One thing to note as we look at any church around us is that it is always purposely formed. It could have been due to the vision of a denominational pastor who sees the harvest in an area not exposed to Christ. It could have started with a few families gathering for Bible study, mutual fellowship and encouragement. They then later decide to gather for regular worship and eventually form a church. It may also be the result of a Christian layperson who disciples a group of young people. Later, these young people win others to Christ and, in due time, they set up a church so that they will be able to worship together regularly. As time goes on, they, and we have many such examples, also become blessings to the world outside their gates, as they build schools, community outreaches, charity homes, etc.
Although there may also be other reasons for churches being formed, one thing should be very clear – the church’s existence is due to a person or a group of like-minded persons having the vision of transforming the environment by expanding God’s kingdom in their midst. From this then, we need to note that for the church to perform the mandate given them by Jesus (Matt 28:18-20); she (I prefer to use the feminine pronoun in referring to the church) needs to pay close attention to the issues of leadership. This is because to form a community, one needs to have one or more persons committed to leading people to form these communities.
This article suggests that just sending forth any person who volunteers will not do. In fact, leadership or administration is mentioned as a gift of the Spirit in Romans 12:8 and 1 Cor 12:28. Tidball in ‘Skilful Shepherds’ tells us that the original word translated as leader means a “ship’s helmsman” and refers to the gifts necessary to steer a congregation. It therefore has to do with “the sensitive uniting of people towards a common goal”, which is God’s agenda for this world.
Therefore this article, posted in parts over the next few days, looks at the pastor as someone who, more than guiding and protecting the flock, although these are also tasks of prime importance for a church leader, also has to be a transforming spiritual leader. This means that he, through God’s empowerment and guidance, is able to transform the hearts and minds of those to whom he ministers so that they will catch his God-given vision and strive to fulfill the visions that the transforming leader articulates. I think Henry and Richard Blackaby clearly define it by quoting Robert Clinton’s book ‘The Making of a Leader’ that “the central task of leadership is influencing God’s people towards God’s purposes.”