Important Things To Learn From The Antioch Church Part 4
Aug 08, 2010 | 0 Comments
The Antioch church was open to shared leadership. Leadership in Christian churches is either dominated by the minister, or it is lost in a committee. The pattern of leadership in the church at Antioch is very instructive. It was shared, not individual.
The leaders came from different countries:
Barnabas came from Cyprus.
Manaean from government circles in Jerusalem.
Saul from Tarsus.
Lucius (probably of Arab stock) from Cyrene in North Africa.
Simeon the Swarthy was a black man, doubtless a Nilotic from East Africa.
The church that opened its door to the Gentiles as well as the Jews was also willing to share the leadership position to people of different background and culture. What a creative and innovative decision to make at the early stage of the Christian movement. The diversity of the leaders was a synergy to come up with effective way of leading people of different background to a common purpose and goal. Right from the start, building the leadership position with people of different strength, character, personality and outlook was a huge plus for the Antioch church.
The effete of most of our metropolitan churches in the world today is lack of diversity in the leadership. Surrounded by multi ethnic and multi lingual and different socio-economic background of people, most churches in the cities and urban settings are attempting to make an impact with leaders of the same background, language and race or color. Often this style of leadership deter church growth and appears as hindrance to those who are seeking to be understood, accepted, loved, and feel welcomed into the community of believers.
This problem is not only among the hosting society. Immigrants also show weakness in opening up to the community they live in and invite people who speak languages other than their own and to diversify the leadership. Year after year they stick with people from their home countries and the believers see their churches as a ghetto to be sheltered from the challenges as well as the opportunities of the host culture. Without developing their language, relational skill with different people, grow in depth and quality, some immigrant churches try to transplant their home church into totally different cultural contexts. Often, these kinds of churches lose the second generation of their community.
As we live and work in a mosaic society it is prudent for Christian leaders who are serving the same Lord to be creative and utilize resources from different cultural and ethnic background to reach out the unreached and lead the people of God effectively. If the Latinos, Africans, Asians, and European immigrants work as a team with close relationship with American Christian leaders, it is possible to make a significant impact in the country and beyond.
One of the unique qualities of the Antioch church from the Jerusalem church was its diversity in leadership as well as the community of believers. Hence, the leaders who came out of that church brought transformational change in our understanding of Christ and Christianity. Instead of viewing and propagating Christianity as a religion of a particular tribe or nation leaders like the apostle Paul gave it a universal scope and made it an inclusive of all who believe in Jesus Christ from every tongue and nation.