Z-Leader to help pastors find context for effective local church ministry

The SBTC is offering a leadership development course to help pastors lead their congregations to minister within their church’s cultural context.

Called Z-Leader, the course includes a 12-week online study and a personal coach who will interact periodically with the pastor “to help him understand his ‘glocal’ context”?a blending of a missions focus that is local and global, explained SBTC Church Ministries Associate Kenneth Priest.

The 12-unit course uses the book “Breaking the Missional Code” by Ed Stetzer and David Putnam. Stetzer is president of LifeWay Research.

“Ultimately, the end goal is for the pastor to become his own specialist and for him to have a better understanding of the ministry context God has placed him in,” Priest said.

Noting that about 76 percent of Southern Baptist churches have one staff member?the pastor?Priest said these pastors “don’t have a minister of education helping them develop this strategy. And so this is them getting expert in the field of Christian education, so to speak, to develop the strategy that they might need.”

Begun as a part of the SBTC’s Ezekiel Project for plateaued or declining churches, Z-Leader has transitioned into a program for all pastors.

“The overarching summation of the book is helping a pastor-minister understand his community context, to get him to think critically about where they are as a church and what God has them doing as well as to think intentionally and strategically,” Priest said.

“For example, you can’t take a Purpose-Driven model from Rick Warren in the Los Angeles area and apply it to rural Texas,” Priest noted. “The book encourages the church leader to find churches that are being successful in similar cultural contexts. They may not be in the same state as you are, but understand who is being successful in a similar community context and see what they are doing and how it compares to where you are.”

“Ideally, the coach is coming in as they are beginning the online study and helping them through the process of the online study, if the pastor wants it,” Priest said.

“Some guys don’t want the coaching. They feel great about where they are, but they want the online study because it is helping them develop a ministry strategy.”

The course is free to SBTC pastors.

David Putnam, co-author of “Breaking the Missional Code,” will be a guest at the preconference breakout sessions of the SBTC Church Leadership Conference on Aug. 14 at First Baptist Church, Forney. The full conference is Aug. 15 at FBC Forney.


If interested in learning more about Z-Leader, e-mail Kenneth Priest at kpriest@sbtexas.com. Those interested in the Ezekiel Project church revitalization ministry may e-mail SBTC Church Ministries Director Jim Wolfe at jwolfe@sbtexas.com. Both men may also be reached at the SBTC office toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC).

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