Studying the church at Antioch brings us to a clear conclusion on what an essential core value is of a Biblically sound church. This core value is shared leadership. The leaders were gathered together worshipping the Lord and the Holy Spirit spoke to the leadership team to set apart Paul and Barnabas to send them out on their missionary journey. The interesting thing about the lead team at Antioch is there was great diversity among the group.
Consider the ethnicity of all of the leaders:
Never in a million years would we think to assemble such a "motley crue" group together. This is the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God unites the hearts of people with different backgrounds in order to carry out the great commission for his glory and honor. In God's economy he does not just choose one type of person to be a leader, but he raises people up from every nation, every tribe, and every tongue.
In addition to their diverse ethnic background, clearly different gifts exist among the group. Some were prophets and teachers. Paul was an apostle and a missionary. Barnabas was given the missionary gift as well. God gives different gifts according to the grace given to each person. It is our duty to band together with those individuals that have very different gifts and all exercise our gifts for the glory of God. This is what was taking place at the church.
God does not want his leaders to go out as "lone ranger!" We are called to band together with other godly leaders and charge forward as a unified group. We are to be unified even in the midst of our diversity.
This shared leadership concept is a core value for me in my ministry. For one thing I know that I have way too many weaknesses to build a sound ministry as a "one man show." It just won't work. This is why the Bible time and time again calls for a plurality of overseers to lead and direct the church. I am continually praying and on the lookout for more leaders who feel called to unite together for a common vision and purpose reaching people for Christ. Identify the way that God has uniquely equipped and called you and go and fulfill that calling!
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.