Church Leaders: Having a Mandate

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Article by Topher Smith

Each church leader must have a mandate. I had considered this reality in different terms. I used to ask myself, “what is my message?” Understanding over the last several years that there are things that I seem to lean into more than others I’ve asked, have I really developed a compelling vision and mission to accomplish what God has for me to do. The answer for me is only in part. Our mandate is what we must do for Jesus. To a degree there is some corporate sharing that occurs across the body of Christ when it comes to mandate. However, we are all so unique and amazingly created just like our Father that we each can have a little different expression of the same general mandate. And God has given us all something to do beyond the general call to leadership and the church that only we can do.

So what is individual mandate? Our mandate is the combination of our vision and our mission with perhaps some purpose sprinkled in there too. When we consider our vision we look forward on the horizon and say where we want to end up. So we look at the end destination, or what we want to have achieved in the future. The mission then is what I do to get to what I see. So as we work toward fulfilling our mandate there are things to consider.

Each person that you have working with you should be a help to your organizational mandate as well as be fulfilled in their own unique and personal mandate. Once we have all of this on the table then we can begin assigning responsibilities to accomplish the mandate. Without this balance I think burnout can happen more easily. It’s important to have this balance because we must motivate and mobilize people, something crucial to church health. Those people should then raise up new people to be discipled by them and the cycle continues. As the team grows it’s important to develop them as Jesus built team. Utilizing concentric leadership, He poured most into 3 people, and a little more into 9 people, and some into 70 people but they all went with Him.

One of the churches that I worked at had worship team that had a few members that were already established that had a very different style than what I was going for. I had a clear vision of what I was trying to do but not a lot of mission to make it happen. My plan looked more like incremental introduction to more and more of what I saw for our style as a whole while saying we were going somewhere great. All while not saying how to get there or communicating the vision that clearly. We went after a few things one at a time and some things right, but overall the progress was at a snail’s pace. I thought in times past that this was because of our distance from the goal that I had in my heart, and the willingness of the people to change. However, now I see that I lacked communication and strong mission to get to where we were going. I also believe that I was trying too hard to fit into the pastoral role, to nurture the individual mandate of each team member more than the team mandate that I felt in my heart.

My current endeavor looks a lot different because of having the coaching from Pastor’s Coach along with the leadership opportunity afforded through Michael Brodeur’s Church Leadership and Planting curriculum. I would recommend this material to every leader that is serious about building not just a good team but a great family that thrives and teaches other people how to thrive.

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