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Preparing for the Ministry
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Preparing for the Ministry
Robert G Morton

Introduction:

   The purpose of this course is to help the leading men in God's Church to become more effective leaders in their congregations and to provide them with the knowledge they need to assist their Pastor in a spiritual capacity as they qualify.
   The first section of the course covering Preparation for Leadership can easily be adapted and given to an entire congregation as a series of sermons prior to the selection of those men who, by their fruits, have shown they can be developed into the type of spiritual leaders God's Church is going to need in increasing numbers in the future.
   This course is only an outline and suggested guide for use in a teaching situation with men the local pastor feels will develop as leaders and, possibly, into ministers in the congregation. It is by no means complete. It is an outline of basic, essential principles and knowledge a minister needs to have in order to help in become more effective in serving God's people.

What is leadership?

   Some think leaders are born and not made. Others think leadership involves a particular type of personality. Some, believing they don't have the personality to become a leader, don't even try. What is the balance? Management expert John R. Sargent says:
   "Philosophers, psychologists, educators, sociologists, all sorts of people have tried to see if there can be a simple definition of leadership. Actually, it appears that fifty years of study have failed to produce one personality trait or simple formula which can be used to discriminate between leaders and non-leaders. In essence, leadership is complex it is not definable by one or a few traits, but it is definable.
   In dissecting leadership into its numerous components, and analyzing each of these, we find two somewhat startling and reassuring things:
   First; each of the traits or elements of leadership can be developed...
   Second; practically everyone has within him some of the basic traits or elements of leadership. The real difference is the degree of development of each trait, and their proportions, one to another."
   Beyer V. Parker, co-author of 'Front-line Leadership', write:
   "...leadership cannot be forced or conferred upon a person it must be earned. It can be earned by anyone with average ability who studies (the) principles of leadership and practices them continuously. The secrets of effective leadership are open to all those who study with a sincere desire to understand people and (who have) a genuine respect for the worker his needs, feelings and dignity."
   Of course, the greater the ability, the greater the individual's potential for leadership if that individual is able to master the practices that make leaders effective.
   Field-marshal Montgomery, in his book 'The Path to Leadership', writes:
   "The beginning of leadership is a battle for the hearts and minds of men...
   It involves a close study of human nature; it is 'men' that are the factors of reality and importance. The greatest of all leaders known to history once said this: 'I will make you fishers of men.'
   What Christ meant was that he would teach His disciples how to win the hearts of men, implying that leadership has to be taught. Some will say that leaders are born, not made, and that you can't make a leader by teaching or training. I don't agree with this entirely. ...I believe that leadership can be developed...
   There are principles of leadership just as there are principles of war, and these have to be studied."
   Intelligence, imagination, knowledge, insight, brilliance and personality can all add considerably to a leader's effectiveness. But they are not what make him effective. Each of these characteristics have been possessed by people who have been very ineffective as leaders. What makes a leader effective as a leader are the habits and practices that he has learned and acquired mostly by hard, systematic work.
   Personality, intelligence, knowledge will normally help determine the type of leader one will be. But whether or not one will be a leader and how effective a leader will depend on how well one masters the practices and habits that, of followed, will cause even the average person to rise above those of greater ability to lead them.
   It takes years of preparation to become an effective leader in God's Church. It involves hard work and requires the willingness to make any change no matter how large in order to become a more effective instrument in God's hands. Not every one can or will be a minister in this age. But many can become more effective leaders in the congregation of God's people by following the habits and practices we will be discussing.

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Publication Date: 1975
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