What if the secret to pastoral success is to do less ministry?
Or maybe it's more like a two-part secret: do less ministry, develop more people. The typical pastor takes on far too much. Who visits the hospital? Who counsels couples? Who teaches and preaches and disciples? Usually, the pastor. But according to Ephesians 4, a pastor's true goal should be to equip the so-called ordinary members of their church to take on these pastoral tasks. Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield will show you how by:
Yes, the people in those pews expect a lot from you, but learn how you can manage expectations, lead well, and pastor biblically. Not only does this approach drastically reduce the pressure on you, the pastor, it multiplies the effectiveness of your ministry 10, 20, even 100-fold!
Praise for Leveling the Church
"A study of practical wisdom from two pastoral leaders of God's flock. This volume avoids the trap of the super-pastor syndrome often found in leadership literature. A book for every pastor and those who care about the health of the church today."
Research professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University
General Editor of the 28-volume Reformation Commentary on Scripture
"Be still my heart!" Leveling the Church—THIS is the church, body-life done God's way! Leveling the Church puts us on solid biblical ground and practically builds from there. I am so grateful our Father led Micah and Jeremy to write this much-needed practical manual where we learn God's plan for "equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12).
Cofounder, Brand Ambassador
"The call to serve the church as a pastor is a call to equip the church unto service. That's precisely the message and the methods Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield point us to in this book, Leveling the Church. This book is spot-on and will benefit ministers and churches everywhere. I highly encourage you read it."
President of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
"In this book, Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield dismantle the idea that the church is a corporation of consumers, served by a professional class. Instead, this book calls us back to an ancient vision of the New Testament: of a clergy called out not to serve in the place of the people but to equip and empower the people for the work of ministry. If we heed the call of this book, we will see a more faithful, more joyful, more purposeful church."
President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
"Too many pastors fall into the trap of trying to do everything themselves. Not only does it wear them out—it circumvents God's design for how the church should work. Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield challenge pastors to take seriously the biblical charge to "build up the body of Christ" so believers will be equipped and sent into ministry. That's when true multiplication begins to take place. Micah and Jeremy carefully identify the obstacles that prevent pastors and churches from multiplying themselves and offer practical solutions for clearing those hurdles. I'm grateful for this resource and hope others richly benefit from it."
President, North American Mission Board, SBC
"We live in an era of notorious examples of bad leadership at every important institution of society, including the church. Many practitioners advocate a detached model of leadership that eschews the Bible's rich and consistent metaphor of shepherding. This is why Leveling the Church is such an important resource. Micah and Jeremy help pastors return to the biblical, Ephesians 4 model of "equipping the saints for the work of ministry." If you want to mobilize your people for ministry, if you want to shepherd well, if you want to see a new generation of God's people empowered to live on mission, this book is for you. Buy this book and share it with your staff, your key lay volunteers and anyone in a position of influence."
VP of Communications, ERLC, columnist, and author of several books, including The Dignity Revolution
"I like this book a lot. I read it in a single reading! It lays out a faithful, biblical blueprint for how ministers ought to do ministry."
—DANIEL L. AKIN
President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"What a delightful encouragement to read this refreshing new work from Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield! As indicated in the subtitle, this thoughtful book wisely guides readers toward a thoroughly biblical view of church and ministry, encouraging both a rethinking and reframing of what faithful leadership really means in our current context. The authors offer practical counsel and direction in each chapter, doing so in a theologically informed manner that is both timely and insightful. Highly recommended!"
—DAVID S. DOCKERY
Chancellor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"It is indeed a challenge. So many people see the pastor and staff of the church as the "hired hands" to do the work of ministry. Nothing could be further from the biblical truth. I am thankful to God for Leveling the Church by Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield. This book provides the needed road map for biblical equipping to take place. Read it. Apply it. Live it."
—THOM S. RAINER
Founder and CEO of Church Answers
Author of I Am a Church Member and Anatomy of a Revived Church
"Micah Fries and Jeremy Maxfield present an inspiring, compelling, and purely biblical vision of the church. As it has been in every generation, churches devoted to raising up ordinary people as gospel leaders hold the key to our future."
—J. D. GREEAR
Pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, NC; 62nd president, The Southern Baptist Convention; author, Gaining by Losing
"Leveling the Church is going to help you multiply what God wants to do in your church. Jesus will accomplish more through His body when you learn to do less and the congregation you serve is equipped for the work of ministry. Read this book and implement what you learn."
—DERWIN L. GRAY
Lead Pastor, Transformation Church; author, The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World
"The idea that the job of the pastor is to do ministry and the job of the people is to consume is one of the most subtle lies that is keeping the church from reaching its redemptive potential. Micah and Jeremy show us a way forward: pastors equip laypeople. This cutting-edge thought goes back to the first century but is desperately needed today. Leveling the Church is a treasure."
Teaching pastor at Seacoast Church
"All too often church members expect the pastor and paid staff to do the overwhelming amount of ministry in the local church. And overwhelming it is! Pastoral burnout is a common problem. Micah and Jeremy take us back to the biblical model of Christ's church, where every born-again believer has a clear role to fill through the use of their God-given gifts for the work of ministry. This is a book for pastors and members alike!"
Senior Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church