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6 Leadership Roles in Missional Communities

Healthy communities share the load of being a community. Here are six important servant-leadership roles that ought to be filled by different people. There are many others, but these are the important ones to get started. Missional communities do not have “senior pastors,” they have leadership teams.

1. Meal Coordinator

You will want to delegate someone who likes to communicate clearly what the plan is for the upcoming week with the food and any other things coming up. Have this person communicate in whatever way is best for everyone (text, email, Facebook), about what to bring for the next meal, parties, service opportunities, etc. This leader needs to enjoy communicating in a friendly way, organizing, and delegating.

2. Prayer Leader

This leader is responsible for calling the community to prayer, they lead prayer times, and are the spokespeople for turning the missional communities attention to asking God and listening to God. This person will organize and facilitate times of prayer. They will also share prayer requests. They are the leaders who are intentionally thinking through prayer in the life of the community.

3. Host

Who can host the weekly meals? Who is blessed by having people in their homes and will think through creating a space that is conducive to sharing an intentional meal and discussion each week? The host ought to be a welcoming person who views their home as an outpost of the kingdom and space to share in gospel conversation.

Being the host doesn’t mean they clean up by themselves. From the very first meeting, invite everyone to pitch in with cleaning up after the kids, washing dishes, taking out the trash, and putting the home back the way it was when everyone arrived. Everyone participates in family chores! If your community treats the host family like a restaurant or catering service, you aren’t cultivating community.

4. Discussion Leader/Facilitator

Not all the leaders have to be skilled teachers or counselors. However, for the group to explore faith and obedience together, you will need a leader who can guide and lead discussions around the gospel, community, and mission. This guide will help the discussion leader the most. This leader enjoys teaching and explaining new truths as much as helping others engage those truths. They will be good teachers and good listeners, too. Their job isn’t to preach, but to help others grow in their understanding of the gospel.

5. Missional Leader

The shared mission of your missional community will be specific, relational, and regular. Meaning you will know who the people are, you will be able to get to know them, and you will serve and be around them often. The missional leader is the champion for the mission. This person is regularly reminding the group about the mission and why the group shares the mission. This leader’s role is connecting the group to the mission and letting people know the next steps and opportunities.

6. Children’s Coordinator

If your missional community has young kids, you will want to have this leadership role. Who can organize the group to care for kiddos during the weekly discussions? This is usually as simple as someone making a calendar and having everyone sign-up. One simple method for structuring the kid’s time is to have the adult leaders:

  • Teach the kids how to do something the leader is really good at (like play music, soccer, paint, cook, jump rope, etc.). It could be anything.
  • Share with the kids an important part of their story in learning who Jesus is and what he has done for them.
  • Share their favorite Bible verse and explain what it means and how it has affected their lives.


CTThis is an excerpt from Called Together: A Guide to Forming Missional Communities by Jonathan K. Dodson and Brad Watson. You can purchase this book in paperback or Kindle here.


Near God or Near Ministry?


A number of years ago I noticed a number of pastors burning out and leaving their churches. Some left out of exhaustion, others out of moral failure. Then, I attended a funeral of a pastor who committed suicide, leaving behind a weeping wife and several children. Suddenly, I was keenly aware that, I too, could succumb to a similar fate.

Detecting Burnout

I began to reflect on my own motivations for ministry and evaluating my habits. During this time I read Leading on Empty by Wayne Coirdero, which helped me identify the physiological warning signs of burn out. It suggested that a general lack of motivation may be the result of overworking and under-resting, which in turn depletes serotonin and adrenaline levels. We need these hormones for active productivity. We’re not made to run full throttle for long.

My first book had released early that year. After a cannonball run of speaking engagements, I showed up at my last church for the year, invited the host pastor into his office, and shared with him that I was exhausted and needed prayer, but was confident God had a word for his people. His church responded with a level of hospitality and concern that has yet to be matched to this day. It’s remarkable what we’ll receive, if we let people in.

After returning home, I confessed to our church leaders that I had focused on outward ministry at their expense. I stepped away from speaking engagements for about a year and reset my focus on family, leaders, and church. I could have easily burned right through the warning signs.

When leaders near burnout, they tend to withdraw from things they find difficult—counseling, preaching, service—it depends on the pastor. Burnout is accompanied by a malaise that dulls your senses. You begin to lack excitement for anything, not just the hard things. Natural strengths slowly become weaknesses.

But burnout is preventable. And leaders are responsible for how they respond to ministry pressures, congregational expectations, and outside demands. They also have to be cautious about overreacting.

