The team at Hope Community Church (HCC) in Nelson took a month out to pray and seek to see where God’s Spirit might be leading them to grow as a church. They listened. They waited.
During this month, one of the elders—who was also serving as Outreach Pastor—sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to go out from HCC to serve at another church nearby: Tasman Bible Church. He told the elders at HCC and they continued to pray and seek God.
That week, an elder at Tasman Bible Church had a surprising and unusually vivid dream: He stood in a field with the Senior Pastor of HCC, Donald Irvine, discussing ways the churches could work together and partner for the growth of the gospel in their region. When Donald rang him to chat, the elder answered immediately: “I know why you're calling.”
Although sending their Outreach Pastor came with feelings of loss, there was greater joy for HCC in seeing partnership in action and God at work. Over recent months, the two elderships have met together twice to pray, listen and dream, and are planning a retreat together—where they will spend time meeting together and separately—and have plans to support each other in future with pulpit-swaps and encouragement.
“The sense of partnership is encouraging,” says Daryl Bay, Pastor at HCC. “Tasman Bible Church has been a great encouragement to us and affirmed the idea of CCCNZ: ‘together works better’.”
Who are the leaders among your church?
Have you identified them and trained them in order to send them?
Who is God calling you to equip? Who are the next generation of leaders looking to learn and grow?
Who is God calling you to send? Are there opportunities in your region?
We live in a world obsessed with the latest business trends and models of success—and this obsession can find its way into the Church. Many pastors and leaders have ‘model fatigue’ from trying and failing at the ‘next best thing.’
Perhaps the best thing looks slightly different for each church, and relies on the quiet, on-going growth and discipleship of the people around you?
God, in his grace, has designed our churches in such a way that the next generation of elders, deacons, missionaries, pastors and leaders are among the group of people we gather with every single week.
So what is our responsibility as leaders? Are we consistently identifying, growing and sending the next generation of ministry leaders?
It's the bread and butter of ministry: putting God first and soaking in the Word and prayer to prioritise relationship—both with God and with each other. Humbly and prayerfully letting the Spirit shape our lives and hearts as we seek to find the younger men and women who are the ‘Timothys’ in our churches and send them out to be active in God’s mission.
It might not have neat steps, or catchy tag lines. It might be messy and challenging; but as a team of leaders--elders, pastors or ministry leaders--at your next meeting, it’s worth asking together:
Who are the next generation of leaders among you? Have you identified them? How are you equipping them to grow and serve? Where are you planning to send them?