Everyone a leader – Church growth and the vision of every member a leader

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everyone a leaderEveryone a leader

The validity of the concept of everyone a leader has been shown by an experiment performed with five people placed in a boat in the middle of a lake.  Each person received an oar and was instructed to row the boat back to shore with no details as to what side of the lake they should go or who should direct the group.

At first, each person started rowing in different directions and the boat just spun in circles.  Soon they all recognized that they needed to agree on what direction they should row.  Different members of the group began suggesting different directions and finally one of them took the lead and directed the others to row in the same direction.  Once the group reached the shore the person who took the lead was removed and the remaining four were taken to the center of the lake again and the process was repeated.  This time a different person quickly took charge and directed the other three to the nearest shore.  The process was repeated until only one person remained.

What this “everyone a leader experiment” reveals is that each time they removed the leader; another leader took his place to complete the task and lead the group.  The traditional idea is that the first person to assume leadership is the leader and the rest are the followers.  However, this experiment shows “everyone a leader” is a valid general concept and under the right conditions, everyone will assume the responsibility to get the job done.

Everyone a leader – different levels in different circumstances

There are several levels of leadership and some people are reluctant leaders, but the concept of “everyone a leader” proves true every time.  Just think of any area where you have more knowledge or experience within any given group.  Within that context, most likely you will take on the function of the leader.  In any give circumstance, you may not have a leadership title, but the group will recognize you as the authority in that circumstance or situation.  For example if you are a medical student among a group of friends, you most likely will be the designated leader in the event of a medical emergency.  All eyes will look to you as the one who has the most authoritative answer until a more authoritative medical figure arrives on the scene.  Upon reflection “everyone a leader”  is self-evident.

Everyone a leader in the church

In the church, the idea that not all are called to be leaders must be rejected.  Otherwise, the great majority will attempt to assume the position of follower.  It is true that we are all followers but we are also all leaders.  Just as everyone is either a son or a daughter, most will naturally also become fathers and mothers.  In the Church, we must insist on the same idea.  We are all followers but we eventually all become leaders.  God gave ministers to the church to train other ministers.  Almost any local church can explode into growth when each member recognizes that the leadership exists to train them so that they develop basic ministerial functions and as they develop they develop others who will then develop others.  Paul put it succinctly in 2 Timothy 2:2

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

The only requirement for each minister is that he be faithful, and that he teaches others as well.  Therefore, the only people in the body of Christ who exclude themselves from the discipleship cycle are the unfaithful.  Spiritual reproduction and multiplication are for faithful Christians.  According to these words, God declares any Christian that excludes himself from this mandate unfaithful.  There is honestly no other way to interpret the rejection of this responsibility and task thus: everyone a leader becomes necessary.

Suppose that you are part of a church of 100 members.  Your pastor decides to spend the majority of his time working with 10 of the most mature people of the congregation.  As he meets with this group, he teaches each one some basic lessons in pastoral ministry. Then he advances and begins to establish a discipleship relationship with each of these members and eventually is able to develop them as his own spiritual children as Paul did with Timothy and other younger brothers.  Then he challenges each of the ten to lead a group of eight or nine members of the church passing on to them what he had taught each one of them in the same mentor type fashion.  He constantly reminds them that the purpose of these groups is to grow and multiply through evangelism and discipleship. Then he challenges each one of them to win one new person to Christ each year and father that person to spiritual maturity.

If each person in this structure was successful in fulfilling this challenge, then the church would double its membership once a year. If it was able to sustain this multiplication over several years, it could win the entire world population in less than 28 years.

Of course for this to happen there has to be a proper transmission of the vision and commitment to sustain each generation of disciples. The point that I wish to make is to paint in broad strokes the vision of a spiritual inheritance that you can begin to build today.  Even if you accomplish just a fraction of the above example, you can expect to produce hundreds and thousands of spiritual children that will one day be your crown and glory in the Kingdom of Jesus the King of Kings.

Of course without the principle of “everyone a leader” the possibilities become diminished exponentially.

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