Pastor Sam Ellis

Structure and Functioning Within the Church

Jan 16, 2021 | Church

In today’s Church talk, Pastor Priji converses with Pastor Jemi on the structuring of various teams in the church, the importance of trust in delegating responsibilities and how to strike a balance between talent and heart.

Tune in to gain understanding on how to conduct kingdom-oriented work within church teams, excellently. Share this podcast with others to bless them in their ministry as well.


Pastor Priji: I’m so blessed and encouraged by the way you and your husband Pastor Sam, have been leading and serving the King City Church in Trichy. I have personally seen how the Lord has used both of you to show forth excellence in different areas, especially in the area of being world class leaders even though you’re placed in Trichy. While I was interviewing Pastor Sam, he had mentioned how the Lord had put in your heart too, about planting a church in a place like Trichy. Could you speak on what inspired you from the Lord, to plant a church there?

Pastor Jemi: I wasn’t a person so interested in doing church, but even before we got married, King City church was the topic on our phone calls, but I was always like ‘Okay God, this isn’t something I’d do but I don’t want to say no and just surrender’. When we went to Trichy, when Pastor Sam was praying about which should be the place, I was too saying in my prayer that ‘God you have called us into this ministry, if you see the need here then we will start here’. From nowhere, this strong sense of God’s voice came in my heart saying ‘there is a need here and this is where you will start’. I heard prophecies when I was in Bangalore that I wasn’t going to be in Bangalore for long but will have to go. When I went to Trichy, it wasn’t something I expected, there was a culture shock, different tradition going on there. But at the same time, Holy Spirit made me see what Trichy lacked, spiritual dryness etc. Everything I wanted to do for God, God said ‘why can’t you do that for Trichy? They are my people’. My whole mindset changed, I went to Pastor Sam and told him that there is a need in Trichy, so let’s stay in Trichy. So we’ve been obedient to that voice, looking back, 3 years since then, I can really see the people God brought to us and how the truth has impacted King City Church.

Pastor Priji: When you did plant a church, Pastor Sam mentioned how initially it was just the 4 of you guys and then slowly the Lord started bringing different people. How did it go with the worship team? The worship team is usually the first team needed in a church planting. Did you have enough people? When you did not have enough people, how did you manage to still run a service on a weekly basis?

Pastor Jemi: When we started the church, we were ready for anything to be honest. We only structured things, set our standards on our disciplines and not doctrine, we were more focused on that. To be honest I was never worried about who was going to come or not. I’ve led worship since 19 years old, so when I thought about worship team, I never thought about having a team in the first service itself, I could lead worship and Pastor Sam could preach. But surprisingly KCC is blessed to have a full fledged service team from the get-go. For our inauguration service, we invited a team from Karunya to lead worship. After the inauguration service we were wondering who’s going to lead worship, I was ready and we went ahead thinking ‘let’s just go ahead and we’ll see whoever turns up’. In that week it so happened that there was one young man who went and spoke to his friends and they offered to play drums, guitar etc. then on Friday we had a bunch of young men walk into the church offering to be part of the worship team. I was shocked, never seen any of them in my life. We were all amateurs, none of them were great musicians, I was also not into too much singing but we started jamming and practicing. Then on Sunday that was the worship team. What I learned in that was you just have to be ready, not have to plan the whole thing. If God is going to do it, He’s going to do it. If not, you just be ready to do it. From nowhere we had a bunch of young people ready, since then we’ve had people come and go, some stay and be committed to be part of the worship team. It’s going great, glory to God.

Pastor Priji: What are the different things you did with the worship team to develop them and align them to the passion and vision of the church?

Pastor Jemi: The first thing we established was that whoever walked into the church, wanting to be a part of the serving team, first see the vision of the church and get the picture. Some have come and gone, but others have stayed seeing the big picture and are now serving. There have been times it’s just a guitar player and me singing, other times when no instrument but just me singing as well. Throughout, the ones who’ve stayed and seen the big picture with us have thus far stuck around. Anyone who walks into this church, we first disciple them, we don’t give them false promises saying ‘if you play here, you’ll get opportunities’, but first we sow our vision in their hearts, but not everyone is going to walk in it. We make them first understand the heartbeat of the church. At King City, we have a welcome-lunch where we give people opportunities to join the teams. In that we always give them the big picture and vision saying ‘you have talent but we want servant leaders here, whatever you do is God’s work and He needs to be glorified. Sometimes you’ll be on stage and sometimes off’. Everyone who is still with us, has seen the big picture and has been able to walk in it. We disciple them first and teach them to be kingdom minded people.

Pastor Priji: When forming and disciplining the worship team, the resources required in pursuing excellence in the work, may not always be available. At the same time, other teams might also require certain resources, so how did you learn to prioritize between different teams and their needs when it comes to spending resources?

