- Damon Gardzelewski
The call to lead; the call to develop leaders
EASTPOINTE – In October and November 2022, I was doing a series called Standing Together, a 7-week series that focused on the local church and in our church. It was a way to teach a new members class to the entire church. I did this series because Eastside Community Church had very little if any information on our current members due to a change in leadership, Covid-19, record keeping ability, and various other reasons.
This series did two things; it taught in a church setting to all who come on Sunday who we are as a church, and asked those attending to become a partner in ministry with our church.
In the first message of the series we looked at the responsibility of the pastor to the church. The point of focus for the pastor was Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ”. From this passage, we were able to see one of the main responsibilities of our church’s pastors; to prepare and equip this local assembly of believers to do ministry.
There are many pastors who minister bi-vocationally. You work hard for a living to support your families. You spend time ministering to them, loving them, and being the shepherd they need. Then turn around with what is left of your time, and give it to a local assembly of believers.
This is done because God has called you to teach, to lead, and to sacrifice so that a group of believers will stand together sharing with others that Jesus Christ is the Rock of Salvation, and the gates of hell will not prevail against this truth. However, we sometimes get lost in where we should focus our time which is precisely what I had done.
After this series, I was praying ahead to 2023 to see what and how God would use our midweek Bible study. I felt I had an answer, but I reached out to one of my good friends in ministry and asked him this serious question, “What would you focus your pastoral time on if it was limited, so it can be maximized?” His answer back to me was the same I had come up with, but in a different order. My answer was preaching and leadership development, his answer was leadership development and preaching. This essentially was the role of the Pastor that I had given Eastside Community Church a few weeks earlier, to equip them for ministry.
Now that I know the what, I had to figure out the how. How and or what can I do to invest my time in developing leaders? We have a Wednesday night program that serves as a more in-depth Bible study. We are currently doing a through the Bible series, I announced that after we finished this series, we would be transitioning our Wednesday Night meetings into a leadership training process. It will focus on training individuals in our church with the Timothy Initiative: Disciples Making Disciples. You can read more about this program at ttionline.org.
The basis of the program started out with missionaries, and it was used to assist them in their discipleship making process. Intentional, the program teaches families how to become a disciple that will go out and reach another family and disciple them. The concept is to use these families as small churches that keep planting more churches. It has become so effective that it is now being used here in America. The desire and dream are to turn our small group of Wednesday Night attenders into ferocious church planters.
I share these thoughts and our story to encourage you with the opportunities you have to put in an intentional leadership development strategy. If you're pastoring bi-vocationally, you will probably need to be creative on the when, where, and how. You might look at your situation and think there isn’t any more time!
I encourage you to look through the things you're doing and cut something, so you can replace it with training leaders. If you're fortunate enough to be able to pastor vocationally, and you're not developing leaders intentionally, I encourage you to reserve a weekly spot in your calendar and be available for a small group of people. Invite them to go on a journey with you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Damon Gardzelewski is pastor at Eastside Community Church in Eastpointe, Michigan. He holds a Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master in Religious Education from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University. Damon has served churches in student ministry and lead pastor roles.