You see kids, as a young church leader I’ve been on this quest to figure out what church leadership should look like. I think our current models of leadership are busted; to fix them we need to see what leadership looked like before we broke it.
We looked at Jesus’ comments on leadership here.
Don’t worry. If you don’t feel like going back to catch up you can jump in now. Each one stands alone.
Now the time has come to dive into Acts and read about the first leaders of the church in action.
Again, quickly, we are only looking at passages that refer specifically to leadership. Many passages have awesome things to say about living the Jesus life that leaders should do…but so should everyone else, so we are not covering those.
Acts (the sequel to the book of Luke) starts with Jesus ascending into heaven. He tells the disciples to hang out and wait for the Holy Spirit so they go chill in a room in Jerusalem. Then the Holy Spirit descends “like tongues of fire”, (I love how Luke throws that phrase out like it is a metaphor we should be able to picture. All those tongues of fire I see falling from the sky everyday.) all kinds of Jesus chaos breaks out, and the first “church” forms.
At this point in the narrative the 12 emerge as leaders, especially Peter; so our analysis will focus in on them.
Qualification for Leadership
Right off the bat we get a snap shot of what was important to this group of leaders. In chapter one, while they wait for the Holy Spirit flaming tongues to show up, they replaced Judas. Interestingly, they only mentioned one thing they were looking for in the replacement. He had to have been with them since the beginning so he could serve as a witness to what happened.
No, “he needs to be a fantastic speaker.” No “he should be a great organizer.’ No three C’s – character, competence, and chemistry.
The new leader simply needed to own the DNA of the movement. He needed to be someone that understood what the Jesus life was all about.
Peter Rises to the Top
In both moments, as they choose the new leader and then as they spoke publically for the first time, Peter emerged as the leader of the 12.
Why Peter? Why not James or John?
I think Acts 2:14 gives us a beautiful metaphor that answers this question.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…
Why was Peter the leader? Because Peter stepped up. It was that simple. There was a need and Peter filled it. His leadership wasn’t about a title, or his gifting, or his “calling.” He was part of a body of believers. There was a need and he filled it.
How did he fill it? What did he do to fill it? I see three things.
First, he imitated Jesus. We find Peter in these seven chapters doing what Jesus was doing throughout the book of Luke. Take chapter 3 for instance. Substitute “Jesus” for “Peter” and you would think you were reading a passage from the Gospel of Luke.
Second, he did it with courage. Courage is the word the religious leadership use to describe John and Peter when they arrest them.
Third, he was obsessed. Peter had a wild, crazy, unstoppable passion with Jesus and sharing the new Kingdom life. When told to stop speaking about Jesus Peter’s simple answer is, “I can’t. I can’t stop.” He was an addict. He had the Jesus twitch. He couldn’t stop even if he wanted to.
Now that is a church leader.
This is getting long so I will post the second half this afternoon.