Ever consider how to choose a leader to bring back what was lost?
When considering redemptive leaders for a faith-community, I recommend, The Shepherd Leader, a book by Jim Van Yperen. The book is well written and presents a logical, original thesis that has gone under the radar of mainstream students of church leadership. I offer my comments on just one section, Chapter Two, entitled, How to Recognize Who Should Lead. This chapter is a resource I come back to many times as I meet with faith-communities who are trying to discern who should lead. If you read the chapter, it will change the way you think about authority and leadership qualifications in the church.
The logic path of the chapter is simple. Here's how I look at it:
(Calling + Gifting + Appointment) x Character = Spiritual Authority.
Calling is God saying, "Do this" - plain and simple.
Gifting is what God gives an individual to do the call from God.
Appointment is the affirmation of God's calling and gifting to a specific time, purpose, and place. Appointment comes through the church, the faith-community of Christ-followers.
When the above elements come together there is Spiritual Authority.
Spiritual Authority is rooted in God's grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it requires a responsible and humble response on the part of the leader.
Character holds the whole leadership equation together. If Character is zero because of a lack of spiritual fruit, moral failure, or misconduct, the leader has zero Spiritual Authority. The leader could have the Calling, Gifting, and Appointment but without Character the leader forfeits Spiritual Authority - it all blows apart!
Spiritual Authority, therefore, is the convergence and expansion of everything listed before the equal sign. Spiritual Authority is not based on experience or knowledge, relationships, position, or a constitution. It is God's authority entrusted to a humble and responsible member of the faith-community of believers.
Why a redemptive leader? We need leaders with Spiritual Authority to lead our faith-communities out of bondage into freedom; to equip us to be the keepers and reminders of God's covenant; to balance our brokenness with courage, and integrity with justice; to bring back what was taken; to rob the house of darkness and bring us into the light; and to redeem who we are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.