Three Essential Leaders Missing From Your Church

Chris —  April 23, 2013

JR Woodward is a fellow graduate of the Fuller MAGL, the head of V3 Church Planting. His book Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World, synthesizes much of what we studied in the MAGL with his own philosophy of church planting and leadership.

According to Woodward’s, there is a direct correlation between the forms of church leadership and the spiritual lives of individual believers.  He draws on Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4 that there is a “link between the spiritual maturity of the church and the five kinds of equippers operating in the church: apostles (what I nickname dream awakeners), prophets (heart revealers), evangelists (story tellers), pastors (soul healers) and teachers (light givers)”.

This view of church leadership is occasionally referred to as APEPT.  The modern churches obsession with Pastor/Teachers often leads to the joke “where are all the APEs in the church?

Here’s a quick overview, and my response:

Part One: The Power of Culture

The book begins by asking:

  • What is culture? 
  • How does it shape us? 
  • What does it mean to have “missional” culture?

Culture is made up of rituals, narratives, ethics and institutions.  Churches usually copy these from their host culture. Instead, they should be approached missionally.

Part Two: A Leadership Imagination That Shapes Missional Culture

He then shows the inherent social-ness of the Trinity shows the need for social-ness in leadership.  With this framework laid, he introduces his ideal of polycentric leadership.

Part Three: The Five Culture Creators

Woodward gets to the meat of his proposal: the five equippers in Ephesians 4 are meant to be a functional model of leadership.

Part Four: Embodying a Missional Culture

The book ends with examples of from Churches exploring polycentric leadership.

Creating a Missional Culture helped me connect some disconnected dots. I have often wondered “why are all leaders called pastors?” or “what happened to all the prophets and apostles?” If Woodward is right, their is a much fuller and more powerful expression of Church than what we are experiencing.

Woodward’s dream is much more difficult than how many Churches organize. But if he’s right, it may be exactly what your Church needs to grow into what God has dreamed up.

Does your church engage the Four Equippers?  How?

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