Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

APEST and Leading a Missional Community

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I’ve been working with the elders of our faith community on their role, function and responsibilities. One of the many concepts we are exploring is the base leadership gifts described in Ephesians 4 and how this typology of leadership (APEST) functions and the bent each gifted person brings to the leadership group.

APEST

Mike Breen has been doing an interesting series of posts on Missional Community (pop over and read the seven posts he has done so far). Today he posts on how a person with one of the Ephesians 4 base gifts would tend to lead a Missional Community differently than other people with a different base gift. The post offers a good perspective on each gift and helps us understand why each should be represented on the leadership team.

Here’s what he posted:

Apostles Leading a Missional Community

Apostle led MCs will usually be highly attractional, orbiting around someone who has loads of charisma and ability to gather others. Frequently their groups grow the quickest. Their mode of multiplication is often to split down the middle as a result of the pressure of the speed of growth. A mature apostle should have the skills to manage such a maneuver, even though it can be fraught with pastoral landmines, as multiplying a MC can be difficult for some relationally.

Prophets Leading a Missional Community

Prophets will tend to focus on the mission, but not be quite so evangelistic. They often go for high visibility, since they desire an incarnational approach to presenting the Gospel. Generally this means that they and their groups are very radical, often with the highest demands placed upon members. If you know a group in a tough urban context where there is lots of talk and action about reclaiming the city by their very presence and engagement with the people out on the streets, then that is probably a group with strong prophetic leadership. Such groups can grow by multiplying, but often they will keep the core team and allow a new work to bud off into a new context.

Evangelists Leading a Missional Community

Almost certainly evangelists will love to go straight after the People of Peace in their chosen mission context. They will identify the gatekeepers to that place and stay with them. Often you see evangelists literally going out in pairs, finding some People of Peace, building relationships and through them reaching a whole neighborhood that was previously unreached. Eventually they will look to hand the group on and go into a new context or send out others in twos to do a similar work elsewhere.

Teachers Leading a Missional Community

Frequently you will see teachers go into an existing context where the witness for Christ is struggling or almost extinguished. They will give themselves to model how to live the Christian life, whether in worship, community or mission. Mature teachers will do this ever so humbly, so it won’t even feel like teaching much of the time. They will stay for a lengthy season, but many will eventually begin to look for a fresh context requiring their help and then hand on their group. They will send out new groups who will be characterized by having been thoroughly prepared with a clear model of how to do things.

Pastors Leading a Missional Community

Pastors long to bring community transformation, by establishing and then building on long-term relationships. They highly value the integrity of becoming fully embedded into their context. This means that while things are not as spectacular at first, they have a slower and longer burn approach to mission. We have noticed that often this model works especially well in the suburbs. As relationships are at the heart of everything they do, it can be more difficult for them to multiply, but they do find it easier to grow as a ‘bud’ or ‘shoot’ off a small group of people and perhaps to take what they are doing into a neighboring area (or even neighboring street!).

Thanks Mike.

More Pondering on Leadership

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

This is a repost from 2007 that fits with the post on Missional Transformation – Three Shifts.

In a recent post I asked you to ponder this:

Let’s reflect by asking the following questions: “What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?”, “How does the modern church define leadership?”, and “How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?”.

What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?

It is pretty clear from what Paul taught and from what we see in the first century church that leadership was about discipleship. A key text is in Ephesians 4 where Paul tells us that God has given the body of Christ, “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to [become mature], to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13, ESV).

It is plain that Paul sees the role of these “leaders” to be that of equippers (ESV, TNIV), perfecters (KJV, Amplified), trainers (The Message, Holman). He sees them in the role of disciple makers fulfilling the commission given to them by Christ himself (Matthew 28:19-20). Because they took seriously their task of equipping the saints for the work of ministry, when a problem arose, they were able to confidently turn to the saints and have them select people who could deal with the issue. Acts 6 is a classic example.

We see that the role of leadership is discipleship – to equip, train, and perfect the saints who then become leaders able to do the work of ministry. You can visualize it as:

How does the modern church define leadership?

Unfortunately, the modern church (and maybe even the church from the time of Constantine) has define leadership in terms of a hierarchical organizational model where the pastor is the CEO with paid assistants who deal with the programs and problems. Any discipleship that occurs is done using some programmatic methodology which tends to focus on imparting information.

