Occasional Paper

Future Leadership

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Prefatory Note

This Occasional Paper was produced by the Issue Group on this topic at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand, 29 September to 5 October, 2004

1. The Vision: A Global Movement for Developing Christ-Like Leaders

Imagine a worldwide church

where every leader is mentoring younger leaders,
where leadership is both Christ-like and contextual,
where leaders partner together across boundaries,
where millions of future leaders are emerging—
bringing the whole gospel to the whole world.

Where would it lead?
What would happen?
This vision would be a galactic explosion— rather than our simple fireworks.

What will it take?
We see leadership development as a priority that is embraced across the Body of Christ.
We see a commitment to partnership between organisations, seminaries, churches and parents— on the local, national and international level.
We see ever deepening Christ-like character as the goal of leader development. We see contextualised leadership which is sensitive to the culture and faithful to Scripture.
We see diverse expressions of leadership— young and old, female and male, for church and marketplace— working together shoulder to shoulder for God’s Kingdom.

This is the vision that energized us in the Future Leadership Issue Group in Pattaya, Thailand, as 130 of us gathered from 43 nations and six continents around the purpose statement: “To cooperate with God toward fulfilling the Great Commission by catalyzing a global movement of developing Christ-like leaders.”

Three decades ago, Article 11 of the Lausanne Covenant expressed the longing that “every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of service.” Fifteen years later, Affirmation #12 of the Manila Manifesto declared: “God has committed to the whole church and every member of it the task of making Christ known throughout the world; we long to see all lay and ordained persons mobilized and trained for this task.” For this assignment to be completed, a greatly accelerated global movement of developing Christ-like leaders is needed. This is our burden, and this is our call to the worldwide Body of Christ.

2. Why do we need a global movement of leader development?

The Chinese character for “crisis” is comprised of two characters — one for “danger” and the other for “opportunity.” We face a crisis of leadership in the Church and its mission today.

2.1 The opportunity

On the one hand, we are living in a time of great opportunity. In many parts of the world, churches are multiplying more rapidly than ever before. Unprecedented growth is occurring in North India and many parts of China. Breakthroughs are occurring in many parts of the non-Christian world. Evangelicals are continuing to multiply in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Indigenous missions movements are flowering. Countries that were once receiving missionaries are now sending them to other nations as well. Movements that multiply house churches and cell groups are springing up in country after country. Jesus Christ is continuing to build His church, even amidst opposition and persecution. God is being glorified, as more and more people are becoming worshipers and followers of Jesus Christ.

These rapidly growing new churches, as well as the various missions and ministries of service emerging from them, need leaders. Existing training programs cannot keep pace with the need, nor, in many cases, are they able to equip leaders for the changing realities of the 21st century.

Many of today’s Christian leaders long to see not only the multiplication of churches in every nation and every people group, but also the transformation of communities and nations. We need leaders like Joseph, Daniel and Esther who can apply their God-given wisdom in the arena of public life and people like Lydia, Priscilla and Aquila who will exercise their Christian influence in the marketplace.

Today’s leaders must cope with rapid and often dramatic changes, including post-modern influences of the west, globalization, new technology, increased speed of life, urbanization, and weakening of community ties and traditions. Fundamentalist and militant Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism are on the rise. New conditions provide an opportunity for the church to rethink and re-strategize her commitment to the Great Commission.

Passionate younger leaders are emerging, eager to take their places in the movement. They need to gain experience and wisdom, as senior leaders are retiring, and trained leaders are aging. It is time to pass the baton, and to make plans for orderly succession, just as Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure.

However, barriers stand in the way. The danger is that these obstacles may not be removed rapidly enough to clear the path for newly equipped leaders to take full advantage of the opportunities. This is the crisis we see.

2.2 The barriers

2.21 Lack of models

One barrier is a lack of models. There are not sufficient numbers of mature leaders to mentor the rapidly growing churches. There is a lack of open, honest, humble, vulnerable leaders to show the way. Younger people cannot easily mentor older people. Some have left the church because of the ineffectiveness they see in the present leaders. In some cases, expatriate trainers do not have sufficient experience in the task itself in order to train someone else.

Churches have grown but often society has not been impacted. Christian leaders have not demonstrated how to be salt and light. Success is measured in terms of attendance and offerings, rather than the active expression of Kingdom of God values. Often the predominant models of leadership for emerging leaders are drawn from the corporate world or from authoritarian cultural patterns.

Too often leaders underestimate the power of sin and the strength of sinful tendencies in their own lives. Many ministries have been destroyed by pride, lust, or greed.

2.22 Lack of time

A second barrier is lack of time. Urgent daily necessities take us away from intentionally building into the lives of others. Too many leaders have no time to develop or mentor others, so, at best, developing and mentoring become additional special programs or activities to be delegated, rather than a pattern of life for every leader in every ministry. Regional and national leaders have to travel so much that leadership development is crowded out; thus the most visible leaders may have the least to contribute from their own example and practice.

2.23 Lack of patience

Another barrier is lack of patience. Behavioural change takes time. We can study the content, or incorporate the content into seminary curriculum, but see no change in behaviour. Developing people requires long term planning, and sometimes we see only the short-term costs. Increasing numbers of young people today are made fatherless through divorce, or war, or ravages of disease; many of them take longer to develop because they are so damaged by their backgrounds.

2.24 Lack of development opportunities

Yet another barrier to leadership development is the lack of ministry contexts in which people can develop ministry skills. In some cases, top leaders may receive training themselves, but do not pass it down to lower levels, or do not structure the church or organization in ways that emerging leaders can learn leadership skills on the job.

The organization itself may provide little encouragement and few if any resources for the development of leaders. In other cases, the willingness may be there, but appropriate curriculum or training opportunities may not be available.

2.25 Lack of intentionality

A fifth reason for arrested leadership development is a lack of intentionality. Not all leaders embrace the aim to see the whole church take the whole gospel to the whole world. If we do not regard as important the task of seeing unreached people come to Christ, then neither will we have a desire to mobilize large numbers of leaders skilled in evangelism or church-planting, especially for areas of the world and segments of society where healthy churches are not well established. Many leadership development training programs do not raise up leaders who have the will and the commitment to promote evangelization.

Sometimes faculty are developed, but not the staff as a whole. Marketplace leaders are largely ignored; emphasis on leadership development is restricted primarily to ecclesiastical leaders. Women are often overlooked as candidates for training; so are children and youth, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, etc.

Sometimes leaders harbour the incomplete idea that leaders are born not made, so they ask, “Why should we try to develop them?”

Established leaders may have no desire to leave, or to give way. Some have seen no models of orderly succession. Others don’t like to develop a second line, because they fear that they will lose their jobs. They enjoy their positions of power and privilege, and have no desire to sacrifice or to serve so that others may be raised up.

Some nurture the idea of “once a leader, always a leader” — you only leave the position when you die. You don’t prepare anyone to take over leadership because you don’t want to give it up once you have achieved it. Replacement of leaders happens only when there is a crisis, when it is absolutely necessary, when a vacuum is created.

Some leaders are reluctant to invest much time and energy in the development of younger leaders, because they have seen emerging leaders equipped in this way who move away to other organizations, with no sense of commitment to their present ministry assignment.

2.26 Lack of willing and able learners

The deficiency is not always in the potential mentors. Another barrier is the lack of willing and able learners. People can be reluctant to take responsibility. Young people may not desire leadership.

On the other hand, some look for security and status of leadership in Christian organizations rather than face the day-to-day struggle of the churches. Motivations for leadership can be worldly. Immature leaders may lack the spiritual qualities needed before they should be encouraged to pursue further skills for leadership. Emotional and relationship dysfunctions may also limit a person’s readiness for accelerated training or further leadership responsibility.

Sometimes church leaders view ordination as having “arrived” and therefore no longer see themselves in need of continuing leadership development.

