We will raise up godly and competent leaders who support our vision and passionately make disciples. We will identify these leaders within our churches and provide opportunities for recruitment, internship and service.
By Matt Thomas
Starting and Ending With Leadership
Everything starts and ends with leadership. The Creation of the world and the conclusion of things as we know them are both attributed to a Leader, an Actor who produces the action. When God wanted to correct or shape the people, a leader (prophet, priest, king) was always involved in getting things started and carrying things through. We do not need to look too far at Jesus’ post-baptism ministry before we see His selection of leaders. Later, at both His Ascension and the new beginning of Pentecost, the same leaders were present doing what we would expect — being engaged and/or leading. The influential letters that form the majority of New Testament books were written by … ? You guessed it: leaders.
It should not surprise anyone in the Free Methodist Church that the first of our strategies for building a Christ-centered, expansive and fruitful ministry is to raise up godly, competent leaders who are passionate disciple-makers.We are aware that identifying, recruiting, training, preparing for service and deploying healthy, godly and competent leaders are fundamental to having a healthy, godly and competent church.
We endeavor to make leadership development a key part of what we do as a general conference. We insist that annual conferences make leadership development a central part of what they do. The same stands for the local church.
Leaders are important for several reasons. They model the Christ-centered life for the church. They teach the church. They represent Christ in their communities. They help the church develop its gifting and character to become a beautiful and fruitful bride for Jesus Christ. They shape the direction of ministry. They correct people and ministries when they are off course. Yet, even the most gifted people among us need help. We need Christ, of course.
We need coaching, mentoring, academic instruction, healthy peers, good environments, fitting opportunities and resources; we need people to lead us.
These do not come through osmosis or by accident. Leadership development requires awareness, intentionality and good strategy.
We must be aware of the leaders among us who have been untrained and unidentified. That is the first step to a strategy for leadership development. Right behind awareness and identification is a commitment to help future leaders see their potential and grow into it. Following all of the training that goes with this commitment is an intentional process of interning and allowing gift exploration and service. Trained leaders cannot truly lead unless they have the accompanying experiences to prepare them. Finally, we need to get these people going and let them lead.
Leadership development is only done well through a Spirit-led process with Spirit-filled leaders.
The starting point is with leadership developing leaders. The end point is the developed leaders who lead others. Having said all of this, we must say that the goal is not leaders. The goal is a healthy, mature church. Godly, competent leaders are instrumental in reaching the goal. We gratefully have a Great Leader who builds us as we build one another.
Many people see college as a time to disconnect from church, but the Free Methodist Church of Southern California (FMCSC) is working to make college a time of deeper connection through the Center for Transformational Leadership (CTL).
“If we’re going to reach the people of the world today, they’re not going to come into a church,” FMCSC Superintendent Denny Wayman said. “We need to go to where they are.”
Christian higher education in the Free Methodist Church is global.
Hope Africa University (HAU) is an educational institution established by the Free Methodist Church in Kenya in 1999. The university relocated to Bujumbura, Burundi, in 2003 with a total enrollment of 110 students. HAU now boasts more than 4,000 students, and it graduates doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and business leaders to impact Burundi and East Africa. HAU is literally changing culture.
We are developing a culture of leadership development. … We are creating training modules for each level of leadership for our volunteers. This kind of investment shows that we value them. It also gives them the confidence, character and competencies to lead. – Kelli Williams Wommack
Start while they are young. Youth ministry is crucially vital in that the majority of lifelong habits and traits of an individual are mostly formed before adulthood. If leadership skill is developed before adulthood, the individual will have tremendously more impact over the course of their life.
Be willing to use whoever God is willing to use.