As we at Trinity Central look to put a leadership structure in place in order to care for a growing church body, we want to ensure that we follow God’s model for leading His people, and not the world’s.
The nature of the leadership of any body of people determines how that body develops and functions – so it is vitally important. It is no surprise then that God has given very clear principles of leadership when it comes to His church.
While we know that through Jesus we as all priests, enlisted into Jesus’ mission – the church still needs leadership. Jesus is our primary leader – the great shepherd – and he gives leadership to others in the church to be under-shepherds leading His church, while still being themselves sheep under Jesus.
We live in a world of celebrity, a culture where the individual is exalted, and personality has become an object of worship. This model of leadership has often been seen to have influenced the global Church, to its detriment. For generations church structure has tended towards having one man set apart as head or leader, with sole responsibility for leading and directing all under his care. He might bear the name of Pastor or Vicar or Father, and he is seen as a figure of final authority and often can be elevated as a ‘celebrity’.
However, look through the pages of the New Testament as the early Church was emerging, and we find a very different model. The Bible gives a very clear picture of church leadership, not as a one-man ministry model, but instead as Team Leadership. Consider Jesus drawing 12 men around him to teach and disciple. Look at the early church appointing a team of men to look after the treatment of widows. Look at the churches which Paul established as he travelled, all led by teams. In fact, we do not find a single example of church leadership that is not team based!
It is clear that team leadership is God’s chosen model for His Church. This is why over the coming months Trinity Central will be working towards appointing a team of elders who will lead us. The church is a people on mission, not a preaching centre. Therefore the nature of what is needed to lead it well is not found solely in someone who is a great teacher or preacher – there is so much more needed. A team structure allows this multi-faceted leadership, as well as having several further advantages –
- relationship and friendship provides strength and support in jointly carrying the weighty responsibility of leading the church
- it helps avoid the danger of isolation, by providing both encouragement and accountability for one another
- through the multiplication of gifts, it provides a rounded leadership rather than one that’s one-dimensional.
Team leadership spreads the load. It recognizes and releases multiple gifts. It provides a context for healthy leadership.