Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leadership Development

The main advantage of apostolic Church growth is the opportunities provided for leadership to develop. This will not happen if the pastor is at the centre of things. If he is good at what he does, the church will get very large, but most people will want to stay close to him, even when they are mature. They will not want to leave and start something new, because they are committed and comfortable where they are.

If the pastor does most of the ministering, potential pastors will not be able fulfil their calling in their church (some may be content being a youth pastor). Even if the church is very large, only a few key people will be involved in ministry, so most of the church members must remain dependent on their pastor and receive ministry from him.

The modern pastor says it is tough at the centre (harder than being sent out). He is correct, but his task is usually hard because he is surrounded by bored, purposeless, proud, critical or lazy Christians. His church is often full of people who have remained as spiritual infants, because the structure of the church did not allow them to grow into eldership ministries.

When a person with leadership potential has no opportunity to exercise their gifts, they stop growing and start to stagnate or become a nuisance. If potential pastors are frustrated, they tend to become critical. They will see hurt people not being healed. They will gather these to themselves, as is natural for a pastor. If care is not taken this can lead to disunity and a split (the Absalom phenomenon). Sometimes the person with leadership potential becomes so frustrated that they rebel against the pastor. Many new churches have been started by men who became frustrated, when they were unable to fully exercise the calling on their life. While their new church is often successful, they tend to take their rebellion into the new church with them.

Many potential pastors remain loyal to their pastor and serve him faithfully. However a deep sense of disappointment remains in their heart because they have not been able to exercise a fulfilling ministry. From the perspective of the church this is a terrible waste of potential.

In the apostolic model described here, there is always a challenge because people are moving out, and others have to rise up to take their place. There is a constant demand for new leadership. Thus any believer with leadership potential can very quickly rise to be a pastor-teacher and many can become an apostle.

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