2.27 Lack of cooperation

Yet another barrier to accelerated leadership development is lack of cooperation between leaders. They refuse to work together, even though no institution or organization has all the tools and all the resources to equip fully all the leaders needed to multiply the churches or to provide Christian leaders for all the segments of society. Many training programs could assist leaders of other ministries, or could work together in ways that complement one another. Individualistic attitudes foster needless duplication and competition. All too rarely do we find partnering and networking for the leadership development process between families, churches, seminaries, parachurch organizations, etc.

Yet it was this very desire to listen to one another, to learn from one another, and to work together that drew us to Pattaya. We recognize that the basic meaning of “disciple,” is learner, and that the school of discipleship is one from which none of us ever graduates.

3. Who is a leader?

3.1 Definitions of leaders

In spite of all that has been written about leadership, there is no universally accepted definition of a leader. There seem to be as many definitions of leader as there are writers. Boston Mwebela of Zambia proposed to our Issue Group one of the best definitions of a Christian leader, taken from The Making of a Leader by Bobby Clinton: “A leader is a person with God-given capacity and God-given responsibility who influences a group of followers toward God’s purposes for the group” (p.127). But through all the definitions, two themes emerge. The first is that leadership is a process of influence. The second is that leadership involves moving people toward a goal.

3.2 The varying contexts for leadership

Our concept of leadership development is shaped by our definition of a leader. Contrary to popular perception, a leader is not just the one at the top of the organization chart. Anyone who has the ability to influence how others think, feel and act can exercise a form of leadership. Anyone who is calling others to follow them as they follow Jesus is a leader.

A recurring appeal from those within the Future Leadership Issue Group who work with children and youth was to recognize the leadership potential of these younger members of the Body of Christ — not just as future leaders of the Church, but as those with present potential to influence their classmates, their peers, and even those older than themselves to follow Christ. In many parts of the Body of Christ, women too have been overlooked in terms of their potential to exercise influence in moving groups of people toward God’s purposes, whether in the context of their families, or the church, or their community, or in Christian organizations.

Because of these limited concepts of leadership, much of the leadership training that is provided is available only for adult men. Christian education provided to children and youth generally does not encourage them to think of themselves as those who can exercise spiritual influence and lead others. There are relatively fewer opportunities available to women than to men, especially in some regions of the world, to develop fully their God-given capacities or to exercise their God-given responsibilities to participate in the Great Commission.

Often Christian leadership is considered only in relationship to the local church, whether the focus is on house churches, cell churches, or more traditional expressions of congregational life and pastoral duties. Leadership training and development has focused on developing skills for Bible teaching, counselling, small group leadership, and other “pastoral” functions. These areas are essential. However, less attention has been given to the Christian leader whose role involves administering the complexities of a larger Christian organization, whether as pastor of a multi-staff church, or director of a mission, or executive within a denomination, or principal of a Bible college, or president of a Christian development organization. Even less focus has been given to those whose role as Christian leader resembles that of Lydia, the business owner, or Nehemiah, the general contractor for a large urban redevelopment project, or Luke, the medical missionary with research and writing gifts, or Daniel, the scholar/administrator in government service.

When the term “Christian leader” is understood only in terms of the church gathered for worship, rather than the church scattered in the marketplace, or primarily in terms of the local congregation rather than including the work of parachurch organizations, or only in terms of adult males rather than women and young people as well, then the task of leadership development will have a much narrower focus. When we remember that the task is that the whole church take the whole gospel to the whole world, and when we consider the great variety of gifts, capacities, responsibilities and opportunities given to the entire Body of Christ, then the possibilities for equipping and mobilizing people for ministries of influencing and leading multiply enormously. That is why we see the need to catalyze a “global movement” of developing Christ-like leaders.

3.3 Five types of leaders: Expanding spheres of influence

Since leadership is a process of influence, it is useful to employ a classification of leadership based not on formal job titles, or on levels of education, but on breadth of sphere of influence. The following classification for Christian leaders is adapted from a chapter by Dr. Edgar Elliston in Missiological Education for the 21st Century (Orbis, 1996). Even though the primary reference of this classification is to leaders in the church, it has broader application as well.

Type 1 Leaders (Small Group Leaders) are leaders of small groups. These would include house church and cell group leaders, heads of families, Sunday School teachers, and others who have direct, face-to-face influence in guiding and encouraging a limited number of people. They would normally be unpaid, volunteer lay workers.

Type 2 Leaders (Self-supporting Local Supervisors) are volunteer workers who supervise other volunteer workers in their own local area. Their influence is multiplied because they are encouraging and equipping others who are also leading, but their sphere of influence is still limited because of their other regular employment, and because of their focus on their own locality. In some cases these could be volunteer workers overseeing a ministry in a local church, or they could be an unpaid or very nominally paid pastor of a smaller congregation that consists of several home groups. This category could include self-supporting or “tent-making” pastors and missionaries, as well as volunteer supervisors of a number of house churches.

Type 3 Leaders (Full-time Local Leaders) are leaders who are devoting most if not all of their time to the work of Christian leadership. These would include local church pastors, church-planters and missionaries, whether they devote all their time to one congregation, or to a circuit of several congregations in the same general locality. Some may be bi-vocational workers, but in such cases their Christian service would still be equivalent to a full-time job. Like the Type 2 leaders, they are also overseeing volunteer leaders, but their influence is broader because they have more time to devote to their task. Yet their focus is still limited to a particular locality.

Type 4 Leaders (Regional Leaders) are leaders whose influence is felt within a region. They may be leaders of several mission teams, or the district supervisor of a number of full-time church workers, or the principal of a small Bible college that serves a particular state. Their ministry is generally indirect, in that they work with and through the local leaders who have the primary face-to-face contact with the people. The ministry of the regional leaders is generally in the vernacular, but they will also interface with national leaders, primarily within their own group or denomination. They may also have influence through their writing, but it is limited to their own region or local language.

Type 5 Leaders (National Leaders) are leaders who have influence throughout the entire country, or internationally. They may be leaders of denominations, or national missions or Christian organizations, or training institutions that draw their students from the entire country. They may exercise influence through policy-making, writing, mass media, or speaking at national conferences, in addition to their personal influence on coworkers who have broad responsibilities themselves. Leaders of Type 4 and Type 5 may or may not be involved in Christian ministry full-time, but their influence clearly extends well beyond their own locality.

All five types of leaders are crucially important for the growth and development of the church.

The strength, health and speed of expansion of the church will depend largely on what have become the core values of Type 1 and 2 leaders. They are the ones who have the most direct and personal influence on the greatest number of believers. Their passions and priorities will establish the tone for the groups they lead, and will establish the base line for the whole movement. Do they honour the word of God? Are they servant-hearted, holy, sacrificial, compassionate and prayerful? Do they believe in the necessity of evangelism? Are they free to exercise their gifts and to innovate? Do they encourage others to join them in ministry as brothers and sisters and as fellow-members of the Body?

Type 2 and 3 leaders are the key to rapid multiplication, since their influence is direct and personal, yet they are also investing themselves in other leaders. As they serve effectively, and reproduce other leaders, their impact will lead to multiplication rather than merely addition.

Type 4 and 5 leaders are critical to keeping the movement on course and well resourced. They are in the best position to think strategically and to see new opportunities. When we look at any nation as a whole, it is evident that by far the largest number of leaders needed are Type 1 leaders and the smallest number are Type 5 leaders.

When we look at approaches to leadership development, we need to consider the varying needs for each of the five types of leaders, but also the different spheres in which they exercise their influence, whether primarily in the church, or in a Christian organization, or in the marketplace.

3.4 Three roles of a leader

In the New Testament, three words are used interchangeably to describe leaders in the local church: elder, overseer, and shepherd or pastor (see Acts 20:20, 28 and I Peter 5:1-3). Each word emphasizes a different aspect of the leadership function. The word “elder” (presbyteros), which literally means “older,” points to those whose relative maturity qualifies them to serve as an example to others. The word “overseer” (episkopos) speaks of one who superintends a task, making sure that the activities of the group align with the vision and the goal. The word “shepherd” (poimen, also translated “pastor”) speaks of personal care for the health and development of each member of the flock. Each word points to one of the key roles of a leader: to show the way through personal example, to accomplish the task by keeping the group focused on and organized for the goal, and to nurture and develop the people through the process.

