Igniting a Ministry

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Ultimately Responsible: When You’re in Charge of Igniting a Ministry contains plenty of practical advice on how to jumpstart tired programs and engage church members in meaningful ministry. Sue Nilson Kibbey, executive pastor of Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio, outlines a comprehensive system for ministry development that begins with analysis of the essential components of individual leadership and goes on to discuss nurturing deepening levels of commitment among church goers, building and leading teams, and navigating change. Along the way there are pointers on creating easy “entry ramps” for newcomers and assessing readiness for leadership, on decision making and accountability networks, on redirecting ineffective servants as well as hiring and supervising staff.

But the book’s real value goes beyond these helpful hints. A rich subtext underlies these ministry strategies and connects them to what Kibbey calls “intentional leadership” — leadership that begins in a leader’s personal commitment to spiritual maturity and has as its aim helping others grow in faith and service. “A leader’s God-given responsibility,” writes Kibbey, “is to share the work of ministry with as many others as possible ….” The book’s underlying message is about cultivating and communicating a mindset for leadership grounded in servanthood and Kingdom objectives.

The importance of this mindset is made clear in Kibbey’s more subtle points on using language, framing conversations, and approaching problematic persons and situations. Intentional leaders consciously model the attitudes, behaviors, and communication habits that create an atmosphere conducive to positive group function and productive growth in ministry. “Great leaders in Kingdom work are willing to sacrifice ego, self-significance, and self-imagined imUltimatelyResponsibleCoverportance of position in order to live downward into increasing effectiveness, no matter what it takes,” says Kibbey. Leaders who are “ultimately responsible” take seriously every part of this call.

Kibbey’s book is intended for a wide array of church leaders. Pastors, church staff members, and unpaid ministry team leaders will find it equally helpful. And those using the book in group settings will be pleased to discover a DVD slipped in the cover page with video clips, inventories, and worksheets to accompany each chapter.


Ultimately Responsible can be purchased through Cokesbury or Amazon.

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About Author

Ann A. Michel is associate director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary and teaches in the areas of stewardship and leadership. She is also the author of Synergy: A Leadership Guide for Church Staff and Volunteers (Abingdon, 2017), available at Cokesbury and Amazon.


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