Posted by: Jack | October 5, 2012

Leading amidst diversity

After a good two hours on the road, Pat & I arrived in Woerden, a small city in the Netherlands. We found the building with the banner “Synergos” across the front. It was owned by a Christian, we were told, and housed several Christian businesses. That Saturday, it was the site of a gathering of over 60 pastors and elders, representing more than 20 churches of an evangelical fellowship of churches in the Netherlands. A special highlight was the ordaining of a new pastor, preparing to return to Peru as missionary. And that put the focus on spiritual leadership!

Coffee break at the leadership workshop in Woerden

From 10AM to 4PM, Jack led the group in reflections about rival subgroups in the apostle Paul’s work in Corinth, and rival leaders in Paul’s churches both in Corinth and Ephesus. We studied how Paul bridged the diversity in the Corinthian church (“I am of Paul, I am of Apollos,” etc.) in his vision of the church’s identity. We noticed how Paul carefully built support for his vision for the church, not simply assuming that his authority as Apostle of Christ was sufficient, or that he could order them around simply because he received revelations from Christ.

Frequent discussions focused on practical questions like, “how can we resolve the tension between the church board and the congregation, since sometimes they appear to become competing subgroups?” Or “how can we maintain harmony among the elders and learn to manage tensions that sometimes arise between pastor and board?” Studying Paul’s leadership style didn’t give us a lot of ready-made solutions, but it did provide a mental map for how to proceed in such challenging areas of leadership.

A good day with a lot of learning, and with new ideas for how to serve in leadership.

Thank you for praying for this day. Please continue on towards our prayer page. We so much need your intercession on our behalf.

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