EP 179 – THE INVALUABLE SIGNIFICANCE OF LAY LEADERS
This EP was recorded in Elk City OK when the guys were in town for the Revive Summit-of which there are two more, we invite you to join us in either Tuscon or Mt. Vernon. Today we get down to the serious business of discussing the value and importance of lay leaders in your church.
Lay Leaders: non ordained, non-vocational leaders, members of the church who contribute towards the welfare and the mission of the local church.
We believe there is a need for equipping people for ministry, it’s biblical.
An important distinction: the task isn’t the goal, the equipping of the people is the goal.
A resourceful generalist is willing to do anything that needs doing, but wise enough to not do everything.
Not every person in your congregation is called to be a leader, but everyone in your congregation is called to be a disciple. –Neil Cole
We encourage you to engage with your church body, equip them for ministry and realize they are an important part of ministry necessary to the vital functioning of your church.
Our great sponsor, One Eighty Digital, is ready to assist your church in developing a great web presence to connect with your community. Give them a shout and let them know you are a bootcamp listener.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Back of the bootcamp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. we have a few in the can and so we’re able to record ahead of time again, like the professionals that we are Bob, we’re. The great metropolis of Elk City, Oklahoma with Route 66 having some historic markers here and I think because we’re near Route 66 Hertz yet again, gave me a muscle car. Now I have a Mustang convertible. It’s no hell cat, but it’s still pretty fun.
Bob Bickford: I know. Are you going top down, shirt off.
JimBo Stewart: man, I wish it were warmer.
I would, I don’t know that there’s any scenario where I would go top off of myself, but I would
Bob Bickford: would,
JimBo Stewart: I could go top down for the Mustang.
I don’t, I don’t see me taking my top off at any
Bob Bickford: Okay. Well, I mean, it’s, it is very, it’s very cold. So we, we are, north, and west of the snow ice mageddon, that is Dallas Fort Worth.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: elk City, Oklahoma for those who of you who have no idea where this is and are driving. And
JimBo Stewart: want, I had no idea where it [00:01:00] was till we planned
Bob Bickford: right? It is, it is smack dab between Amarillo, Texas where my son lives and Oklahoma City, where some friends of mine live.
and so we’re right in the middle of the open Prairie and plane. And, there’s actually quite a little metropolis here of, elk City, Oklahoma, and this is your first
JimBo Stewart: In Oklahoma in general, yeah. Like the whole state, which I feel like I drove half of
it today. ,
Bob Bickford: uh,
JimBo Stewart: landed in Oklahoma City and got my Mustang and, drove my way to
Bob Bickford: It’s a very, wide state,
say. Yeah, right east to west.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. We’re in the panhandle
the, like, but the panhandle here feels like it’s a lot smaller than the panhandle
Bob Bickford: Well, it is. Florida panhandle is bigger. Texas panhandle is bigger. So Oklahoma
JimBo Stewart: take a little bitty
little bit Yeah. But we had some good food.
fire. Yeah. and so
we’re excited. Tomorrow, the day after we record this, we’ll be jumping into our first revive event. Here’s what I’d say is when you’re hearing this, we’re probably coming [00:02:00] pretty. close to the Arizona and
revive events. And so if we haven’t shut down registration on those, you should jump in on those as well. It’s me, it’s you, it’s Richard Blackaby, mark Clifton, Frank Lewis, Joe Kreider. just a great crew,
Bob Bickford: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. The focus is for pastors to encourage them. We know that pastoring can be hard and difficult, and not only do we want to encourage you, but we’d like to give you some helpful information and equipping along with just encouraging you.
Cuz, and you can go to an event Jimbo and you can get fired up. Like, oh my gosh, yes, I’m gonna stay in ministry for hundred more years. Yes. But if we, if you only have a feeling and you don’t have some things that you can actually put a handle on and take home, you might not have that feeling on
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So we want to give you some meat to the bones that, help you not only be encouraged to continue, but give you some things to implement, some tools in your toolbox, some perspective that gives you [00:03:00] greater
Bob Bickford: Absolut.
JimBo Stewart: Well, speaking of which, one of the things we wanna talk about is, the importance of lay leader.
church renewal. And so, talk. What is
Bob Bickford: yeah, lay leaders are non ordained, non-vocational leaders, members of the church who contribute towards the
JimBo Stewart: Hmm. That’s a good definition. as we think about that, one of the things, I was talking with Joe Kreider in the car earlier today and we were talking about the importance of league leadership and I said, and Joe agreed with me and he’s smarter and more educated than me,
so I feel
has to be right.