It can be tempting to withdraw from everything, without processing, confessing, repenting, and seeking unity in your actions. Most of all, we have to be aware of Christ, who he is and how to walk in his Spirit. After all, the fruit of the Spirit isn’t rest, withdraw, ease, and isolation. It’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness in the face of adversity. This fruit is impossible to bear alone. Awareness is very important; accountability and obedience even more important.

Burning Up

But what is burnout? Nothing more than idolatry of ministry, and behind the idol, the lure of significance, approval, and productivity. The kingdom of Self, not the kingdom of God. In the end, our habits reveal our hearts. Perhaps burnout should be called “burn up,” the charring of spiritual appetites by an idol that is too hot to handle.

As my heart lit up with warning signs, I reacquainted myself with life-giving habits. Knowing my soul lifts when I spend time in creation, I began to walk the quay next to a lake that runs through our city, praying out loud and listening to God. I began to pray on my knees more, where I sense God’s greatness in a way that is hard to grasp sitting or standing up. I also returned to a devotional I have found life-giving over the years. While reading, I fell upon a quote that changed my life:

Love for God may be fine sentiment. It may be sincere and capable of inspiring holy enthusiasm, while the soul is still stranger to fellowship with the eternal, and ignorant of the secret walk with God.

In essence, Kuyper is saying that it is possible to love the ideas of God without loving God himself. We can love the ministry of the gospel without loving the Lord of the gospel. I may love preaching, teaching, writing, or counseling while not loving the object of all these things, without adoring Christ himself.

Lest we are tempted to judge this as slicing the Bible too thin, we do well to remember Jesus who warned “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt 7:23-24).

You can preach, perform miracles, and grow a church all in the name of Jesus without Jesus even knowing you. This all led me to deep repentance, and the quote continues to pop up and correct me.

These things helped me revalue communion with God, as well as adjust some of my habits. To this day, the sense of God’s nearness rises and falls but he remains ever-present and with me. And I know, in my bones, the nearness of God, not the love of his ideas or ministry, is my good.

By Jonathan Dodson

Jonathan Dodson is the senior pastor of City Life Church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of multiple books, including The Unbelievable Gospel and Gospel-Centered Discipleship.


Dragon or Lamb part I


I (JAMIN) HAD BEEN IN MINISTRY LONG ENOUGH TO HEAR the stories. It’s a familiar narrative these days: pastors disqualified from ministry due to moral failure. For years I had listened to devastating tales of infidelity and broken families in the lives of fellow pastors. My immediate reaction, in all honesty, was typically swift judgment. I mentally distanced myself from such pastors, believing I was cut from a different sort of spiritual cloth than such sinners. How on earth could this happen? How could anyone, let alone a pastor, ever do such a thing? These stories, while far too commonplace, were quite removed from my immediate life and church world. I couldn’t imagine any of my pastoral peers ever experiencing such a fall from grace.

Then it happened. I remember the phone call vividly. A dear friend, a fellow pastor, called me to confess his infidelity and ask for prayer amid the consequences he was going to face from the leadership of his church. As he talked I felt numb. The shock of the moment gripped me in a way I had never experienced. I knew this man. I thought I knew him well. All of a sudden, I found myself living in one of those distant stories.

A few days later we met. My friend shared his grief, his pain, and his overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. I listened. As he continued to share his heart, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation. Not uncomfortable in the way you might imagine. I didn’t squirm at the details of his sin. Rather, something in what he shared struck a chord in my own heart. I couldn’t conveniently distance myself from his sin.

As he talked about the dynamics that contributed to his infidelity, at the forefront were pride, status, and grandiosity. While there were unhealthy dynamics in his relationship with his wife, his hunger for power had played a large part in this painful and tragic saga. He recently had been promoted to a significant leadership position and was being showered with the affirmation and accolades that went along with it. The recognition and status he had received emboldened an already unhealthy desire for power and a vision for pastoral life informed by his own grandiosity and quest for significance. In recent months he had incrementally given himself over to such things, and as a result was doing ministry apart from dependence upon Christ. As he invited me into these deeper channels of his heart, I found myself all too familiar with the current. I knew the temptations of status and recognition. I was well acquainted with the hunger for power he spoke of and the temptation to craft a false self worthy of praise. I could not distance myself from such a “horrible sinner” because I could see the ingredients of such behavior in my own heart.

