Shared Leadership


A Call to Community

Key Bible Verse: Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)

Dig Deeper: Ephesians 4:1-16

In our world, governments require presidents, corporations need CEOs, and schools need administrators. But churches have a circle of leaders. “Appoint elders,” Paul told Titus (Titus 1:5), meaning a plurality of leaders, not one überleader. The Bible teaches a shared leadership model for the church. No flying solo. No king-of-the-hill approaches to leadership. Why? Because the church is not simply a corporation with a cross on the roof.

In the church, there is a circle at the top. We were created by a circle, the Trinity. We do life together in little circles we call groups and ministry teams, and we are called to lead in a circle. Elders, deacons, leadership teams – we lead in community.

This does not mean that we don’t need leaders or that there are no roles for strong leaders. It does mean, however, that leaders are gifted and called to serve by equipping others, delegating authority, sharing ministry, and giving away power and control to competent, emerging leaders. A one-person-controls-everything leadership model in the church is dangerous to the community and deadly to a leader.

When we serve with a circle-building mind-set rather than taking a tower-building approach, it is easier for each of us to pick up a towel without worrying about rank, power, or prestige.

– Bill Donahue in The Irresistible Community

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