Bob Bickford: His voice is really great too. He doesn’t, he doesn’t have a great voice. And by the way, Joe Kreider is the, The director of the School of Worship
those of you who don’t know who Joe
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So I mean this is kind of turning into, we’re
but without receiving any actual sponsorship.
No. Uh, Joe is leading worship here in teaching about worship, and we were talking today as we were getting some things [00:04:00] ready, uh, just
one guy by himself. But, and we talked about this in a previous episode, by force of personality, can maybe get some things done, but that’s not sustainable. Really sustainable renewal.
Requires lay leadership, buy-in. one guy just is not gonna do it.
It can get something sparked, it can get something, it can be a catalyst, but for sustained renewal in health, and you have to have
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. It’s biblical Jimbo. When you think about First Corinthians 12 that talks about the body and all the different parts
body and where they’re all needed, you don’t have a body that’s just eyes or hands or ears.
I mean it all works together. It all coordinates. It all has its part. And so Paul, when he is writing to the church, says, you are the body of Christ. Mm-hmm. , each one of you is part of it. And so one of the things. That
can happen [00:05:00] in a pastor’s mind sometimes is he takes on the responsibility of
right? Mm-hmm. or on himself, I should say. Like, I’ve gotta do everything. I’ve gotta be a thing. Now we, we also talked about, when we talk about the characteristics of a re planter, they’re a
generalist. Yeah. And sometimes Jimbo in a solo staff church or in a church that’s older, where you have a lot of older members, sometimes a pastor
bear a lot
and do a lot of different things.
Yeah. But that’s not how God designed it.
Right. And so there’s a difference, and I think we’ve highlighted this before when we’ve. as a resourceful generalist, you need to be able to do a lot of things, but you don’t need to have the need
everything. Yeah. Right. you realize that you may have to cover some bases for a while, but ultimately you’re supposed to, to help that body get mobilized for ministry.
And one of your favorite verses, Ephesians for Right. Talks about that. Yeah. 4 11, 12 talks about the fact that he’s given leaders to the church for the express purpose, not
of doing everything, but
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I like to say resourceful journalists are willing to do anything but
so knowing how to develop leaders in the process, and here’s one of the reasons I love that, Ephesians for 11 and 12 part where it talks about the leadership of the church equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.
can tend to forget that the ministry is about people and we have to be
more than building
Now people oriented, people
as task-oriented, but they’re more people oriented, may forget that it’s not just, I don’t just need to love the people actually need. Help equip them. Like there needs to be movement and growth spiritually and in their ability to help build others into maturity.
And there has to be some process to that where we’re [00:07:00] actively seeing something happen. And so I think it’s, that verse is like a corrective for either extreme. If you’re all people, no task. It reminds you that there, there is a task. The job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, which is described in the following verse as billing
Up into maturity. But if you’re all task oriented, reminds you the task actually isn’t the goal. The the people are the goal and it’s equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.
being a resourceful generalist
being a control freak. Can look like the same thing on the outside, but part of it is actually why are you doing the thing?
Are you doing it to serve and to take care of something or are you doing it? Cuz if I
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: And
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
And sometimes it’s
easier to follow
into that trap. The, the latter thing that you mentioned about.
I could give this way, but I don’t want, I, I want it.
to be done this way. Right. And so, I mean,
I, I battle
we all battle that. Right. In different ways. [00:08:00] And
best things to do when you, if you are that, like, let’s say for a replant, or it’s the bulletin or it’s the, you know, greeting or it’s the prayer they feel like, man, I really want it to be exactly like this.
Well, that’s your pre. and if it’s not a biblical theological issue, and they, and it’s, you know, somebody’s learning how to do that, they’re gonna do it in
a style that,
who they are. And here’s the hard lesson for us to learn
pastors and rep planters.
the end all, be all in terms
And we will connect with a large, and, and most pastors connect with
large group of people. But some people like Jimbo, have you ever had the guy that preached his first sermon and you, you’re sitting there the whole
to smile and not
frown because it’s
And you’re just like, you’re
ever heard in my life.
