Dr. David J. Peter has spent twenty-three years in the parish, experiencing the realities of pastoral ministry and researching congregational dynamics. As a professor of practical theology and the dean of faculty at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, he regularly leads courses for practicing pastors. He has also gained many insights from students about the realities of administration and leadership in congregations.

Recent Posts by David J. Peter

How Pastors and Church Leaders Can Deal with Burnout

There is an epidemic of burnout among pastors today. Amidst a clergy shortage, political and social divisions, and a post-pandemic world, a cloud of cynical fatigue is hanging over many church workers. How do we retain our zeal for ministering to God's people nonetheless?

Prayer for Church Council Meetings

Church council meetings are where important—and often difficult—decisions are made regarding church leadership and the congregation. Building a prayer culture in your church within your meetings allows God to remain the central focus. It also reminds people to submit to God’s plan and desires for the church rather than pursue their own plans and desires. Here are a few tips on how to lead prayer at your church board meetings from David J. Peter’s book, Organizing for Ministry and Mission.

3 Popular Models of Church Organization: A Brief Overview

The local congregation develops ministry efforts to accomplish God’s mandate. These initiatives intend to bring God’s gracious presence to people through His Word of the Gospel (Ephesians 1:3–14). They aim to deliver God’s power to release people from the bondage of sin and to enable sanctified living (Ephesians 1:15–2:10). They undertake to execute God’s plan of reconciliation (Ephesians 2:11–22). They seek to promote maturation of the saints (Ephesians 4:1–16). Such efforts, when aligned with these priorities, accomplish great and marvelous things in this world and for the world to come!

But the development and implementation of these ministry activities do not occur automatically and without effort. They require very intentional thinking and acting. Since they are done collaboratively, they require organization. Participation by multiple people in a shared effort will require some degree of organization. This is done so that the work of the Church is conducted effectively.

Read on to learn about three different organization models that may help your church accomplish God’s mandate.

Common Mistakes Church Leaders Make and How to Overcome Them

Sally felt like she was drowning. She was in her tenth month of service as the chairperson of the Board for Congregational Service at St. James Church. It seemed that the responsibilities of her position were overwhelming her. She was asked to assume this leadership role because she had been an active volunteer at the church. The nominating board recognized her to be a true servant, so they assumed she’d do a fine job leading the Board for Congregational Service.  

Sally had agreed to the nomination with some trepidation and was elected to the position. But she had no leadership experience before this election. And her gifts and skills were not oriented toward leadership. She thrived in doing hands-on service but floundered at the task of leading and managing other members of the board. Moreover, she was dropped into the chairperson position without any training. As a result, the six members of the Board for Congregational Service were frustrated, and Sally was flustered.

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