Leadership Defined By Releasing Diversity
Often a local congregation’s “bent” or “uniqueness” that distinguishes it from the other local congregations, lies in the gifting of its leadership. If its leadership is evangelistic, the local church is evangelistic. If the leader ship is pastoral, nurturing, shepherding in emphasis, the local church is known as a caring church. If the leader is a theologian, the church is known for a pastor that “preaches the Word of God.” If it nurtures the spiritual development of its congregants to hear the Holy Spirit for themselves, then it is known to be prophetic. If it is has “strong, dominant” leadership, it may be known as apostolic. But can we find a church that emphasizes and develops all of these? Currently, I can’t, but I believe it is God’s will to have all these passions, voices, and points of view in a diverse local congregation, and that it would be healthy in the birth, development, training, and releasing of Christians as they mature through different levels of their Christian spiritual growth.
We know that the key to spiritual Christian growth lies in its leadership, but in the current church models, we lay everything at the feet of our professional pastor to be all things to all people, who are so diverse in their talents, so diverse in their learning styles, and being “children,” spiritually are often spoiled rotten! Often, the result is burn out! So, we usually define leadership with going with your strength, thus each individual church gains its identity as a evangelical church, a nurturing church, a strong teaching church, or a prophetic church through the strength of its pastor. I propose that true five fold apostolic leadership is not about going with the strength of the leader, but he releasing the strengths of those around him, particularly those of different gifting, voices, passions, and points of view. It is the administration, encouragement, equipping, and releasing of these people to reach their destiny, their passions for the common good of the entire church that is the key to true leadership of a five fold apostle.
So this defines a new paradigm shift in the way the church should look at leadership. Leadership in the five fold model is defined “by laying down your life for your brethren.” It is not about you at all; it is about the other brethren. It is selfless love, unconditional love. The only way to bring unity in the body amongst all its diversity is to learn how to “lay down your life for your brethren,” particularly those who are different from yourself. Often we think that leadership is making replicas of ourselves, but that is not the case with the five fold. We do not reproduce ourselves, we release others to be themselves.
To achieve this leadership will have to learn the depths of “grace” and “mercy.” Often leadership finds itself in judgmental positions, but James 2:13 proclaims “mercy triumphs over judgment,” so leadership will have to learn how to extend mercy to whom they are leading and that will be by laying down their lives for them rather than being “over” them. When you are “laying down” you are never above anyone! Only then will one understand what “the mercy seat” is all about when in the presence of the Lord. You will also have to learn the true meaning of “grace”, unmerited favor, for you will have to extend grace, that unmerited favor, to your fellow brethren whom you are laying down your life’s for.