Pastor Sam Ellis

Lack of Leadership Structure

Nov 14, 2020 | Church

In today’s Church talk, Pastor Priji tackles the matter of division within the church, potential occurrence of church splits, detailing the necessary steps precautions to be taken, various challenges, outcomes and causes of church splits, when it comes to building the church of Jesus.

Tune in to be equipped with the wisdom on how to handle division in churches.


If you’re building a church Jesus is building, then it is definitely going to pain your heart when you hear there is prospective division coming up in your church. A church split is never easy. A church split is not something that is desirable, sometimes the Lord knows how to use it for His glory. In fact, most times the Lord has turned church splits around for His glory and for the benefit of that particular church. Ask this question to ourselves ‘why is it that I did not see this coming?’, ‘why didn’t I take the appropriate precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen in my church?’. I have seen so many churches being split over the period of time I’ve grown and been in the church for the last couple of decades.

Most times, the one primary reason why I have seen church splits occur is because of a lack of leadership structure, where people don’t really value or trust the senior leader to speak over them what God is speaking to the leader. Now on some occasions they’re discernment may even be right, on some occasions it may be true that the leader is not capable of leading them maybe because the leader walked off from their relationship with God or lost the understanding of what needs to be done in a church setup.

Having said that we need to really sit back and understand by asking ourselves ‘how do we justify church division when we have not really worked hard to make sure the church is well kept?’, if we’ve not done our part in making sure there are proper hedges all around the church or building up our own leadership structure or how to keep out wolves who could tear the church apart, then in this case we could find it very easy to blame the devil saying ‘evil is responsible for the division of our church’, when it’s actually on us who haven’t done our part to keep the church together.

For those working hard to do their part, I can imagine how terrifying and challenging this situation could be if you’re currently doing it yourself, may this situation not cause you to lose your faith and hope that the Lord will bring out the best even through this particular season of your life. Even as you’re dealing with it, may I encourage you to reorganize some things and restructure some areas of your church.

One of the first things that need to be done is that – The church needs to have a proper and strong leadership structure. In 1 Corinthians 1, Apostle Paul talks to the church asking them ‘what is this I am hearing among you guys, that there’s division all over. Some saying they are followers of Paul, some saying they are followers of Peter, others saying they only follow Jesus’. Paul was extremely upset knowing there’s division in the church, division also because there was no leadership structure. He goes on to say in the next couple of chapters ‘you may have 10,000 people that will teach and counsel you, but you only have 1 father. I may not be there with you in person, but right now you need to get this into your spirits that I became your father in Christ when I brought you the Good News. When I birthed this church in Corinth, you need to understand that I became your father by doing so.’

What Paul is trying to do is realign the leadership structure. Don’t wait for a problem to arise to put principles and protocols in place, you need to do so even when things are moving smoothly in the church. Take time to intentionally write down who is the leader in the church, who is the pastor in the church, the senior most overseer over the church etc. If you can write all these details down on a paper and make it clear for everybody to read it and put it on your website, social media, to make sure people understand the church structure. When you establish the leadership structure in the church, it becomes easier for new comers and new believers to submit to the established leadership structure in the church. If you don’t, it’ll only be a matter of time before somebody else comes in with their opinion of how the church needs to function and they may not necessarily be aligned to the church’s structure.

We have to become very intentional, my dear pastors and leaders who are working hard in the vineyard of the Lord. Only those travelling with your church, or growing with the church get to be on the leadership team. We’re not trying to run a company here, we’re trying to run the kingdom of God. We need to do it the way the Lord functioned with the disciples. When Jesus chose the 12, He was not looking for people good with skill sets or talents, He was looking at their hearts and willingness to submit to Jesus all the way to the end. You would see that so many disciples dropped out when Jesus started upgrading His teachings and doctrines. Only the 12 were the ones Jesus commissioned and worked personally with. It’s okay if not everyone wants to submit to your leadership structure. But it is necessary that you still define your leadership structure. Even when you’re setting up your leadership structure, it cannot be a random group of people, it has to be those that have understanding and spiritual wisdom to come in alignment with the vision of the church. If 10 leaders in the church have 10 different visions for the church, then the church isn’t going anywhere, that is why you need 1 leader who pastors the church and the other leaders submit to. So do the structuring in the initial stages itself, don’t wait for challenges to arise.

Something I’ve put in place in my church is that those ministering need to be accountable to the leaders. Those not being accountable, can still be in the church but cannot be leaders in the church.

Now, not every church would have a mentorship structure like we do, your church may have a different structure of leading people, it could be a bible study or phone call to help leaders on a personal basis. If you need your leadership structure intact and to have the church constantly growing, then you need to constantly keep a watch for the leaders in your church, making sure that all of them are on the same page and being mentored.

We are all planting one big body of Christ that Jesus is building all over the world, yet it has a local translation, each unit and each house of worship has it’s own unique purpose and vision. So it’s necessary that as a team, your church understands what’s the vision of your church. The more than you’re faithful with the little already given to you, more will actually be given and entrusted into your hands, as leaders and pastors.

My prayer and hope is that we will not take the call of God over our churches for granted. Some of us have to understand that it’s not going to be an easy process trying to put a leadership structure in place, especially if it is the early stages of your church when there aren’t committed members in the church.

Something we did in our church and still doing is to keep rotating job responsibilities every year. Sometimes it is necessary to do this in a floating congregation where people come in and go out, so that you are not completely depending solely on one particular person, but also giving more space for growth.

The longer you delay the process of establishing structure, saying ‘I’ll do it when the church reaches 50 people’, then it’s going to be a painful process. Once people start coming in and there’s no leadership structures and everyone tries to fill in different roles, then it can become a big challenge.

The church is not supposed to function as a democracy, it’s supposed to function as a kingdom. There’s one unifying factor among all Christians and all divisions, it’s the fact that we all love Jesus and we’re all working hard to become like Jesus. The ultimate goal of the church is to grow into becoming the head of the church, to bring our church to resemble our Master, our bridegroom. If we can constantly keep Jesus in the center of everything, of our church vision, of our pursuit for the kingdom of God, then we won’t need another more unifying factor.

You are going to face practical challenges in taking the leadership, structure and church to the next level, as your pastors and leaders we’re all there to help the leaders. If you need any practical, physical help to realign some things in your church and need an external voice to come help you, you’re welcome to write to us. I belong to this organization called Revive Nations, although when we started, we never thought it would become a church planting organization but now today the Lord has risen so many revival leaders, prophets and pastors, who are actually raising up houses of worship all over the world.

If you’d like to align with this ministry, to know more or be trained personally so that the things you’re trying to do would have a sense of direction and you need an overseer, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be more than glad to partner with you if God leads us into that direction, and help you go to the next level. You do not have to journey all alone, the more we learn to submit ourselves to authority, the easier it becomes to build the church of God.

My prayer and hope is that you will have order in your church. May you have organization, structured leadership right from day one, so that there is no confusion or in-house fighting within the church.

You can reach out to me for any practical, physical help or have doubts in church planting and queries, on

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