Leadership and Church Officer Training

Our ongoing Leadership and Church Officer training class meets each third Sunday evening from 6 – 7pm.

This Months Leadership and Church Officer Training (August 19) will focus on Child Protection Protocols within the context of Ecclesial (Church) environments.

There will be special training open to the community on child protection strategies and protocols for church environments. Churches are special places with unique concerns in regard to the safety and protection of children.

The failures we hear about in the news can range from frightening to shocking. What might have been thought to work well even 10 or 20 years ago might now be considered outdated or even dangerous. The clergy abuse scandals have changed everything.

There are things we can do to protect our children and those that minister to them within our ecclesial care frameworks. But appropriate steps must be taken.

Considering the contemporary concerns, what are those steps?

Our speaker, Rev. Christopher Neiswonger, is a child protection professional that has trained many churches in regard to child protection management. He worked for several years in the legal department of World Vision USA on issues regarding child protection, human trafficking and violations of international human rights.


From Class One:

Leadership is an art and science. Meaning, that in every human adventure there will come a time when we are called to serve through leadership. These can be in small or large measure but leading a church service is not so different from leading a Sunday school class. It differs in scope and in consequence but not in its essence. Both are taking a role in the facilitation of a good for others through our labor.

The rules and means of leadership are learnable. This is pretty obvious in that so many people have applied themselves to learning it. Of course, Christian leadership is not identical to every form or norm of leadership. The differences between the military general, the President, the football coach, the mother of 5 and the Pastor, Elder or Deacon but sometimes we don’t see the difference until its too late.

Many a church has been ruined through a leader adopting an approach perfectly well suited to the military, the government, the football team, the classroom or the business boardroom. In the Church, we have special things to do and they demand to be done in very special ways; they call for special people trained in the house of grace and mercy but with clarity of moral vision and a backbone like an oak.

Graceview Presbyterian Church
Introductions and felicitations:


Important passages from the Bible.
“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen R. Covey.
“The Art of Leadership” J. Donald Walters

Part One: Leadership in General

  1. Leadership always exists for a purpose other than itself.
  2. The meaning of leadership is contextual.
  3. People change (for better or worse).
  4. Leadership is not to be confused with position, power or authority.
  5. There is not one kind or model of leader 

Part Two: The Traditional Christian Virtues and Vices:

Virtues: Faith, Hope and Love: Wisdom, Justice, Fortitude and Patience (Self Denial/Long Suffering).

Vices: Infidelity, suspicion, anger, foolishness, slander, fear and self-indulgence.

Idea – “Leadership is a context but Character is a condition”


Part Three: Dealing with difficult people in voluntary environments:

Examples of failed leadership models:

  • The Secret Saboteur – (subversive)
  • The Great Detective – (judgmental)
  • The Prayer Partner – (gossip, slander, innuendo and clamor as abuse)
  1. Assume best about other people’s motivations
  2. Try to understand what the person really wants
  3. Try to understand what the person really needs
  4. Recognize the fallibility of our judgements about other people
  5. Remember your own personal, weaknesses, frailties and sinsIdea- “One of the most telling traits of a Christian’s leadership is how a person responds to people that disagree with them.” 

Part four: Leadership is an accomplishment oriented practice:

  1. Identification
  2. Planning
  3. Action
  4. Re-Action
  5. Completion

Idea – “To Fail to Plan is to Plan to Fail”

 Part Five:

Five rules of Christian Leadership:

Putting Theory into Practice:

1. I love people (I love people in an outward and observable way).

2. I am motivated toward a patient investment in other persons even when I receive no personal benefit or may not ever see the fruit of it.

3. I seek to be doctrinally or theologically clear minded.

4. I am morally balanced and have my personal appetites under control.

5. My primary focus in life in the glory of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Text: 1 Timothy 2:

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.

11 Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.


Week 1: The Psychology of Christian Leadership (as distinguishable from others kinds).

Week 2: The Sociology of Ecclesial Institutions (How churches act, work and change through time through mutual interaction, for self preservation and the maintenance of their identity).

Week 3: Communications within the Ecclesial Environment (How persons, families and institutions communicate according to personality, culture, theology and tradition for better or worse).

Week 4: Child Protection (Keeping Children safe and valued within the church).

Still to come:

Week 5: The Meeting: The form and order of a meeting of church members and their officers (The Session, the Diaconate, Committees, Boards, Volunteer activities, Employees and events).

Week 6: Conflict Management (1. The resolution of conflicts through informal procedures. 2. the resolution of a conflict through the ordained means of church authority).

Week 7: Money, property and the administrative management of valuable resources.

Week 8: Creed, Confession and Scripture as above practical authority. (The BOC)

Week 9: Church status measurement, church growth, membership and integration.

Week 10: Summations and remembering