More on Leadership Formation

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  -Ephesians 4:11-13

As we have said from the beginning, goal #3 in Cusco is to establish a church with Peruvian leadership. It was always our intention since we arrived several years ago. However, after working with the church for a few years, we discovered something that should have been obvious initially: leaders do not come pre-packaged; they don’t arrive to you ready, mature, and knowing exactly what their role is in the work. Also, the ones who do come to you expressing interest in leadership sometimes have other motives, and those you would like to be leaders are usually busy leading in other areas.

As a result of these challenges, we developed a system we called Leadership Pathway. I believe we’ve written about it in the past as well. However, the system has evolved, and there have been new developments. First, here are some values we have regarding the Leadership Pathway:

  • #1: We develop leaders. Leaders arriving to the church prepared, mature, and informed is either extremely rare or it is a myth. Future church leaders arrive as lost, who become disciples of Jesus, who then become leaders. It’s really a messy process.
  • #2: We put leaders on the pathway. It’s difficult for us to perceive how leadership formation will end. We could fret about the process, or we could make it all classroom and theoretical. However, eventually leaders are formed through experience.
  • #3: We look for different kinds of leaders. Diversity is everything, and equipping them to work in teams is essential. We’re not looking for just “the man”. However, we are looking for biblical leaders in the areas of mission work, preaching and teaching, evangelism, and eldership. There are several other ministries to consider, but we learn from Scripture that these are the biblical roles of leadership.
  • #4: We develop leaders through discipleship. Leaders can’t be mass-produced. The missionary and apostle Paul formed leaders through discipleship and relationship. It was obvious he shared a spiritual bond with Timothy, Titus, and others. He discipled, sacrificed, modeled, and invested in the future leaders. It’s a daily task.

We are continuing to refine the Leadership Pathway system, but we’re working towards something that reflects the values listed above. I’ve written before on the Leadership Pathway and our work with Percy, Elvis and Yolanda. They are continuing to train and form as leaders.

However, we’ve now taken it a step further. In April we taught a course to the church that shared our vision and ministries for the Iglesia de Cristo congregation. In May we began a series of seminars with a group of potential leaders. They’re a talented and busy group, and so we meet with them once a month to cover topics on vision, effective teams, and leadership roles. At the close of the year, if they desire to continue, we’ll help them discern their roles in how they can serve as leaders in the church. Then, we’ll continue to disciple them individually as they continue to learn how to work with teams.

As a mission team, we’ve been saying recently, the Leadership Pathway is exclusive by its nature, but it’s not exhaustive. Our prayer is that the church will continue to raise up leaders throughout the years. We hope to see a church-planting movement in the Cusco region that is full of preachers, evangelists, missionaries, and elders, who are preparing Christians for good works.

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