And where are the apostles, the prophets, and the evangelists in the leadership of the body? Why is the pastor considered the only valid leadership gift?

Is it any wonder that in the modern church so few of the saints are involved in any work of ministry?

How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?

Within an existing congregation full of consumer driven saints who only know the CEO leadership model, I don’t think it is easy to move to an Ephesians 4 ideal. But I do believe it is possible to make some progress over time.

The first step is to make a commitment to doing personal discipleship. Identify a small group of saints who you can begin to equip, train, and perfect. My suggestion is that you start with those who already have influence, like your elders or deacons. As they grow and mature, it is going to be much easier for you to wean yourself from some of the organizational maintenance responsibilities and their dependence on you being in such a role. They will have understanding and can support such a transition.

Don’t expect this to be an overnight transition. Expect it to take years.

Understand that making disciples is not a matter of more or correct biblical knowledge. Having classes where you impart more information is not enough. You have to move out of the classroom and get them involved in right actions. For more on this, read what Alan Hirsh has to say about acting our way into a new way of thinking.

I know most pastors by nature seek to ensure that there are no “messy situations” or conflicts within the body, but in the process of disciple making you are going to have to trust the people you are working with knowing full well that they will make mistakes. Use such situations as a training time. Don’t back away from empowering them to act and do ministry.

Finally, you need to begin the process of expanding your leadership to include the apostle, the prophet, and the evangelist. The team is incomplete without these gifted people.

Leadership and the Missional Church

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

This is a repost from 2007 that fits with the post on Missional Transformation – Three Shifts.

Back in the 80’s I had a very wise and forward thinking pastor. His name is Dr. Wayne McDill, who is now Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I was looking through some old journals for a specific piece of information. As I’m want to do, I got sidetracked reading notes and observations from the past including an item Wayne shared in a disciplining session for his elders. Using the illustration below, he talked about two models a pastor or leadership team could use to “build” a faith community.

The viewpoint of the pastor or leadership in the exploitation model is that people are the resource for the work. Note that the focus is on the leadership directing and using people so they can “build a great church for God.” The common lament is, “If only the people were more committed.”

The viewpoint of the leadership in the edification model is that God is the resource and he will build his church. The focus is on God and Eph. 2:10 and Eph. 4:11-16 would be the guiding ideal.

I was recently reading a paper by Krista Petty titled, “Making Good Ideas Happen: How to Help Your People Unleash Their Best Innovations,” where she talks about flipping the common church leadership paradigm and equipping and guiding the people of God to launch new ministries. Like Dr. McDill, she sees two models.

Using the first diagram below, Ms. Petty explains, “The senior minister, staff or leadership are paid to come up with the vision and direction, followed by the events, activities and programs to make the vision a reality. Often, leaders have the ideas and together with the people, they do the work.”

Instead of this American triangular organizational business model with top-down results, Petty suggests that “shared-vision leadership can present itself more like a diamond as both leaders and individuals shine with vision and passion to reflect blessing to the community. As individuals are impassioned with service ideas, successful church leaders will not be the only keepers of the vision; they will also serve as a conduit and encouragement for helping others develop in Christ and for community ministry benefit.” Sounds similar to Dr. McDill’s edification model.

I really don’t think many in the modern institutional church realize just how much American business models and theory have seeped into and permeate the way we go about the work of God. Our dependence is all too often on the right model, marketing effort or program (a business model) instead on God and his people.

Missional Leadership

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A great 40 minute talk by Ed Stetzer on “missional leadership.”

Pondering Leadership

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

In a recent post I asked you to ponder this:

Let’s reflect by asking the following questions: “What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?”, “How does the modern church define leadership?”, and “How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?”.

What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?

It is pretty clear from what Paul taught and from what we see in the first century church that leadership was about discipleship. A key text is in Ephesians 4 where Paul tells us that God has given the body of Christ, “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to [become mature], to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13, ESV).

It is plain that Paul sees the role of these “leaders” to be that of equippers (ESV, TNIV), perfecters (KJV, Amplified), trainers (The Message, Holman). He sees them in the role of disciple makers fulfilling the commission given to them by Christ himself (Matthew 28:19-20). Because they took seriously their task of equipping the saints for the work of ministry, when a problem arose, they were able to confidently turn to the saints and have them select people who could deal with the issue. Acts 6 is a classic example.

