Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Papers Part 3

6. Describe your understanding of clergy leadership from a Biblical and Wesleyan perspective.

From a biblical perspective clergy leadership is helping God’s people take the next faithful step, to borrow a definition from Lovett Weems. This is true both individually and corporately. Moses led the people out of a land of slavery eventually to the edge of the promised land. He did so under God’s direction, meaning he looked to God and listened to his direction. Thus he interpreted God’s faithful steps for the Israelites to lead them to the place God prepared for them. He helped them to take the next faithful step.

Jesus, as part of his earthly ministry, invested his life in 12 men. He taught them and showed them the way towards the next faithful step. Because of Jesus’ leadership (and the fact that he was the Son of God) Peter and James were instrumental (with the power of the Holy Spirit) in the founding, leadership and building of the church. From John we have several important (and much discussed) canonical texts. These men took the next faithful step.

Thus clergy leadership is helping the church as a body and as individuals to take the next faithful step to which God is calling them. We do this through participating in a relationship with God from which we gain our vision and understanding. We do this by spending time and investing our lives in other leaders who will then invest their lives in other leaders, etc.

From a Wesleyan perspective, clergy leadership seems to be the specifics of how to help God’s people take the next faithful step. For instance, preaching and the sacraments were very important to share God’s grace with others, thereby enabling them to follow the movement of the Spirit.

Additionally accountability and discipline as a community helps people to take the next faithful step, because it helps us to focus on where we are going. Disciplined accountability helps the church and individual believers, as Stephen Covey once said, to “keep the main thing the main thing by keeping the main thing the main thing.”

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