Yeah. And how are we gonna remedy this? But then somebody comes up to that guy [00:09:00] and says to.
that is the best sermon I have ever heard. And you’re thinking are, do you have headphones in? Are we like listening to
the Lord used him to convey biblical truth in
that is different from
also applies to ministry inside the church that, that we are not the standard. Of ministry, like for ministry excellence,
do some things with excellence, but the Lord calls us to raise up other people to do ministry because there are other people and their, their personalities and their styles and their approaches,
their insight, their background, their, you know, all the things that the Lord’s gonna use in
JimBo Stewart: I would say in ministry, if your
bar that becomes
so [00:10:00] exclusive,
no one can get to
I feel like you’ve missed what this whole thing is about. Uh, it’s one of the, Neil Cole has a book called, cultivating a Life for God.
It’s a great book about discipleship and understanding discipleship in a biblical way. And
that he makes
that I really
like is he says, when it comes to, now this is
not about leadership
it comes to discipleship, far too often discipleship looks.
leadership development. And he goes, here’s the problem with
Not everybody in your church is called to be a leader, but
Mm-hmm. .And so if your discipleship process does not allow for people who aren’t quote unquote, excellence by your defined measure. and you exclude them from discipleship, you have way missed the mark.
Now when it comes to leadership, certainly there’s things we’re gifted to do, called to do, and we want to use the gifts that God has given us for the [00:11:00] edification of the body. And so we do need to identify, and there are some things, no matter how passionately I may want to sing a solo
already somewhat so
you’re You’re excluding
purpose, but I think man, be okay with kind of the underdog mentality and the misfit island of misfit toys, cuz that’s kind of the way the whole.
Christian Church was built like the, vagabonds and fishermen and weirdos that Jesus always hung out with, right? And like he hangs out with Nicodemus and he intentionally leaves Nicodemus a little bit confused and unclear. . But then he goes to the next chapter and he is with this woman with a really bad reputation that is trying to avoid talking to anybody.
So she comes to the well during the heat of the day, and John four, because she’s already got such a bad [00:12:00] reputation. She’s tired of hearing people talk about her, and that’s who he tells. Yes, I am the Messiah. And he, you see a revival happen, not in
a Jewish community,
in a Samaritan community, the misfits.
don’t get distracted
through the misfit.
Bob Bickford: Yeah,
love that perspective
And I think it also is
giving. Right. Because
if you do
the people who Jesus called,
et cetera. Now, Paul
probably the elite, educated, you
But, he did have a, a bit of a, a, an issue with anger and
JimBo Stewart: um Yeah.
Bob Bickford: you
I think there’s
JimBo Stewart: hints too
communicator than him. Yes. There.
Bob Bickford: true.
right. There’s true.
JimBo Stewart: And
I think Paul
was probably a
Mm-hmm. . But
I think there’s some
hints that he wasn’t necessarily that great of a
Bob Bickford: Right.
JimBo Stewart: Or
Bob Bickford: Right.
And some, whatever the thorn in his flesh
not was, I don’t
think. it was deacons that
the thorn in his flesh.
JimBo Stewart: But,
one time I was
Bob Bickford: I
know Wayne, I’ve heard people say it was his eyesight, you know, and all cuz he always talks about what large letters I’ve written with, you
that kind of stuff.
So, who knows? But, the point
is that, yeah,
and this is true for every single leader that we
even talking about today
there are so many pastors
who appear to be, you know, this incredible leader and behind the scenes and we could just start rattling off names, like, there, there
parts of leaders lives who
have large public
of em has feet of That
right? Yeah. There’s
their life that is and a part of their skillset that
JimBo Stewart: most excellent.
Bob Bickford: some ways and, and not in some others.[00:14:00]
JimBo Stewart: Well,
not exclude because of excellence
character flaws. Yeah. obviously there, you know, as far as giving leadership. But another one
I would say
is emotional intelligence. and I, I pull this
I believe from scripture, Romans chapter 12, where
too highly of yourself.
with emotional intelligence overestimate their competency in certain areas, especially in social, situations.
not self-aware enough to know that their social skills aren’t what they’re supposed to be.
there needs to be some help in understanding what it is like to have your talk, be seasoned with salt and what it is like to, not
highly of yourself and understand how God has wired you [00:15:00] and operate within the fruit of the spirit, and part of that being self-control and patience and gentleness and love and kindness and those levels of maturity,
I think have
to be considered
Bob Bickford: Absolutely.
little exit ramp
off of that if
of emotional intelligence being,
an understanding of yourself
or some emotional intelligence
you’re selling your skills in yourself at like a high level, like I’m a high level leader, and you may be
lower level. .
