Pastor/Professor David Fitch is back to describe the leadership structure of his church, Life on the Vine, in Long Grove, Illinois. Like an increasing number of churches seeking to be "missional," Life on the Vine has rejected the notion of a senior pastor. In this post, Fitch explains why the "CEO-pastor-leader" model is losing its appeal.
At Life on the Vine, we recently added a fourth pastor. Some people told me a model with multiple visible leaders would never work - there would be no single face to attach to the vision of the church and the church would never grow. Balderdash (is that a word?). The church continues to grow. There are signs of healing, new mission, and new souls finding God.
Much has been written about missional church leadership. Frost & Hirsch (and Dwight Smith) have advocated the APEPT (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) model of leadership from Eph 4:11. Roxburgh has another brilliant description of these principles. I have argued that we must dump the CEO- pastor-leader that the church has too often modeled from secular business. I have argued that "the CEO-pastor-leader" is a construction that only makes sense in the Cartesian worlds where man is in control, where leadership is technique driven, and where people are units in a sociological structure devoid of the organic nature that we see characterizes the gifted nature of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12: 4-31). Because of this I have argued that missional leadership must be multiple, organic, recognized and affirmed within and among a body (not determined from above in a smoke filled room by a CEO and board of the mega corporation it oversees).
Again, many have said this could not be done. But from the beginning our church has always had ...