For years Kyle and I had no trouble looking critically upon others in their quest for power. We bemoaned the rock-star pastors who were in the spotlight, whose churches appeared to be more concerned with growing their brand than proclaiming the gospel. This is the first temptation of power: We view the problem as “out there.” We recognize it in other churches, pastors, fellow Christians, or political and cultural leaders, but we ignore the problem in our own hearts. For Kyle and me personally, this remains a strong temptation. As men with a calling to teach and lead, we can often default to analyzing the error of others without honestly assessing the truth about ourselves.

by Jamin Goggin


Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel explore these themes further in their new book The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb (Thomas Nelson, 2017). Available on Amazon and at 
Jamin Goggin serves as a pastor at Mission Hills Church in Southern California. He has been in pastoral ministry for thirteen years and is the co-author of Beloved DustDrawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself and the co-editor of Reading the Christian Spiritual ClassicsA Guide for Evangelicals (co-edited with Kyle Strobel). Jamin speaks and writes in the areas of spiritual formation, ministry and theology. He holds two Masters degrees and is currently earning a PhD in systematic theology. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Kristin, and their four children.

10 Good Leadership Questions To Ask Yourself

  1. What’s it like to be on the other side of me? Are others around me flourishing?
  2. How can I improve?
  3. Who currently has permission to call me out and say the hard things to me that I need to hear?
  4. How do I respond in moments of crisis? Do I chew people out when something is not done right?
  5. Am I truly self aware? Where/what are my blind spots in my leadership? Am I a secure confident leader?
  6. Do I talk more than I listen?
  7. What do I need to learn from my most recent failures?
  8. How do I lead people way different than me?
  9. Am I comfortable surrounding myself with people who are better at their jobs than I am?
  10. Who else should I be learning from? Who is currently coaching or mentoring me?
  11. BONUS: Who am I grooming/coaching to replace me in my current role?



4 Ways To Help Counsel Those Who Are Married To Non-Believers


I was talking with a lady at our church on Sunday and with tears in her eyes she started to tell me about the struggles in her marriage. With a trembling voice, she said, “My marriage is falling apartYou might not have even know that I’m married, because my husband never comes to church with me. He’s not a Christian. It’s like we live on two different planets. Our value systems, beliefs and worldviews are miles apart. My faith is the most important part of my life; but I can’t share it with him, because when I do, he just accuses me of preaching at him. I feel like we keep drifting further and further apart. I pray about it everyday and I do everything in my power to improve our relationship, but nothing seems to work. What should I do?”

I’ve been working with married couples for a long time, and as a pastor, one of the biggest marital challenges I hear from people within the church is the same challenge this lady is facing. God knew this scenario could create a lot of heartache, so he gives explicit warnings in the Scriptures for a Believer not to marry a Nonbeliever. No matter how much chemistry and compatibility you might think you have with someone, if one of you is a Christian and one is not, DON’T get married. God’s commands are always for our protection.

Once you’re already married, you can’t build a time machine, so the Bible’s instructions on whom to marry (or not to marry) don’t apply. The Bible has very specific instructions for this scenario as well. I’m going to put the most direct passage of Scripture on this matter below and then unpack five practical ways I believe every Christian should respond when married to a Non-Christian:

Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?” -1 Corinthians 7:12-16

In light of this passage and all the Bible has to teach on marriage, I believe every Christian who is married to a nonbeliever should do four specific things.


1 Corinthians 7:12-16 reminds us that we are called to live in peace. Practically speaking, this means that you shouldn’t go picking fights with your spouse. Don’t try to use guilt, manipulation or demands to get them to see things from your perspective. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)” Strive to be the one who resolves conflicts in your marriage; not the one who starts them.

It’s important to remember that peace is more than just the absence of conflict. When Jesus spoke of “Peace,” in his language the word was “Shalom.” This Hebrew concept of “Peace” (Shalom) was partially about the absence of conflict, but even more, it was about the presence of something. It was about inviting God’s presence into whatever conflicts you’re facing and allowing His peace, grace and strength to carry you through. Jesus is the Prince of Peace; not the King of Chaos. If your marriage feels chaotic right now, invite Jesus to bring peace. Little by little you’ll feel his presence bringing peace to your mind, your heart and eventually your home.


The most compelling “sermons” come through actions and not just words. You are probably not going to talk your husband/wife into becoming a Christian, but your actions can make your faith seem so attractive that he/she might become interested. Even if they never accept Christ, your home is still going to have more peace and joy if you’re living out a Christian example of love and grace.

Remember that living out faith at home is the most difficult place to live it out, but it’s also the most important place. If you have children, model your faith to them (and your spouse) by your words, the tone in which you speak those words, your acts of service, your acts of grace and your acts of love. Your actions might prove to be the most compelling sermon your family ever hears.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” -1 John 3:18


Just love them. The rest is God’s business. It’s human nature to want to fix people or change them to see things from our perspective. Nowhere in the Bible are we ever commanded to fix people or change people. We’re called to love people. For your unbelieving spouse, he/she needs your love even in those moments when they’re not being lovable. A person usually needs love the most in those moments when they “deserve” it the least.

