By Jon Heeringa | Pastor and Head of Staff
Over the past few months I’ve used the Pastor’s Corner in The Piper to look at how the Church in Antioch, as seen in the book of Acts, is a model for us today.
The Church in Antioch was distinctly Christian, radically innovative, a teaching and leadership developing church, amazingly diverse, a church that practiced spiritual disciplines, a sending church and a humble church.
I want to dig a little deeper into the way it was a teaching and leadership-developing church. If you look at Acts 11:25-26 you see Barnabas go get Saul. Given Saul’s record of having persecuted the Church this is amazing. Yes, Saul had experienced an amazing conversion but there would have been plenty of people who remembered his past and would have struggled to give him another shot. Yet Barnabas and the church in Antioch do and the world was changed as a result.
And Saul wasn’t the only leader the church in Antioch helped develop. Silas and John Mark were also products of the efforts by the church in Antioch to teach and develop leaders. I see a couple of hints in Acts as to how we too could teach and develop leaders.
Take some risks
The first is we have to take some risks. Clearly both Saul and John Mark were risky bets, and young leaders will often be a risk for us.
Secondly, we have to give emerging leaders both power and authority. Power is the resource needed to accomplish the leadership tasks we are asking emerging leaders to do and authority is the standing to do those tasks.
Mentor future leaders
A third thing we can do is mentoring. Barnabas mentored Saul and John Mark, Paul mentored Silas. Mentoring means doing life together with everything from eating a meal to leading a program. Committee chairs should be mentoring their successors as much as staff does theirs.
Finally, in a foretaste of another Antioch trait, for us to teach and develop leaders will require humility. At the ECO national gathering, Jo Saxton, one of the speakers, said that “the ceiling of our lives may be the floor of the lives of the leaders we teach and develop.” May God make that true for us here in Harrisonburg as we seek to teach and develop leaders who can grow God’s kingdom.