We see that the role of leadership is discipleship – to equip, train, and perfect the saints who then become leaders able to do the work of ministry.

How does the modern church define leadership?

Unfortunately, the modern church (and maybe even the church from the time of Constantine) has define leadership in terms of a hierarchical organizational model where the pastor is the CEO with paid assistants who deal with the programs and problems. Any discipleship that occurs is done using some programmatic methodology which tends to focus on imparting information.

And where are the apostles, the prophets, and the evangelists in the leadership of the body? Why is the pastor considered the only valid leadership gift?

Is it any wonder that in the modern church so few of the saints are involved in any work of ministry?

How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?

Within an existing congregation full of consumer driven saints who only know the CEO leadership model, I don’t think it is easy to move to an Ephesians 4 ideal. But I do believe it is possible to make some progress over time.

The first step is to make a commitment to doing personal discipleship. Identify a small group of saints who you can begin to equip, train, and perfect. My suggestion is that you start with those who already have influence, like your elders or deacons. As they grow and mature, it is going to be much easier for you to wean yourself from some of the organizational maintenance responsibilities and their dependence on you being in such a role. They will have understanding and can support such a transition.

Don’t expect this to be an overnight transition. Expect it to take years.

Understand that making disciples is not a matter of more or correct biblical knowledge. Having classes where you impart more information is not enough. You have to move out of the classroom and get them involved in right actions. For more on this, read what Alan Hirsh has to say about acting our way into a new way of thinking.

I know most pastors by nature seek to ensure that there are no “messy situations” or conflicts within the body, but in the process of disciple making you are going to have to trust the people you are working with knowing full well that they will make mistakes. Use such situations as a training time. Don’t back away from empowering them to act and do ministry.

Finally, you need to begin the process of expanding your leadership to include the apostle, the prophet, and the evangelist. The team is incomplete without these gifted people.

Apostolic Leaders

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Here is an issue that I’ve been attempting to work through: How do we maintain the missional paradigm as vibrate long term movement?

I’ve focused on this issue because, let’s face it, movements come and go. I became a follower of Jesus back in the 60’s and have seen many, many movements come on the scene, flash with intensity and radiance only to quickly fade away. Some movements needed to fade away because they were just wrong, but not all. So, why don’t even the good causes last?

 Hirsch Quote I had the privilege and honor of being able to sit and talk “missional” with Alan Hirsch (“The Shaping of Things to Come” and “The Forgotten Ways”) along with a handful of others this past week. The first was with our Missio group on Monday and then again over beer and dinner at the Alameda Brewhouse on Tuesday. Now I’ve got to tell you that I felt completely unworthy of being there on Tuesday, but I’m not one to pass up such an opportunity.

The only reason I bring this up is that the chapter in Alan’s “The Forgotten Ways” that I’ve been camped out in is six, Apostolic Environment. It is also what we spent the entire evening Tuesday talking about. In this chapter Alan lays out what I think is an important part of the answer to the question I posed above. For a movement to survive it must have apostolic leaders.

Hirsch says, “The apostolic person’s calling is essentially the extension of Christianity. As such, he or she calls the church to its essential calling and helps guide it into its destiny as a missionary people with a transformative message for the world. All other functions of the church must be qualified by its mission to extend the redemptive mission of God through its life and witness. The apostolic leader thus embodies, symbolizes, and re-presents the apostolic mission to the missional community. Furthermore, he or she calls forth and develops the gifts and callings of all of God’s people. Without apostolic ministry the church either forgets its high calling or fails to implement it successfully. Sadly, such people are commonly ‘frozen out’ or exiled because they disturb the equilibrium of a system in stasis. This ‘loss’ of the apostolic influencer accounts for one of the major reasons for mainstream denominational decline. If we really want missional church, then we must have a missional leadership system to drive it “it’s that simple.” (page 152, emphasis his)

He further contends that apostolic leadership has a second important function, that of being the custodian of the DNA and ethos of the movement.

“This aspect of apostolic ministry can be described as creating and maintaining the web of meaning that holds the movement together. Apostolic ministry does this by reawakening the people to the gospel and embedding it in the organizational framework in ways that are meaningful. It is out of this apostolic web of meaning that the movement maintains itself over the long haul. And it’s critical to translocal mission. Watch what the biblical apostles do; they engage in missionary work, establish new churches, and once established they move off to new frontiers. But they also see as essential networking the churches and exhorting the disciples by traversing between them, cultivating leadership, and issuing guidance to ensure a correct apprehension and integration of the gospel message in the common and individual lives of the hearers.” They are quick to weed out potential mutations in the missional DNA. (page 156, emphasis his)

What will this look like in practice? I don’t know yet, but if He did hand “out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ” (Eph. 4), then we need to restore and cerebrate the ministry of the apostle.

