Beyond the Book with Drs. Pace and Shaddix: “Expositional Leadership”

Through the Spirit, God’s word calls God’s people into deeper communion with him, renewing their minds, reforming their confession, and directing their lives toward Christlikeness and mission. That is why expositional leadership is so important. As pastors expound and embody Scripture, they lead the Church toward doing the same: proclaiming and living the story of Scripture as disciple makers.

Offering guidance for pastors and ministry leaders, “Expositional Leadership: Shepherding God’s People from the Pulpit” is a practical resource that connects the various aspects of pastoral leadership to the preaching event. Written by longtime pastors and preachers, Scott Pace, provost of Southeastern Seminary, and Jim Shaddix, senior professor of preaching at Southeastern, “Expositional Leadership” is an invaluable addition to the pastor’s library and an asset to his preaching.

In the following Q&A, Pace and Shaddix take time to answer some questions about their new book:

What is the book about?

Shaddix: The book is about why and how pastors can and should leverage their most potent leadership opportunity — the preaching event — to shepherd their congregations to look more like Christ and to fulfill his mission for them. The book assumes that the bread and butter of pastoral preaching is exposition, or helping people encounter the voice of God through his intended meaning in every passage of Scripture.

Who is the target audience?

Pace: Our heart in writing the book was primarily focused on pastors and ministry leaders who preach and teach regularly. We wrote it with various levels of ministry experience in mind, from the young aspiring pastor who is still finding his preaching voice to the veteran shepherd who’s been preaching for years. It really is designed to be a practical manual that walks through various aspects of pastoral leadership with specific implications for sermon design and delivery.

What motivated you to write the book?

Shaddix: Very few books on leading through preaching are available today, and most of the ones that are available are written from a theological and ecclesiastical persuasion radically different from an evangelical perspective that holds a high view of the preaching event.

Pace: We share a desire to see pastors faithfully expound God’s word, who also shepherd and lead their congregations through their pulpit ministry. We also recognized that many pastors struggle in their ministries as the result of leadership missteps made in their sermons or failing to leverage their sermons well for strategic and situational leadership. Most resources in the field of preaching give little to no attention to the corporate growth of the body of Christ or to the congregational guidance that should be accomplished through the sermon.

What is expositional leadership, and how does it differ from other models of Christian leadership?

Shaddix: Leadership implies a destination. In other words, we don’t just lead; we lead somewhere. The primary two destinations to which pastors are to lead people are re-creation into Christlikeness and the fulfillment of his mission for them to make disciples among all people groups. The primary agent the Holy Spirit uses to accomplish both of these ends is the supernatural word of God. This reality compels preachers to expound it rightly in order to lead people to those destinations.

How does the church and its mission suffer when pastors don’t exhibit expositional leadership?

Pace: When we don’t exhibit expositional leadership, our people listen to sermons as a message meant exclusively for individuals rather than for the purpose of corporate growth and missional engagement. Preaching is congregational in nature and the church can’t accomplish its mission apart from a collective effort to grow and pursue its mission.

What is at stake if pastors approach leadership, preaching, and pastoring as separate aspects of ministry, and how can they develop a more holistic approach?

Shaddix: Preaching isn’t the only thing a pastor does, but it better be the first thing he does. Nothing is more important than for God’s people to hear him speak and to align themselves with what he says. Separating preaching from pastoral leadership runs the risk of relegating preaching to just one of many equal responsibilities a pastor has been assigned. Additionally, it heightens the temptation for pastors to embrace leadership principles and approaches that are radically different then the leadership that Jesus and the apostles embraced and exemplified.

How does “Expositional Leadership” equip readers to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission?

Pace: Expositional leadership helps our people recognize that they’re part of a greater mission that’s intended to leverage their personal growth and obedience for the collective growth of the body in order to fulfill the Great Commission. Our hope is that the book will equip pastors to serve their congregations well through biblically faithful sermons that lead them to live on mission for Christ.

How has writing the book shaped you spiritually?

Shaddix: Through this journey, God has challenged me to approach my preaching with a greater awareness of the need to demonstrate servant leadership in the way I explain and apply the text to people. Additionally, working with Scott Pace has been a constant reminder of what Christian humility and graciousness looks like. I’m very grateful to our Lord for that experience.

Pace: The Lord has used this process to give me an even greater appreciation for other pastors and their faithful devotion to God’s word and his people. It has also challenged me to think more strategically and spiritually as I corporately apply the Scriptures in my own sermons. Working with Jim Shaddix has also encouraged me to continue to grow in my own spiritual walk through the development and delivery of messages and to prioritize the ultimate goal of Christ-likeness in every endeavor as a pastor and ministry leader. I’m thankful for the opportunity to partner with him in service to our Savior!

Expositional Leadership: Shepherding God's People from the Pulpit

Shepherding a congregation comes with many responsibilities. In addition to preparing weekly sermons, pastors manage church teams and minister to a variety of people with different needs. Attempting to tackle these roles separately can be exhausting and may eventually affect the health of the church. How should leaders integrate their roles to effectively shepherd their congregations?

This guide shows pastors how to simplify and strengthen their ministry work by integrating leadership, preaching, and pastoring in biblical exposition. Authors Scott Pace and Jim Shaddix clearly lay out 6 categories of leadership—scriptural, spiritual, strategic, servant, situational, and sensible—and explain how to leverage them through sermon development and delivery. Offering practical advice and biblical wisdom related to each role, they help readers find balance in their ministries while nurturing their congregations in healthy, sustainable ways.

January 09, 2024

Paperback, 160 pages

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