Question: How can pastors and church leaders build an effective ministry team around them to multiply their efforts?
Dr. Alfred Kalembo
Bishop, Pilgrim Wesleyan Church of Zambia
When God calls a person to pastoral and church leadership, it is important that the individual first seek to know what God wants them to accomplish. This is because personal identification helps us in defining our areas of strengths and weaknesses. An individual who does not understand well their role is bound to fail to accomplish their goals. As a leader, the first thing that you need to understand is, what does God want me to achieve? This is critical because God does not call a pastor or leader just to maintain what you find. Moses had a specific task to accomplish, that is to deliver the children of Israel from the bondage in Egypt. Joshua had to lead the children of Israel into the promised land, the Apostle Paul was to take the gospel to the Gentiles, etc. In this paper I would like to share what I have learnt on the subject as a pastor of Pilgrim Wesleyan Church - Kanyama Local Church located in a very highly densely populated compound west of Lusaka.
My first task as a pastor was to understand the needs of the community because it was obvious to me that the people had so many needs and the sense of hopelessness was high. One of the needs I saw was the compound itself, despite being densely populated yet we had only two Wesleyan Churches. I saw the need that just within Kanyama community we could have a church in every ten minutes-walk. And so, as I walked and looked around, I identified this need to be lacking in Kanyama compound. And God began to challenge me to combine our efforts as a church to embark on a mission of planting other branch churches around Kanyama and beyond. I would like now to share the following:
First, a pastor and leader must have a very clear vision. As I prayed, it became very clear to me that God wanted us to build and plant churches around Kanyama community. I immediately realized that this was a very big job which I could not do alone. Planting a church required more people and different gifts. And so, I began to realize that I needed to mobilize, motivate and build a team that will accomplish this vision. The truth of the matter is any vision from God really requires more people to be involved. You cannot do it all by yourself. You cannot be a one-man band. Otherwise, you will not accomplish the vision. So, as a local church pastor, leader of a district or national leader, you need to first wrestle with the “What does God want me to achieve?” And once you have understood that vision, then you must communicate it clearly to the people you lead. People must know where they are going. A leader must paint a picture of how wonderful, how great, how exciting, how much better where they are going than where they are. The leader must paint the picture of where they are currently so that people begin to feel why they can’t continue staying in that place. So, this is why it is important for the leader to communicate the vision very clearly. In Exodus 3:8 God told Moses the Promised land was better for them than Egypt because the Israelites would be delivered to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey.
For me, at Kanyama, I began to share the vision two years before we planted a church. I began to teach people. I began to show them how exciting it will be for Kanyama church to have a daughter church. 2014, was going to be a jubilee year for Zambia. I told my leaders and church members how exciting it would be to have our first daughter church planted in 2014, a year of jubilee for Zambia and we will call the daughter church Jubilee. ‘Pilgrim Wesleyan Church Jubilee Congregation’. So, for two years, every opportunity I had I shared how wonderful, how exciting it is and people got it. The members were excited about it and they said, ‘wow! we are ready’. The youths were excited, singers were excited, women were excited, men were excited and we began to share – how are we going to do it? And we shared the vision, we shared how we are going to do it and when we are going to do it ,then we all settled on the week of independence for Zambia. The mechanism we used was to hold a crusade at a school in one of the target areas and at the end of the crusade, the Jubilee branch of the Pilgrim Wesleyan Church was planted.
And after that, of course, I shared my vision that in the next two years we must plant another one. And so, the vision I have given to Kanyama church is that it must be a church where every two years, they plant a daughter church and everybody is excited. In 2016, we planted another church which we called ‘Msinje’ meaning brook. Unfortunately, in 2018 we went through a lot of a challenges that ended up hindering us from planting another church. In the place where we really targeted to plant a church we had no connection with the civic leadership who are in charge of plot allocations. However, in 2020, God opened other doors for us. The first church we planted is about two hours away called Senzo. Our church secretary and his family were transferred to Sesheke in 2020 and they planted a church in the new place.
Secondly, a leader must lead by example. You as a leader must be personally involved in the implementation of the vision. Nehemiah had a vision of rebuilding of the broken walls which he effectively communicated which made the people arise and started building. However, it is very encouraging to note that Nehemiah was personally involved in the rebuilding of the wall. The need for leaders to lead by example is highlighted by too many lords moving around just ordering members to get the job done. I cannot over-emphasize the need for a leader to personally be involved in a vision that God has given you.
In Kanyama I am personally involved in our church planting work - I set an example. I did not just say, ‘You do it’ while I continued doing my other things. I am personally involved in the vision that God has given us by my presence and my giving.