3.41 Showing the way

Leadership means showing the way, blazing the trail, establishing the pace and setting an example that others can follow. Being comes before doing. The leader must become what he/she desires others to be and to go first where he/she calls others to follow.

When fully trained, a disciple will be like his teacher as Jesus said in Luke 6:40. To be a disciple of Jesus is not simply to master a curriculum, but to be deeply and radically changed, from the inside out. On the night of the Last Supper, after washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus said to them, “I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15, NIV). In a similar way, Paul invited the Corinthian believers to “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1, NIV). Peter reminded his readers that, “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (I Peter 2:21, NIV). To become a Christian leader, then, is to become like Jesus. Leadership begins with personal transformation, with participation in the process that Paul described as “being transformed into his likeness with everincreasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:18, NIV).

3.42 Accomplishing the task

The second role of the leader is to guide the group to accomplish the task. Leadership assumes that there is a goal to be attained, a project to be completed and a destination to be reached. Jesus’ call to the fishermen by the seashore was an invitation to participation in a task: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17, NIV). His final challenge to the disciples was also to a task: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NIV).

Leadership experience can begin with the smallest of tasks. Jesus reminded His disciples that the one who is faithful in little will also be faithful in much (Matthew 25:21). His parables of stewardship provide examples of faithful execution of small assignments that qualify the disciple for larger assignments.

In the broadest terms, leadership begins with articulating the vision and developing the strategy; it includes planning, organizing and managing the activities. Leadership involves team building, communicating, supervising and mentoring. Leaders must be able to deal with conflict and to navigate amidst change. The larger the task to be accomplished and the more complex the organization, the more important are the issues of governance and the processes for decision-making and financial accountability.

As the scope of the leader’s influence broadens, new skills are needed to ensure successful completion of the task. This is the place where many Christian leaders falter. They may have acquired “ministry” or “pastoral” skills like preaching, teaching, evangelism and counselling, but may never have received training in vision casting, strategic planning, budget management, delegation or supervision. The increasing complexity of a growing ministry calls for specialized leadership skills that were never taught in the Bible school or the seminary. On the other hand, Christians who have received training in these advanced leadership skills through their work in a wellmanaged corporation or NGO may not know how to integrate their learning from the workplace with a biblical theology of leadership or with the realities of guiding volunteers in the church.

3.43 Developing the people

In their eagerness to accomplish the task, many leaders neglect the third essential role of leadership: to develop the people. Jesus’ invitation to the twelve was “that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:14,15, NIV). On the night of the Last Supper He reminded them that, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit— fruit that will last” (John 15:16, NIV). Jesus invited the disciples into a three-year process of spiritual formation and ministry skills development. Although He never referred to them as “leaders,” He prepared them to give leadership to the fledgling church in Jerusalem. The early chapters of Acts show their ability to guide the new movement with wisdom and skill that amazed their opponents.

When we love people, we will invest in them. We will see their potential, and take delight in helping them to discover and exercise their gifts. We will notice their skills and interests, their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than using people as interchangeable parts to build our ministry machine, we will nurture them like a gardener tending a plant or like a shepherd caring tenderly for a young lamb.

The leader with the shepherd’s heart will bring this developmental concern to every member of the flock, not just to those who already have the title of leader in the organization chart. The leader who wants to develop people will certainly be eager to prepare people for ministry succession. Far more than that, he/she will want to prepare everyone in the group to become all that God has created them to be.

4. What sort of leaders do we need?

4.1 Describing the fully-developed leader

What sort of leaders do we need? John Ng of Eagles Communication in Singapore proposed three key essentials for a God-centred leader: competence, integrity, and passion. All three are needed. If the leader has passion and competence, but no integrity, the result is a destructive achiever. If the leader has competence and integrity, but no passion, you find a sloppy under-achiever. If the leader has passion and integrity, but no competence, the result, says John Ng, is a “charismatic gung-ho” leader, eager and enthusiastic, but who can deliver no results. Even worse is the leader who is strong in only one area. The leader with passion only, he calls the “maniac.” The leader with competence only is the “technocrat,” and the leader with integrity only is the “moralist.”

The precise definition of competence varies depending on the specific responsibility of the leader. There are some skills common to effective leaders at all levels and in all types of responsibility, such as team building, conflict resolution, problem solving, and so forth. Other skills are linked to particular areas of ministry, e.g. church vs. community/marketplace, local church leadership vs. denominational leadership, house church leadership vs. mega-church leadership, cross-cultural leadership vs. leadership within the same culture, pastoral skills vs. organizational skills.

Other ways of describing a fully developed leader were suggested as well. Lon Allison of the Billy Graham Centre spoke of character, competencies and worldview (Christ-centeredness). Raju Abraham of Concern (India) spoke of developing the leader’s head, heart and hands (knowledge, character, skills); to these three another contributor suggested adding, “proper care for the loins and feet” (that is, sexual/inner purity and sensitivity to the context).

4.2 The call to Christ-likeness

All of us agreed that the starting point in describing the fully developed leader must be the call to Christ-likeness, or as some preferred to say, Christ-centeredness. We have been called to run the race fixing our eyes on Jesus as the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV). To be sure, there are some areas in which we cannot emulate Christ, such as in his role as intermediary between God and humanity, or in his pre-existence and perfect intimacy with the Father. Nevertheless, Jesus’ invitations to the disciples to “follow me” and to “learn from me” are summonses to us as well.

Our foundation for understanding leadership is the written word of God. As Christian leaders we must examine the Scriptures to see how Jesus led and what he taught about ministry. We need to pay attention to the word pictures Jesus used, and the stories he told, which shaped the values of the disciples as they began to understand their relationship to God, to one another and to the world into which Jesus was sending them. Within our Future Leadership Issue Group we experienced the rich insight that comes from prayerful study and discussion of the biblical text in the context of a group. We noted that too often as leaders we do not spend sufficient time looking freshly at the Bible to discover wisdom for how to lead as Jesus led, nor do we spend a significant proportion of our time together with other Christian leaders in reflection on God’s word and its application to our leadership task.

5. What is a Christ-like leader?

5.1 Christ-like in character

To be a Christ-like leader means first to be Christ-like in character. The “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22, 23) is what the Holy Spirit produces in the life of a believer. In summary, Christ-like qualities are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Abundant fruit production is possible only for the one who lives in intimate union with Jesus Christ, as a branch remains in the vine (John 15:1-8). Intimacy with God, therefore, must be the primary focus of the leader’s life.

Christ-like character is the product of a life that is genuinely submitted to Jesus Christ and His word, just as Jesus the Son of God submitted to the Father. Leadership begins with follower-ship. The first step in the leadership development process for Jesus’ disciples was to obey His call to “follow me.” Only the one who has learned to follow is qualified to lead. Only the one who has learned to listen to God through meditation on the word of God and learning to recognize the promptings of the Spirit of God is prepared to speak for God.

When leaders are genuinely listening to God, and keeping in step with the Spirit of God, they will naturally find themselves in tune with one another as well. Jesus prayed that His followers would be one as the Father and Son were one, and that their complete unity would show the world that God loved them and had sent Christ (John 17:20-23). The proof to the world that the disciples were genuinely followers of Jesus would be their love for one another, the same love that Jesus had showed to them (John 13:34, 35). The primary mark of the Christ-like leader, then, will be his/her love for other disciples of Jesus, including other Christian leaders.

Christ-like leadership means integrity, that is having every dimension of life centred in consistent obedience to God. There are no “closets”, no hidden areas that cannot bear public scrutiny. The leader with integrity is above reproach in financial dealings, in sexual behaviour, and in family life. No area of life is out of control. Physical discipline, emotional discipline, and spiritual discipline express a life centred consistently on intimate friendship with God.

