What does an apostolic leader do anyways?
Over the past 10 years, I think I’ve asked about every one of my pastor-friends the question, “what is it that you do during the week?” or “how do you spend your time?” I’ve asked because I was sensing that I was not a typical pastor and quite honestly, I did not know what to do.
This was long before I heard language of “apostolic leadership” talked about in a positive light. But, over the last two years I have learned that I’m probably more apostolically gifted than I ever would have thought. One of the most helpful things I have read recently was Alan Hisrch and Tim Catchim’s discussion of Pauline Apostles and Petrine Apostles in their book, The Permanent Revolution. To crudely summarize them: Pauline apostles are serial church planters who rarely stick in one place; Petrine apostles are rooted in one place and send people into God’s mission and care for them as they go and as they serve. Now, I have had plenty of examples of “Pauline apostles.” Some of them are good friends, others I have been able to observe from a distance. But until I read Alan and Tim’s book, I didn’t have language or a framework to understand my own apostolic leanings.
With this in mind, I want to share how I spend my time in my role at The Well. Since we serve in a very team-based approach, I am very freed up to live out my apostolic gifting in ways I never have before. My hope is that this will be helpful to others who are sensing they are gifted apostolically but still long to be rooted in a local community for a long period of time, people who we might call “Petrine Apostles”.
What follows is a summary of the things I am currently working on. One thing to note, I work at The Well in a bi-vocational role. That means I’m “supposed” to only work about 20 hours a week. Obviously some weeks it is more than that. Other weeks my other job as a web developer demands that I work less than that. Needless to say, what you see below is almost impossible to do in the time that I have allotted. Because of this, things tend to move slower than I’d like and I try and include as many people in the process as possible.
So, here is how my life currently looks in this season of The Well’s life:
In addition to things like pastoral care (which I do less and less of as we equip others to do this), being part of our weekly preaching group, preaching once every 4-6 weeks, overseeing our staff and leading our elder/leadership team meetings I am focused on a the following key projects at The Well.
Long-term vision development and feasibility
Since we would like to continue in our history of planting churches, I’m learning and researching the possibilities for different church planting models and processes. I’m spending time meeting with other pastors and planters who have gone before us so that we are not re-inventing the wheel and instead finding a sustainable way forward that learns for others.
Building / Growth Assessment
We have been growing in our Sunday morning attendance and our children’s ministry is hard to contain in our current set up despite (and maybe because of) the improvements we’ve made on our building. Because of this, I’m exploring possible opportunities / ideas around growth and what do with it regarding our building. Is our current space big enough to handle 200 people / are there other options in our local community available should God call us to move elsewhere? Here I am making sure we are doing my due diligence and are prepared for what God might call us to in the future.
Discipleship Systems and Environments
I’m taking a good hard look at our discipleship systems and environments. As we continue to grow, we have to be constantly evaluating our ways of helping people find places they can grow together in their walk with Christ. I’m looking at strategies around how we can help people people connect with one another and care for one another.
Development of our Stewardship Team
I’m working with our key leaders on the development of a team that intentionally connects our mission and vision with our finances and our personal resources and thus continues to intentionally cultivate The Well into a community of generosity. This team will oversee the finances throughout the year as well as serve as teaching / training / development of our community’s generosity.
Church Planter Development Program
I’m working on putting together a process and plan for leaders in our midst who are discerning if God is calling them to plant a church. Currently, I am working on developing this vision as well as working with one church planting couple who is in the midst of discerning God’s call in their lives.
Our current leadership model was created for a church-plant/church revitalization. We need a new model going forward that disperses power, creates natural accountability and positions us for the future. I’m working with our pastoral team and elder team and other leaders to put together a more sustainable leadership model.
Global Mission Long-term Vision
We have intentional partnership globally with Lemonade International. I continue to develop that relationship and we will soon move into a discernment with the congregation about our long-term vision for this partnership.
Potential Philadelphia Partnerships
Since our vision encompasses “Feasterville, Bucks County, Philadelphia and the World” I am currently pursuing conversations around potential missional partners in locally and in Philadelphia
Bucks County Partnerships w/Hispanic Congregations
I have become convinced that one of the most marginalized people groups in Bucks County (Suburban Philly) is the Hispanic community. We have developed friendship with some key pastors/leaders in the area and I am re-engaging those friendships to see what kind of partnership we can have for the future.
Hopefully this is helpful. While this isn’t a perfect summary of the way I use my time, it is at least a pretty solid snapshot.