When God calls us to do a certain cause, we must not only say, “People must give towards this.” You personally must be able to say, I believe in what God is calling us to do and I am willing to contribute so much and when people see you contributing of your time and finances, you will have an excited group of followers that are willing to be involved.
Thirdly, is commitment to a teaching ministry. As a pastor or leader you need to take time to teach people what you expect them to do. Our team members are willing to do the work but they don’t know how to do it. Therefore, spend time, find ways of teaching your team. Help your team to also note that it doesn’t mean that you must always be the one to teach. If you want your people to learn a certain skill that you do not have, find somebody in the body of Christ gifted in that area, and invite them to teach your team. For example, when we have evangelistic outreach, I am aware that I am not an evangelist. So, I invite evangelists, like Rev. Richwell Mudenda, Rev. Siamoongwa Sialuumba, Rev. Ireen Anguleti and Rev. Dickson Samboko just to mention a few who are gifted evangelists. And so, once people are taught, it becomes easy. I think most of us just want to tell people, “Well this needs to be done, you do it”. The team members cry out, “Teach us how to do it and we will get the job done.” By inviting other leaders who are gifted differently from me, I communicate to my team that I do not have all gifts.
The fourth way of building a strong team is to make your team accountable. You must set ways in which you can evaluate and review to see whether people are on course. I heard a saying; I am not sure exactly where I got it. It is ‘People do what we inspect and not what we expect’. Some of our leaders expect people to do various tasks and take leave and walk away and trust that their team members will do the work. Well, if they know that you are not going to inspect what you assigned them and if you are not going to make them accountable for what you have given them, people tend to slacken and sleep on the job. So, create avenues for people to be accountable. They must be accountable. My local board of administration is doing well because every time we meet, everyone has to account for what their department is doing. Is it in line with the vision God has given us?
Fifthly, encourage our team members. Along the way, some people get discouraged, things get tough and people don’t know what to do but you must be there as a leader to encourage the team members. In 2018 we had planned to plant the church in Makeni area, west of Lusaka. We were all excited but were not be able to find a place to gather for our planned church plant gathering. We didn’t find any family that would be a focal point. And so my team was getting discouraged. I kept encouraging them, God will make a way. In 2020 another door opened for us to plant a church in Senzo. The leadership team and church members were very excited.
And lastly, we must celebrate achievement or accomplishments. We must take time to celebrate the good things God has done. Look at the milestones, look at where you are going and look at what God has done and celebrate. There are times in my church, when I ask my Sunday School teachers to rise and I tell the congregation, “You know what! These teachers have an amazing ministry to our children. Look at how many children have accepted Christ after they have come to our church!” And then I make the church clap for them. That celebration of the work of teachers encourages the teachers. I do that to every department at different times each year. In March, Women, Men, Youth and children take charge of the worship service as a way of celebrating what God is doing in their department. Through this mechanism we are creating an environment where each one's effort toward God's work is appreciated. This has kept Kanyama Church as a church with excited and motivated leaders. Because of my role as a national leader, I am not there most of the time but I can tell you that things are going on very well. Kanyama Church continues to be a church planting church. That is the vision I shared with that church and they are running with it and they are excited about it and we are so thankful that God has given us this opportunity to lead.
Rev. David Kajila
District Superintendent, Cameroon Wesleyan Church
In the New Testament, the Pastor has a very important role in forming a very effective team. This is a first task as an evangelist, he must carry out this task. Paul said to Timothy, "Do the work of an evangelist." (2 Ti 4:5)
Speaking of the pastoral call, let us emphasize: "All those who are called to God's service in a particular way are anointed servants, apart from others."
God called them as his servants who perform a function of representation. This is why Edmond Jacob says: "If it is a question of directing, judging, or teaching, the purpose of ministry is to manifest in a concrete way an activity that is ensured in a perfect way by God."
God sets aside pastors by entrusting them with the task of forming the Church by teaching the Word of God. Pastors teach at collective gatherings, and by forming an effective team for ministries to multiply. They train the members so that they can in turn make disciples. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust it to faithful men, who are able to teach it also to others.”
If we think very well in our churches even on the missionary field where we are working we depend on leaders. That is why at some point we have some fundamental questions about management. How can those responsible give their full measure? What can they do to build an effective ministry team around them? Finally, what can they also do to preserve the effectiveness of a ministry team? All of these issues will help us to have progress or success in the ministry and prepare to face the future.
We have said above that in our churches we depend on leaders. So the pastor as a leader or visionary must set goals. Let's take a look at the leadership of Nehemiah who was a wise leader. He knew that in setting goals for the people they had to be effective and reasonable to build the wall. Nehemiah, instead of seeking his own interest he thought of the people first (Nehemiah 5:14-18).
