Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Category: Leadership Training Page 1 of 2

Developing leaders: a perspective from Timothy and Titus

When Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, he showed concern about transitioning to new leadership. He demonstrated a commitment to developing the leadership capacities of Timothy and Titus, his delegates to churches he planted. He is quite concerned about leadership development in the churches. While these letters are not leadership development manuals, there is much we can learn from them. I find five leadership essentials in the letters to Timothy and Titus that should guide leadership development.

CHARACTER MATTERS

Character matters a great deal to Paul. The qualifications for church leaders in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 are mostly behavioral characteristics. As many commentators have pointed out, most of these qualities are expected of believers in general in the New Testament. Church leaders ought to be models of mature Christian character. Christian leadership qualifications encompass the totality of the person, not just skill in ministry tasks.

Saul was not ready

1 Samuel 9 introduces us to a very promising young man named Saul, a young man who we soon find out has been destined by God to become Israel’s first king.  He is from a good, highly-respected family with wealth and influence (1 Sam 9:1).   He himself is physically impressive, tall and handsome (1 Sam 9:2). But this young man has a problem – his father’s donkeys have wandered off, and he and his servant have already spent three days looking for them without success.

At this point, we come to an interesting discourse that gives us a window into Saul’s spiritual formation up to this point in his life.

Crucibles

When God prepares a person to serve him in a leadership or other significant ministry role, he often chooses to use crucibles. Crucibles are small pots used in chemistry labs in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature. In the middle ages, alchemists used crucibles in their various attempts to forge gold out of base metals and various strange ingredients. But Webster also defines a crucible as a difficult test or challenge or a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions.

The Scriptures speak of the crucible as an instrument for purifying silver, but always in the context of some type of testing for the purpose of refining.

Reaching and Teaching in Animistic Oral Cultures

In my last post we looked at Sills’ book Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience. This book is clearly a follow up to this work. It is in essence an application in practice of the principles in the earlier book. “This book explores how the Lord led missionaries to minister effectively among a specific people whom he called to himself: the Highland Quichua people of Andean Ecuador.”(pp. 2, 3).The book highlights the challenges of reaching and teaching an oral people group with a long history of syncretism:

Are we reading all of Matthew 28:18-20?

A review of M. David Sills, Reaching and Teaching: a Call to Great Commission Obedience, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010.

This book has sought to bring awareness to those who have been lulled into thinking that God wants us to simply reach them. He doesn’t. He wants us to reach and teach – reaching them with the saving gospel message and teaching them to observe everything that He has commanded. (220).

So ends Sills’ book.

Still Learning from Roland Allen 100 years later: Contemporary applications

At the SEND Family Conference in July, I led a workshop on what we can still learn from Roland Allen’s book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? a hundred years after it was first published. Allen’s key principle of submission and dependence on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God was the focus of the first blog post. In this blog post contemporary application of Allen’s principles will be the subject.

Empowering new leaders

In my personal Bible reading and journalling over the last few weeks, I have been working my way through the books of Acts.   In God’s providence, I am also reading a fascinating book about church planting movements in South East Asia —T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution: The Story Behind the World’s Fastest Growing Church Planting Movement and How it Can Happen in Your Community!  The authors of the book and developers of the T4T process (Training for Trainers) have based many of their principles of rapid church multiplication on what happened in the book of Acts.

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