“There is something essential and irreplaceable in the ministry of the apostle,” say Hirsch. Good words for us to ponder.

How Missional Communities Differ

Friday, February 16th, 2007
Leadership Magazine

In the Winter issue of Leadership, Tim Conder, pastor of Emmaus Way in Durham, NC, says that missional is not a single way of doing church and therefore identifying missional churches can be difficult. Yet, he believes there are some common commitments.

  • “Missional communities try to align themselves wholistically [sic] with God’s theme of redemption. They resist the use of Christianity as an anesthetic to the pain of human needs or as an affirmation of the superiority of one culture’s way of life.
  • “Missional communities are discontent with spiritual formation as primarily cognitive (“I believe this to be true”). Instead, it’s presented as a way of life, a rhythm of being. It emphasizes faithful living during the week rather than worship at a weekend event.
  • “[Missional] communities are passionate activists when they find the pathways and trajectories of God’s redemptive presence. The work of justice, reconciliation, peace, and spiritual direction are becoming the dominate reflexes of missional communities. In this spirit of activism, theological debates and historical sunderings are becoming marginalized.”

Tim goes on to identified at least five missional “streams” in the church today.

  • Reformation Stream — Characterized by a strong identification with a particular theological system (usually reformed theology, though other systems apply here) combined with creative commitments to authenticity in a post-modern culture. This stream retains the gospel message as conceptualized in reformed “systematics” while radically adapting its methodology.
  • Transitional Stream — These churches allow missional Christianity to develop alongside traditional understandings of church life. These churches blend elements of missional strategy with other approaches (small groups, seeker sensitivity, etc.).
  • Pre-Reformation Stream — Fellowships in this stream are exploring sacramental theology and practices. Much attention is directed toward the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work with a desire to connect with the pre-Reformation Christianity and even pre-Christian Judaism.
  • New Monastic Stream — Not “church” by traditional definitions, these communities are guided by some form of communal living, a commitment to a rule of values (such as relational reconciliation, peace, advocacy for the oppressed, and hospitality) a shared rhythm of spiritual expression (“offices” such as common meals, liturgies, and prayer gatherings), and a priority of place (a parish mindset that focuses ministry toward a defined local community).
  • Post-Church Stream — These non-traditional expressions, such as house churches or informal communities of Christian sojourners, avoid the forms and norms of institutional church.

What do you think of these “streams?” Do you feel they are valid, useful, helpful in the conversation?

Missional: Possible

Thursday, February 15th, 2007
Leadership Magazine

The third article in the “Going Missional” issue of Leadership is by Chad Hall, a ministry coach. The subtitle is “Steps to Transform a Consumer Church into a Missional Church” and plays off the theme of the movie “Mission Impossible.”

After an explanation of what missional means, Chad talks about two distractions that often block a faith communities missional expression.

  • The first is self-preservation. This is where an institutional church becomes focused on ensuring that it is so solid that it can endure anything. The focus on preservation becomes its very identity. “The church began to exist for the sake of the church.”
  • The second is church growth. Chad states, “When the emphasis is on bringing the world to the church, the church’s mission of going to the world can get lost.”

The last half of the article is spent on two changes faith communities should make to move from a consumer church to a missional church.

The first is redirecting resources toward the world. “This means church leaders take a hard look at how money, time, and energy are allocated. Is it for the sole benefit of those in the church, or invested in God’s mission of the world?”

The second is activating the laity [Note from Rick: drop this word from your vocabulary. It is not biblical nor an accurate description of God’s people. End of rant.] to carry out God’s mission in their various spheres of life. According to Chad, “This creates a community of Christians who let the upward focus on God in the worship service impact their orientation and activity during the rest of their lives. This means inviting the lost and making worship hospitable to others on weekends, but also working for God during the week.”

In reading the article I do get the impression that Chad is not willing to give up on the classic attractional model, but I could be wrong.

