“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Man is lost without Christ. Our sins separate us from God. This separation will lead to eternal death (John 3:16-17). But salvation is possible through Jesus Christ. He has borne our sins on the cross.
Leon Ellis, Church of God pastor, penned this challenging song, Win the Lost at Any Cost.
“As we look all around us,
All the fields are white,
They’re ripened unto harvest,
Yet so quickly comes the night.
Christians must get busy.
There’s so much work to do,
Here’s an urgent task awaiting you.
Souls are crying, men are dying,
Won’t you lead them to the cross?
Go and find them, please help to win them.
Win the lost at any cost.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV).
The word “disciple” comes from a Greek word which means a “learner” or “pupil.” The essence of the Great Commission is not the going or the evangelizing, but the making of disciples. Evangelism initiates the journey, but discipleship is the aim.
Marvin J. Newell in his book, Commissioned, offers a good definition of discipleship. He states, “It is a process where mature believers build personal relationships with new believers for the purpose of producing growing and competent followers of Jesus Christ.”
Discipleship is a path that we follow to be like Jesus. It is the acceptance of His beliefs and obeying His commandments. It is walking in truth, as He gives it.
In Luke 14:27, Jesus reminds us that we cannot be His disciples without bearing His cross. In John 8:31, He says, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples.”
Capowski’s phrase “leadership is simply what the doctor has prescribed to guide the companies in the 21st Century” could cause some panic among certain administrators and bureaucrats in the church systems. In the words of professor Warren Bennis, it might be true that the institutions, organizations, and companies are excessively directed and insufficiently led. The transcendental future leadership should be characterized by a balanced integration between being, knowing and doing, a dialectic encounter between the mind, heart, and hands. The transcendence of future leadership will depend on the integrating capacity with which future leaders relate their knowledge, develop their character, and act from an apostolic, service-oriented, visionary, empowerer, and equipper worldview.
Five Major Leadership Axioms
They dynamic relationship between the five dimensions suggested for the three levels of competency – knowing, being, and doing – create a style of leadership leading to fruit in the life and work of the minister. I discovered that the most important dimension for future leadership is the apostolic dimension, followed by service, the equipper capacity, vision capacity, and finally the empowerer capacity.
First Principle: Future Transcendental Christian Leadership will have a Clear Apostolic Identity.
The apostolic leadership is a clear call from God for the continuing ministry of Christ through the Holy Spirit. It would be incarnational. This means the future leader will assume forms and methods relevant to contemporary human social and cultural forms, challenging them while creatively using them to touch the lives of people. Such a powerful apostolic ministry will be empowering. Such a dynamic apostolic ministry will be transforming and transcendental. This means the leader will penetrate and seek to renovate social and political structures that dehumanize persons while, at the same time, creating humanizing and liberating conditions for those who are bruised and broken. This knowledge must mold the character of the future leader, who cannot ignore his or her divine vocation, having been called by God to carry out a transforming and transcendental task. One’s identity as a pioneer marks one’s faith, giving oneself up to discover what is new, what is unknown, opening a path where none existed, walking on the waters, and looking for a destiny that is more than just the past and the present, developing a powerful ministry, and connecting in service with the community needing transformation and transcendence.
According to Braaten, in addition to the apostolic gospel, the church must have an apostolic ministry. As the Gospel must be normatively interpreted by creeds and confessions, the ministry must also be effectively ordered by offices and functions. Not only can no church find its way of ordering the ministry mandated by Scripture, but we also find patterns of ministry in the New Testament which can be found as such in none of the churches in our day.
The English translation of the Greek word for apostle means literally “one who is sent out.” For Messer, an apostle is a personal messenger or ambassador, commissioned to share the message. Beginning with the original disciples of Jesus, the apostles of every generation have had to authenticate and incarnate Christ’s mission of love and liberation in the world. As Robert Neville observed: “An apostolic minister is an agent of the universal church, ancient in history, and global in compass, bringing the grace in that church to a local context.”
Messer is convinced that the “most dynamic models of ministry in the next millennium will be those that struggle seriously with our biblical and theological heritage as well as the critical contexts in which we live.” The apostolic imagery, a cherished tradition with powerful meanings, should be reappropriated for the ministry of the church today.
Prayer, biblical study, and community reflection are vital disciplines in order to maintain the apostolic vocation and spirit that are essential for leadership in the 21st Century.
Second Principle: Service will be the Transcendental Action of the Future Leader.
What distinguishes a transcendental leadership from a transforming and transactional leadership is the capacity for service. Leaders of outstanding companies show a combination of strength of will and humility that does not fit the traditional scheme of the transactional and transforming leader. In contrast, it coincides with what we have defined as the transcendental leader.
