Leadership & Discipline

I get this question all the time and have answered it often, but I will do so on my blog again for others who still haven’t found the answer elsewhere on the website. I got this email a few days ago:

I have a question for you. Do you still believe in Church leadership and Church discipline? How are those things to operate? Does a loving Father still chastise? Just some questions I have had for a while, I really like what you teach and was wanting your advice on these things. Thank you so much!

My response: I absolutely do, as the early church experienced them, but not how we’ve encased them in our institutional, shame-based caricatures of the church organizations today. Leadership is about equipping and facilitating, not managing and manipulating. And discipline is about loving people into wholeness not shaming them in their sin. We have twisted these things until they no longer reflect the intent of our older brother, Jesus!

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6 Comments
  1. David Grant January 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    After leaving the IC a while ago, I started have the feeling of wanting to do something. I found myself wanting more structure. I was seeing sheep everywhere without a shepherd. And yet, I couldn’t go back to the “dark” side.

    What was I looking for? I wanted that place to belong, to feel part of something vital. The picture that hit me was my kids. They are grown adults living their lives. We’re connected but not like when they were 7,8, 10. They grew up, I can’t ground them, I can’t even make them wash the car. (rats) But I didn’t lose them nor do I control them. They’ve heard all my “sermons” and now they make their own decisions. I’m honored when they ask advice and I’m thrilled when they make decisions that are good for them without even inquiring of me. I still want to intrude into their lives but I know I can’t barge in and issue some edict. I think if I used the word leadership in describing our relationship they would feel something was lost. And yet I think that perhaps, in some way, it’s what the kingdom is meant to look like.

  2. David Grant January 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    After leaving the IC a while ago, I started have the feeling of wanting to do something. I found myself wanting more structure. I was seeing sheep everywhere without a shepherd. And yet, I couldn’t go back to the “dark” side.

    What was I looking for? I wanted that place to belong, to feel part of something vital. The picture that hit me was my kids. They are grown adults living their lives. We’re connected but not like when they were 7,8, 10. They grew up, I can’t ground them, I can’t even make them wash the car. (rats) But I didn’t lose them nor do I control them. They’ve heard all my “sermons” and now they make their own decisions. I’m honored when they ask advice and I’m thrilled when they make decisions that are good for them without even inquiring of me. I still want to intrude into their lives but I know I can’t barge in and issue some edict. I think if I used the word leadership in describing our relationship they would feel something was lost. And yet I think that perhaps, in some way, it’s what the kingdom is meant to look like.

  3. Ian Stapleton January 21, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I struggled with this somewhat myself as I began this journey. As a now de-flocked pastor I felt useless and worthless, a deep feeling of failure was upon me, even though this still small voice keep saying I wasn’t and I hadn’t. How would God accept me if I no longer took a stand in this position, even moreso how would my peers react and would they still accept me.
    Well not to many of my peers accept me anymore, but my Dad does. I am right where He wants me and now He is beginning to open His doors for me to share with others this marvellous journey that I am on, encouraging them in their relationship with Him in the way that He leads rather than the way I would have them go. This of course is done not through the need to perform or uphold a position or title, but rather through the desire to relate.
    Peter talks of the shephards as ones who guide not as lords over God’s heritage, but as an example to the flock, the five-fold grace gifts and eldership being an integral part of His body.

  4. Ian Stapleton January 21, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I struggled with this somewhat myself as I began this journey. As a now de-flocked pastor I felt useless and worthless, a deep feeling of failure was upon me, even though this still small voice keep saying I wasn’t and I hadn’t. How would God accept me if I no longer took a stand in this position, even moreso how would my peers react and would they still accept me.
    Well not to many of my peers accept me anymore, but my Dad does. I am right where He wants me and now He is beginning to open His doors for me to share with others this marvellous journey that I am on, encouraging them in their relationship with Him in the way that He leads rather than the way I would have them go. This of course is done not through the need to perform or uphold a position or title, but rather through the desire to relate.
    Peter talks of the shephards as ones who guide not as lords over God’s heritage, but as an example to the flock, the five-fold grace gifts and eldership being an integral part of His body.

  5. Alan February 10, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Hello! I just caught up on this blog – strange I was thinking the other day that the word ‘leader’ or ‘leadership’ does not exist in the NT. Only ‘ministry’. Far too much importance is attached to men leading us and not enough to the leading of the Holy Spirit…..agree?

  6. Alan February 10, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Hello! I just caught up on this blog – strange I was thinking the other day that the word ‘leader’ or ‘leadership’ does not exist in the NT. Only ‘ministry’. Far too much importance is attached to men leading us and not enough to the leading of the Holy Spirit…..agree?

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