Based on the research we are doing and our personal experiences, to work effectively in the ministry we need to have the following strategies:
- Training leaders
How can we build an effective team in the ministry? We realize that the very first thing is that we must have a vision for the future. It is difficult to separate leadership from vision because the two always work together. All good leaders are guided by the common thread of vision. Because no pastor or leader can go far in his ministry without vision.
Vision is having the ability to predict the future through the present that is built on the past. It is to see the invisible and make it visible. A full vision is a bridge that connects the present to a better future. A visionary is the one who sees the end of a thing and not just the beginning. After an architect has finished the plan of a building, he always sees it as a house fully constructed. The Bible states in the book of Proverbs 29:18, "When there is no vision, the people perish."
There is a truth that we must understand - without vision people perish. That is why Jesus Christ before he began ministry, he had to have people to share his vision. He needed more workers to join him to help him achieve his vision. Having a vision is not enough but it is important to form a team.
Numbers 11:14-15. "I cannot, alone, carry all these people, for it is too heavy for me. Rather than treat me like this, kill me, please... “.
In the book of Exodus 18:21-22 "Choose among all the people capable men, fearing God, of men of integrity, enemies of greed; establish them upon them as thousand leaders, hundred leaders, chiefs of fifty and chiefs of ten.” These verses teach us that the gifts of ministry the Holy Spirit gave to the Church to train members so that they could do the work of ministry.
The big job of a leader is to share the vision, and to train and equip the members of the church who have the potential to become great leaders with the aim of having an effective team in the future. That is why the Apostle Paul says in the book of 2 Timothy 2:2 "And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to the faithful men, who are able to teach it also to others." What Paul presents is the principle of training and multiplication. After a few years following this principle we will have a very effective team.
After working for a time in the field where we are in Cameroon we did not have success. There was no good result so we organized Bible training courses and after this training of the workers we have fruit that God has granted to us by His grace. It was a good investment to get a good and effective result.
During the three years of Jesus Christ's ministry, he welcomed all those who came to his home to be his disciples. He invested in them. He trained imperfect men to make them effective leaders. He equipped them to allow them to flourish in their lives and in the ministry. Because in training them they must feel the commitment towards them as persons from the one who is equipping them. We must love them and not forget their greatest interest. The training of the great effective leaders is not done in the crowd but one forms individually by personal training.
Biblical training is not an end goal, but tasks must be delegated to enable members to grow and be effective in ministry. Training is very important because it will allow the people we train to have a solid knowledge based on the Bible because we have to go from addition to multiplication in ministry. This is a very important element because Matthew 28: 19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
"The twelve then summoned the multitude of disciples and said, it is not appropriate for us to abandon the word of God to serve at the tables. Therefore, brethren, choose among you seven men, from whom a good witness is given, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, and we will charge them with this job. (Acts 6:2-3). The leader has one great purpose: to empower others, or to teach others how to fish instead of giving them fish.
After delegating responsibilities, it is also important to work as a team. And that's what makes even the team very effective by taking care of each other by knowing and practicing what's important. Not to mention that an effective team grows collectively and allows it to realize the dream and take on great challenges. An old man in our village said: “Individualism wins trophies, but teamwork wins championships.”
Finally, when you work as a team you have to have good communication. The success of your pastoral care, your relationship with others and your married life, much of it depends on your ability to participate. Great communicators take things that are complicated and make them simple. Jesus Christ is our model of an older communicator who never existed on this earth. Because He is called "the Word" in the book of John 1. It's important to develop communication, because success is based on that. Someone says that success without a successor is not success.
Coming to the end of our article on "how can pastors and church leaders build an effective ministerial team around them to multiply their efforts" it is important to remember the various points we have addressed that are:
- the vision - a focal point to better build a ministry that will be accompanied by the goals that allow us to achieve this vision,
- communication without which one cannot convey a message,
- the training of leaders to multiply people with solid knowledge,
- investment - the leader imparts the theories and practices that serve as ministry foundations so that this allows them to be rooted in their ministry,
- teamwork - a very important element because no one has a monopoly of knowledge, that's why each other's ideas help us build well.
To form an effective team, we need to develop skills that revolve around the points mentioned above in order to build a strong and unwavering ministry by the grace of God. Is the list of points listed to form an effective team limited? So, let's say as a leader you have to have patience in order to get good results from the task of forming a strong and effective team.
 DOSSOU K. Simon. '’A.T. Theology Course'' Faculty of Protestant Theology of Yaounde. Academic year 1998-1999
 EDMOND Jacob. Théology of the Old Testament ed. Delachaux and Niestlé, Neuchatel (Geneva) 1968. P. 187.