Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Marks of Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition

1. Christ-centered and Spirit-lead
Leaders in the Wesleyan spirit are called and guided by the teachings Jesus Christ, summarized by him in the Great Commandment of Mark 12:30-31, The mission of Christ-centered and Spirit-lead leaders is the saving of souls. They understand that loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength is expressed and lived through loving those whom God loves, especially the poor, the outcast, foreigners, the voiceless, sick, and prisoners.

2. Expectant faith
Wesleyan leadership lives with expectation that God will keep the promises given in the Baptismal Covenant and in Scripture. Therefore, leaders in the Wesleyan spirit have corresponding expectations of themselves, individual church members, and the congregations they lead. The expectations simply are that the baptized ought to keep the promises made in response to God because we can count on God keeping the promises given in Baptism.

3. Use the Means Provided to Live into the Expectations
God has provided means for God’s people to live into the promises they make in Baptism. The task of leaders in the Wesleyan tradition is to help people to learn and practice the basics of Christian discipleship, also known as the means of grace. This way of life is guided by a rule of life, known in the Wesleyan tradition as the General Rules (see The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church-2004 pages 72-74).

Wesleyan leadership understands that small groups are an essential component of Christian formation and “disciple-making.” Because God is relational God forms and heals human character through the lives and witness of other human beings through mutual support and accountability. Small groups are the proven and effective means of bringing people together and building the body of Christ.

Small groups, worship, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, faith sharing, mission and outreach are all means of grace that are part of an intentional process of Christian initiation and formation through which people make themselves available to grace. When people practice these basics of discipleship God will heal and form their character into the character of Christ. Leaders in the Wesleyan spirit help to support and sustain intentional Christian community that is focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ through Christian formation.

4. Biblical Evangelism
Leaders in the Wesleyan tradition share the good news of God’s love, righteousness, and justice for the world. They help the church and its members to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world. The ministry of evangelism is how the church lives out Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Through mutual accountability and support for growing in love of God and neighbor in small groups, regular participation in the Lord’s Supper and the other means grace, people are equipped to help others see where and how Christ is at work in the world and in their lives. Leaders lead the church into becoming a sign community for the reign of God. Such leadership is clear that the church is not the reign of God but that its mission is to help people experience God’s love and justice in their own lives in a way that they too become witnesses.


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