Friday, September 2, 2011

Extremes of "Leadership"

by Andrew Strom

I have been having a discussion with some friends on extreme types of  "Leadership" in the church. It would be great to hear others' opinions on this.

I wish we could find a better "balance", but today it often seems that the choice is limited to either the "One man band" style of leader who rules the church like a mini-"fiefdom" - or in the more "post-church" type settings the "facilitator"-type leader who is anxious not to be seen to really 'lead' at all ("group hug", anyone?)

Neither of these types are the answer, in my view. But I have seen a lot of both over the years. The first "chieftan" style is so controlling and likes the sound of his own voice so much that he hardly lets anyone else minister to the people. The second type is so apologetic about "leading" that he would rather not preach and wants everyone to have "equal time". He thinks that the early church was "all body" and 'no strong leaders' at all. In this he is quite mistaken.

I have spent quite a bit of time in the last 25 years around "House church" and 'Out-of-church' type Christians. A lot of them have rejected the "One man band" style of leadership completely. (I cannot fault this). But then they have gone right over to the other extreme. There is to be no real leadership or preaching, no authority, no "Joshuas" or Peters or Pauls exhorting the Body to "go forward and take the land". And there is certainly to be no "eldership" to come 'under'. (Perish the thought!)

Many of these people will "say" that they believe in leaders and the "5-fold" ministries, but in every way by their actions and attitudes they show that they basically want *none*.

The opening sentence of John's gospel tells us that "In the beginning was the WORD". That is how important the "spoken word" is to God. He uses it to "found" everything. And we need to take note that the very first description of the early church starts with this phrase- "And they gave themselves to the APOSTLES' TEACHING" (Acts 2:42). In other words, the very first thing that the early Christians did was to devote themselves to the "anointed word" coming out of the apostles' mouths. That 'word' was life-transforming and essential. But many today no longer want preachers.

It is seen as an "outmoded" form. Tomorrow's church, they say, will be "all body" and no leaders. (Because its too "old-school," they say). I beg to differ. I say that without such preachers or leaders there will be no revival, no reformation, no new move of God, and no "New Testament" church.

As we can clearly see from Scripture, true New Testament Christianity is simply LOADED with preaching and LOADED with leadership. And if we cannot see how important these things are, then we will never get back there. We need to start valuing the "anointed word" just like they did. But where
do we find it today? -That is the biggest problem.

This is not to say that it will be back to the "One man band". For true "apostolic" preaching raises up the whole Body to be who they are meant to be in Christ. That is what real anointed preaching does. It cleans people out and helps raise them up into their calling. Especially if the leaders have learnt to be truly "Body-enabling" in a very active, practical way. In this sense, I totally believe in the "Facilitating" model of leadership as well. Only then can all the gifts and functions of the Holy Spirit flourish and be raised up into their fulness. -"Every joint supplying". -Full "body" ministry.

Sadly it is so rare to find this combination - this "balance" of both types of leader. I am convinced that this is what is needed in any future move of God. Not one extreme or the other, but leaders who are both "word"-oriented and "Body-enabling". -Totally essential.

I would love to hear your comments on this topic of "leadership", my friends. Please post your thoughts at the website below-

God Bless you all!
Andrew Strom.

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