In our Who or What is the EFCC? brochure (click here to read it), we list eight core values, things that are important to us as Free Church people. In previous posts I highlighted the gospel, the local church and the Word. This blog post I would like to focus on another core value: Leaders. “Leaders”, may be the wrong word. We might be better off to emphasize “servants” or “disciples” or some such word. What we are trying to communicate is that we need to grow followers of Jesus Christ who are humble, passionate and apprenticed, who exhibit the character of God and do the work of God by the direction and power of the Spirit of God.
We were reminded of some of these truths at EFCC Conference 2012! Our keynote speaker, Dr. Larry Osborne, reminded us that leaders who have Jesus’ heart don’t lose their concern for “the little guy”, and they work in teams. So when we talk of growing leaders in the EFCC, we want humble leaders. Jesus’ words to the disciples in Mark 9:33-37 remain a challenge to us to this day:
“What were you discussing along the road?…Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else…Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.”
Our God recognizes that leaders are central to maintaining any sort of ministry legacy. This is why Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:11 that;
“He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build-up the church, the Body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.”
Further, Paul modelled the desire to leave a legacy of passionate, apprenticed leaders through a string of young leaders and urged one of his key apprentices to do likewise. In II Timothy 2:1-2, Paul writes
“Timothy, my dear son, be strong with the special favor God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.”
We want to apprentice and multiply leaders in the EFCC but we must be careful to take disciples of Christ and develop them into uniquely “Christian” leaders. It is far too easy to adopt a North American CEO model for leadership: to obsess over “hierarchy”, “authority” and other priorities that seem to turn Christian leadership into organizational charts about who gets to boss who around. I am pretty sure that political power was not what Jesus and early church leaders were concerned about. Yes, there are verses about “overseers” etc., but we need to ask ourselves what kind of “authority” it is that Christian leaders possess.
The apostle Peter seems to have embraced his Lord’s attitude regarding Christian shepherding (from John 10 and 21 perhaps?) when he says:
“Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.” (I Peter 5:2-3)
We are seeking to multiply humble, passionate, apprenticed leaders in our movement. This is why we had Larry Osborne speak to the theme of “Viral Leaders” at Conference in Okotoks. This is why Dave Acree is working as our EFCC Leadership Development Catalyst. May we become a people who are on the look-out for disciples who we can apprentice to become premier servants of Jesus Christ such as Timothy, Titus, Priscilla, Aquila, Apollo’s and others, and may we be willing to give them away to the Lord’s work in Canada and around the world!
Serving with you,
EFCC Executive Director