As a Christian, you’re called to love above all else. Remember that Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4), so be patient and kind towards your spouse. You will never be held accountable for the decisions that your spouse ultimately makes, but you will be held accountable for how you loved him or her. Don’t try to change your spouse; just love them. Love is the primary tool God uses to change us all.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Prayer is powerful and it always brings results. Sometimes God uses prayer to change our circumstances, and sometimes He uses prayer to simply change our perspective about our circumstances. Pray for your spouse daily. You might be the only person in his/her life who is praying for him/her. Pray for his/her salvation. Pray that God would help you to love him/her selflessly. Pray that God would give you strength, grace and encouragement on those days you feel alone in your marriage. Remember that Jesus is with you and He’s never going to leave you or forsake you.

When you pray, picture yourself taking all that worry and frustration you’re feeling because of your spouse and placing it in Jesus’ hands. The Bible says we can cast all our worries and care on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” -Philippians 4:6

by Dave Willis


Dave Willis is a teaching pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, GA and is the author of 7 Days To A Stronger Marriage. Learn more about Dave at  


7 Ways to Protect Your Marriage In Hard Times



I was speaking to a man from our church this week and he was telling me about some major struggles he and his wife were facing. Talking with him for ten minutes inspired me and challenged me to look at life’s difficulties as an opportunity to grow closer to my wife and grow deeper in my faith. If you will prioritize these seven actions in your own marriage, I’m convinced that you be giving your marriage every opportunity to thrive even during difficult circumstances.

  1. Surround yourself with the right people. You need friends who love you, love your spouse AND believe in marriage.

Your support system will be critically important during seasons of difficulty in your marriage. You need people who will be encouraging you and praying for you; not people tempting you to numb the pain through unhealthy behaviors and you DEFINITELY don’t need people who are encouraging divorce. Be very intentional about who is in your inner circle during these difficult times. The right people will help immensely, BUT the wrong people could cause your marriage to unravel.

  1. COMMUNICATE with your spouse about everything. Don’t hide your feelings or keep secrets.

The level of your honesty and transparency will determine the level of your intimacy. Communication with your spouse in difficult times is a lifeline keeping you connected. If you stop talking, you’ll both drift apart instead of facing the challenges together. Talk about everything.

  1. Be willing to WORK HARD. Don’t expect problems to be fixed on autopilot. Work together to find solutions.

One trait that is present in almost every healthy couple is a strong work ethic. Don’t get on autopilot. Tenaciously identify areas where you can improve and work hard to improve in those areas. There will certainly be times when you need to rest, but you must also be willing to work. Your marriage is always worth the effort!

  1. Have faith. Remember that God is with you and He is bigger than anything you will face.

As a Christian, I find a great deal of strength and perspective when I’m reading the Bible, praying, talking about God’s promises and engaged in serving other in my church or city. When we put our faith into action, our thoughts shift away from our worries and are replaced with more peace and courage. This has certainly been the case in my own life. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. I take comfort in knowing that in my marriage and life in general, God is with me in the struggle.

  1. Keep your sense of humor. Even on the hard days, find reasons to laugh together.

Joy is a gift that can’t be stolen away by cancer or bankruptcy or any other struggle life can throw your way. When you choose to smile and you choose to laugh, it doesn’t mean you’re being fake and it doesn’t mean you’re not taking the struggles seriously. It means that you are choosing to rise above. You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can always choose how you respond. Choose to keep laughter alive.

  1. Live life one day at a time. Be present in the moment. Don’t get preoccupied with all the things that might happen in the future.

Jesus taught us not to worry about tomorrow, because worry doesn’t do any good and tomorrow will have enough troubles of its own. We can only life one day at a time. I once heard it said, “Live life in day-tight containers.” That’s always been a struggle for me because I like having long-term plans. It’s still okay to plan for the future, but we can’t be preoccupied with the future. Focus on the blessings right in front of you today and ask God to give you the strength to face today’s challenges. He’ll do the same thing for you tomorrow, but not until tomorrow, so don’t get ahead of yourself.