Christ-like leadership includes not only engagement with the needs of others, but also withdrawal for times of solitude and prayer. Not even Jesus was available to all people at all times. Periodically he spent focused time with the inner circle of his companions. Regularly he pursued time alone with His heavenly Father.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Christ-like leadership is Jesus’ teaching on servanthood. In a context where the disciples were competing with one another for primacy, Jesus reminded them:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

(Matthew 20:25-28, NIV)

On the night of the Last Supper Jesus provided a vivid and unforgettable illustration of servanthood, when He rose from the table, stripped off His outer clothing, girded Himself with a towel, and began to perform the menial task that no one else wanted to do — washing the disciples’ feet. Before the next day ended, Jesus completed the ultimate act of servanthood, laying His life down for the sins of the world.

The leader who desires to follow Jesus will find that the path of Christ-likeness leads to service, sacrifice, suffering and death — but ultimately to joy, victory and life without end. Leadership is costly. It requires perseverance. It involves us with conflict and opposition. It brings us face to face with our own weakness and vulnerability. It reveals our need for spiritual accountability, and for others to speak honestly into our lives to counteract our natural tendencies to self-deception.

One of the greatest perils for Christian leaders is to fall into the “Big Boss Syndrome” of authoritarian leadership. They are always commanding others, but never receiving counsel themselves. They revel in position and power and special privileges, but do not use their influence to lift up and strengthen those they lead. They are determined to consolidate their own power at all costs, but have no concern to prepare others to lead. In contrast, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the apostolic authority that he had been given for building them up, not for tearing them down (II Corinthians 10:8; 13:10).

5.2 Christ-like in purpose

To be a Christ-like leader is also to be Christ-like in purpose. From Jesus’ first call to be fishers of men to his final statement, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV), Jesus’ mandate to the disciples was clear. They were to join with Him in His mission to call people to repent, and to come into right relationship with God by placing their faith in Jesus as Messiah and Lord. All four Gospels conclude with Jesus’ commissioning of his disciples. Matthew records Jesus’ Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19, NIV). Whilst Mark 16:15 says, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Luke’s account records Jesus’ instruction to His disciples that “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in [Jesus’] name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47, NIV). In John 20:21 the apostle recounts Jesus’ words to his disciples on the evening of the first Easter Sunday: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

The leaders that Jesus was developing became people with a passion to reach spiritually lost people. They became leaders with a world vision. They became people with hearts for evangelism, but also with compassionate concern for the whole person. They began to follow their master not only in His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, but also in His concern for the poor, His tenderness toward the sick and the disabled, His compassion for the hungry, His welcoming spirit toward children and women, and His determination to release those in spiritual bondage.

5.3 Christ-like in strategy

To be a Christ-like leader means not only to be Christ-like in character and purpose, but also Christ-like in strategy. To be a disciple of Jesus is to learn from Him how to accomplish the task and how to develop the people.

As a leader, Jesus demonstrated clear intentionality. He stated His purpose in coming: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10, NIV). Early in His ministry He chose twelve of His followers to be His constant companions, and to be equipped for ministries of teaching, healing, confronting the demonic powers, and announcing the Kingdom of God and the coming of Jesus. He constantly held before them the vision of the kingdom of God, the new world order with its values that would turn the world upside down. He sent them out two by two, with specific instructions, and a time of reporting afterward. Within the twelve, there was a circle of three who enjoyed moments with Jesus not given to the others, as on the Mount of Transfiguration, in the room of Jairus’ daughter and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Beyond the twelve, there was a group of 70, who were also sent out two by two, but did not enjoy the same access to Jesus as the twelve.

A consistent pattern seen in Jesus’ leadership development process was the community, the team, the group, as the context for spiritual formation. Seldom is it reported that Jesus gave instruction to someone one-on-one. Most often we find Him teaching, exhorting, encouraging, and clarifying in a group setting. In this way His followers became a team. They were learning not only from Him as their leader, but also through their interaction with one another. Their relationship was built not only through accomplishing a common task, but also through sharing deeply in one another’s lives. Jesus allowed the disciples to see His joy, His anger, and His sorrow. In John 15 He announced that He saw them not as servants but as those who had become friends, since He had shared freely with them all that the Father had taught Him (John 15:15). His own transparency, sincerity and openness became the model for authentic relationships.

Jesus modelled for the disciples what He commissioned them to do, whether preaching, healing, praying, answering critics or engaging in spiritual warfare. The disciples learned by watching Him. Jesus exposed the disciples to challenging situations, where they did not have the answers immediately, or where their faith was challenged in new ways. He taught them through real life situations. He gave them assignments, and provided them feedback. He did not extract them from the world, but trained them in the context of daily spiritual threats and challenges. He engaged them in a rhythm of teaching and application, of action and reflection. He confronted them, challenged them, and called them to account. He recounted stories and told parables that connected spiritual truths to daily life.

5.4 Christ-like leadership in cultural context

Jesus commissioned His followers to make disciples in all the nations (ethne), that is in each and every ethnic group. The book of Revelation pictures the great celebration in heaven that will include people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, NIV).

What does Christ-like leadership look like in these different cultural contexts? How will Christ-like character be expressed? How will people in a particular community recognize a life of love, joy, and peace? What will be the greatest challenges to patience, kindness and goodness? What will be the most important expressions of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? For example, the apostle Paul gave particular warnings to Titus concerning the reputation of the Cretans for laziness, gluttony, and lying. He confronted the Corinthians about their licentiousness and their divisiveness. Just as different individuals have their own besetting sins, various cultures seem to have distinctive areas where the “acts of the sinful nature” predominate, and where the “fruit of the Spirit” is harder to cultivate (Galatians 5:16-26).

Even when leaders share the same Christ-like purpose of seeking and saving the lost, and the same commitment to principles of Christ-like strategy (such as selecting a small group for leadership development, or combining on-the-job training with periods of teaching and reflection), there are many differences in specific methodology appropriate to different culture contexts, e.g. urban vs. rural settings, or ministry among oral learners vs. among the highly educated and literate. Christ-like leaders must welcome a variety of expressions and methods, evaluating carefully which are more appropriate for which settings.

Three problems are commonly observed in the attempt to contextualize approaches to leadership development. One is to discard appropriate indigenous models. A second is to retain inappropriate indigenous models. A third is to impose inappropriate foreign models. The problem of “cultural imperialism” may be most familiar from the history of Western missions (and businesses) dealing insensitively with peoples of the developing world. The same tendency to impose one’s cultural assumptions on others is being repeated regularly by the newly emerging missions as well, e.g. from one country of Asia to another, or from one region of India to another.

As leadership development is becoming a more common emphasis (at least in words, if not in deeds) among Western mission organizations, increasing numbers of training programs are being “franchised” in other countries. Often the curriculum materials are well packaged, and the events are well organized and well subsidized. It is not difficult to persuade good numbers of local leaders to come to a seminar where their food, lodging and transportation have been paid for by someone else and where their ministry may have an opportunity to make contact with someone from a country with more financial resources, even if the materials presented are not in the local language, or have not been adapted to the local situation.

The Vision: A Global Movement for Developing Christ-Like Leaders

So often we have heard the pleas from national leaders for Western training organizations not simply to enter their country and to set up a “franchise,” but to take time to ask the local leaders what they really need, and to discover what is already being done and what the local resources can sustain on an ongoing basis. Not every ministry is necessarily needed in every cultural context. The ministries that are needed must understand that they are each part of the same Body of Christ, to be arranged and directed by Christ the head, so that there will be no competition or needless duplication.

One of the greatest areas of recurring concern is how to recognize and how to raise up Christ-like servant leaders in different cultural contexts. Some cultures are more hierarchical than others, so that those from a particular caste or social station or ethnic minority may find it difficult if not impossible to be seen as potential leaders, or to be given opportunity to lead. Some cultures are more authoritarian in leadership style. Leaders command boldly, and followers are quick to obey. There is little discussion, or feedback, or attempt to reach consensus.

