Thursday, October 13, 2005

Article - Journeys to Significance

From Leadership That Lasts: Journeys to Significance - An Examination of Paul's Improving Missionary Advancement, By Neil Cole
Leadership is influence. Not all leaders are good ones. There are some leaders that God doesn't want to multiply. The best leaders are not those who win the most followers, but those who create other leaders.

Most studies of Paul's missionary methods do not take into account the fact that Paul is himself a learner who improves in his influence as he follows the Lord of the harvest.

Paul's First Journey
This trip covered 1500 Miles in one year without frequent flier miles! Paul and Barnabas functioned as a team of traveling evangelists leaving new disciples behind in every city. This method saw great fruitfulness, but left behind weak churches that had an overwhelming leadership vacuum.

Paul's Second Journey
Paul, like most of us, when he saw a great need for leaders his first response was to recruit more leaders. This is a shortsighted and short-lived solution. The problem is that we are all recruiting from the same pond. Eventually the pond dries up and we are only left with the muck at the bottom. But as he left leaders behind to care for new churches he soon found out the disadvantages of recruiting leaders as opposed to raising them up.

Paul's Third Journey
Employing the lessons learned on the third journey, Paul began a true multiplication movement by releasing workers for the harvest from the harvest and started all the churches if Asia Minor without going to all the locations himself.
Paul integrated evangelism into the spiritual formation of his disciples as a foundation for training leaders for ministry.

Paul's Fourth Journey
One sure way of spreading the church is to take out her leaders! Being locked up provoked others to take up his mission.

A truly fascinating article, you should really take the time to read it yourself. I'm convinced of some of these ideas more than ever - the need to raise up your leaders rather than try to recruit people to fill the need; the importance of releasing leaders to do ministry that God has birthed in them; the non-programmatic approach to mentoring and doing life together for spiritual formation. (In fact a good friend and former ministry partner and I have gotten quite an email discussion about this idea in the last week.) An excellent article that puts the right kind of focus on leadership - true leaders grow other leaders that are on mission.

HT: Fuel Movements

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