It is how the church in the first century functioned.
And it’s what I am personally trying to build in my own city. In this long-term series, I will chronicle the development of my complex network in my context. I will record how I apply principles of Scripture within my city’s culture, and what I am learning in the process.
As it is about what The Borough is accomplishing in our city, this series is also part of our category, The Prototype.
And this article, being Part I, is about how I’m getting started.The two go hand-in-hand: simple #churches & complex networks of #leaders Click To Tweet
Paul’s Network of Leaders
As Paul went around planting churches, each church was simple in its structure. The meetings were simple, and their goals were simple. To share the gospel with the community, take care of the community, and establish the church in the faith, making strong disciples.
But that is not all Paul did. Paul managed a complex network of leaders. He obviously functioned with ties to church leaders and church planters all over the Mediterranean. But he also needed different kinds of leaders to function. On his team were leading women, benefactors, businessmen and women, and government leaders.
With all those different skills and focuses, Paul was able to bring a variety of aspects of ministry which benefited his entire church network.
My Network of Leaders
In my own context, I am building a network which includes church leaders, church planters, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, artists, local government leaders, leaders of public works, university professors, and campus ministry leaders.
The goal is the same as Paul’s: to harness the different resources available to each discipline and utilize it all to benefit the establishment and expansion of the church in our city.
We are getting started by walking through a course together called Seek the Welfare of the City, which will start later this week.
Over the course of this series, I will not be sharing anything personal or confidential about any individual in the group, but I will be sharing our progress and development as a team.
And as we are getting started, no one has committed to anything formal. The only thing they’ve committed to is going through the course itself. In these beginning stages, it is all about relationships and figuring out who has the propensity (as well as the time) to contribute to a larger vision for the city.#Contribute to a larger vision for the city. Click To Tweet
A Network of Leaders with Common Ground
That’s a good question, as all of us come from different churches in our city.
Well, as explained in an earlier article, the theological nuances which have become so important in 21st century evangelicalism were not actually the emphases of the main teachings of the Apostles.
They actually focused on two major things:
(1) Understanding the gospel – Christ was prophecied in the Old Testament; He came, died for our sins, and rose from the dead; and that He will return to judge the living and the dead.
(2) Understanding the individual’s and church’s response to the gospel – becoming a new man in Christ, proper relationships in the family, proper relationships and order in the church, proper relationship with the government, proper relationships with non-believers, and a proper defense against Satan.
None of those things should be controversial in the Christian world, but that’s not why we can have unity around them. We unite around these principles because they were what the Apostles actually meant to be the foundations of our faith (as evidenced by their emphasis, clarity and quantity of teachings on these subjects in the New Testament).
And so we can move forward as a network, not worrying about whether someone is a Calvinist or Arminian or whether someone is a dispensationalist or reformed. We can all agree about the main teachings of the Apostles and have unity around them.
A Network of Leaders with a Common Goal
Getting started, our goal will be to complete the course, Seek the Welfare of the City, as I said above.
During the course, our common goal will be to learn about good citizenship, good works, good occupations, and becoming benefactors to the church and to the community.
After the course, those who want to continue in partnership will work out a new set of goals. The primary one being to establish and expand the church in our city and surrounding regions.Leading a network must include leading in a common goal. #leadership Click To Tweet
A Network of Leaders in which Individuals Benefit
Now, this section is not about selfish individual benefits. I’m talking about spiritual individual benefits. After all, in order to put a team together, each person has to believe that their contribution will also move them toward their own personal goals, and the goals of their own church.
During the course, Seek the Welfare of the City, each person will benefit from learning how to apply Scriptural principles to those areas of life which are not commonly talked about in church (and incidentally are the main subjects discussed on The Borough).
They will develop a biblical foundation for commerce, culture, citizenship, generosity, and community. And their own churches and sub-communities will benefit even more than their own personal gains. Each one will be able to go into their sphere of influence and better serve others with these new understandings.
After the course, those who wish to continue participating will gain the benefits of continued learning, and the sharing of resources toward our common goal. So each one’s church and network will gain much through the mutual connection of our group.
A Network of Leaders which Strategizes Together
Community projects. Participating together in existing community outreaches. Participating together in city government. Helping each other develop financial tactics for our churches.
The long-term vision (for those who choose to be a part of it) would be that we become an effective team which strategizes major initiatives for the city. Establishing the church. Spreading the gospel. Taking care of the community. Funding major international church planting movements.
Strategizing together is the purpose of a complex network of leaders. With solid coordination, organization, and faith in Christ, we will be able to accomplish so much more together than any one of us could do on our own. The Holy Spirit moving through us.
Also published on Medium.