On the other hand, the increasingly anti-authoritarian cultures of the West may have little appreciation for leadership at all, and may define “servant leadership” in a way that tends to stifle anyone who attempts bold, visionary initiatives. Concerns about the Big Boss Syndrome, which are well founded in some cultures, may diminish appreciation in other contexts for the benevolent and well-resourced leader who uses the position of power and influence to benefit the whole community.

Christian leaders need to engage in honest discussion with one another about questions like these:

  • What are the “besetting sins” of our own culture? What are we doing to help emerging leaders to recognize these pitfalls, and to overcome them through the power of Christ living in them?
  • Where have our assumptions about good leadership come from? Which come from our own social structures, or our denominational traditions? To what extent do these reinforce biblical leadership principles and values, and to what extent do they work against Christ-like leadership?
  • What are the primary word pictures used by Jesus in teaching His disciples, e.g. servant, brother, steward, friend? What are our own most common metaphors in thinking about leadership? How similar are our values to those of Jesus? What would be the equivalent in our culture of washing feet?
  • How many of our leadership practices and leadership training methods have come from Western corporate culture? What are the assumptions and values that these approaches express? Which of them are most consistent with the character, purpose and strategy of Jesus? Are there any areas where there may be a collision with biblical values or a need to apply the principles more appropriately in our own setting?
  • To what extent have the training materials and methods we are using been adapted to our own cultural context? To what extent are we simply borrowing or translating, without adaptation, materials developed for another context? What can we do to supplement or to adapt these methods and materials as needed?
  • In what ways have we exported our leadership development methods and materials to others, without a sincere engagement with the recipients, to listen to their perspectives about the true needs? How easy have we made it for those who use our materials to adapt them or revise them for their own contexts? To what extent are we duplicating or competing with other similar efforts in that context?

These represent a few of the questions that we must engage seriously if we are to encourage the emergence and multiplication of Christ-like leaders appropriate to each cultural context.

6. How are leaders developed?

6.1 God’s part and our part

Prior to asking how leaders are developed, we need to answer the question: “Can leaders be developed?” Some propose that spiritual leaders are raised up by the call of God and are groomed and anointed by God himself for their responsibility. They see it as presumptuous for anyone to talk about “training” spiritual leaders, when this responsibility belongs to God alone. Are leaders “born” or “made?” Should we try to identify those whom God may use as leaders, and attempt to equip them before they have been clearly set apart by God’s sovereign call, or before they are elevated to greater responsibility?

Certainly Scripture contains many examples of God’s unexpected choice of leaders for his people. Again and again we see the response of surprise on the part of the one who is called, or scepticism on the part of those who observe the result, as in the cases of Moses, Gideon, David, Timothy, Paul and the Galilean fishermen.

This is one reason why the purpose statement for our Future Leadership Issue Group begins with the phrase, “to cooperate with God.” We recognize that God is the primary developer of leaders. We who train leaders are co-workers with God. As the apostle Paul admitted to the Corinthian believers:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow… For we are God’s fellow-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:6,7,9, NIV)

Many of our own stories within the Future Leadership Issue Group illustrate the principle seen throughout Scripture and church history, that some of the most important developmental lessons for us as Christian leaders came through the deepest experiences of suffering. We were like branches being pruned. We were like clay pots being shaped by the potter’s strong fingers on the wheel. We were like gold being refined through fire. No human mentor or leader would have chosen to take us through the deep valley where our Good Shepherd guided us. However, it was there that we were most profoundly shaped and conformed to the image of Christ. Like our Master, we learned obedience through the things that we suffered (Hebrews 5:8; 2:10).

Our own stories also illustrated the important role that Scripture played in our development as leaders. The Spirit of God speaking through the word of God directed us, shaped us, rebuked us, encouraged us, gave us vision, and taught us how to accomplish the task and to develop the people.

We have also seen the hand of God in bringing mentors into our lives, and in placing us in ministry situations where we were able to learn on the job. These were not always developmental experiences we sought for ourselves. Many of us were surprised by the potential that an older leader saw in us, or by their choice to include us in a special training opportunity, or to be drawn into closer association with them. Many times we were conscripted for assignments we would never have chosen for ourselves. Even though human choices were involved, we can clearly see the hand of God through the development process.

There is no need to choose between the statements that “Leaders are born” and “Leaders are made.” We recognize in Moses’ choice of Joshua, Elijah’s preparation of Elisha, Barnabas’ enlistment of Paul, Paul’s mentoring of Timothy and Titus as well as other members of his team and most of all, Jesus’ choice of the twelve, the precedent for intentional leadership development. We also acknowledge that in every part of the human development process, we are cooperating with God, and looking for direction of the Holy Spirit, who is using us as simply one part of the overall development process in the lives of those individuals.

6.2 Key elements of effective leadership development programs

6.21 Learning through relationships

What are the key elements of an effective leadership development program? The first and most important component is the learning that takes place in the context of personal developmental relationships. Leaders are not produced primarily through listening to lectures, or reading books, or writing assignments and taking tests, though each of these can play a part. By far the most important influence in the shaping of a leader is his/her interaction with other people. Jesus chose the twelve first to be “with him” (Mark 3:14). In John 10, Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and whose sheep know him (John 10:14). The prime identifying mark of His disciples would be their love for one another, which they had learned from Him (John 13:34, 35).

Many of us in the Future Leadership Issue Group could point to a relationship with one or more mentors as having been the most important factor we could identify in our own development as a leader. A more experienced leader had taken a special interest in encouraging us, helping us to explore our gifts and our potentials, opening doors of opportunity and enlarged responsibility for us. These mentors saw what God might do through us. They expanded our vision. They exposed our weaknesses, but showed us how to become stronger. They welcomed us into a close enough relationship where we could observe their lives, and ask them questions, and see how they handled challenging situations.

Mentoring relationships can take many forms. There can be varying degrees of involvement and intimacy, over varying lengths of time. Some of the most important developmental relationships are those in which believers are discipling and encouraging one another. Some of this peer mentoring can occur within a group led by a senior mentor, but much valuable growth can also occur in a fellowship group that has only a facilitator, or in an accountability or support group that has no stated leader at all. The New Testament is filled with “one another” commands that emphasize our mutual responsibility to encourage one another, instruct one another, admonish one another, bear one another’s burdens, comfort one another and spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Effective leadership development programs include learning in community, where life touches life, and where the goal includes the forging of significant, deep relationships, not just mastery of a curriculum. Yes, a leader needs to acquire knowledge and to learn skills. But the best learning involves discussion and personal interaction. Skills can be practiced in the context of a team. Periods of personal reading, study and preparation can be interwoven with times of mutual sharing, reflection and prayer. Even after the formal time of training is complete, the emerging leader will be better able to continue to grow if there is an ongoing social support system, where the lessons can be practiced and reinforced.

6.22 Learning through doing

Equal in importance to learning through relationships is learning through doing. Many of the participants in the Future Leadership Issue Group pointed to on-the-job experience as one of the most important factors in their own development as a leader. Discernment is learned through making decisions. Counselling skills are honed through personal conversations. Preachers learn to preach by preaching. Confidence and versatility in personal evangelism are acquired through many encounters with those who have not yet believed in Christ. Management skills are developed through handling numerous unpredictable situations on a daily basis.

Emerging leaders must be given a context in which they can take initiative, make decisions, influence people, take risks and learn from their mistakes. They need opportunities for gradual increase of responsibility, including clear guidelines about the areas of their authority and financial accountability. They must have opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom and to reflect on and discuss what they have learned in the field.

When clear assessment tools are available to evaluate where people are starting and the progress they have made, it is easier to encourage them in their growth and to discern what sort of practical assignments or further input of knowledge will best assist them.

6.3 Building a leadership development culture

Some environments encourage leadership development in ways that others do not. Organizations have cultures just as nations and ethnic groups do. Unspoken beliefs, values and assumptions, reinforced by many customs and spoken or unspoken rules, work together to reinforce the underlying values. Cultural attitudes toward minority groups, tribal rivalries, caste and racial prejudices can impede leadership development of certain groups. Organizations where family members hold all the key positions, or where people from only one region or language group are the decision-makers, can hinder the development of gifted emerging leaders who do not belong to the “in group.”

