An overview for training leaders in the church

Book Review: The Leadership Formula: Develop the Next Generation of Leaders in the Church, by Juan Sanchez

Pastor and author Juan Sanchez believes the church has a leadership problem. Far too often, churches focus on competency, skills, and giftedness, but they fail to consider the biblical qualifications for leadership. While the church can and should raise up faithful leaders, we must also consider what kind of leaders we are raising up. His book is a basic primer on how to develop godly leaders.

In chapters 1 and 2, the author lays out a biblical foundation for leadership in which he summarizes the problem.

In Genesis 1 and 2, God established the pattern of leadership. The man and the woman are equal as God’s image, and each has a distinct role unique to their gender. The man was created to lead, protect, and provide, while the woman was created to come alongside the man and help and encourage his leadership. Sadly, though, instead of faithfully reflecting the divine image, Adam and Eve rebelled against God. So God cursed them, and as a part of that curse, the man and the woman entered into a relationship of conflict, characterized by a battle for control. That’s the leadership problem.

In chapters 3-9, he lays out what he proposes as the biblical formula to observe and evaluate faithful men in potential leadership roles. Pastors and elders must not only model biblical leadership; we must continually develop biblical leaders, so that the church may continue in faithful ministry until Christ returns. Churches should seek to develop leaders with godly character, biblical and theological convictions, competence to teach God’s word, and experience to caringly shepherd the church faithfully. Together, these qualities demonstrates the leaders’ credibility.

In chapter 10-11, he applies his principles to pastors, parents, and Christians in general. The author provides practical instructions to each group on how to develop godly leaders in their context.

The book is thoroughly biblical and offers examples from the author’s church and ministry. The book provides an overview of the topic of leadership development. It will get you started in developing a philosophy of leadership development. However, you will need additional tools and resources to flesh out the concepts and form a practical plan for implementation.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Publishing through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Books, Leadership, Quotes


Excel Still More

Below is a note I sent to the leaders in our church last week. I hope you find it encouraging as well and are able to put it into practice in your fellowship.


“Excel still more.” Rather than being a reference to a Microsoft Office product, “Excel still more” is part of Paul’s encouragement to the church in Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 4:9–10 (NASB95) – 9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

Paul is commending the church for how they love one another, not only in their city, but throughout the province. Rather than rest on their accomplishments, Paul encourages them to keep up their efforts and even build on them.

I think this is an encouragement that we need as leaders of FCBC. Over the past few years, we have worked together to build and develop a sense of caring community. We have accomplished a great deal in meeting needs, praying for people, and caring for our congregation. Rather than pat ourselves on the back and say what a good job we did, we need to continue to work at building and strengthening our community.

Granted, we face unique challenges with the social distancing guidelines. As I have said several times recently, we are in uncharted, white water rapids of an undetermined length. That being said, we have untold opportunities to work with Christ in bringing caring ministry to our congregation.

Let me encourage you to reach out to the people in your class, small group, ministry team, and sphere of influence. Check their pulse and see how they are doing. Ask how you can pray for them. Ask if they have any needs that are going unmet. Schedule a Zoom conference call with your small group or class so the folks can see one another. Look for creative ways to stay connected with your folks even when we cannot be together physically.

One of my prayers for all of you and our congregation is that God would strengthen our faith during this crisis. In Luke 22:31–32, Jesus tells Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” God is doing a great deal of sifting during this pandemic. My prayer is that each of us will come through this with a stronger faith.

Let me also encourage to find something to praise God for every day. It is so easy to listen to the news and be consumed with fear over the dire reports and predictions. In spite of that, God is still firmly in control and will accomplish his plan and purpose. One thing I am thankful for is the technology available to us today to connect with people and proclaim the gospel. There is more ministry taking place and reaching more people through the internet than ever before. I praise God for that. I also praise God for faithful, generous givers. Despite not meeting together, our giving remains strong and we are ahead of budget. Praise God!

Please let me know how I can pray for you and serve you during this season.

Excel still more! Blessings to you.

