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Missional Leadership Apprenticeship
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People or Maintenance?
Written by Jared   
Monday, 24 September 2007
A couple of days ago I received a call from a minister/church planter in Florida. We had never met, but our hour and a half conversation was the result of his own need to connect to someone doing this sort of "organic" ministry that he is feeling drawn towards. He described his own heart for people, his love of God, and his search for church as community.

Trying to encourage him, I assured him that he is not alone in the way that he is feeling. He shared how so many church planters get involved in their work because they care about people, are passionate about the Great Commission, and want to be used by God. However, after planting their church, they get wrapped up in the day-to-day maintenance of keeping the wheels of an institution going. While some enjoy this administrative role, there are many that go on and on without ever finding the courage to tell anyone -- especially their congregants -- how they feel. During our conversation this man told me that six months ago he also thought he was alone, but now, as he has shared these sort of conversations, realizes that he may be part of a much, much larger group. This seems to ring true as many 20-somethings I've spoken with are now staying clear of traditional church planting while remaininig excited about Christian community, social jusice, and even evangelism (but by any other name!).

Even with our church structure as stripped down as it is, it is easy to get buried in event planning, developing curriculum, and the like. These aren't bad things in themselves and sometimes it is practical for me to do them. However, I've been learning these same lessons. If we are going to see discipleship rise up from the harvest, we must keep the main thing as the main thing. The first Apostles understood this. When the Hellenized widows were missing out in the distribution of food, the Apostles instructed that servants ( i.e. deacons) be appointed to coordinate it. (Notice that the Apostles didn't even do the appointing, they told the people to do it.) They had to stay focused "on the word and prayer." They needed to continue and empower the body. Today, we face similar decisions. Missiologists, church planters, and similar leaders are needed to empower discipleship and service in others but sometimes fall into consumeristic expectations to please the body rather than to empower it.

Pray for these leaders, and pray for me. I am working to stay clear of the patterrn described on the phone by this church planter. May the Lord raise up servants, leaders, planters, counselors, intercessors, and many others who will be self-initiating, reproducing followers of the King. May the Holy Spirit produce fruit rising up from the harvest in the city.
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