Sometimes the accepted practices of leadership selection do not yield candidates who are the most Christ-like in character, purpose or strategies, or who are deficient in competence, integrity or passion. Elections sometimes reward those who appeal to ethnic prejudices, or who engage in back room political manoeuvring. Those who win the struggle for power may not see themselves as stewards responsible to God, but as owners of the enterprise.

Some organizational cultures do not welcome any input from outside themselves. They use only their own materials, and listen only to their own leaders. They forfeit the growth that could come from wider exposure to the Body of Christ. In some cases, they also deprive others who could learn from them.

Seminaries and Bible colleges are often criticized for failure to take a sufficiently comprehensive view of leadership development. Sometimes candidates are not screened adequately at entrance for the kind of heart and motivations that would be expected of Christian leaders. The curriculum is too often designed with primary emphasis on development of the head, to the detriment of the heart and the hands. Academic competition may prevail over learning in community. There may be little opportunity to integrate classroom teaching with field experience. When the teachers themselves have not experienced this integration, the problem is even worse. Too often theological training is assumed to be equivalent to leadership development.

Traditional cultures which value the older members of the community, as well as established churches that cherish their historical traditions, may not encourage the younger leaders to ask questions, to seek fresh perspectives, to innovate, or to develop “new wineskins” for the new wine of the gospel. Unfortunately, as Jesus warned, the new wine of the gospel has the power to burst the old wineskins, leading to the destruction of the wineskin as well as the loss of the wine. The early Christians were accused of being those who had “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, KJV). Sometimes the structures of the Christian establishment do not welcome change any more than the unbelieving culture around them.

We must trust the same Spirit of God who descended at Pentecost and whose “Acts” were recorded by Luke the physician, and who has kept on sending reformation, revival and spiritual awakening again and again, to continue the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel:

Your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your young men will see visions, Your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17, NIV)

We need to foster a development culture, where emerging leaders can learn, grow, and be empowered. Christian families can be places where children and young people are encouraged to see themselves as people of influence for God’s Kingdom. Local churches can be environments where every believer is encouraged to become a fully mature disciple, as well as a disciple maker and where people are given permission to exercise their God-given gifts. Christian organizations can invest resources in the development of each of their staff members and can allocate staff and funds for human resource functions. Christians in the marketplace can be encouraged to dream and plan for transformation of their community and can be encouraged to partner with other believers in the workplace and the community, whether or not they are from the same local church or denomination.

7. How can a global movement of leadership development begin?

Our deep heart desire is to catalyze a global movement of developing Christ-like leaders, so that Christ’s Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” can be fulfilled more rapidly and more effectively. A catalyst in a chemical reaction is a substance introduced into a mixture that enables the reaction to take place faster and more powerfully than it would otherwise. We are looking for a constructive explosion. We long to see accelerated movements of rapid multiplication of healthy churches. We long to see transformation of communities and nations, as more and more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. We recognize that any true movement of spiritual awakening, revival, reformation or transformation is a work of God. We also believe that God has called us to be His co-workers and that He can use our acts of obedience as catalytic agents.

How can such a global movement of leadership begin? It starts with an attitude of cooperation, toward God and toward one another.

7.1 Cooperating with God

To cooperate with God means to begin with listening to God, aligning ourselves with His agenda. Our motivation must be the Great Commission, not our organization’s agenda. Our concerns and attitudes must reflect the larger vision of the Kingdom of God. For that reason, a global movement of leadership development must begin as a call to prayer. Jesus instructed His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest field (Matthew 9:38). This must be our starting point as well. Jesus reminded His disciples that apart from Him, they could do nothing (John 15:5). We need to return to the Scriptures to examine the meaning of Christ-like leadership and to pray for discernment to apply those insights within our own cultural contexts. We need to be reminded that God is the primary developer of leaders, that the Holy Spirit is the true catalyst for action, and that any leadership development of lasting value can be done only in God’s strength.

7.2 Cooperating with one another

An attitude of genuine cooperation with God will be accompanied by an attitude of cooperation with one another as well. We recognize that we are all parts of the one body of Christ, with Christ as head, and that God has arranged the parts of the body according to his desire (I Corinthians 12:18). In the Body of Christ, every part needs every other part and all are to have equal concern for one another, rejoicing when another is honoured, and feeling sorrow with another is suffering. We are designed to complement one another, not to compete with one another.

We recognize that we can learn from one another, and can benefit from sharing “best practices” with one another, although we know that particular methods and approaches must be adapted for different cultures and situations. We realize that we all have blind spots, as cultures and as churches and as organizations and that our brothers and sisters in Christ outside our own group may help us to hear the call of Christ more clearly. We need the perspective of the larger Body of Christ, and the interchange of resources with the church worldwide as well. We need one another to rekindle our passion, to point us to the Saviour, and to remind us of the full breadth of the task before us. Older leaders need to listen to younger leaders, who may include some like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times, and knew what Israel should do” (I Chronicles 12:32). Older leaders must commit themselves to invest in these emerging leaders, sharing godly wisdom so that the younger leaders do not repeat the errors of Rehoboam, who listed only to his peers and not to Solomon’s counsellors (I Kings 12). In order to cooperate with one another, we must be willing to open our hearts and our schedules to one another. Trusting relationships and open communication takes time to develop. We must value the developing of the relationships as much as we value the accomplishment of the tasks.

In some cases, genuine fellowship with one another must start with repentance and reconciliation, tearing down the barriers we have built between one another, or the walls erected by earlier generations that we have been content to leave in place. We cannot be satisfied with anything less than the fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20- 23 (NIV):

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

What may this spirit of cooperation look like in practical terms, as we seek to catalyze a global movement to develop Christ-like leaders? The networking must begin on the local level, with leaders of other Christ-centred churches and organizations in our own community. In recent years many cities have seen a movement of prayer between local church leaders across denominational lines. The relationships forged through “pastors’ prayer summits” and campus-wide prayer fellowships can be the first step toward cooperation in evangelism, church multiplication and community transformation. Some communities have seen the emergence of networks of Christian business people, youth workers, or those engaged in health professions. These networks can be platforms for specialized leadership development, strengthening competence as well as integrity and passion within those vocations.

A movement of developing Christlike leaders will go beyond networking at the local level. There are also needs for communication and cooperation at the national and/or regional level, and at the international level. Quite a number of the Issue Groups in Pattaya signalled the need to equip leaders in their particular areas of evangelistic focus. Linkages between these networks, with the special focus of leadership development, also need to be forged.

A spirit of cooperation will foster a willingness to share training resources and methods with one another. As more and more ministries have access to the Internet, we have opportunity to share many leadership development resources and best practices electronically.

Any effective network requires some of its members to devote a greater proportion of time and energy to cultivating the relationships and communications within that network. Any movement needs a core team who will leverage their own relationships to broaden the impact of the movement, and who will subordinate their own individual agendas to the larger call of God expressed through that movement.

8. Call To Action

8.1 Make comprehensive leadership development a priority

The need is urgent. We call every Christian leader to make leadership development part of his/her job description. We call every church and Christian organization to make leadership development part of its agenda and its budget. We call every Christian institution of training to include leadership development as part of its core curriculum.

Leadership development begins not with the design of a curriculum, but with the commitment to a relationship. We call on leaders to be intentional in their personal discipling, to take the initiative in being a mentor and in seeking out mentors.

Leadership development needs to be pursued at all ages, and with both men and women. It needs to be driven by a vision of the potential influence of emerging Christian leaders in the marketplace and the community, as well as in the church and the mission. Leadership development needs to begin early, and to continue in a commitment to lifelong learning.

8.2 Keep the focus on Christ

We call Christian leaders everywhere to keep the focus on Jesus Christ. He is our model for leadership. We desire to grow into mature Christ-like character, to pursue visionary, Christ-like purposes, and to implement Spirit-directed, Christ-like strategies. We acknowledge that He alone is our source of strength and wisdom for the task of developing leaders.

