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7/3/97 Leadership, mission needed for purpose-driven ministry

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–In spite of a proliferation of mission statements in businesses and organizations today, many churches have not yet put into writing their mission, a minister of music observed during Church Music Leadership Conference at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center.
Bill Littleton, minister of music at First Baptist Church Ferguson in St. Louis, told participants that moving from a program-driven church to a purpose driven-church requires intentional action, including developing spiritual leadership and then agreement on a mission statement.
Spiritual leadership is needed to disciple church members to become ministers who develop and work to fulfill a mission statement, he said.
“Churches in suburban growth areas where people are moving into new homes and building new communities generally do not establish a mission statement,” he said. “They grow through programs and the personalities of their ministers.
“Older churches in established, transient or declining areas that are not holding their own numerically or are in a downward spiral usually do not have a mission statement.”
Regardless of the church’s age or location, he said, “a mission statement needs to be adopted, the vision for the church declared and implementation begun.” All programs that do not fit into the mission statement lose all priority in calendaring, budgeting and staffing.”
The spiritual leadership needed to lead members to identify the church’s mission, he said, requires a lengthy list of qualities, including a good reputation, unchallenged morality, the ability to teach, a gentle personality, ability to manage one’s family, maturity, discipline, faith and vision, wisdom, decisiveness, humility and good time management.
Other qualities, he said, are being a person of prayer, a reader, possessing both a wholesome sense of humor and holy anger against injustice and abuse. The spiritual leader must be patient, not running too far ahead of those he leads.
Spiritual leaders can be measured by the number and quality of their friends, Littleton said, and they must have the ability to deal sensitively to negotiate differences. They inspire others to service and sacrifice, can organize and implement tasks, are good listeners and can encourage, compliment and sympathize.
Though the description is formidable, Littleton said church musicians are called to fill the role of spiritual leadership in being worship leaders who help achieve the written mission.
Littleton said just as Jesus taught and trained 12 men who in turn changed their world, ministers of music can start by discipling musical ensembles.
“Teach and train them to be purpose-driven worship leaders, not performers. Lengthen your rehearsal so you have time to mentor a small group,” he suggested. “Reproduce leadership. Delegate by recognizing special abilities. Give away authority.”
In support of the church’s mission, Littleton suggested developing commitment contracts, asking participants in musical groups to pledge themselves to be purpose-driven. He also recommended having printed worship standards and goals and small-group discipleship training.
“The key to effective worship leadership,” he said, “is group involvement and a team effort.”
Church Music Leadership Conference, July 28-July 4, was sponsored by the Baptist Sunday School Board’s music ministries department.

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  • Charles Willis