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Effective Leadership

Paul's Guide to Leading and Managing a Church

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Introduction to the 'Effective Leadership from Ephesians' series. A Look at some of the calls and precepts from the Paul's precepts in Ephesians applied to leading and managing a church.


"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1-2

Introduction to the 'Effective Leadership from Ephesians' series. A Look at some of the calls and precepts from the Paul's precepts in Ephesians applied to leading and managing a church.

How most people in the Christian leadership, community come up with our theories are actually simple. Look into who are successful, see what they are doing and then quantify it, organize and then orchestrate to so to help others emulate it. Then Bible verses are attached to them, usually out of context. This in many cases is a great way to take from those who can and help those how can't. I did this in my two doctoral dissertations and many of my articles. Good ideas can come from this. The problem arises in our quantifications, usually it is something else to these churches or leader's successes that has nothing to with just ability; rather, persona, charisma and God's unmerited favor. And when they are gone the ministry or church usually fumbles. What is often ignored is what and how did the great leaders of God's Word do it. Who did not have the charm and magnetism, certainty Paul did not, many times without resources or even favor. This brings us to Paul, perhaps the greatest leader in the Bible apart from our Savior. What did he model and advise? Well, we can look to the Book, Ephesians, to find out.

Paul did not have the likable personality that draws, he was not a particularly good speaker, or had a good branding, or even publicity, or even luck. I mean, how many complications can a guy have? He merely walked by faith and led his people to Christ by pouring into them by example and message, pointing them to Christ as Lord.

Paul's main concern was whether his teaching would be applied, studied, or ignored.  The apprehension was that Christians would turn out like the Pharisees and Philosophers; they would have the knowledge while ignoring the application.  Paul was concerned that some would have just the emotion without knowledge and application.  The irony is that many of us are!  Following Christ requires a response; this response is gratitude and key aspects of maturing in faith and growth in Christ.  The purpose and study of His Word or of doctrine is not just knowledge, (which is very important); it is equally important and necessary that it effects our heart, and we apply the knowledge.  This transformation and application is our supreme goal (1 Chron. 29:11; Rom. 12:1-2).

We have become Paul's worse fear!  

Thus, to counter Paul's fear and embrace Christ's call to be a successful church, we must know and practice what is in Ephesians, like our call to live a life worthy.  To 'go' and 'live' in the manner of what we know and believe--and, do it consistently. Consequently, when we lead and manage our church, we take it seriously as a faithful steward, in our call, conduct and character. We do this when we are pursuing God and His righteousness and believing His precepts.  We do this when we live in such way so He is more, and we are less in our will.  This is our "walk with God", and it means living out the daily Christian life as He has called, behaving in response to our gratitude to His Work in and for us.  This, in context, is also being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  It is never the walk in our own will and strength; such a thing is pride and disobedience to our loving Lord (Lev. 26:3; Ezek. 36:27; Mark 10:29-31; John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; 5:16; Eph. 4:1-6, 17; 5:1-2, 8, 15; Phil. 3:10-14; Col. 1:10).

What we are going to do is make some applications to key exegetical points in each chapter of the Epistle of Ephesians. This will not be a comprehensive leadership guide; rather tips, as if Paul was your church growth consultant, in our office and church. What would he say to us?

Read the Epistle of Ephesians, then read each chapter again as you read these tutorials on Church Leadership Tips:

  • Ephesians 1: 1-2, Be Faithful! "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God's holy people in Ephesus the faithful in Christ Jesus…"  How are you communicating Grace and peace to your people?  Are you authentic and humble? If you are not, you are doing church wrong.  Our number one job is to always point to Jesus Christ as the Lord over all.  If you want to receive God's Blessings, Spiritual and whatever he has for you, you must do these things as we Praise Christ.

  • Ephesians 1:3-6, Focus on Christ! "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ..." Christ is to be our prime focus--first, foremost, over anything or anyone else.  If we are not leading our people to Christ and explaining Who He is and What He does, we are not pastoring, we are pestering.  We are simply being prideful and promoting ourselves.