The need to go back to a leadership identity that better represents the biblical images is a must in our understanding of leadership development. Words are used such as: servant, more human model, character, good attitude, sensitive to needs, simple, humble, faithful, loving, oriented to relations, spirited, whole, and sacrificed. People showed concern about the images that identify the current leadership, which are slowly changing, but still affect most of the evangelical churches. To describe these anti-servant models, we used words like: “caudillo”, legalist, authoritarian, liar, carnal, apathy, sexist, dictator, bad use of authority, ill-treatment of the sheep, looking for power, looking for the best positions, and looking for fame.
Anderson insists that a theology of ministerial leadership based on the concept of being a servant is at the heart of the New Testament. “I am among you as one who serves,” Jesus told his disciples (Luke 22:27). When the disciples were sent out as sheep among wolves, Jesus reminded them, “A disciple is not above the teacher; and the slave like the master” (Mt. 10:24-25). Anderson comments that: “While the disciples were arguing among themselves as to who would occupy the higher positions in the kingdom, Jesus reminded them, ‘Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’ (Mt. 20:26-28). Many of such Scriptures’ text may be cited in support of the concept that ministry is primarily a service to others on behalf of God. What is missing from this popular version of ministry is the fact that Jesus was not, first of all, one who served the world, but one who served God.
A servant leader is a man or woman who has received a call from God to serve Him through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The marks of a servant leader are humility, integrity, and faithfulness to the Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the model for all acts, attitudes, and attributes of servant leadership. The participants agreed that the fundamental knowledge must inform the leader’s being, making him or her a more whole and profoundly human person. His or her action must be productive and extremely sensitive to the needs and contributions of others.
The corporate literature also highlights this service dimension of the leader: humility, setting an example, being concerned first with others. Kouzes and Posner call this leadership dimension “Modeling the way.” “Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that wins your respect.” They set an example and build commitment through simple, daily acts that create progress and momentum. “Leaders model the way through personal example and dedicated execution.” To be able to model effectively, leaders must be clear as to their guiding principles. “Leaders are supposed to stand up for their beliefs, so they better have some beliefs to stand up for.” Leaders’ actions are much more important than their words, and they must be consistent. What is amazing is how corporate literature is more intentional in proclaiming these values than the church itself.
Third Principle: Equipping Others will Distinguish the Future Transcendental Leader.
To equip Christian leaders is to enable each member of the Body of Christ to develop his or her full spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and ministry potential for the completion of God’s mission. The Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 4:12 that the task of church leaders is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.”
The words and phrases used by the participants were: working as a team, multiplying, interpreting, and applying the Word of God, sharing, integrating, developing, and equipping others. The most frequent concepts were working in a team and reproducing oneself through others.
The dimension of the leader as one who equips, trains, and develops people is vital for a new transcendental leadership. His or her intellectual capacity must absorb a series of interdisciplinary knowledge, with a true capacity for contextualization and world vision in the service area. The leader must consider him or herself as a natural mentor, with a responsibility and commitment to participate in the informational, formational, and transformational process of his or her community. The leader’s knowledge (head) must create an adequate attitude (heart) that will be useful in developing the aptitudes (hands) needed to carry out the mission. The ability most required of the future leader will the capacity to work with and manage teams, along with the ability to reproduce oneself in others.
Kouzes and Posner call this principle “enabling others to act.” They recognize great dreams do not become significant realities based on the action of one leader alone. “Leadership is a team effort.” Leaders somehow include all of those who have to live with the results and make it possible for the others to perform well at their tasks.
Leadership is a relationship based on trust and credibility. Without these elements, people will not take risks and there is no change. Without change, the organizations and movements die. The religious institutions themselves would be in danger of disappearing if radical changes do not take place in leadership styles over the short and medium terms.
Fourth Principle: The Vision/Mission will Guide the Transcendental Leader of the Future.
The leaders who have a clear vision for their ministries will be able to articulate it clearly and persuasively, and will be able to advocate and mobilize for it. The vision determines what the future of the corporation will be, the place in society it wishes. While the mission defines where it is and what the corporation is developing its activity for, the vision points to an idealized sense of how it wishes to be seen, valued, and perceived in future.
The future leader will be identified as having a positive character and a progressive spirit that will lead him or her to guide and accomplish goals.
Good communication is the cement that holds any organization together. Therefore, good communication will be crucial for the vision to succeed. No matter now good the intentions of the “Christian organization,” one must beware of barriers to communication, such as personalities, hierarchies, and polarization.
