Rev. Charles Westra
The Relationship Between Lay Leaders and Called Workers, John Fowler and Rev. Charles Westra
Lay Leader. Called Worker. It’s fascinating how we describe the people who serve side-by-side in God’s kingdom. Those terms almost suggest that in the church lay people set the direction, and then they call and pay others to do the work of ministry. Is that really what God intended? Is it wrong if the called person is the “leader” and the layperson is the “worker”? In God’s eyes, what even makes one a “worker” or a “leader”?
Satan wants to hinder gospel ministry. One way he attempts to do this is by using questions about leadership to sour relationships between called workers and lay leaders. Unfortunately, this is not a rare challenge. What’s the cause? Is it a misunderstanding of respective responsibilities? Is it unrealistic expectations? Is it simply a sinful power grab? And are there preventative measures that can be taken to avoid such conflict?
Mr. John Fowler and Rev. Charles Westra have served the Lord of the Church together in a number of capacities. Both belong to and serve the same congregation in Tennessee. Both serve on WELS Synodical Council—Mr. Fowler as the chairman of the Finance Committee and Pastor Westra as the chairman of the Ministry Committee. So, in multiple capacities, they have provided each other mutual encouragement and support. In this breakout, they will discuss the relationship between lay leaders and called workers. They will talk about what pastors appreciate in lay leaders, and what lay leaders cherish about their called workers. Most importantly, they will share thoughts and tools for strengthening the vital ministry partnership between these two groups.
John Fowler is the vice president of North American Field Service with STERIS Corporation and has 27 years of varied leadership experience with General Electric, CompuCom and STERIS Corporation. He serves as church president at Christ our Savior in Columbia, Tenn. Additionally, he serves on WELS Synodical Council, which is responsible for managing the activities of the synod that are determined by the synod in convention. John and his wife Sarah have three children and currently reside in Franklin, Tenn.
Rev. Charles Westra
Pastor Chuck Westra started Christ Our Savior in Columbia, Tenn., which by God’s grace and through Pastor Westra’s leadership has grown from a small mission into a large congregation. Additionally, Pastor Westra serves as the district president for WELS South Atlantic District. He has previously served as the chairman for WELS Board for Home Missions. Chuck and his wife Debra have four children.