Hierarchical Leadership and Apostolic Leadership

Hierarchical leaders focus on control, order and nostalgia. Apostolic leadership yearns for the ‘not yet’. Dreaming, faith, imagination, risk taking, pioneering and future goals characterize apostolic leadership. Administration, bureaucracy, reminiscence and impersonal systems and structures characterize hierarchical leadership. Apostolic leaders encourage holy dissatisfaction, risk taking, questioning and experimenting. 

Apostolic leaders can also serve as hierarchical leaders, but they do so to their own detriment. They were not made by God to oversee organizational bureaucracy. They were not designed to manage, but to lead change. I have found personally that to the degree I am caught up in maintaining church structures, something in me dies. My creative gifts and energy turn inward and I am less effective in every way. I battle with the balance between initiating new efforts to reach the lost, and maintaining what I initiate. But I know from failure and past experience that I need to be involved in reaching those who don’t know Jesus if I am to keep the balance right.

Paul was an apostle, and as such, functioned as a visionary leader. He held to independent views and refused to conform to the religious structures of his day. He was a maverick. We need to make space for apostolic mavericks like Paul in the church today. It is the visionary mavericks that play a vital role in questioning the status quo. They propose mind-blowing alternatives to how things have always been done. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch make this profound statement about the role of biblical mavericks: “In a real sense, a true biblical maverick acts in a prophetic manner by exposing the lies that the dominant group tells itself in order to sustain its shared illusions…”*

[*Frost/Hirsch quotation from The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21 Century Church, p. 195]

Quoted from: Floyd McClung’s You See Bones, I See an Army: Changing the Way We Do Church (Eastbourne, England: David C. Cook, 2007)

via [Bill Lollar]

4 thoughts on “Hierarchical Leadership and Apostolic Leadership

  1. it sounds like you need your own ministry 🙂
    like you are ready to break free and create something new.

    aside from being a writer, i could see you branching out from being a youth minister to running your own christian school, i think you would make a fantastic teacher and affordable christian academies for youth are really needed. i was saved right before highschool by attending”chapel” at bible school – which made highschool life harder but it was critical that i new christ before going into that place.

    i have a little problem with structure myself – i need inspiration first and the ability to be free to act on it when it happens. being locked down to set schedules and agendas will definately stiffle creativity.

    anyway – i wanted to tell you that your ministry on myspace pulled me out of dark place in my life. and no telling how many others you helped just by your words being in the right place at the right time. your impact was great, more than you probably realize. your fantastic writing combined with an honest approach to christianity in this day and age and evident love for people was the most inspiring thing i had encountered for so long. it was the perfect place for you to be to reach the lost. i read all your blogs and you helped to remind me how much i needed god and i can’t thank you enough for it. all it took was that friend request and reading that first blog with a quote from gilead to make me realize what was really wrong in my life and what i needed to do was restore my relationship with god. i will never forget it 😉 so thank you again!!!

  2. it’s one of those places where he is most needed. there are so many broken souls looking for answers and healing. and a single voice of honesty is stronger than the voices of a thousand lies. that one voice can turn a life around.

    my dark place was depression and lonliness that’s why i looked there for company and understanding. it can be a strong pull to someone who is looking for a connection at a time like that. when you have lost touch with christian friends and your family is not a part of it you can be easily persuaded the wrong way.

    the big difference in what you did there was that you told stories about your real, personal experiences with god. allowing me to relate and remember mine again. there were so many precious memories i had tucked away that your words brought back to life unexpectedly. and i think that was key – it was unexpected – knocking down my walls of denial, like a well planned sneak attack on enemy territory!

    unlike so many christian blogs that only quoted scripture about sinning, reminding me even more that i was, “failing god. ” and making me feel more seperated than ever.

    what i needed was to see god’s grace again and through the words he blessed you with i did 🙂

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