The Leader as Catalyst - Part 7 (Next Steps)
This is the last installment in a seven-part series on understanding the leader as a catalyst. In the previous weeks, I have laid the foundation for this concept from a biblical perspective, so if you missed it, you should take the time to revisit those blogs. Today I would like to give you critical next steps related to each of the five roles I have discussed. Each of these five roles is essential to catalyzing a community to embrace the Jesus way in both thought and practice. Let’s look at the steps in implementing the Five Critical Elements:
Envisioner – “See the Way”
"Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law" (Psalm 29:18).
Remember, it all starts with the Kingdom vision of God for your church community. Vision can be thought of as the picture of the preferred future God desires for His people, in both being and doing. It's holistic and integrated, a "both/and" of the character and nature of their life together in Christ, as well as their engagement in Christ's mission of Kingdom extension.
First, you must get a hold of and capture the Lord's vision for the church you serve. You cannot guide your people towards it or inspire others to pursue it if there is an unclear picture of that future. You must envision it and describe it in such a way as others can lay hold of the vision for themselves and respond in obedient action in the Lord. You must paint the picture of God's preferred future in brilliant, high-definition color.
Second, you must capture that vision in such a way as to communicate it to others in a compelling fashion:
And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:2-3).
Third, you must share the vision continually, weaving it into everything you say, as it is the "why" of your church's existence and ministry. It must be omnipresent in your preaching, teaching, and media. Everything must tie back to your Kingdom purpose as a church.
Expositor – “Interpret the Way”
Suppose you don't have a common framework for understanding the Jesus way within your community in both doctrine and practice, haggadah and halacha? In that case, there is no commonality on which to build a way of life. Consequently, there is no ability to join together in the mission. To truly lead people out towards the vision God has for them, there must be a common way of life, a pathway of everyday engagement.
First, you must again capture your understanding of what it means to embrace the Jesus way. Yet, it is not enough to just elucidate doctrine, but the "how-to" of living the Kingdom life must be set in a pattern for people to follow. You must establish both the haggadah and the halacha for your congregation.
Second, you must wrap every aspect of doctrine and spiritual disciplines into your life. You must teach it and explain it, but you must also live it. Those you lead will never do what you don't. This is a key part of your actualization of the Kingdom way in your church
Implementer – “Define the Way”
The catalytic leader has a vision for the way, has an exposition of the way rooted in proper biblical exegesis, and must exemplify that way of life. The leader must become like Christ, an embodiment of the Kingdom. The doctrinal beliefs of a Kingdom community must be clearly laid out and transmitted to the community. The practices which make such doctrine real must also be defined in order to be lived. As both doctrine (haggadah) and practice (halacha) are lived out by the leader, the leader establishes the pattern of the Kingdom way, making it accessible to those whom they are discipling in Christ. Without this, the church will never be able to enter into the movement of God and participate in Kingdom extension.
Once you paint the picture of the future, you must step into it. As you define doctrine and practice, you must embody it. Your action item in this element is to evaluate your personal and family life to see if you truly are incarnationally embracing the vision and the yoke of Jesus that you teach. Are you the living example of the future God wants to bring? Do you live that future consistently and holistically, the way of Jesus being the common point of integration in everything you live and do?
Progenitor – “Give the Way”
As the role of a spiritual parent is the prime metaphor used to describe the leadership role in the New Testament, your first action step for this element is to identify your spiritual children. Who are the people who are responding to you and the way of life you are establishing? This includes those you have personally led to Christ. Still, it also includes many more who have identified with you and the Kingdom way you are living. Some may even be people who are chronologically older than you.
Once you have identified these people, consider how you are currently, or could potentially in the future, engage with them in discipleship relationships to further the Kingdom future within the community. As they begin to effectively engage, ask yourself how you can catalyze their engagement with others even as you have walked with them.
Equipper – “Prepare those on the way”
The final element you must embrace to catalyze the Kingdom movement of Jesus is equipping those who are already living the way. Your first step here is to evaluate what people need, collectively as a community and individually, to be made complete. What does the group needs in general, and what specific elements of wholeness are needed by those you are working with most closely? This will most likely be those leaders you are already raising up.
For this point, consider what elements of training and development need to occur on a regular, cyclical basis and what time-sensitive things need to be addressed more immediately. Begin to map this out and calendarize them for implementation.
There is so much more that can be said on the implementation of these elements. I cannot possibly do it justice in a blog post. If you are serious about engaging in this kind of catalytic work with your congregation, please contact me. I will be more than happy to help! Also, keep your eyes open, as I will have a lot more to say on this topic in other venues in the coming months!