Right? So there, there is, there is that. I think where I see some people get in trouble
they equate passion
So I believe in this. I’m so excited about this and I
what I would say is you [00:16:00] are captured
not To competence.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah,
absolutely. Just cuz
good ability to do it.
Bob Bickford: Right. So when
started playing tennis,
so excited about playing
and I kind
And I could hit the ball really hard and I figured some things out and I watched a few, there was a, I think a guy named Vic Braden or something that had like tennis books. And it’s interesting, he had a, he’s a kind of an older, middle-aged man that didn’t look like a very effective tennis player.
he wrote all these books about playing tennis. He’s a, he looked like a daddy. He had a comb over and ,
he like, so,
I figured out how to surf, right? Yeah. And I was really good, up to a
certain level, but then I would get out on the court in my passion for tennis and I’d play somebody who knew how to play and it would just be a disaster.
Right? So, so I see this, and we get
a lot of times.
I end up
in the job that we have?
Yeah. And, so. I love that people
[00:17:00] super, super passionate about church revitalation and replanting and
sorts of things, but
passion doesn’t equate with
Right. The other thing I love about what we do and who we get to meet is there, a lot of people
are saying, man, I want
learn everything that I can. So
just want to say to the guys out there who really wanna make a
of thoughts is, , may go serve in a little church, either alongside
Like learn and learn from lay leaders who’ve been serving around, you know, cuz we’re kind of really talking about lay leaders. Like learn
really good lay leaders who’ve been serving for a long time. And then, See what
Lord teaches you. Yeah. And then be humble and then maybe go and try to serve another church, before you create a
develop a platform, all those sorts
Yeah. and serve alongside
the best pastors
who’ve been there
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: [00:18:00] So I love, I
clergy can learn from
JimBo Stewart: I mean, I think there’s so many lay people
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . and in, in every church I’ve been in, I can name people, I can name, Mr.
Jerry that when I first started ministry would take me to jail ministry with him. And I learned how to. Going to jails and prisons and, and then, Mr. Gibson, who would take the van to the local university, pick up international students, take ’em to Walmart, help ’em get their groceries and help ’em get back to
build a relationship with them. They will ask, they’ll bring it up and you’ll get opportunities and,
and he taught me
about cross-cultural ministry in evangelism. Right. And I think I have a guy named Ansel in
New Orleans that.
to use his small [00:19:00] group on Sunday nights to reach his lost neighbors, and, it was reaching so many of his lost neighbors that the group outgrew his living room and he hired an interior decorator to knock out walls and make a bigger living room, and then led her to Jesus And then we baptized her and then she helped redecorate the church in New Orleans.
here was one
I know we
he said this,
want you to treat me like I’m a
Hmm. Like, that’s the kind of accountability and expectations I want you to give to me. and I just think of John and Janice who have just said, Hey, our ministry is loving kids. And, Buddy and I mean, I could just, I could continue to name so many lay people that have made
such a profound
on my ministry, my
podcast before Patty, that
there’s such an opportunity to make such a lasting [00:20:00] and real impact
I guess I
the pastors listening to this To recognize
Bob Bickford: the
JimBo Stewart: gold mine
Bob Bickford: your
in, in people
to do with,
think so many
of the churches that
the pastors that
they can’t hire someone. . Mm-hmm. or several, somebodys to do ministry, then, then they
I I think you’ve just made a good point.
know, kind of the
hall of, faith, fame of faith, you know, that you
just listed through right there. Those are all individuals who have made significant contributions to the kingdom. So, You
people say it this way. God
given you every resource you need to
do the ministry he’s
called you to
part of it is discovering that and unleashing that. And then what that typically does is, is your people are,
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. and
Bob Bickford: people
And so you become a
JimBo Stewart: That’s
the laypeople listening,
I, I just wanna say
playing a smaller, insignificant role.
I’m convinced that for a great renewal to happen in the North American Church, It won’t primarily come from pulpits or pundits, but from the pews.