Our first priority as Christ-like leaders must be to cultivate the basic spiritual disciplines that contribute to growing intimacy in our relationship to Jesus Christ and to healthy relationships within the Body of Christ. In every area of life we must put Jesus first, presenting our bodies, our gifts, our material resources and all that we are and have to Him as living sacrifices. In all our personal relationships, we must express the purity and love of Jesus Christ, beginning within our own households.

As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we remember that He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. We remember that He instructed us to love one another as He loved us. Therefore we want to be known as leaders who use their authority and influence in love to build people up, to empower them to become all that God created them to be.

8.3 Respect the cultural context

We call on Christian leaders everywhere to respect the cultural context of the places where they serve and of the emerging leaders whom they are seeking to develop. In humility we confess our tendency to elevate our own cultures and to impose them on others, rather than to respect the multi-faceted beauty of each culture and to see its potential as a vessel for expressing the truth of the gospel. On the other hand, we confess our blind spots regarding our own cultures and traditions and our frequent resistance to the revolutionary transformation that the values of the Kingdom of God will bring to any culture.

Therefore we sound a word of caution to those who would be too quick to transplant the “success” of their own methods into new soil. We appeal for greater willingness to listen to the leaders who know their culture best, and to respect the Spirit of God at work in them. We call for careful adaptation and contextualization when leadership development materials and methods developed in one place are transferred to another. We also encourage greater initiative in raising up leaders from within each culture and in each locality who can learn from what God is doing elsewhere, but who will take up the challenge themselves to develop models and to produce training resources which will be appropriate for their own contexts.

8.4 Forge partnerships

We call each Christian leader to forge partnerships for leadership development, beginning in his or her own locality. We urge leaders to confess and renounce any spirit of competition toward other members of the Body of Christ and to cultivate a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and partnership as co-workers in the same harvest field.

We desire to see national, regional and international networks and partnership to encourage development of Christ-like leaders. We call for organizations to share their resources and training tools more freely with one another, avoiding costly duplication and waste. We encourage a greater willingness to permit adaptation of materials to local needs and cultural settings.

8.5 Remember the goal

Finally, we appeal to Christian leaders everywhere to remember the goal: that the whole church may take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Christ-like leaders that we seek to multiply will have a passion for evangelization, for disciple making, for church planting, and for community transformation through the salt and light of the gospel.

The opportunity is before us. The need is urgent. May this paper be one of the catalysts to stimulate a global movement of developing Christ-like leaders.


1. Recommended books

Bennett, David W. Metaphors of Ministry: Biblical Images for Leaders and Followers. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2004.
Identifies seven principles of leadership based on an extensive survey of the word pictures used by Jesus in training his disciples as well as images introduced by the apostolic writers.

Borthwick, Paul. Feeding Your Forgotten Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.
Resources to help youth leaders combat spiritual fatigue and to pursue spiritual growth.

_____________. Leading the Way. Waynesboro, Georgia: Gabriel Publishing, 1989.
A challenge to younger men and women to be obedient to the call of leadership.

Clinton, J. Robert. The Making of a Leader. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1988.
Identifies the patterns God uses to develop a leader across a lifetime through six stages of growth.

Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. (Second Abridged Edition) Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 1994.
Traces eight principles that Jesus used in developing His disciples.

Collins, Jim. Good to Great. New York: Harper Collins, 2001.
Summarizes eleven traits of companies that made substantial improvements to their performance over time, including the kind of leadership needed to achieve greatness.

Conger, Jay Alden. Learning to Lead: Turning Managers into Leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.
Insights drawn from experiences in five of the most popular leadership training programs.

Fernando, Ajith. Leadership Lifestyle: Study of I Timothy. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 1985.
Multicultural perspective and practical application for discipleship and leadership development.

Jagelman, Ian. The Empowered Church: Releasing Ministry through Effective Leadership. Adelaide: Openbook Publishers, 1998.
Identifies critical distinction between “leadership” and “ministry,” and shows how pastors can become effective in developing vision, mission and value statements, building teams and changing organizations.

__________. Identifying and Developing Christian Leaders. Adelaide: Openbook Publishers, 2002.
Practical ideas on how leaders can be identified and how opportunities can be provided for human potential to develop.

Krallmann, Gunter. Mentoring for Mission: A Handbook on Leadership Principles Exemplified by Jesus Christ. Waynesboro, GA: Gabriel Publishing, 2002.
Walks the reader through the training Jesus did with his disciples, showing Jesus as our mentor and role model, emphasizing personal character development, and showing how the leadership skills he developed in them can be used in present day ministry.

Maxwell, John C. Developing the Leader within You. (Second RevicEdn) Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, 2000.
Examines the differences between leadership styles, and outlines principles for inspiring, motivating, and influencing others.

Nouwen, Henri. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1993.
Shows how to be set free to enjoy God and love others, warning that much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead.

Rinehart, Stacy T. Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998.
Challenges the world’s expectations of leadership, calling all leaders to follow Jesus’ example of equipping and liberating others to fulfil God’s purposes for them in the world.

Sanders, J. Oswald. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer (Commitment to Spiritual Growth). Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1994.
A spiritual classic on what it means to embody the biblical qualities of true godliness.

Wiher, Hannes. Shame and Guilt: A Key to Cross-Cultural Ministry. Bonn: Verlag für Kultür und Wissenschaft, 2003.
Information about a simple model of cross-cultural understanding.

White, John. Excellence in Leadership: Reaching Goals with Prayer, Courage and Determination. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986.
Principles of leadership from the book of Nehemiah.

Woodberry, J. Dudley, Charles Van Engen and Edgar J. Elliston, eds. Missiological Education for the Twenty-First Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals: Essays in Honor of Paul E. Pierson. American Society of Missiology Series No 23. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1996.
A survey and analysis of issues confronting missiology globally; contains chapter by Edgar Elliston describing five types of missiologists based on spheres of influence.

2. Training organizations with web sites

African Leadership Development Institute
Training Africa’s emerging leaders to help them practically apply godly, servant leadership and management skills in their professions, with in-house training for two one-week courses as well as regular peer group refresher sessions.

Antioch Leadership Center
A leadership training forum for church leaders in Romania, offering several courses per year at different levels.

Arrow Leadership Ministries International
Investing in proven young Christian ministry leaders as well as providing practical organizational leadership training for CEO’s and executives of Christian not-for-profit organizations.

Asian Access
An intensive two-year in-service training process for key emerging pastor/leaders in Asia, provided by experienced senior leaders who are seasoned practitioners, emphasizing personal transformation, practical implementation, and development of ongoing relationships.

Association of Christian Schools International
Equipping Christian educators and schools worldwide, through a variety of leadership development programs, conferences, professional associations, and consultancy services.

Bible Training Centre for Pastors
Offering a full sequence of theological study in 10 courses (520 class hours total) for pastors and church leaders in over 70 countries, as well as a core course in church-based study for church leaders.

Working with indigenous church networks to develop churches and leaders, through church-based theological education.

Billy Graham Training Center
Conducting 4-5 day International Schools of Evangelism for pastors, evangelists and lay leaders, focusing on evangelism and discipleship.

CoachNet International Ministries
Resourcing leaders to start, grow and multiply healthy churches, and to create church multiplication movements, through Internet-based coaching and curriculum.

A consortium of churches, Bible colleges and mission agencies equipping Christians for ministry within a cross-cultural context, through weekend seminars, two-week modular courses, cross-cultural internships and mentoring.

Development Associates International
Teaching, mentoring, connecting and consulting for leaders in evangelism, church planting, micro-enterprise and humanitarian aid, offering highly interactive non-formal training as well as an MA in Organizational Leadership and Management.

Eagles Communications
Singapore-based ministry providing study resources, retreats, counselling and leadership institutes relating biblical truth to contemporary worldviews, family life, leadership issues, and ministry in the marketplace.

