Who Should Lead The Charge?
In my last blog we ended with the dilemma of the Follow Up Committee during a Lay Witness Missions Weekend: [Actually this committee, unknowingly, was being assigned the task of “equipping the saints for the work of the service” (Eph. 4), but none knew how to do that or felt they possessed the power in the local church structure to initiate and develop it. This is where most of our churches are today! Who should lead this charge of developing? How should it be done? Are there programs out there to do it? Is a “discipleship” programs enough?] Let’s individually look at these questions.
Who Should Lead The Charge: Simple question; simple answer: “leaders”, of course. Should those leaders be the clergy or their staff? Can leadership come from within the congregation itself? I have been told that “you are not a leader unless someone is following your lead;” again a simple truth. Often in our churches the pastor and/or his staff leads programs, for the church, at least here in America, has become program oriented. Unfortunately they can become discouraged when discovering that no one is responding to or following their program. Usually the program is then blamed, then dropped, but it may not have been the program that failed; it may have been the lack of leadership that headed or oversaw the project. When the program ended, if you discover that no one is with you either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, you failed as a leader.
The question still remains: Who Should Lead The Charge: How about people who have a passion, a vision, a point of view and understanding for what is to be taught? How about a team approach composed of each of the five fold giftings? An evangelist majors in birthing; let him birth it. He will creatively birth it with passion that will catch fire with others. Someone with a pastoral/shepherding heart will sustain it, maintain it, by applying it to one’s daily life. A teacher can teach the Biblical principles upon which is its foundation, anchoring it in the “Truth”, in the Word of God. A person with a prophetic mindset will strive to bring the Rhema Truth, the Living Word of God, and direction by focusing and centering it on Jesus. This is what brings life into the project. Finally, someone needs to over see these efforts, the apostolic mindset, for they see the big picture of what needs to be done, but can not do it by themselves. This person IS NOT the committee’s chairperson, as we think of them today, because they do not rule, head, nor control the committee, but just sees over what the Holy Spirit is doing in the committee and reports to them what he sees and hears.
If there is birth, maintenance, development, solid teaching, spiritual renewal, direction, and life, and proper oversight, whatever the Holy Spirit has implanted on the group will come into fruition, producing a following because of this “team’s leadership style”. This is not a trial by committee, but life through releasing and developing passions, views, giftings, and points of view of people who are probably in your congregation right now!
One of the hardest, but most powerful, lessons learned being in the “leadership” position as coordinator for a Lay Witness Mission was the realization that when you eliminated me, the coordinator, and the local pastor’s presence, the Holy Spirit moved in a mighty and creative way among his people. Once at a two charge parish the Pastor and I had to leave the first service to attend the second parish. The first had not finished their service yet, so it was given over to the Lay Witness Team who ministered in freedom, witnessing an altar call, the likes which this church had never seen before, and lives were transformed, birthed, encouraged, etc. while the Pastor and I went to the second service at another location. God’s People have been given gifts and talents from their Creator. Let’s not stifle them; but encourage them, release them, allow them to lead.
Leadership is not a position; it is a results of what one does and who is now following by “doing” it. If Pastor, Staff, or other form of leadership is leading something, and no one is following or doing what they are leading, they have failed. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead and only be vessels following His leading.