In Case You Missed It

1) If you really (like under a rock) missed it this week, David Platt was elected was the new President of the International Mission Board.

2) Check out the reaction to Platt’s election from Russ Moore, J. D. Greear, and Paige Patterson.

3) Speaking of David Platt, he has a post on Life on Mission over at the SEND Network.

4) Chuck Quarles, SEBTS Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, writes about the devil’s lie over at B&H Academic.

5) Tony Merida, Associate Professor of Preaching at SEBTS and Pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, NC, writes about the essential secret of preaching.

John Ewart on Critical Abilities, Part 4

John Ewart is Director of the Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching and Associate Vice President for Global Theological Initiatives. This is the fourth post in a series on Critical Abilities in Pastoral Leadership. 

Previously I have posted that the first two critical abilities a missional leader must possess are 1) the ability to understand the true mission and 2) to establish a biblical vision. With these in place, the tracks are laid; the train has been built and set into place.

Now how does the train stay on track and move forward? I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the question of how do new churches make decisions concerning what they are going to actually do. I was concerned with the “now what?” question. We have planted a church, now what do we do and how do we decide that in order to best move forward?

Over the years I have seen a plethora of churches that cannot make healthy decisions, do not realize they need to, and/or if they did, have unhealthy practices in which they make them. This inability has led to a lot of contextual chaos…bumper cars from a previous post, or a train wreck. They are either going in a million directions with no cohesive process or they are doing virtually nothing. If they continue, they often end up in reverse or totally off track.

So what can a leader do? The third critical ability of a missional leader is to build bridges of leadership. If there is no understanding of the true mission or a strong biblical vision, leaders will not be able to guide the church down the tracks in the proper direction or at the proper speed. But even with those first two abilities, it is absolutely critical to put in place the right leadership team with a proper understanding of bridge building.

Railway_bridge_over_the_Aar_Berne

A bridge connects two sides of a gap of some kind. Some bridges are designed for one-way traffic; others are for two-way traffic. Some leadership relationships are one-way while others are two-way. Let me illustrate just a couple of them.

The first leadership bridge a missional leader must build and cross is the leadership relationship between leader (himself) and God. This is a one-way bridge. Not the relationship but the leadership. I never lead God. God must always lead me. It is amazing how often pastors and church leaders need to be reminded of this basic truth. This is where it begins and ends. How is your total submission to the leadership of God? Are you trying to lead Him? How is that working for you?

Another bridge to build and cross is the leadership relationship of leader to leaders. Some may argue that this is a one-way bridge. I do not. In fact I am confident this is part of the problem sometimes. I believe this is a two-way bridge. Missional leaders recognize they can still learn from and at times be led by other leaders.

I always worked closely with the other key church leaders, both vocational and volunteer, as a pastor. We worked together in synergy, moving down the tracks as one. We met and communicated with one another frequently and learned to trust and love one another. We were friends and co-laborers. We were on the same page.

I am convinced that if this type of understanding and harmony existed among the leaders of churches, then the health of the church would vastly improve.

Remember a third leadership bridge. The leadership relationship of God to leaders. I actually believe that I do not own the market on discerning God’s will. God speaks to others through His Word as well. This is a one-way bridge for them just like it is for me. A wise man will seek wise godly counsel from God-led people and not attempt to lead alone.

How are you relating to and leading those with whom you serve? Once these initial bridges are built, there are several others to cross. These include leaders to congregation, God to congregation and congregation to the world. Understanding these connections and the proper way they fit together is critical for missional motion down the tracks.

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Announcement: International Conference on Baptist Studies VII

Since 1997, an international and multi-denominational group of scholars interested in Baptist history and thought have been gathering for a major conference every three years. Following six previous International Conferences on Baptist Studies (ICOBS) in both North America and Europe, including one hosted by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2012, the seventh ICOBS will gather next summer at Luther King House in Manchester, England, which is the home of the Northern Baptist Learning Community. The conference will be held July 15-18, 2015.

Past conferences have taken the history of the Baptists throughout the world as their subject matter, and participation has been open to all, both as speakers and attenders. The theme for next year’s ICOBS is “Baptists and Revival.” A number of Baptist scholars from many different nations and denominational traditions will be delivering plenary addresses based upon the theme. Professors, graduate students, and others are invited to propose short papers of up to 25 minutes related to the conference.

ICOBS has produced significant scholarly contributions to the field of Baptist Studies. Papers from most of the previous conferences have been published as books in the series Studies in Baptist History and Thought with Paternoster Press (UK) and Wipf & Stock (USA). Those books include the following titles:

In addition to the aforementioned books, a forthcoming volume, edited by Doug Weaver of Baylor University, is due to be published in early 2015. That book will include papers from the 2012 ICOBS that met at Southeastern.

For more information about ICOBS 2015, check out the general announcement on my personal website. If you are interested in Baptist Studies (or, for that matter, the history of revival), I hope you will consider attending this important conference. If you have any questions about ICOBS, please feel free to email me.