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The short answer to the question in the title of this article is a resounding Yes.

But there’s a lot that goes into it.

When we think of leadership development, right or wrong, we generally think of seminary.  I want this article to open our eyes to the model which was in the New Testament and see how we can apply it in a 21st century equivalent.

What was Paul?

But first, we have to clear one thing up – what kind of leader was Paul?

This is important, because if we want to find a 21st century equivalent to the New Testament, then we have to know what the New Testament actually prescribes in the first place.

Paul wasn’t just an everyday church member, nor was he an elder of a single church.  He was something else.  And this type of leader does not have a name prescribed by the New Testament.

Sometimes, we call him a missionary, but this term is actually found nowhere in the bible.  Sometimes we call him a pastor, but he did not function as a modern-day pastor does today, staying in one church for an extended period of time and primarily preaching sermons.

So if we want to know what a Paul-like leader did, let’s actually look at the text.

Acts 13-14 shows Paul during his first missionary journey.  This is where we can see exactly what a Paul-like leader is supposed to do.  There were five basic steps he took everywhere he went, and 14:21-23 sum it up more succinctly than anywhere else in the passage.

  1. He evangelized strategic cities.
  2. He established churches in those cities.
  3. He raised up new leaders to be local elders.
  4. Then he left them to do the work of the gospel themselves in their local contexts.
  5. He managed the network of churches by continuing to work with local elders and assisting in the sharing of resources (This last step is found in all of the Pauline epistles.  These letters, after all, were one of the ways he continued to work with them).

For more information on this, check out this previous article.

Paul was a very different kind of #leader. #church #christ Click To Tweet

So Paul was a very different kind of leader.  We can’t ignore his function as we work in our churches today or else we’ll miss out on the important work that was necessary in the 1st century and is certainly still necessary in the 21st century.

Now let’s dig into how exactly Paul raised up new leaders.

An Old Model

Leadership Development in the Church

In the New Testament, we see all kinds of examples of how the leaders in the church were to establish people in the faith.  They were to learn the elementary principles of Christ.  This basic level was essential to leadership development.  It was the foundation on which Christ-followers could grow into leaders.

The elementary principles of #Christ were essential to #leadership development. Click To Tweet

Here are some examples:

  • Titus 2.  Paul instructed Titus to teach everyone what is “in accord with sound doctrine.”
  • 1 Timothy 4.  Paul instructed Timothy to “Command and teach these things” to the people.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6.  Paul said that he passed down a body of teaching to everyone in all the churches that they were all supposed to follow.
  • Hebrews 5:11-6:3.  The author wrote that the people in the church were supposed to be established in the elementary principles, so that they could teach others.  It was not enough for them to just know a lot about God.  To be mature meant to be able to teach others.

Leadership Development for Elders

Acts 20:20 says that Paul personally taught the elders “publicly and from house to house”.

Leaders were teaching men who showed faith and capability how to be elders.  In the same passage, Paul explained that their job as elders were to oversee the flock and to protect them from false doctrines and false teachers.  And Paul taught them how to do it.

Leadership Development for Paul-like Leaders

In Acts 16:1-3, Paul took Timothy along for the ride.

This was very much an apprenticeship, rather than a set of academic courses.  Paul taught Timothy as they did the work together of planting and establishing churches.  He learned ministry skills, sound doctrine, and was accountable to keep high moral character.

Timothy was given increasing amounts of responsibility as he learned, until he was literally leading the church in Ephesus by himself.  He was not officially handed the baton until he was approximately 40 years old.

Continue the article on the next page.