How Do You Train Missional Community Leaders?
Developing and training leaders for missional communities begins with cultivating a discipleship ethos. We need to look at discipleship holistically, beginning with those who have yet to self-identify as Christians, and then all the way across the continuum to those who are serving the community from the overflow of their walk with God. Often the best leaders for missional communities are those who have yet to become Christ followers, the people of peace that God connects us with as we live our mission day to day.
Robert Webber in Journey to Jesus explores The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, which was penned around 215 A.D., as the church was connecting with a world unfamiliar with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From this document, we learn the church developed a holistic approach to discipleship at every stage of development. They identified four specific phases of development from the seeker to the hearer to the kneeler to the faithful.
There discipleship began with those who had no faith – the seeker, and continued toward those who were using their gifts and talents to continue the mission – the faithful. When it comes to training and developing leaders, I have adapted this pre-modern paradigm to our postmodern, post-Christendom context, through the lens of the five equippers that the Apostle Paul mentions in his letter to Ephesus. Here is the basic discipleship continuum that we use.
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