Leadership in the Relational Church
What did Jesus have in mind when he spoke of leadership among the incredible community of the Body of Christ?
Here is the best definition I’ve ever heard of spiritual leadership: If you were going to be caught in your worst failure, who would you want to catch you?
If you really want to experience the fullness of life in Jesus, wouldn’t you want someone who would treat you as gently as Jesus treated the woman at the well while offering you the truth in a way that you could understand and follow into God’s freedom?
I have not heard a simpler statement that summarizes the way Jesus lived and what he taught his disciples about leadership in his church. Even Paul’s lists of qualifications in Timothy and Titus point out those who had walked with Jesus long enough to be transformed by him in a way that could be clearly seen in their families, in the community and their freedom to live the truth and thus be able to help others in the way Jesus would.
A fresh look at the question of leadership in the church
Editors Note: God is doing some fresh things in His church around the world. He is speaking to many people in similar ways. Due to our varied gifting, levels of of maturity, and even personalities, not all of us will see and understand these things in the same way. Not even the handful of us who manage the site see all the articles presented here the same way. Our heart is simply to encourage those to whom God is speaking about simple churches. We want to let you know how God is speaking to others around the world. This article is an example of some of things that believers are thinking about and discussing in regards to the church. We found these statements by a German brother to parallel some of the things that God has been speaking to us. These thoughts are challenging, and there may be something here you don't agree with. We, however, believe it is helpful to prayefully consider such statements and to allow God to speak to us as He would want to.
May our goal be fully aligned with God's goal-to see Christ exalted and for all men to be drawn to Him.
Every day new visitors are coming to our site. In order to expose them to some of our best articles, and to create fresh discussion among those of us who have been active on the site a long time, we will from time to time repost an past article like this one. This article has been a favorite of many people. We invite you to read it for the first time or read it again. Take a moment to add your thoughts and commentary and let's learn together how we can honor and magnify Jesus and join Him in building His kingdom.
If we are going to transition from church-as-we-know-it (a box) to a dynamic Spirit-filled movement, we will also have to transition from leadership-as-we-know-it to something else.
Alan Creech says the WHOLE thing has to be reinvented:
I mean full-time, paid staff pastors who preach every Sunday and do pretty much all the ministry and stress themselves silly over every little thing in the community. I think this will kill us if we keep this up. It's beginning to happen, but we've really got to re-envision what it means to be a pastor, leader, elder, whatever in our new churches. I don't think we can afford to keep the old pastoral paradigm alive any more. We can't do that and expect to happen what we want to happen in these communities.
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest fields."
Jesus tells us the key to seeing many people saved through a great harvest of souls is to pray for more workers. The more prayer, the more workers; the more workers, the greater the harvest-It's a simple equation.
Many have used these words to challenge believers to get out of the pews and into the fields. And it must be so. What will it take to get the workers out into the fields? The word Jesus used to "send out" workers is the same Greek word used of "casting out" demons (ekballo). It is a violent term as if the Lord of the harvest must grab us by the collar and thrust us out into the fields. Unfortunately, that may be what it takes for most of us Christians.
It is vital to understand that house (or simple) church networks are not the same thing, in any way, as churches with small groups (even if those small groups are called "house churches."
The cell church (I will adopt the term "cell" church to refer to all types of small-group-based churches) has been a strong movement in North America over the past 30 years while the house (or simple) church network is only just beginning to emerge.
"I have a question I've been wanting to ask you for four years," I said to Charles Brock, author of Practicing Principles of Indigenous Church Planting, when I met in the Philippines a few years ago. "You go into the poor areas of Manila, you plant churches rapidly, they always produce their own leadership, they are never dependent on outside funds and they always reproduce.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, The 12 Steps are read out loud at every meeting.
For those of us who are still in detox from programmatic Christianity, there is value in repeating what we have said before: the simple church revolution (reformation?) is not about doing conventional church in a home. It's not "Honey, I shrunk the church!" It's not 20 minutes of singing, 30 minutes of Bible study, 10 minutes of prayer and then refreshments. (Or, any other prepackaged way of meeting.)
"OK. If it's not about that, what is it about?"
When teaching about the organic church, a question I am asked more than any other is how we handle the threat of heresy. I understand this concern and want to address it in an intelligent and articulate manner because it is very important. The organic church movement is not going to last if we simply ignore the challenges it faces. But I also believe that the issues that are raised in response to our movement can find solutions that are not only satisfactory but even better alternatives to the way the church has addressed these issues in the past. If the organic church movement is not a move forward toward better health and wholeness, then it is not worth pursuing at all.
About the Site
All across the world, people are gathering in small groups to serve and worship God, be family, and encourage and affect each others lives. These gatherings are called by many names including simple church, organic church, and house church. Whatever you call it, the people involved value incarnational ministry to the lost, living radically for Jesus and each other, and are willing to get rid of anything that gets in the way of being fully devoted followers of Christ.Detailed...