A Framework for Church Leadership


Van Zyl Slabbert, Frederick

Church leadership is identified as a vital theological issue facing the twenty-first century church in the midst of negative church growth statistics as well as the struggle of the church to be faithful and relevant in rapidly changing cultural contexts. Key indicators supporting this are the overall lack of scholarly research with respect to church leadership as spiritual leadership, the failure of the pastoral leadership model to address missiological and ecclesiological challenges as well contemporary approaches, either functional or organisational, offering only method and strategy rather than spiritual and theological remedies. Alternatively, the missional approach, rooted in the nature and purpose of the church, offers a theocentric rather than an anthropocentric remedy to the leadership issue. The goal of the study is to explore a framework for church leadership following the missional approach.

The missional approach begins with the intentions and actions of God. In reviewing the purpose of God, as expressed through the Kingdom of God motif, and subsequently this influence on the nature and ministry of the church, it was concluded that the church is thoroughly missional, and called to represent the Kingdom as its community, servant and messenger. On this foundation the church leadership construct is explored using the theological framework of ontology, methodology and teleology and concluded that church leadership in its ontology is called by the grace of God not by the will of man; in its methodology gifted by the grace of God and reflecting the nature of Christ and in its teleology exercising spiritual authority towards God’s purpose The application of this theocentric view promotes a missional leadership system.

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