Who is in Charge?

Church Polity and Governance

Course Overview

This course will discuss different models of local church polity and leadership. Learners will be equipped with a well-rounded knowledge of church operational leadership, and will grasp recommended models of the most effective church polity.

Course Preview

Course Outline

Requirements for Leadership – Part 1
Requirements for Leaders – Part 2
Ministry Skills & Requirements
Character Formation
Definitions & Metaphors
The Purposes of the Church
Leadership – Part 1
Leadership – Part 2
Church Discipline
Authority & Power
My Perspectives on Polity & Leadership – Part 1: What I Know Works
My Perspectives on Polity & Leadership – Part 2: What I Think Works
My Perspectives on Polity & Leadership – Part 3: What I Think Doesn’t Work & What I Know Doesn’t Work
Closing Challenge
Multiple Interviews

Recommended Textbook

Who is in Charge?

Leadership, Authority, and Decision Making in the Church

by Brad Waggoner

It has never been more important for churches to be healthy. The stakes are high. The Bible is very clear about the mission and vision of the church but less prescriptive as to exactly how to fulfill the mission of the church. Many churches are hindered by a lack of clarity on various issues, including mission, vision, and strategy. Even more common is the distraction that comes from disagreement and conflict related to authority, decision-making, and governance. It is essential churches establish unity as to how leaders lead, make decisions, and impact a lost world.

Course Professor

Brad Waggoner

Brad Waggoner has served in a variety of ministry positions, including local church ministry, church planting, as a dean at an institution of higher education, and as a vice president at a major Christian resources ministry. Brad currently oversees consulting for Church Answers, and Church Answers Central, a forum for pastors and church leaders. He is the author of The Shape of Faith to Come and The Discipleship Pathway Assessment. Brad and his wife Patti reside in Franklin, Tennessee, and they have two adult sons and three grandchildren.

Online Learning

You can access your course at any time on any device. You do not need to install an app or download software.


This course is part of a full certification track offered by Church Answers University. See available certifications here.

5 hours

This course contains five hours of on-demand video that can be started and resumed at any time.

Start Today

Course available individually or with certification

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