An innovative Mission Training Agency dedicated to the identification, development and nurture of missional leaders, and to the cultivation of missional communities in Australia and beyond, focusing on developing both the skills and knowledge of missionaries, church planters and evangelists for pioneering mission primarily within the Australian context.

Haggai Institute
Training selected Asian, African and Latin American Christian professional and church leaders in advanced evangelistic communications and managerial techniques, equipping them to train at least 100 others in their own homelands.

Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement
Resources for pastors and church leaders [in Chinese].

Conferences, resources and mentoring programs for church and business leaders.

Jagelman Institute
Teaching, training, mentoring and resources for emerging leaders and for pastors of large churches.

Leader Labs, Inc.
Half-day and one day training for leaders in both profit and nonprofit organizations in topics like managing time, managing teams, managing change, situational leadership and coaching styles.

La Red Juvenil (“The Youth Network”)
Training and support for national youth leaders in Ecuador, with a vision to form partnerships with youth ministries in other Latin American countries.

Leadership Network
Identifying, connecting and helping high-capacity Christian leaders to multiply their impact, through a variety of learning events, leadership communities (by invitation) and publications.

Living Seed Peace House
Conducting Ministerial Leadership Refreshment Training (MILERT) consisting of six 10-day residential sessions over a two-year period in Gboko, Nigeria.

MAPI (“Ministry of Supporting Pastors and Churches”)
Training and resources for pastors, churches and ministry teams (in Portuguese).

MentorLink International
Using the Internet to connect people and provide resources for mentoring, based on 13 key relational areas and five stages of growth.

Missions Help for Christian Leaders
Missions resources for Christian leaders, including book notes, workshops and conferences.

Natural Church Development International
Assisting churches to assess their condition in terms of eight key biblical factors of church health, and to release their God-given growth potential.

Teaching people to follow Christ passionately, emphasizing oneon-one relationships and small-group studies focused on discipleship.

PRISM Leadership Consulting Group
Designing and offering tailored leadership and team skills training in English or Spanish for lay ministry groups in parishes, dioceses and non-profit organizations.

Guiding church leaders through a biblically based process to discover God’s five purposes for their church, to design an intentional discipleship process and to build an “outward-in” perspective to spiritual growth and evangelism.

Scripture Union Scotland
Offering a variety of training programs for working with children and youth.

Trinity Christian Centre (Singapore)
Offering both non-formal and formal training in cell-based ministry, through the Global Leadership Network and the Theological Centre for Asia.

TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition)
An international coalition of pastoral training organization whose goal is to find and multiply pastoral training opportunities, network pastoral trainers, locate training tools and materials, stimulate training strategies, and to serve pastoral training organizations ministering where the church is growing rapidly.

Vanguard Ministries
A network of pastors and churches, part of the “New Apostolic Restoration” movement, with the purpose of caring for leaders, building churches, networking ministries and equipping leaders.

Willow Creek Association
Offering a variety of training conferences and resources for church leaders, including an annual leadership summit.


Raju Abraham, India
Michael Adegbile, Nigeria
Olusegun Adekoya, Nigeria
Daniel Aghanenu, Nigeria
Grace Agorom-Johnson, Nigeria
Kang Hee Ahn, USA
Lon Allison, USA
Johnson O. Akande, Nigeria
UcheChukwu Ama, Nigeria
John Amalraj, India
Seth Anyomi, Ghana
Musa Asake, Nigeria
Emmanuel Asare-Kusi, Ghana
Vadim Babashkin, Russia
Elizabeth Baleke, Uganda
Jeff Barber, USA
Dave Barker, UK
Amina Biaka, Cameroon
S. Douglas Birdsall, USA
Peter Imoni Boma, Nigeria
Paul Borthwick, USA
Mwebela D. Boston, Zambia
Daniel Bourdanne, Cote D’Ivoire
Eddie Broussard, USA
David Bulger, South Africa
Rob Cain, Australia
Douglas Carew, Kenya
Fernando Carlos Carradori, Argentina
Edmund Chan, Singapore
David Coryell, USA
Thomas J. Courtney, USA
Jose D. Dalino, Philippines
James David Das, India
Adrian De Visser, Sri Lanka
Jonathan K. Dodson, USA
David Drake, USA
Elaine Duncan, Scotland, UK
Mark Durene, Thailand
Brian Edwards, South Africa
Nsom Ekfuingei, Cameroon
Bobby Ekhoragbon, Nigeria
Dag-Håkon Eriksen, Norway
Emmanuel Essien, Nigeria
Hussam Fakhoury, Jordan
Emmanuel Falodun, Nigeria
Nick Field, New Zealand
Daniel Fodorean, Romania
Fred Garmon, USA
Liam Glover, Australia
Subrata Edward Gomes, Bangaldesh
Arnoldo V. Gonzalez, Cuba
Bobby Gupta, India
Geoffrey Hahn, Ecuador
Samuel Hammond, Ghana
Juan Herrera, Argentina
Phu Ho, USA
Michael Hoisington, USA
Mark Hornshaw, Australia
Matt Hunt, Australia
Ian Jagelman, Australia
Saleem James, Pakistan
Andrew Jiang, Thailand
Sandy Jones, Australia
Bernd Kanwischer, Germany
Hiroshi Kawasaki, Japan
Jabulani Khoza, South Africa
Daniel Daesson Kim, Thailand
Sandra Kim, USA
John Kirkpatrick, New Zealand
Kuno Klingenborg, Germany
Martin Knispel, Ghana/Germany
David Kornfield, USA/Brazil
Jonathan Lamb, UK
J. Paul Landrey, USA
Andrew Lines, UK
Alan McIlhenny, Northern Ireland/South Africa
Alan McMahan, USA
Cheryl Meredith, USA
Maia Mikhaluk, Ukraine
Herman Moldez, Philippines
Samson Muvunyi, Rwanda
Lisa Nagle, USA
John S. K. Ng, Singapore
Simplice Ngakoudou, Central African Republic
Tateos Nigohosyan, Bulgaria
Renato Nsumbu, Congo-Zaire
Ifeanyi G. Nwanaforo, Nigeria
Birger Nygaard, Denmark
Michael Oh, Japan
Nairy Ohanian, Turkey
Dibankap Benvictor Ojongmanyinkongho, Cameroon
Godfrey Olise, Nigeria
Timothy Olonade, Nigeria
Jane Overstreet, USA
Stefan Pahl, Germany
Gideon Para-Mallam, Nigeria
Prakash Pathi, India
Matthew Philip, USA/ India
Mohan Philip, India
Nigel Pollock, Scotland, UK
Eric Pratt, USA
Norberto Quesada, Cuba
Devendra K. Rai, India
Pramila Samuel Rajendran, India
Markus Rapsch, Germany
Stacy Rinehart, USA
John F. Robinson, USA/Africa
Viktor Sabo, Serbia
Nagi Said, Egypt
Christian Sarmiento, Guatemala
Mario Sawin, Argentina
Jan Ove Selstø, Norway
Richard W. Sessoms, USA
Douglas Shaw, USA
David Shibley, USA
Badu Situmorang, Indonesia
Jaofera Mignon Solofonomenjanahary, Madagascar
Young Sun Song, USA
Ron Spillards, Wales, UK
Paul Stanley, USA
Derek Tan, Singapore
Roland Tan, Singapore
Pavel Timchenko, Russia
Svein Ragnvald Tjora, Norway
Olapade Tokun, Nigeria
Emmanuel Uthman-Olabade, Nigeria
Samuel J. Voorhies, USA
Nicholas Wafula, Uganda
William Wagner, USA
Esther Waruiru, USA
Barry Whatley, Canada
Irving A. Whitt, Canada
Hannes Wiher, Guinea
Daniel Willis, Australia
Bruce Wilson, USA
Chris Wright, UK
Chi Wai Wu, China
Marek Wyrzykowski, Poland
Daniel Joshua Yang, Botswana
Abraham Wai Yan Yeung, China