In March I attended a church planting conference in Birmingham, run by 2020 Birmingham, whose mission it is/was to see 20 new churches planted in Birmingham
by 2020. They seem to be very much on track for reaching that target. And are preparing for the next decade: 30 new Churches by 2030. (That means each church-planting church, together with the 20 new churches each planting a new one!) Highly exciting for someone like me, who believes that God wants to use local churches to change our cities and nations.
Just for shortness of posts I’ll divide his three talks into two sections, the Intro & talk 1 and then talks 2 & 3.
Before he said anything he introduced us to himself by telling us 5 biases he has. I liked this, because although a lot of them are ones I hold as well. A couple are different, and it reminds me as a church we are made up of different parts that function differently.
Richard Perkins biases/preferences: Practice > Theory, Church Planters > Pastors, Provocation >Nuance, Planning>Reacting and a strong inclination towards pragmatism. (This all came across as he spoke).
Q: Where will we find the next generation of leaders?
- Matthew 9.38 (Pray for workers)
- Mark 9.38 (Don’t stop others not with/like us), this requires that we adopt postures of teachability and receptivity.
Q: How can we identify, prepare, equip & send out the next generation of leaders? (And that’s what he focused on for the rest of the conference.
- Leaders who fulfil the Biblical standard of eldership
- Leaders who satisfy the character of a planter
- Leaders who embrace the DNA (of 2020Birmingham)
Titus 1:6-9: Blameless. (not divisive or compromising)
- in personal conduct. This doesn’t mean “sinless”, but without scandal.
- in family responsibilities. Loves wife and children sacrificially. Brings children to maturity.
- in doctrinal orthodoxy. Know truth and able to rebuke lies.
1 Pet 5: Motive.
- Not because they must, but because they are willing
- Not to pursue dishonest gain (kudos, reputation, money etc), but to give.
- Not to lord it over, but by example.
1 Tim 3
- Godly, proven domestic responsibilities, widely recognized respectability.
Putting it all together:
Godly Character. (Church leadership is like a bottle filled with liquid that gets shaken – with no lid – what’s inside will eventually show.
Ministry Competency aka gifting and ability. Whilst this area seems to have the most attention/debate. It is a mistake to focus on it and overlook character.
When looking for ‘who’ this could be for ask:
- Can they take correction? (this’ll show many things but also if they believe justification by faith)
- Will they take direction/advice?
- Are they a team player?
- Can they lead themselves well? (Sin, Spiritual disciplines, etc)