Church management advisor and trainer, Barry Voss shares his objective insights on the topic of what he advises for those called to pastoral ministry.
I have been training pastors and church leaders now for 12 years on leadership and management, focusing on teaching them Biblical principles and giving them practical tools to help them lead & manage their churches more effectively. I have 25+ years of experience as a leader and manager in business, in church, and in my own ministry, but yet I have never been pastor of a church. This often makes it very difficult for me to relate directly to what pastors go through and deal with on a day to day basis because I have never been in their shoes, so to speak. And it also makes me a little uncomfortable giving advice and counsel to pastors when I have not had any direct experience in that position. So I often ask myself, “what qualifies me to teach pastors?”
Every time I begin to feel that way, the Lord will remind me of the 3 qualifications that I possess for this ministry work. First, God Himself called me to this ministry. This was not my idea nor my intent. God used a pastor in the Philippines who needed help to ask me to share my experience from the business world with his pastors and church leaders. As I responded to that invitation in obedience to the Lord, God then began to show me that there were others who needed this training as well. He gave me a Vision for this ministry and has also led foreign partners and contacts to me who desire this training, and thus the ministry grew. Second, God had prepared me for this ministry. Prior to being called to this work, God had given me business and church leadership roles for more than 25 years. He was giving me experience in leading and managing people and resources. He had also led me into His Word so that I could learn His principles and concepts and not my own. Third, God has affirmed my calling to this ministry through the testimonies of participants and the enthusiasm for this training from our foreign partners. This was never about me or my experience, but rather about teaching God’s Word as it relates to leadership and management of His church. I do not try to tell pastors how to run their church, but instead focus on teaching Biblical principles they can use & apply to their church situation to help them lead and manage the flock the Lord has given to them. I do not give them some pre-packaged program guaranteed to ignite their ministry, but rather the Biblical fundamentals that will result in a growing church. I simply remind them of what God’s Word says and encourage them to put those principles into action (“faith without action, is dead” – James 2:17).
However, I have often thought about what I would do if I were the pastor of a church. What are the things that I would focus on and implement? Like any good sports coach, I believe that learning & practicing the fundamentals is very important.Click To Tweet
But a coach must also have a goal for the team and a strategy of how to achieve it, and he must know his players abilities and how to encourage & develop them. So as a pastor, first I would focus on encouraging the fundamentals of daily Bible reading and prayer, participation in ministry, and being a witness for Christ through missions for every member of my church without exception. These are the basics that support all endeavors of the church. Second, I would develop a vision or goal for the church to work towards as well as a clear and simple strategy to achieve that goal. I would want all church members to know where we are going and how we plan to get there. Third, I would also look for ways to develop the faith and participation of every church member in the ministry & vision of the church. The church is not a building but rather the whole Body of Christ working together for God’s glory! These are what I believe to be the fundamentals of church leadership and management. They do not require an MDiv or a PHD in Theology to implement either. Any church leader can do these basic things.
For many years I worked as a business consultant. And in that role I often went to companies and after assessing their problems simply advised them to do the things they already knew how to do but were failing to do. The same can be said of churches. Sometimes churches get so busy trying to be the best they forgot to do the basic things that will make them the best. And for pastors and church leaders the basic thing is still to “go and make disciples” of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19), and to teach them to be a “doer of the Word” (James 1:22).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: FaithLife Ministries was founded by Barry Voss & Kim Star-Voss in 2001 as a ministry to train and equip Christian leaders in the mission field.
In 1996, Barry first heard the call to go to the mission field. On that mission trip to Kazakhstan, he sensed God’s call on his life to serve Him in a mission field ministry. He continued to respond to that call by going on several more mission trips to teach and minister in 1997. In 1998 he felt God’s call to organize and lead mission trips, and so he recruited and led teams to Peru in 1999 & 2000 through Missions International, a Nashville based mission agency. In 2001, God led Barry and Kim to decide to incorporate in order to lead mission teams on their own, and so FaithLife Ministries was born. They led their first mission trip to the Philippines in May of that year. On that trip Barry taught a workshop on Church Administration. Our Philippines host invited Barry to come back the following year and teach on that topic for an entire week at their Bible School. As a result, Barry developed the Management For Church Leaders™training course. Since then this ministry has continued to grow as God has led us to more mission field contacts and opened up more opportunities for us to train and equip the leaders of His church.
In 2005, Barry was called to work full-time in this ministry. His focus is on church leadership and management training. Kim has developed a series of Children’s Ministry Books that are available through this website and joins Barry to teach on leadership and management occasionally. The Lord has continued to affirm our teaching and has led us to seek more opportunities and foreign trainers.