In the book world, we do not hurt for leadership-oriented material. Several leadership gurus in each generation either give us a new approach to an old idea or slant things differently enough to appear innovative. While their methodology may be applied in the church context, it is refreshing to have an Apostolic/Pentecostal author addressing the subject.
We have been given an invaluable resource in Churchwork. Pastor Rodney Shaw structures his book by providing an overview of the roles of leaders, followers, and leader- followers to the more specific inner workings of those relationships. He reminds us that vision is nothing without followers; vision should serve and equip or at least be follower sensitive, and that “Leaders are important because followers are important.” We’ve witnessed a significant paradigm shift in how “prominent” roles in the church have been interpreted. And yet, between the lines, the message of Churchwork reiterates that if we aim to build thrones of kingship, we may do it at the kingdom’s expense. Therefore, our positions should never trump our overall service to one another at any level.
The author describes church leadership as the equipping of the saints. Even Jesus gave his life as a ransom for many. We may not be Christ. We may not give our lives for someone as Christ did. But are we willing to share a day or a few hours? Only Christ can save a person. But can we help direct, train, disciple, or mentor a person? People in our churches have callings and giftings perhaps different from our own but no less critical. They will do certain things better than us. We should encourage them. There are teachers, singers, and musicians you may not influence, save allowing room for them to flourish. Pastor Shaw says, “Leaders cannot be intimately connected to followers they do not serve.” And if we desire unity, risk, and sacrifice among our members, we must garner an atmosphere of trust. Our service to them helps create unity.
We are reminded that church business is never-ending, has eternal implications, and is essentially volunteer supported. These few things separate it from other secular companies. Pastor Shaw describes volunteers as the church. Unlike other organizations, church volunteers are driven by passion alone. If there is no work for the worker, we must try to find the work or create it for their involvement. He differentiates between burdens and abilities, which may be the deciding factor in a job well done. He also encourages giving tasks instead of immediate positions. Assigning tasks allows us to observe their faithfulness.
On the one hand, Pastor Shaw encourages leaders to serve their followers. Then, on the other hand, he urges followers to serve their leaders. It may sound like he is talking from both sides of his mouth, but he isn’t. If leaders serve their followers and followers serve their leaders, no one goes unattended. As a result, influence and trust increase between both. He explains that we cannot assume selfish motives and practices, or the leader/follower relationship will falter, and both will be disappointed.
This book is for every Christian who desires to find their place in the church or those that have been involved for a long time. The concept developed throughout is that serving in the church is not for the entitled members alone or some group of special ops ministry elite. It is the privilege of every Christian who is part of the functioning body we call the church. There is too much in this book to condense in a brief review. Please don’t take my word for it! Read and review the book yourself. Get your hands dirty in Churchwork!
Paul McGee is the Pastor of First Apostolic Church in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. He is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC) and has served in a few different capacities including full-time evangelism. He is part of a national prison team that holds conferences in state penitentiaries for women/men across the United States. Paul mentors young men in an Iron Sharpens Iron program. He has been honored to speak at conferences, camp meetings, and special meetings throughout the United States as well. Paul often says, “God keeps good records.” He lives by the philosophy that everything we do for the kingdom of God is important and ought to be done with a level of excellence. Paul is complemented by his wife, Dawn, along with their two teenage children, and a small dog, Rascal. His pastimes include reading, woodworking, and motorcycling.