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Leadership Development

From Good to Great:  Developing Christian Disciples & Leaders (Matthew 20:25-28)

The source for the rationale of the theme is page 8 and 9 of the 2006 Episcopal Address delivered by Bishop Henry M. Williamson. He states, “The challenge of the twenty-first century is undeniably that of developing leaders. Will we reach, train, equip and empower effective leaders to the issues of our day?”

He further states, “The world is looking for a new model of leadership—one that seeks less to control people and more to honor them and empower them to make good choices; one that inspires commitment and builds teams; one which does not involve managing people like we manage things.” This leads Bishop Williamson to say that the model of leadership needed is modeled by Jesus Christ. The model is Servant-Leader; one of making disciples and developing new leaders. He concludes this section of the address by saying, “His (Jesus) model was developing spiritually mature men and women and equipping them with the skills and tools to advance His Kingdom. The Jesus model of leadership was about sharing power, not hording it.” Our biblical basis for the theme, also used in the Episcopal Address and in the previous convocation, is Matthew 20:25-28.

It is very appropriate to use Jesus as our model for leadership in the church, for indeed our ecclesiology rests on Christology. It seems that Jesus’ vision of the style of leadership, servanthood, is being emphasized to correspond to the alternative style of kingship.

Thus, with the aid of the Bible and the College of Bishops we seem to be unified in the principle of what is the right kind of leader. We must now take on the task of defining how we carry out the passion of our purpose of developing the desired leaders.

At a minimum we first must reach men and women. The theme implies that we must use all of the evangelistic tools available to reach. Second we must train, equip and empower men and women. This requires providing the human and other material resources necessary for our mission of developing Christian disciples and leaders.

This is a strong challenge at this convocation especially to those who work under the umbrella of connectional ministries. This leads us from the theoretical or theological side of the theme to the praxis or the practical/action side of the theme.

How do we develop Christian disciples and leaders in the local church that leads to leaders at all levels of the church? And how do we develop Christian disciples and leaders of people who are already in leadership roles? The focus and intent of classes at the convocation will serve to address these two questions.

The Membership Manual of the CME Church is now available at a cost of $12.