February 19, 2014

By Phil Maynard

Jesus once warned about building a house on a poor foundation.  Nowhere is this issue more obvious than when we have leaders in place without the foundations to sustain them through the shifting sands of ministry leadership.

It is frequently the case in selecting congregational leaders that we look for those with experience in the secular workplace.  For example, we might look for someone with banking experience to lead our Finance Committee or facilities management to lead the Trustees.  At one level this makes a lot of sense.  At another level it is might be recipe for disaster.

The people we invite to leadership are not just making business decisions.  They are also making ministry decisions – Kingdom decisions.  The leadership they provide determines the faithfulness of the congregation in living into God’s vision.

John Wesley understood this well.  That’s why he selected only the most spiritually mature to be equipped as leaders for the Methodist Movement.  The following graphic provides a flow of development (albeit a somewhat linear perspective) for his process:


Those who became connected with the Methodists through being served or field preaching were invited to explore a Society Meeting (basically worship service).

Those who were convinced that they wanted “to flee from the wrath to come” were invited to be part of a Class Meeting (group of 15-20 persons) where they were trained in the basics of the faith and held accountable for their growth as disciples.

Those who excelled in the Class Meeting were invited to a deeper level of equipping as disciples and more significant accountability in Bands (men and women groups of about 5 persons) led by a mature disciple.

Those who were the ‘best of the best’ in the Bands were invited to participate in the Select Societies (training partnerships) for leadership development to serve as Preachers, Class Leaders, Band Leaders in the Movement.

You didn’t get to be a leader unless you were among the most spiritually mature disciples in the Movement. I think that may be a good lesson for us to recall for today.

So, how do you grow spiritually mature disciples?