What kind of leadership would is take to make the gospel spread quickly across an area? That’s the question that Steve Addison takes up in Pioneering Movements: Leadership that Multiplies Disciples and Church.
Churches join in gospel movements by training leaders (24). A powerful combination is “training followed by action” (25). The training method needs to be simple, but profound. Disciples need a few basic skills and then opportunity to put them into practice.
In order to join movements, train leaders, and impact the world, the church must look to Jesus (38). He is our pattern. His mission is the church’s mission (39). What did Jesus do that started a movement?
- He saw the goal
- He connected with people
- He shared the gospel
- He trained the disciples
- He gathered communities
- He multiplied workers
Jesus was the apostle–someone who is “sent”–par excellence. Addison argues that “apsotles” (lower-case “a”) are still around today; not in the sense that they write Scripture or saw the resurrected Christ. Rather, there are some Christians who are “sent” out to spread the gospel. Pastors, on the other hand, are more likely “to be limited to a local congregation or network of congregations” (42).
Addison also uses Peter as an example of a “pioneering apostle.” Peter traveled all around sharing the gospel and wasn’t a primary organizer or coordinator of the church’s work (57).
How can movements operate today? By realizing that there exists a missionary band and a local church. The missionary band moves around, preaching Jesus while the local church is established in a particular context (70). The best relationship between these two realities is partnership. Local churches can be “sending bases” for missionary bands. Churches can support these bands by giving money, workers, and prayer (74). Missionary bands support churches by training local leaders and mobilizing local missions for the church (74).
To see a movement grow and flourish, five levels of leadership are necessary (Chapter Six).
- Seed Sower: Every believer. Someone who shares the gospel
- Church Planter: Someone who evangelizes and establishes believers into a community.
- Church Multiplier: A church planter who teaches churches how to multiply and plant new churches.
- Multiplication Trainer: Teaches multiplication-minded church planters how to plant multiplication-minded churches.
- Movement Catalyst: Takes on the responsibility to reach an entire region.
For movements to flourish, leaders must be grown from level 1 to level 5 (105). The key is to focus on “multiple generations of churches” (106).
Of course, starting movement is going to be met with opposition. “Apostolic” leaders must embrace “the weakness and shame of the cross and the power and victory of the resurrection with the new age of the Spirit” (164).
Relevance to LBC
Training disciples is one of the key elements to church growth and rapid spread of the gospel. Summarizing Addison, here are a few of the key skills that disciples need to be trained in:
- How to share a story from the life of Jesus (Weavers training, anyone?!?!)
- How to facilitate an evangelistic/new believers Bible study in a home
- How to lead someone to Christ
- How to pray for a need, and ask, “Are you near or far from God right now?” (31).
What would a training meeting look like? Asking a few evaluative questions:
- What have you done since we last met?
- How have you seen God at work?
- What are you learning?
- Where are you stuck?
- What do you need to do next?
- How can we pray for you?
Simple, but profound. The key is in execution and opportunity. As pastors and elders, we must give people opportunity to put these skills into practice. And we need to execute–follow up and schedule meetings and ask questions.