  • Ephesians 1:7-10, Know Grace! "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace…" Now that we know what God has lavished upon us, what do we do as a church leader to model that to those around us?  If your church is stagnant, one of the main reasons is because you are not getting what His grace is about and it has become stale, like out-of-date milk. Pray, seek forgiveness, and get back to your call.

  • Ephesians 1:11-14, People's Lives Matter! "… And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed…" We are called to be agents of reconciliation to a world that is dying to sin!  We are to proclaim that people's lives matter.  The world is a mess because most people do not know that God accepts us by His sacrifice for our sins! Because of His work, we are deeply loved and complete in Him, and we do not need to have acceptance by any other person or means to be fulfilled (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:21-22; 2:13-15; Heb.13: 15-16; James 1:4; 1 John 4:9-11)!

  • Ephesians 1:15-23, Be Filled with Christ! "… I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…" Being filled with Jesus is a requirement for being a Christian, and this must be evident in us. This is what the Fruit of the Spirit is all about:  God is working in and through us.  It is imperative that the leadership of the church exhibits the life and power of Christ. If not, what are we there for?  If it is weak, it's time to step up the personal and corporate prayer, daily Bible reading.  We must be aware of our sinful desires and place them at the foot of the Cross.  People will not see Jesus at work unless they see that He is at work in the leadership.  This sets the tone for the congregation!

  • Ephesians 2: 1-10, Point to Christ! "… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…"  We are never to forget or forsake the basics of our Christianity, by Grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone, which we get through Scripture alone all to give God the Glory.  The church leadership and pastor's job is to point to Christ, His Word, and help manage a response to our house and community.

  • Ephesians 2:11-13, Let Christ Work! "… But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. The administration of our church is not about personal wants, needs, and/or comforts; it is about Christ working in us in unity more powerfully and triumphantly.  The key to turn on this engine of our collective spiritual formation is our willingness to effectively teach, disciple, pursue, endure, and grow in Him as Lord. Allow the holiness of our Lord, His grace, His patience, understanding, faith, loyalty, goodness, and love to be exhibited in the leadership--not just by imitation, but with gratitude and submission, saved by His blood, kept by His power (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:27; Gal. 5:21-23; 1 Pet. 1:5)!

  • Ephesians 2:14-22, Do Not Allow Divisions! "… And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  We are God's living stones, so let's live it!  Remember, God is also our Peace.  Nothing will destroy a church or ministry quicker than when peace is absent, because strife, competition, dissension, power plays, personal agendas and gossip will take root, all of which eventually lead to divisions in a church (Rom.13: 13; Gal. 5:19-20).

  • Ephesians 3:1-6, Understand Holiness! "… Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you…" Our task in the church is to understand holiness so we can proclaim Christ--His Lordship as well as His character, righteousness, peace, and joy, all by the Holy Spirit. This will effectively be the catalyst for building a quality, lasting, and effective church.

  • Ephesians 3:7-13, Live it Out! "… I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power…." We are to be bold for Christ, not to our conceit. It is imperative that we live, what we preach; being a hypocrite is a disgusting obsession in the face of our loving and gracious Lord as well as our witness!  

  • Ephesians 3:14-21, Love Well! "… I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…" Do you know that your church can do immeasurably more? The church is established in love, by love for love.  So do we love well?  Do we do more?  We must pray that His glorious riches strengthen us, work in us, so we love and do as He has called!  Worship Christ, grow in Christ, serve Christ and model Christ.

  • Ephesians 4: 1-6, Be Humble! "… Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love…" To create a church of unity, leaders should be grateful to share our kindness and humility in Christ as we display His Glory.  So, let us learn and grow, so we can be better at knowing Him and showing Him as we depend on Christ and His Mighty Work in us--empowering us!   In this way, we will grow and be a church unified and impacting.

  • Ephesians 4: 7-16, Speak Truth! "… Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ…"  We prepare God's people!  The purpose of any worker in the church is to build up the people for service, whether it is a nursery worker or a bishop, a pastor, or elder.  We serve Christ.  By doing this, we build up His church.  If we serve with a preoccupation on 'self' e.g. "It is all about me, my position, my name, my legacy, my veneration", we miss the entirety of who and why we are to lead and manage a church.

