much training and development as do preaching or pastoral care.

Upon the recommendation of the 150th anniversary committee, the CRC’s Board of Trustees and synod adopted a proposal to address the need for leadership. As an anniversary gift to itself, the denomination is developing and implementing a plan for equipping, encouraging, and training leaders. (Look for more details of the plan in future articles.)

It is our hope and prayer that by developing leaders our churches will be equipped to do the work of ministry and be “built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13).

About the Author

Rev. Peter Borgdorff is Executive Director emeritus of the Christian Reformed Church.
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