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Posted by on April 6, 2020 in Encouragement, Scripture


If Passover happened today

A friend posted this on Facebook, and I must admit I found it to be pretty clever.

The first Zoom Passover.

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Posted by on April 6, 2020 in Culture, Good Friday


When life is stuck on HOLD: Learning how to Wait on the Lord

We have an obsession with speed. We like fast cars, fast internet, fast horses, fast athletes, fast food, and fast passes at amusement parks. We HATE to wait.

We hate long lines in the grocery store, and long waits at the DMV and doctor’s office. We hate to wait for test results and for our children to outgrow whatever phase they’re in. We hate having to wait for being old enough to get our driver’s license, move out of the house, or get married.

This is why we struggle with the phrase, “Wait on the Lord.” We want God to operate on our time table. We might wait if we have to, but we are certainly not going to wait patiently.

Some years ago, I decided to do a study of the phrase, “Wait on the Lord.” I wanted to know what it meant, how to do it, the reasons why, and the results of waiting. What I discovered surprised me and changed my approach.

What does it mean to Wait on the Lord? Several words are used in the Old Testament to express the concept of waiting. They include “look patiently,” “tarry or wait,” “hope, expect, look eagerly,” “wait expectantly,” and “long for.” The Old Testament emphasis is clearly on the daily walk and the need to wait on the Lord and his providential care in the pressures of life.

How do we Wait on the Lord? Waiting obviously involves the passage of time. Psalm 130:6 compares waiting for God like a watchman waits for dawn. Waiting also involves a sense of anticipation and expecting God to work. Psalm 130:5 adds the word hope to the concept of waiting. We wait for God to show up and do his work like we wait for someone to arrive at an airport. In addition, waiting also means being confident of what God is going to do. Psalm 52 was written while David was on the run from those who wanted to persecute him. In verses 8-9, he expressed a confident hope and trust that God had already answered and solved the problem. While we wait, we are to seek God (Lamentations 3:25). In addition, we are to rest patiently and not give in to worry (Psalm 37:7-8).

G. Campbell Morgan stated, “Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.

Why should we Wait on the Lord? The psalmist gives two concrete reasons to motivate us to wait for God to work. The first is the fact that God is true to his character. In Psalm 52:8-9, the psalmist says “I will wait for your name.” Since God’s name always reveals his character, he means we rely on the promise that God is faithful to who he is. In addition, Psalm 62:5-6 reminds us that God is the source of our security.

What happens when we Wait on the Lord? There are at least three tangible results that come to us when we wait for God to work. God provides and meets our needs (Psalm 145:14-16). God gives refreshment and renewal (Isaiah 40:31). We can rest knowing that it is worth it. We will never be ashamed for having waited for God (Psalm 25:3).

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church (online) on April 5, 2020. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

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Posted by on April 5, 2020 in Uncategorized


When life is stuck on HOLD: Learning how to Wait on the Lord – video sermon

Here is the video from today’s topical sermon on waiting on the Lord. It was preached on First Central Bible Church‘s Facebook Live page. It begins with a five minute countdown followed by a hymn. I start speaking at about 9 minutes.


Pray! Pray! Pray!

Here are specific ways you can pray over the next four weeks during the COVID-19 crisis.

Pray for:

  • healing for the sick
  • perseverance for healthcare workers
  • protection for the vulnerable
  • provision for the unemployed
  • wisdom for our leaders
  • discipline for students
  • patience for all in tight quarters
  • creativity for church staff, elders, and leaders as they seek to minister in new ways
  • encouragement for those battling loneliness & mental health issues
  • peace for all those who are afraid
  • removal of the virus
  • spiritual awakening and turning to God for all
  • God to be glorified
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Posted by on April 4, 2020 in Prayer


What does it mean to “Wait on the Lord”?

Here’s a video preview for Sunday’s message, “When life is stuck on HOLD: Learning how to Wait on the Lord.” Join us on Facebook at 10:30AM Sunday, April 5, for this topical study.

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”