Releasing Leaders to Lead
Cockram asks what would happen if Peter, James, Paul, Priscilla and Lydia turned up at your fellowship and asked what they could do? The leader of a fellowship needs to have the skills and confidence to shape and multiply these leaders knowing that they may go on to do greater things than him or that they may need picking up and re-launching. A discipling, missional leader will have a call or vision to share and disciple, they must have the grace and maturity to be effective and they must themselves be radically committed disciples. These are exceptional people but they will create other exceptional people, they are probably sitting in the back seats of our churches longing for the pastor to give permission to do a bit more. The ancient church went from approximately 120 people in the upper room to half the Roman Empire plus other outposts in about 250 years. The message, vision and knowledge of the apostles and disciples supported by the Holy Spirit were replicated by and through more and more disciples and discipling communities.
To Disciple a Nation!
I feel that in the post-Christian world, where so few know the good news and many just don’t care about it, we have to think and behave like first century Christians rather than the old days when we were the dominant culture. The church does not have to travel to Africa or Indonesia to find the mission field, an approach based on discipleship is local; the group will address local issues and launch local missions. However there will always be some with the ability and call of a Paul to travel and work away from base. We need our disciples working with a big vision, each day adding a bit to the kingdom, growing new disciples, doing mission because it is central to our lives rather than a spare time activity. Above all we need them finding and training disciples.
It is my dream to be able to build such a discipleship community in New Zealand. We do not need to be especially special, but we do need to be intentional and to get on and do what we were told to do.