Aubrey Malphurs argues that the limited information available indicates pastors and congregations find it difficult to deal with the concept of vision. In fact, many Christian leaders have serious difficulties in establishing the value of the vision, as they themselves lack a clear vision of their own ministries. My observation is that there is a lack of personal and corporate/institutional vision. This is born from a deep sense of dependence that does not allow people to assume responsibility for designing their own destiny. The vision requires designing the future and implies the risk of failure. By simply understanding the mission abstractly, leaders can protect themselves and limit themselves to a demagogic argument without having to be evaluated for the concretion of their ministerial action.
The second most important dimension of leadership in Kouzes and Posner’ model is “inspiring a shared vision.” Leaders have visions and dreams of what they could become. “They had absolute and total personal belief in those dreams, and they were confident in their abilities to make extraordinary things happen. Every organization, every social movement, begins with a dream. The dream or vision is the force that invents the future.” Leaders inspire a shared vision, are capable of seeing the horizon, and their dreams come true. Leaders have the desire to see things happen, to change the order of things, to create what no one else has created.
The first two characteristics of the ideal future leader are: (1) the leader is clear about his or her philosophy of leadership, and (2) the leader follows through on the promises and commitments that he or she makes.
A positive attitude takes place when a shared vision is articulated. Leaders and followers concur with the ideals and goals of the vision, making room for organizational and personal dynamics that express optimism, a conviction of better times ahead, dreams of a new state superior to the present one, and finding positive solutions.
The Lord taught us that we should discern the signs of the times. The biblical exhortation is that where there is no vision, the people perish. There are three levels of influence were leaders dreamed the dreams of the future: the local church level, the denominational level, and the immediate community. Our dream is of that day in which its leadership will be able to act independently and interdependently in finding solutions to their own challenges, and enjoy the freedom needed to create a different future that will lead us in fulfilling God’s mission.
Fifth Principle: Empowering will Liberate the Future Transcendental Leader’s Actions.
Empowering describes the ability to establish a climate in which people feel free to grow, learn, explore, and use their gifts in Christian ministry without fear of retribution. The empowering function precedes the equipping. Equipping without empowering is like putting Saul’s armor on David. Samuel’s description of the incident borders on slapstick.
“Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.’ So David removed them (1 Sam. 17:38-39).
According to Anderson, “David went forth under-equipped by Saul, but empowered by the Spirit of God. ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Sam. 17:37).
The terms “empowering,” “empowerer,” and “empowerment” are not easily translated and understood in Spanish, where terms such as “to enable,” “authorize,” “delegate” are used. None of these words include the idea behind the word “empowering.” This is why the word “empoderar” is being used in corporate literature. This word, more than communicating the idea of giving power, gives someone the idea of setting the power people already have free, and for that reason or another do not use.
Shepherd notes that Jesus’ physical removal from His disciples reminds us of the story of the transfer of prophetic power from Moses to Joshua (Deut. 34:9), and especially from Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-12). Luke establishes a clear connection between the Spirit and the prophetic tradition. Jesus, a prophet like Moses, now hands his mantle to the disciples, who will act in prophetic terms. In Acts 1:8, Jesus indicated the coming of the Holy Spirit was to enable the witness of the disciples. It is clear that in the fulfillment of the promise, Luke is not emphasizing repentance, the initial confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, or the baptism of the disciples, but rather a witness inspired by the Holy Spirit. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4, 11).
For Kouzes and Posner, future leaders will encourage the heart of their constituents to carry on. “Genuine acts of caring can uplift the spirits and draw people forward.” It will be the responsibility of the future leadership to show people what they can gain. “Encouragement is curiously a serious business. It’s how leaders visibly and behaviorally link rewards with performance.” According to Kouzes, “love – of their products, their services, their constituents, their clients and customers, and their work – may be the best-kept leadership secret of all.”
The two main characteristics of the ideal future leadership are: the future leader will find ways to celebrate accomplishments, and to give the members of the team lots of appreciation and support for their contributions.
The acknowledgement of the spiritual gifts of other people is corroborated by assigning the corresponding ministries that will help people to use their gifts effectively, allowing them to do it, and then acknowledge them for it.
This core value of World Missions is commanded by Scripture. We are to serve others. Notice these references from the New International Version:
The Bible contains over 300 verses about the poor and needy. It clearly expresses God’s love and concern for them. We cannot be like Christ and not have a desire and willingness to help them. We must exercise our mercy toward those in need. Caring for the poor, the homeless, and the needy is required of every believer. We must not ignore them.