Having discussed principles and patterns of leadership and taken a fresh look at Ephesians 4 ministries over recent weeks, where does it leave us in terms of the pattern that is emerging for us at Community Church Huddersfield where I lead the leadership team.
Well we have (or are beginning to see emerge) a combination of different types of leaders contributing to the leadership and government of the church - pastoral, strategic and operational leaders. The titles and labels we might use are not important; it is about getting the right people with the right gift into the right roles. (For some roles especially, there are other factors beside gift, e.g. respect and credibility among the people, experience, etc). We are learning the dance of leadership (see earlier posts) together and we are prepared for it to get a little messy and experimental. There is a senior leader (me at the moment) who seeks to give the lead in choreographing this dance, but largely works it out with people as we go along rather than just imposing a plan, and it's essential he understands that his role, with all the leaders, is to be releasing and empowering of others. There is leadership (and authority for the responsibility) but there is not hierarchy.
As for apostolic input: we are open to drawing from different apostolic, prophetic and other ministries across the body of Christ as the Holy Spirit connects us. But there is one apostolic ministry who we look to and have relationship with more strongly than others. He is not 'over' us as this is not a hierarchical relationship; but there is genuine relational accountability that avoids the danger of autonomy. The relationship is based on mutual respect and honour, combined with honesty and openness that can allow for frank and challenging discussion. We increasingly want to see his input and relationship being not just with the leaders but with the church, as much as is practically possible. He will bring his gift to bear in helping us realise the different gifts we need to equip us.
Above all, we are trying to focus on the fact that church is primarily a family, not an army or a company. All leadership and authority is seen in that context and so is about nurturing, empowering and the passing on of an inheritance. And genuine love and authentic relationship are to be at the heart of all leadership.