The last shift is a leadership shift that includes moving from church-based leadership to more of an AD 30 Leadership. The style is apostolic, though the term freaks some people out. The idea is that leadership needs to shift from building the church to mobilizing people as missionaries. This may mean being a missionary yourself (like Paul) or helping the church be outwardly-focused (like Peter). Here are some transitions in the leader’s self-perception that needs to happen…
From Church Job to Kingdom Assignment
Somehow the passionate expansionist ideals of the early church were crushed by the burden of church hierarchy and institutionalism. Leaders in the missional movement are reengaging the world, not necessarily through the church, but by recognizing the importance of influencing those outside the church. This can be pastors who have an element of their jobs where they serve outside the church or believers who use their influence to minister to their employees and co-workers in practical ways. It doesn’t fill the pews, but it connects people to Jesus.
From Institutional Representative to Viral Agent
Oftentimes current church leaders are promoting this or that event that you need to be at, focusing on what is happening inside the church. Kingdom leaders are doing everything they can to get themselves and leaders into the community making a difference in the lives of those outside the church – most effectively if it is within people’s daily routines. Sometimes the institution and the community can come together perfectly. Example: one church took their VBS to a day care center. Most kids participated where they wouldn’t have before and the tie between day care and church was strengthened, including connecting day care workers with church prayer partners.
From Director to Producer
In the movie business, directors have their hands on the details of the film-making. Producers have a big picture and make it happen. In churches, clergy think they need to be in the middle of everything sometimes. It’s better if they don’t. Rather, they release people to do ministry all over the place, in different venues – their own venues. Instead of getting people to star in church movies, they’re empowered to make their own.
From Reliving the Past (the Historian) to Rearranging the Future (the Journalist)
The memorable quote (after visiting an empty Swiss church on a church holiday): “A faith built on dead people doesn’t thrive.” We need to honor the past and teach the Scriptures, but all our heroes can’t be dead. We need missional leaders who experience God on the frontiers and then take people along to experience him there as well.
We’ll cover the rest of this chapter next week as well as some Frequently Asked Questions on how this works for the leaders who are going to need to undergo change.