To the Ends of the Earth and Beyond in the Spirit (an essay from Open and Relational Leadership)
I have an essay in the book Open and Relational Leadership: Leading with Love, edited by Roland Hearn, Sheri Kling, and Tom Oord. (Sacrasage, 2020). You may read the essay online at the web page of the Center for Open and Relational Theology. Take a read, and perhaps purchase a copy of this book that contains fifty-seven essays on leadership from an Open and Relational perspective. Mine involves spiritual gifts. I've copied the opening paragraphs and then provided a link to the rest of the essay. Take a read.
A Spirit-empowered church requires spiritually gifted leaders who take us to the ends of the earth and beyond.
When Jesus’s disciples gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem, they were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and empower them for a ministry of witness that would take them from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1-2). As 21st century Christians, this remains our calling. We engage in this mission rooted in a community in which, according to Paul, “there are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone” (1 Cor. 12:4-5 CEB). Paul speaks of these gifts, ministries, and activities in organic terms. There are many members, but one body of Christ. Each member of this body has their own purpose and calling.
I have written in some depth about spiritual gifts and the role they play in the life and mission of the church, including gifts of leadership. I have suggested, “Leaders are called to equip, guide, and build up the community of faith so that the community or congregation may live out its own calling to love God and the world.”1 While Scripture doesn’t prescribe a particular form of leadership, most of the models we find there are dynamic and relational. These models stand in contrast with the patterns of leadership presented to the church by the business/corporate world, which tend to be institutional and hierarchical. Yes, there is the priesthood and the monarchy, and Paul pulls rank on occasion, but even Paul’s leadership is more relational than institutional. (Continue reading by clicking here).