Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Exporting, Not Hoarding, Leaders

At last Saturday’s elders’ retreat we asked the question, “What does a ‘win’ in 2010 look like for New Life Church?” One the answers we surfaced was “exporting leadership.” What this means is that as church our goal, to borrow Scott Haugen’s phrase, can’t be to “just get fat.” Although it may sound backwards at first, taking a gospel-shaped view of leadership development means giving our leaders away in order to grow new and more developed ones. In reality, this is nothing more than the straightforward application of Matthew 16:25 to the area of leadership: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

First of all, I love being part of a church whose spiritual leaders are fueled by the belief that the only way to gain something is to give it away. This conviction is one of the major reasons we spent so much time giving ourselves away last year in Oregon City. It’s also one of the main reasons behind giving ourselves away this next year in Wilsonville.

Second, I was incredibly encouraged when I came across the following quote from a new book I’ve just begun reading entitled The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything:

We must be exporters of trained people instead of hoarders of trained people. . . . [O]ur view of gospel work must be global as well as local: the goal isn’t church growth (in the sense of our local church expanding in numbers, budget, church-plants and reputation) but gospel growth. If we train and send workers into new fields (both local and global), our local ministry might not grow numerically but the gospel will advance through these new ministries (25-26).

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