One last quote that is from Janetta Cravens, pastor of First Christian Church in Macon, GA, “We are moving from seeing ourselves as a church who needs members from the community to seeing ourselves as being in a community whose members need the church. We’ve realized we’re here to serve the community in unique ways.”

This article has an interesting sidebar on “how does a leader prepare to redirect a church toward its mission in the world?” Four points are made:

  • Anticipate and work through conflict. Faith communities that have long been self-focused have well-formed habits and attitudes that are tough to overcome.
  • Controlled release and releasing control. “The leader must be direct and uncompromising in leading their faith community to live out the missional mindset. But once that mindset catches hold, the leader must step back and let go. Leaders who attempt to control the expressions of missionality will always be tempted to control them, and thus suffocate them.”
  • Recognize the personal losses. For many leaders there will be less recognition for doing ministry and the spotlight will be on them less and less.
  • Stamina is required en route to better days. “Since the transition toward missionality is complex, there will be great difficulties to endure. For leaders used to measuring success by attendance or accolades, they may have to endure desert days without those signs of success.”

Missional: Taking Ownership

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
Leadership Magazine

The Winter 2007 issue of Leadership is focused on “Going Missional.”

The first article in the “Going Missional” section was written by Eric Reed, managing editor of Leadership, and titled “New Ownership.” The theme of the article can be best summarized with this sentence, “Individual Christians in local congregations are taking new ownership of the mission. We are becoming missional.”

Reed states that missional is more than buzz, it is a philosophy of ministry and “refers to the specific activity of churches: to build the kingdom of God in all settings where church members are at work, rather than building up the local congregation, its programs, numbers, and facilities.

“Many users of the term refer to a change of heart — that missions is not a distant program to which we send a check or boxes of used clothing — but instead something we’re personally involved in. The whole life of the believer is to be dedicated to faithful sharing, giving, and going — more than studying, hearing, and sending others.”

I firmly believe that Reed is correct when he refers to a change of heart. I’ve often contended that missional is a shift in thinking. Missional must become the essences of who we are as Jesus followers. As some others have said, it must become our very DNA. Without this radical infusion into our very being, it will just become another chapter in the long history church movements.

Reed spends most of the article on what the missional concept means to local congregations by expanding on the following three points:

  • Local churches (and the networks they form) will replace the denominational boards and parachurch organizations as missions senders.
  • The shared parish concept in local communities.
  • Personal ownership of missions responsibility.

It is a good read and full of actual stories to illustrate the points he making, which I like, because it takes it out of the realm of theory and shows that real people are really doing this thing we call missional.

Leadership and the Missional Church

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Back in the 80’s I had a very wise and forward thinking pastor. His name was Dr. Wayne McDill, who is now Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I was looking through some old journals for a specific piece of information. As I’m want to do, I got sidetracked reading notes and observations from the past including an item Wayne shared in a disciplining session for his elders. Using the illustration below, he talked about two models a pastor or leadership team could use to “build” a faith community.

The viewpoint of the pastor or leadership in the exploitation model is that people are the resource for the work. Note that the focus is on the leadership directing and using people so they can “build a great church for God.” The common lament is, “If only the people were more committed.”

The viewpoint of the leadership in the edification model is that God is the resource and that he will build his church. The focus is on God and Eph. 2:10 and Eph. 4:11-16 would be the guiding ideal.

I was recently reading a paper by Krista Petty titled, “Making Good Ideas Happen: How to Help Your People Unleash Their Best Innovations,” where she talks about flipping the common church leadership paradigm and equipping and guiding the people of God to launch new ministries. Like Dr. McDill, she sees two models.

Using the first diagram below, Ms. Petty explains, “The senior minister, staff or leadership are paid to come up with the vision and direction, followed by the events, activities and programs to make the vision a reality. Often, leaders have the ideas and together with the people, they do the work.”

Instead of this American triangular organizational business model with top-down results, Petty suggests that “shared-vision leadership can present itself more like a diamond as both leaders and individuals shine with vision and passion to reflect blessing to the community. As individuals are impassioned with service ideas, successful church leaders will not be the only keepers of the vision; they will also serve as a conduit and encouragement for helping others develop in Christ and for community ministry benefit.” Sounds similar to Dr. McDill’s edification model.

I really don’t think many in the modern institutional church realize just how much American business models and theory have seeped into and permeate the way we go about the work of God. Our dependence is all too often on the right model, marketing effort or program (a business model) instead on God and his people.