American Baptist Authors Publish Church Leadership Resource

ABCUSA > Latest Features > American Baptist Authors Publish Church Leadership Resource

American Baptist Authors Publish Church Leadership Resource

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/15/12)—Findings from the 2010 National Survey of Congregations revealed a number of areas of concern for today’s churches, including the challenge of developing lay leadership. When asked whether volunteers in leadership roles stay the same year after year, 86% of respondents reported that either the same people serve or, while there is some rotation, it tends to be among a limited number of people. For the large majority of churches that could use assistance in cultivating leaders, there is Empowering Laity, Engaging Leaders: Tapping the Root for Ministry, a new Judson Press “Living Church” resource by Susan E. Gillies and M. Ingrid Dvirnak.

In Empowering Laity, Engaging Leaders, experienced church leaders Gillies and Dvirnak identify obstacles to lay leadership and suggest proven ways to overcome them. Among the topics explored:

  • Learning from Jesus’ leadership education style
  • Identifying gifts and matching them to organizational needs and ministry interests
  • Initiating leadership development beginning with children and extending through retirees
  • Sustaining leaders in their roles
  • Rotating leaders through a season of followership
  • Cultivating your own spiritual health in order to be a more effective leader

With ample case studies and stories to which the reader can relate, this practical, conversational, and encouraging church resource will benefit anyone seeking to “tap the root for ministry” within their own congregation.

About the Living Church:
Recent surveys, including the American Religious Identification Survey 2008 and the National Survey of Congregations 2010, revealed a number of areas of concern for today’s church, including spiritual vitality and community, membership and attendance, a clear sense of mission, biblical literacy, financial pressures, diversity, leadership, and more. Living Church resources address these issues from a congregational perspective, offering creative and constructive strategies for the American church in the 21st century.  For a list of titles in the Living Church series, visit
About the Authors:
Susan E. Gillies, MA, spent more than twenty years in leadership positions with American Baptist Churches USA, including directing the Ministry of the Laity in the Workplace program for National Ministries (now the American Baptist Home Mission Societies) and serving as Executive Minister of American Baptist Churches of Nebraska. In retirement, she now is a public speaker, newspaper columnist, consultant, and silversmith in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

M. Ingrid Dvirnak spent 35 years in local, regional, and national church ministry for the American Baptist Churches USA. She is the author of the Judson Press book The Work of the Clerk, and writes for Judson Bible Journeys for Adults. Now retired, Dvirnak makes her home in Elizabeth, Colorado.

About Judson Press:
Founded in 1824, Judson Press is a publishing ministry of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches USA. It is committed to producing Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of individuals, congregations, communities, and cultures.
To order Judson Press resources, visit or call 800-458-3766.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.