I want to be a builder, not a star!

I have a dream!

I have a dream. Someday people will say, “Our church keeps growing and making disciples of Jesus but I do not know what Pastor Lee is doing? Should we keep paying him to be a paid pastor? Do we actually need him?” When people start saying those things, I believe that our church is on the right track!

When I attended the Stephen Ministry Leader Training last week, I was convinced that the lay ministry was not only necessary but also more important than pastoral ministry. I will explain the reason why in terms of the leadership style.

They were talking about “Builder Leadership” which is replacing “Star Leadership” first in the business world and now in church. “Star leaders” have charisma and commanding presence. They have ability to charm and wisdom in discerning a vision, making the right decisions, and knowing what is the best for people. However, “Star leaders” are born and not made or trained. They are about 0.1 % of the leaders. It is obvious that not all churches can afford star pastors. Not all church should desire to have them as their pastors. It is not a realistic and desirable goal.

On the other hand, “Builder leaders” are relating, collaborating, and team building as servant leaders. They facilitate a process of asking, listening, and sharing to develop a culture of interdependence, mutual learning, and discovery. They share ownership for carrying out our church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus to transform the world. They can be trained and made. 98 % of the leaders belong to this category. Most of the churches can afford them. It is a practical and realistic goal.

I know that I am not a “Star.” I know I am one of the builders. I want to build an intentional disciple making system which runs through 3VPS (Biblical Value, View-Point, Vision; Purpose, Plan, Partner; Simple, Serving, Sharing Life). It is a “Come-Grow-and Go” system which has many small groups.

The Christ Care group which has four components of Welcome (fellowship), Worship, Word (Biblical Equipping), and Work (Service Projects) is at the core of these small groups but there are many other small groups that focus on only one of the components. For example, pinochle group, bridge group, and sports groups are groups around fellowship. UMW focuses more on service projects and mission. Open door Bible Study, Disciple Bible study, and other Bible studies are for the biblical equipping even though other components are still there. Choir, orchestra, praise teams are for worship more than anything else.

The Stephen Ministry is a support system that helps people who fall through cracks in the process of this disciple making system.  When we are in “crisis” in life, we cannot function any more in those four cycles of welcome-worship-word-work. As a pastor I visit church members in nursing homes and at homes and counsel them. I provide pastoral care for them. I also spend time with church members who go through health issues, relationship problems, financial problems, and spiritual issues. However, I have limited time for all the people in need. So, Stephen ministers who are trained in confidentiality and listening skills are commissioned to serve people with me. We set up peer supervision sessions to support each other. So, if any of our church family members is in crisis, either I or one Stephen Minister can spend time with him or her (one-to-one ) until the care receiver feels safe and confident.

Through this process of “Seeking God, Serving the Community, and Supporting each other” we can make disciples of Jesus to transform the world. I will devote most of my time in building this system except for the time to visit people to care for them.

Would you be a team member of this building process? Are you willing to give or receive care through Stephen Ministry? Are you going to belong to one of the Christ Care group or other small group? Let us dream together. Someday, soon we will ask this question: “Do we really need pastor Lee? It seems that we are fine without him.” I dream of the time when everybody seems happy to say that.

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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my children are all grown and have their independent life. We have now empty nest. I and my wife are collecting some mission eggs now in that nest!
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