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October 03, 2005


Simon Thompson

I have been obsessing about this subject for years. In particular, I have wondered why charismatic churches are so hierarchical when the charismatic model of church in the New Testament seems to point to a more interrelated model. From Peter’s explanation of Pentecost, to Paul’s detailed model of the body of Christ, the message seems to be that the days of the gifted individual are over and the time when everyone has gifts and skills to contribute has come. The distribution of God’s Spirit means that we need each other. In this new economy ‘leadership’ is by gift, evaluated by all.

Richard L

Alan Roxborough has an excellent quote on this, from Mission Shaped Church. I've posted it at

Emerging leaders must lead by example, and from within?


Absolutely agree about the charismatic thing Simon. I think the whole idea of the Spirit, Spiritual gifts etc. have been hijacked by the charismatic movement, and led to a paucity of thought and language about them in other movements. Pentecost is the most powerful affirmation of God's emergent, networked vision for us.

And I like Alan's quote Richard:

"The pastor apostle is one who forms congregations into mission groups shaped by encounters with the gospel in culture - structuring the congregations forms into shapes that lead people outward into a missionary encounter ... but in this kind of congregation, the pastor will only be able to lead as he or she models the encounter with the culture"

However, I still feel that there is a danger of too much of the passive/active in this (even though I doubt Alan meant it to be taken this way). There is a risk of this being interpreted as "let's get ourselves a trendy vicar who likes Radiohead", (from the original post, the "hero Leader to save us") rather than, let's sack the full time leaders, enable them to work part time and all get more involved in shaping this vision together.

"Encountering culture" is the troublesome phrase of course as it brings us back to the culture 'as if' it were some seperate entity. You can't encounter culture. You have to participate in it. This is the trouble with much of the alt.worship/emerging church: it seeks to train-spot culture. When it should be trying to be the train.

Colin Darling


I have been working on chaos theory and storytelling. Jesus gave us precious little in terms of model rather he told stories - in the form of holy humourous semi-limericks that draw our attention to certain uncertainties. They are like (Lorenz) attractors in chaos theory.
If you revisit the attractors in almost any order or frequency you eventually produce a form in phase space. If we continually revisit Jesus' attractors in 'Way space' we find something being formed which is what Jesus wanted and knew would be formed. It is in this way that Jesus is himself the Way. Not his name as a magic word, or ritual device follow him round the attractors. Look at the things he did and hear his stories and see where it leads you. He is the fractal.


I'm with you all the way!


Gr8 chat here!
The more concerned comments and advice i get from Christian's, the more convinced i am that their concern is misplaced. God actually trusts us. Leadership should be what it's always been taught to be... the greatest servant, the foot-washer... the person who just gets on and loves people... and lives. I even wonder if Jesus was a leader? I mean, what kind of leader gets killed then buggers off after they've been proved correct all along after they re-incarnate? And what does this leader leave us with? The exact same freedom from sin and HolySpirit that he had... even though we are no where as worthy as him!
That ain't a leader...
that's a cloner who deliberately uses difficient and unpredictable DNA strands.
I'll follow that mad scientist anywhere and duplicate their lifes work.
Are we Christian's or Jesus-Mutations?


Colin - fantastic thoughts. Thank you.

"If we continually revisit Jesus' attractors in 'Way space' we find something being formed which is what Jesus wanted and knew would be formed. It is in this way that Jesus is himself the Way"

Would it be fair to say that part of the problem is leaders setting themselves up (in cahoots with our laziness) as un-strange-attractors... and our visits by them thus create routine, tiresome and over-familiar forms... Forms that are 'unfractal': lacking infinite depth and symmetry?

Simon Thompson

For me, the telling term is pastor apostle. What does this mean? An apostle who is called a pastor because that is the convention of his/her church, or someone who fulfils both of these roles (and probably the rest of Ephesians 4 as well)? It seems to me that there is a desperate effort on the part of the church to narrow all of the 'leadership' gifts down to one. In contrast, Ephesians 4 points, consistent with 1 Cor 14, to a multiplicity of gifts, distributed to every member of the church (v7).

As to the fractal analagy, I think I understand the message, but not the model!

I think that 'servant leadership' is a term that the church hides behind on this subject. I once asked a leader what he meant by it, and he drew a parallel with being a laird, 'serving' the welfare of his tenants! At the other end of the spectrum is a leader I know, who I see as the church's 'pet saint': a man who appears to be truly humble, but must be getting a massive payoff from the adulation of his flock.


You can find a bit of Capra's take.. the physicist turned biologist.. here..

Better is the whole chapter in his book "The Hidden Connections".. I placed an excerpt here..

David Lindsell

In the charismatic movement there's been an awful lot of backslapping about the success of 'leaders' to create or inspire 'movements'.

For example exhibit A -

Leaving aside the relative merits of these 'movements' I would question whether this legacy of amazing leadership is deserved.

Nelson Mandela, in his autobiography, plays down talk that he was a leader in the anti-aparthied movement, pointing at his heroes, many who passed away during ther struggle.

Movements make leaders, not the other way around, or as Tony Benn says: "Apartheid wasn't ended by Nelson Mandela and a spin doctor."

I believe I am part of a movement. I am as important as anyone else in that movement. It ebbs and flows, it swells and clashes against ideas, people and other interests. It isn't orchestrated, led, or designed.

A true paradigm of leadership - I love the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus leaves the 99 to find the 1. Most of our church leaders wouldn't leave the 1 to find the 99.

But the ones who do, the real heroes, we cluster around, quickly turning them into monuments.

veronica preayer

i feel lead to start a ministry, not to be pastor but to be an evangelist in the body. give me more words of wisdom. i plan to do what god has for me to do. i just want to work for the lord , while it is day for when night comes no man work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! be blessed

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Churches can have some real programs on their district that connects to others as well.

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