  1. Refuse to give up. Remove your exit strategies. KEEP GOING

There are going to be so many moments when you feel like quitting, but you’ve got to keep going. You need to decide ahead of time that you’re going to stay committed to your marriage no matter what. The level of your commitment will determine the level of strength you’ll have to endure the difficulties. Resolve together that you’re going to persevere “for better or for worse” and then refuse to give up. Your commitment will make all the difference!

by Dave Willis

Dave Willis is a teaching pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, GA and is the author of 7 Days To A Stronger Marriage. Learn more about Dave at


3 Ways To Expand Your Perspective on Mentorship


It all happened so fast. Before I (Haley) knew it, I was recruited to be part of a collaborative team to dream up a new event for women at our church. What came out of that collaborative effort was something far greater than I could’ve ever imagined. The event that we worked on was one of the greatest things our church had ever seen. But more importantly, what birthed out of this collaboration was a friendship, mentorship and life-long relationship with my mentor Debbie.

It was time to bring some fresh ideas to a project. I (Debbie) knew there were several young women who had creative ideas and rarely had been asked to contribute. So I gathered them together – we dreamed, brainstormed and designed. The project was a great success but the greatest gift was the reciprocal friendship and mentorship with Haley.

We can all agree that mentorship doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality. Here are three steps toward expanding your perspective on life, work and multi-generational relationships:


Are we praying expectantly that God will provide? Sometimes, God targets the areas in our lives that call for growth; personal, spiritual, physical, professional or relational. As we pray, are we open and available to the answer that God has for us? Because that person might just come as your greatest surprise.


There’s something to learn from every generation and that’s the beauty of mentorship. It’s a reciprocal relationship where both parties are actively teaching, inspiring and encouraging one another. Generational differences bring in unique perspectives that create and cultivate richer conversation. After all, God doesn’t discriminate on age — He looks solely at the heart.


This means, put down your phone, get out from behind the screen, and interact with the people that God has placed right in front of you. Quality time creates transforming moments that can profoundly change the trajectory of someone’s life. Don’t underestimate the ripple effect that mentorship has on others. Presence is a priceless investment with a lasting impact.


By Debbie Eaton & Haley Veturis

Debbie Eaton is on the leadership team at Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Northern CA. She is passionate about leadership development and building bridges between generations because both create and cultivate influential moments of connection. She loves writing, speaking, leadership and is most inspired by her husband of 30 years and her teenage son.  She was formerly the Director of Women’s Ministry at Saddleback Church and writes for SheReadsTruth and is an advisor for the IF-Gathering and consults with church leaders.

Haley Veturis is the Social Media Manager for Saddleback Church. A California-native, she is the Co-Founder The OC Social Media Summit, Social Ecclesia Conference and was named one of Christianity Today’s Top 33 Under 33. Her passions outside of ministry and social media include: CrossFit, gourmet coffee and college football. Fight on!  


Four Basic Styles of Pastoral Leadership

The player-coach style

They never ask their people to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves. They are on the team. These pastors are participants in all the processes that the church uses to reach people and see them transformed. They are participants, but they are also very much leaders. These player-coach leaders develop strong loyalties from their members. The people they are leading tend to see the church as a team.

2. The delegating style

They develop members of the team to the point that they can be trusted, and then they delegate significant matters to church staff members or lay leaders who are capable of handling the assigned tasks. These delegating leaders are still strong leaders, but they are able to back away from some of the details and trust others to do those things that they are capable of doing.

3. The directing style

Their style is to give specific instructions and then supervise closely. Directing leaders make many decisions themselves, sometimes with little input from others. They are strong leaders. They accomplish much with this very efficient style of leadership.

4. The combination style

At times, a player/coach pastor allows directional leadership to come from a strong staff member. This allows the pastor to remain a player-coach leader, while still having directional leadership in the church. A player-coach type leader might occasionally be a more directional type leader in certain situations. Pastors of growing churches don’t just have the desire for their churches to grow; they also desire their own growth as leaders. They read books on leadership, attend conferences, or talk with one another about leadership styles.

Barry Campbell is lead pastor of Highland Baptist Church, Redmond, Oregon.



We All Have a Calling?


Do you realize that God has a special calling on your life? He does!

You may not have sensed God leading you to become a missionary or a preacher, but you still have a calling! And it is a mission that you must not shirk.

No less than five times in the Scripture, Jesus called his followers to “go” into the world and to be witnesses for him. And that’s exactly what he is saying to you today. He’s calling you to be his witness. And you can begin right where you are!

There can be no doubt… you are called. Have you listened for his voice? Have you heeded that call and followed his will obediently? It is so important that you do.

You see, God has placed specific people in your path who need to hear what he has done for you. They need to hear about the blessings and peace of God. They need to know that God loves them and that he has a future of hope for them.

So be bold in Christ Jesus! Pray for those who have needs in their lives. Be a witness of his saving grace. This is your calling, the work of the ministry that God has entrusted to you.

Jack Graham  About Jack Graham

Taken from “God’s Mission for You” by PowerPoint Ministries (used by permission).