*Photo Credit: Arrow, Creative Commons

Proclaiming the Gospel Always Comes First…

By Chris Nichols

2 Cor. 5 :11, 20

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others…20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

2 Tim 4:2,5

2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching… 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Planting new ministry is complex, exciting, and all consuming work. The apostolic leader and the community they develop must be able to communicate a kingdom mission, gather others around it, and keep an outward focus even as they are deepening community centered on Jesus.

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Aging APES: What happens when you become the leader of the movement?

Like a fine wine, A.P.E leaders need to develop well over time.

Like a fine wine, A.P.E leaders need to develop well over time.

[This is part of a series on "How Do I Develop an Apostolic Leader?" You can read the other posts here.]

By Chris Nichols

Here’s the typical pattern.

A young, dynamic, energetic, gifted leader steps up and creates new energy and evangelistic zeal to a new (or existing) ministry context.  Exciting things happen and the work grows.  New dimensions are added and the work expands until the old structures can’t contain it any longer. The ministry begins to look for leadership to somehow get this new ministry animal in control and help it become sustainable.  It’s the crucial moment both for the ministry and for leaders.

Who are they going to look for to lead it into the next season of development?

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Apostolic Movements are Multi-Ethnic Movements

About 30 Area Directors got together this Fall to talk about apostolic movements.

About 30 Area Directors got together this Fall to talk about apostolic movements.

By Chris Nichols

“Lord, at this time are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?”

It was sometime during the forty days after Jesus had risen from the dead.  Acts says Jesus was giving them convincing proofs he was alive, teaching his disciples about his kingdom, and the coming Holy Spirit.

It’s hard to imagine what the experience was like.  In the presence of the back from the dead Jesus, his kingdom was taking on new meaning on daily basis. Yet even in the midst of that life-altering experience, the disciples could not keep themselves from focusing on their own self-interest.  They felt compelled to interpret Jesus’ return as being about restoring the nation of Israel.  They must have thought, “Finally, our people will get our due.  We will take our place as God’s people, above all others in the world.”

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Three Things Effective Leaders Must Do

Businessman playing chess

By Chris Nichols

Life in ministry can be frantically full, especially in a ministry setting where apostolic and evangelistic gifts are being effectively demonstrated.  Pushing forward into new territory, calling skeptics and seekers to belief, and gathering them into Jesus centered community are foundational elements of ministry culture and is invigorating for everyone involved.  Whether you are planting or building, these are essential qualities that need to be valued and encouraged.

But the leaders of apostolic movements must do more than churn up evangelistic and expansion activity.  They need always be aware when ministry activity is edging into chaotic, gospel activity rather than strategic kingdom advancement.

In order to avoid developing that kind of frenetic ministry culture, effective leaders of apostolic movements must be ready and willing to do three things in order to lead effectively.

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Are You Accommodating Change or Leading it?

dashboard

By Chris Nichols

Recently I got into a rental car that had every electronic innovation you could imagine.  I usually love gadgets on cars, but it was late at night and raining, and as I drove, the sheer number of buttons and special functions made it difficult to drive efficiently and safely.  Simple functions like turning on lights, windshield wipers, and adjusting mirrors weren’t intuitive.  They were obscured by other gizmos that had been added, piled onto the steering column and dashboard. The complexity of the car’s gadgetry interfered with the car’s foundational purpose and its effectiveness on the road.   This wasn’t the result of thoughtful design but someone’s decision to add every new idea engineers had devised into one vehicle.  It just didn’t work as well as it should.

The car was for me a symbol of what happens when leaders decide to accommodate change rather than lead it.

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Are You Flying Upside Down?

Depositphotos_10593278_s

[This is part of a series on "How Do I Develop an Apostolic Leader?" You can read the other posts here.]

By Chris Nichols

“Recently a pilot was practicing high–speed maneuvers in a jet fighter.  She turned the controls for what she thought was a steep ascent – and flew straight into the ground.  She was unaware that she was flying upside down.

This is a parable of human existence in our times – not exactly that everyone is crashing, though there is enough of that – but most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed, and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up.  Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference – or at least that it is unknown or irrelevant.“   –  The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard

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Cultural Pressure: living as strangers and aliens

Stand Out From the Crowd

[This is part of a series on "How Do I Develop an Apostolic Leader?" You can read the other posts here.]

By Chris Nichols

I Peter 2:9-11

11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. 13 For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14 or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16 As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 17 Honor everyone.

If we are fully engaged in the missionary enterprise we will find ourselves at the front edge of life in dynamic interaction with the secular world.  At that confluence of worldviews we will be debated, misunderstood, “maligned as an evil doers,” feeling like a constant outsider. We never quite fit, pointed at as the one who doesn’t belong.  We often feel alone. It‘s easy to wonder if we’re in the right place, have the right message, or are in the right job.

We are discovering life as an alien and exile.

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Working within Community – Ten Commandments for Apostolic Leaders

community

courtesy of InterVarsity’s 2100 productions

[This is part of a series on "How Do I Develop an Apostolic Leader?" You can read the other posts here.]

“The hand cannot say to the arm I have no need of you…”  I Cor 12:21

It’s tempting for apostolic leaders to think that every new idea should be pursued independently, no matter the cost. But, when we teach apostolic leaders that running without restraint is their Godly task we are in danger of developing misfits who are unable to build a movement of change or have impact on a large scale.

In order for apostolic leaders to achieve the Godly kingdom impact they desire, they must serve within and through a community of faith.

But too often we don’t see this. Either apostolic leaders resist community and letting others speak into their dreams and desires, or the community resists the apostolic leader and their crazy dreams.

This article helps to encourage us towards being healthy in community:

A community where apostolic leaders are humble and let community speak into their dreams, and actions, as well as a community that seeks not to subvert the apostles ideas but focus the apostolic leaders energy to its greatest effect.

So, how do we help apostolic leaders live in that kind of community?

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I’ve Hired an Apostolic Leader…Help!

chaos or information overload concept

 

[This is part of a series on "How Do I Develop an Apostolic Leader?" You can read the other posts here.]

“Passionate involvement can make you happy, sometimes, and miserable other times. You want people to be involved and engaged. Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between—what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: “I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.” If you had thermal glasses, you could see heat coming off them.”  - Brad Bird, Director at Pixar 

OK, so as a leader you’ve committed to developing and hiring apostolic evangelists and they are now operating at full steam in your organization.  It creates an almost overwhelming level of energy and creativity is erupting everywhere.  It’s exciting but at the same time it begins to feel chaotic to the point that you wonder if it is sustainable.

How do you prevent the whole thing from careening off the road and crashing?

Here are some guidelines to help you focus the energy in the same direction and keep the movement pressing forward.

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