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Principles of Church Leadership by John P. Lathrop

A second reason why equipping people for ministry makes sense is because the Lord has gifted each of His children with different gifts and talents (see Romans 12 & 1 Corinthians 12). One person may not be especially good at a particular type of ministry while another may be very good at it. It seems logical to employ the services of the one who is good at it. The Lord has given different gifts in order to meet certain needs. It is the responsibility of leadership to help identify, train, and release people to use their gifts.

So how do leaders equip believers for ministry? I think the first step is recognizing that someone is gifted or has potential. This discovery may come about by observing an obvious gift in a person, or by seeing potential in someone as they become more involved in the church. Once gifting or potential is recognized then the leadership of the church should seek to develop that person. This may be done by placing the individual in an existing ministry in the church that will help the person mature in their gift or a mentoring type relationship can be established. For example, a person with a gift in evangelism might be teamed up with a proven evangelist, or a person who seems to have prophetic insight might be mentored by a more seasoned prophetic person. Training should include not only the imparting of information and wisdom but also actual involvement in ministry. However this is done part of the training should include the necessity of their ministry being developed around the essentials: it should be scriptural based, marked by servanthood, and open to the Holy Spirit. As they mature then they too may become those who equip others.


In this article we have looked at four things that should characterize the ministry of every church leader. Their ministry should be scripturally based, marked by servanthood, empowered and directed by the Spirit, and should equip people for ministry. These qualities are important whether one is an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/elder or teacher. There is certainly much more than could be said about church leadership but I believe that if we can get these four principles in place a lot of the other particulars of ministry will naturally flow out of them. These four truths are a solid foundation on which we can build as we seek to be co-laborers with the Lord and lead the church according to His plans and purposes.



1 John P. Lathrop, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), 121-122.

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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Winter 2012

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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