The Church today is pastor-driven; the early church was team-driven and the leaders of the team were an apostle and prophet (see 1 Corinthains 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20). The early church was powerful and effective, winning the lost and becoming a change agent in its culture – turning its world upside down in just one generation. We have not and will not have that kind of impact unless we return to the biblical model. That will be a difficult thing to do but not impossible because “all things are possible with God.”
Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.” That is the power of a team – together everyone accomplishes more (T.E.A.M.). But often in the church of today a real team leadership structure does not exist. Everyone is doing their ministry; everyone is following their vision; everyone is fulfilling (or trying to) their calling. Hopefully they are all going in the same direction and working for the overall good of the church. At its best it is often a group of individuals working together and not a real team. At its worse – it is a strong solo leader with team members doing their own thing.
To work as a team disciples must be open and transparent; honest and vulnerable. I don’t see that very often here in the church in my nation. Men here seem to fear that kind and depth of self-revelation. To have a good team functioning you need men willing to share intimacy with one another and work in spiritual partnership with others.There is no “I” in team. So, I believe we need to remove the independent spirit that often exists along with the solo leadership concept (senior pastor) and current teams where they exist and begin to build biblically.
Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping it together is progress. Working together is success.” I believe that to see biblical results as found in the life of the early church in the book of Acts we need to be building the way they did. This will, in many ways, mean a lot of changes and a need for leaders to be less insecure and more open to working with others. This starts at the heart level when we invite others to know us and we experience love, acceptance and forgiveness.
Recently overseas I was teaching on this and discussing this during the breaks and over meals. Each and every time I was assured that they were building this way – and yet, in each and every place the key leader was a “pastor” and there were no apostles and prophets. In each place there was literally a strong leader who was really the only leader although others were ministering and working for him – but really not with him.
And so, this “stronghold” will take time to dismantle but I believe it is God’s will that this man-made structure be torn down so Jesus can build His Church His way!