Pastor Jemi: When it comes to priority, Pastor Sam and I always sit together and project a list when it comes to the annual budget. Sometimes, worship team might not come up there. Sometimes there are certain thing that are very important and some that can be kept in the back for later investment. We have a bunch of young people in our church, they do come to serve God, at the same time it’s their time to grow, time to show their talents to show up on a platform and we would not underestimate that. Every time we have a person interested in media, Pastor Sam would send that person to media classes with his own finances. Or sometimes Pastor Sam would buy a new guitar for someone interested in the worship team. We still try to invest and encourage them. Worship team has not had all the best from the beginning but every time we sing a song, I will let my musicians play a solo. These small joys, I believe has kept the team happy, irrespective of having the best instruments. We also as pastors have been very frank and open about talking to our team about the needs. As pastors we try to cover up things usually, but it’s also okay to be vulnerable telling them team ‘we don’t have the finances, could we make adjustments’, people who understand the heart will be okay with it, that way we come to know the kingdom minded people too. We try to help the people understand why we prioritize different teams for certain expenses. Due to being open and vulnerable, has helped our team understand us. Also sometimes, people pitch in. Different teams invest into other teams.

Pastor Priji: Once the worship team was in place, how did you go about trusting your next level leadership to plan the worship, plan the details of how to run the team, to take up things on their own?

Also, how easy or hard was it for you to trust them to handle it their way, make mistakes, come up with issues that need resolving?

Pastor Jemi: This is something most young Pastors go through, to just completely trust someone, especially in leadership. In our church we are always keeping an eye out for talent, potential and calling. So how we try to do that is in the beginning I was only worship leader, sometimes it was Pastor Sam. It was exhausting to keep the load going though, so we’d look for others with calling. Pastor Sam would let people do it and if they fail, he would let them do it again so they can learn. So what I learned in this journey of making leaders is, the only way you can know to trust a person is just by trusting them and letting them do it. Also how I got to train my people is, not just by showing up on Sunday morning to do a ministry, but anyone we took notice of, we’d travel with them, catch up for coffee and get personal with them, to get to know the heartbeat of the church.

Some people in different teams who believe they don’t have the talent to do their respective works, we just trusted and let them do it. To let them see how far they can do it and how well they can. As time went by we just saw how well they’re doing their works. It also goes with discernment that as Pastors we need to be careful to see who you can trust and who will serve with you. With the ministry team, we filter them big time. Especially in worship team, if you’re new to church, keep coming and then we give them a call to only come for practice session for 2 weeks and make sure to be a part of the church events. We want to see how disciplined they are in coming and seeking God. Once we see commitment, we deem them ready for ministry.

Pastor Priji: What do you prefer more, skills or heart? Anointing or abilities? Because when we are pursuing excellence, we tend to ignore the heart and sometimes when we are focusing on the heart, we tend to ignore the skill sets required to be on stage to minister.

Pastor Jemi: There’s a heartbeat of the church for the worship team, kids team, media team. Different teams have their heartbeat. The talent does show first, we don’t get to know the people straight away to see their heart, but the first thing to notice should be the heart to serve God. Those in the worship team with a different heart compared to that of the church, caused the others in the worship team also to be influenced by that. Those who are inclined with the heartbeat of church, they get to serve. At one point I saw the worship team falling apart, others who were serving out of servant heart were a bit disturbed. We talked to that person since it was an issue and understand that his spiritual heartbeat and idea of being in a worship team was totally different, even though he was an extremely talented person. We had to explain why we are here and the heart of serving God. Then we had to ask him to walk out.

When it comes to talent or skills, service heart towards God matters the most. But at the same time we want to give God the best. Bible says ‘David picked the best musicians to do God’s work’, same way we want to do that. To be honest, Christian churches have taken it for granted saying ‘if you have a heart just do it’ and people have come to service wondering what the worship team is singing. So I have always told people to improve and train in their skill or talent. So we’re not just putting anyone who has a heart to do it but make sure to be careful that they do it to the best of their ability and give them necessary training. There have been people in our worship team for 3 years but they just started leading worship since past 2 weeks. We wait for them to grow, learn, train and then give them chance to lead.

Pastor Priji: Is there anything from your personal experience that you could advise to our listeners and new church planters in their ministry, growth and planting?

Pastor Jemi: Sometimes you’ve got to walk like you don’t understand the facts. For example, when I was called into this ministry I was way too young. Everything around me I felt like I wasn’t worthy for at all. I had to deny all those facts and say that ‘God has chosen me so I’m just going to do it’. Sometimes reality can hit you and say you’re not worthy nor fit for this, lot of thoughts can come into your head but I would really encourage you to believe in that one voice that says ‘I have called and anointed you’. Anointing will take you far, not skills, knowledge and talent. So believe that you are anointed to do what you are called to do.

King City Leadership College is committed to raise leaders with character, competence, rooted in calling and biblical culture, so that they will make a lasting difference in the community, city and the nation’s. For more information click here to check the prospectus.

You can connect with Pastor Jemi on: Instagram

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