Wisdom for Leaders

Functional Leadership

By on September 27, 2016

In churches like the Vineyard, there’s always a number of people who would like to be a pastor. Certainly some are called to this. Others are drawn to the role because they believe it will bring them validation and greater worth in the eyes of their fellow man and God. After all, the Bible does speak highly of those who aspire to such a role. However, are they really God’s favorites?

Actually, we are all called into ministry.

All Are Called

We have all been called to be “able ministers of the new covenant”. This is the opportunity all believers have to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ—love our Father in Heaven, love one another, and “do the stuff”. Thus, it is somewhat confusing to say that you want to be something that you are already. However, once we get past that misunderstanding, some people still are called to actually be paid to pastor within the church context.

Called to The Role of Pastoring

For people like this, I realize they have an actual call to the ministry gift of pastoring/leading. This is indeed a precious gift that God bestows on people in the body of Christ to help bring the rest of the body into the fullness of the call on their lives. It is not something are automatically equipped to do well, but something we learn over a period of time. The following will give some insights on the process I use to train and equip leaders to become pastors.

Functional Leadership!

One of the main principles John Wimber (Vineyard founder) taught us in the early days was that we look for functional leaders. This simply means to look for those that are actually doing a task and then appoint them to that position. So, if a person wants to be a pastor, we look for those who are already pastoring. This might be caring for people at church, leading a small group of various ages throughout the church, or caring for someone when they’re hurting. It’s easy to spot those who are functioning. These people have a very high likelihood of succeeding in a paid position because it is a small transition from a life they’ve embraced long ago. 

Three Important Skills

If you want to be a pastor, there are three skills that we look for over and over. If these are obvious and fruitful, we tend to think the person has the call of pastoring. As I share them with you, ask yourself where you are. If they’re abundant, you may be closer than you think. If they’re non-existent, it would be time to start working on them.

  • Gathering People: Bringing people into the church family is the absolute basic skill of ministry. Without this, we don’t need pastors. Learning to share your faith, bringing people to the church and leading them to salvation is essential.
  • Leading Growing Small Groups: Small groups are simply a working unit of a larger church. If a person can consistently grow small groups, the signs of being a pastor/leader become more evident. The ability to produce and equip people who reproduce in a spiritual sense is absolutely essential.
  • Ministry Skills: Most of the people we encounter are hurting in some way. Our job as leaders is to bring the supernatural power of Heaven into their lives so they can become healed, healthy and helping us from the giving side rather than from the taking side. Ministry skills are vital and can be learned.

Once I see the above three skills, I begin to work more diligently with these people. I try to get them into Bible classes such as the School of Kingdom Ministry, Kingdom Leadership Journey, and other training programs we have around our church.

It’s exciting to be part of a church that is always looking for leaders. This provides opportunities for everyone to reach their destiny. Pray that the right leaders emerge.


Hi and welcome! I'm Happy. My wife Dianne and I are the founders of the Vineyard Church of Central Illinois, a multi-site church with 6 campus locations. Over the last 30+ years, I have learned alot about leadership in life and leading a church. I have made some mistakes and had some successes. I look forward to sharing the wisdom I have learned with you. I strive everyday to see Jesus as bigger, better, and more beautiful. And I am wholeheartedly committed to the ministry Jesus promised his followers in John 14:12: to be able to do the same and greater works through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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