The Emerging Type Of Church Leader
The role of pastors has not remained the same from the New Testament till today. Instead, pastors have taken on different emphases at various times in history. [See Marshall Shelley's survey of these.]
Recently, the pastoral emphasis has been on leading. A choir of voices, including mine, have recommended that local-church leaders actually learn how to lead. This emphasis seemed apt, given that today, churches need significant change and innovation. Change and innovation are the forte of leaders, not teachers and nurturers.
This model -- leader, CEO, change agent -- differed greatly from the model before it of spiritual guide. The spiritual-guide pastor met with God, studied the Word, and delivered it in understandable format for Christians with an appetite. We assumed this person was a leader, not because of gifting, but because of role. Unfortunately, when the times require leading, the spiritual guide may lack the gifting to get the job done.
Now, a new pastoral model is emerging, one different from the previous two. What seems to be emerging is a person who is both spiritual guide and leader. One without the other is inadequate to respond to the needs within most churches and communities at the turn of the millennium. We need men and women who are both adept at living in the spiritual realm as well as gifted and savvy in the organizational arena.
At the corners of Via Linda and Lakeview, where our worship center is located, is a fifty-by-fifty section of asphalt where you can stand in both streets at the same time. This square is called an intersection. The pastor of the 21st century stands in the intersection of spirituality and leadership, the place where people gifted at leading do so under the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit. A spiritual leader leads incarnationally, out of who he or she is in Christ. But the new leader is not merely spiritual; he or she is also competent at developing teams, casting vision, catalyzing change, and making the tough calls that non-leaders have an aversion for.
It's easy to find spiritual people who are not leaders and leaders who are not very spiritual. The challenge for today is to find out how we can merge these two realms, how we can bring the best from each to serve God's people.
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