  • Ephesians 4:17-32, Be Kind! "… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." As leaders in Christ's Body, we must be morally true.  We must have a deep penetrating desire for real Truth and teach that Truth with passion and conviction, with clarity and love.  We are to think and inspire others about Christ and consider what we have in Him to experience our new lives!

  • Ephesians 5:1-7, Lead Worthy! "… And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…." The Christian leader is called to model and inspire gentleness, love, empathy, compassion—and, out of these, will flow forgiveness.  God wants us to get with it, to wake up, and seize the wonders and opportunities He gives us.  A bad or unforgiving attitude will choke us off from His wonders (Prov. 3:7; James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6-7).

  • Ephesians 5:8-20, Be the Catalysts for Transformational Lives! "… Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth…" Our task in the church is to proclaim Christ as Lord, His character, righteousness, peace, and joy, all by the Holy Spirit.  We are also to stand against sin, as positive examples and catalysts for transformational lives!  This will effectively be the catalyst to build quality, lasting, and effective relationships.  We are to showcase our personal identification and relationship to our Lord and Savior!

  • Ephesians 5:21-33, Submit to Christ! "… Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…" Why do we do church?  Please a personality?  Hear a sound bite?  Take in the latest fad?  No. We worship Christ as Lord.  And what does that look like?  Our church submits to Christ as LORD!  Then, we will have a radiant churchIs Christ leading us and our church, or are we seeking to lead Him? 

  • Ephesians 6:1-9, Build Christian Values! "… So that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth…" Love, Lead, Offer, Value and Equip.  Commit to building Christian values and principles that show Christ's value and theirs that lead the people in your church to quality and beneficial relationships at home and at work.

  • Ephesians 6:10-17, Be Strong in the Lord! "… Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…" We must make sure our value system is based on God's true Truth! Not the worlds or the lies of culture! We are to be the influencers of culture not the receivers. This is where the church is weak and prone to attack. (Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 6:10-18)

  • Ephesians 6:18-24, We are Ambassadors of Christ! "…With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people…"  As Church leaders, we serve our Lord and minister to His people.  It is not about us!  We must remember that as leaders we are ambassadors of Christ.  We are to proceed in any endeavor with the Fruits of the Spirit with love primary.  We must have the proper motives before we can lead effectively!

Paul reminds us of the basics.

We need to know who we are by knowing Who He is. This was a church that was new as an outpost in a world of darkness, of sin and dysfunction.  Ephesus was a church that was totally new as an organism with the call of stewardship of the heart, mind, and soul. They need to know what it is all about--a community established by grace with power for the transformation of the soul and relationships. They were in turmoil, and if we do not listen to Paul's inspired guidance, we will also fumble.  So, let's listen to God's Word to be faithful leaders and servants in our Lord.  Know that God sends us His peace.  He loves you, so love Him, know who we are in Christ, receive His encouragement and empowerment. We are to pray for the endurance of our leaders and our challenges.

Paul was an extreme example of multiplying networks and energizing and influencing people for the Lord.  

Being excited about who you are in Christ is an essential aspect of attracting people and motivating them for and in leadership.  New Christians bring in most of the new converts because they are excited and are energized.  Even though new Christians may be ignorant on theological and apologetical matters, they are bringing people in versus people who have been Christians for many years, but tend to lose their excitement and, thus, may rarely bring people into the church. Where is your excitement for Who and what Christ has done and can still do in your church?

Paul knew and taught Christ and His forgiveness!

Thus, his passion was to make Christ known, especially to those who did not have the resources or backing.  Because His great love is in you… The key for revitalizing or moving forward your church?  Be motivated by faith and gratitude.  When we have the grasp of God's redemption and His kindness and love, a response must ooze from the pores of our soul.  This is the solution to a great Christian life, for a family and a church, the willingness to live a life as one who has encountered Christ. This means to be transformed, then play it forward as an encourager those around us!

See the entire series here: /Leadership-from-Ephesians

For an exegetical word for word Bible study in Ephesians go here: Ephesians  


© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development


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