Love Leadership

By Brandon Bowers

“Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” —John Maxwell

Every organization or team will rise and fall depending on its leadership. Think about the great companies that we have come to embrace and celebrate their success.

Apple. Microsoft. Nike. Facebook.

Now think about the great teams that we talk about so often.

The Chicago Bulls of the 1990s. The New England Patriots under Tom Brady. The New York Yankees through the 20th century.

Each of these teams and organizations have one thing in common…

They all have had great leadership. It simply cannot be denied.

In my role as a pastor who is familiar with and works with churches across the country, I have seen a growing problem that exists within the Church. That problem is the reality that there is an incredible deficiency in leadership development in many of these churches.

Now, before criticizing or believing that not everyone is gifted at being a leader, let me explain my position here.

In the world of Church and Christianity, there is no shortage of information. There are commentaries, Bible studies, online sermons, books to be read, and the Internet with access to all kinds of biblical information. Information is covered. Along with this, there is no shortage of education. There are Bible colleges, seminaries, and even online training at your fingertips. Information and education are readily available.

The reason most churches are not growing, are declining, or are actually dying, is not because of a lack of information or education. It is because of a lack of leadership and leadership development.

At Awaken Church, we believe discipleship is leadership. We believe that the disciples of Jesus were some of the greatest leaders who ever lived. We believe that Jesus Himself was the greatest leader who ever lived. He, along with His disciples, was able to lead a movement that has multiplied throughout the world for more than 2,000 years. Remember, leadership is influence. Throughout history, you would be hard-pressed to find a group of people who led anything more significant than the Church.

However, it is a sad reality that in most circles, discipleship has been alienated from leadership. There are discipleship classes and discipleship studies that teach people about the Bible and even Jesus, but they do not cover any training on how to use that information to actually influence the world for Jesus. This is where leadership development comes in.

We believe it is the Church’s job to raise up and develop leaders who make disciples that change the world. We believe leaders are not simply discovered but rather developed. We don’t have membership at our church; we have leadership at our church. We believe God has uniquely created every person with the capacity to lead in the mission of advancing the kingdom of God. We desire to call people to the leadership potential inside of them as they see God use them to change the world. We are committed, as a ministry team, to see people far from God awakened to life in Christ, and then developed into leaders who make disciples.

There is no distinction between discipleship and leadership at Awaken Church. The strongest disciples within our church are also the strongest leaders within our church. They use their influence in following Jesus to influence others to do the same. Staying focused on Jesus’ model of discipleship and leadership has allowed us to raise up and develop more than 200 leaders in the five years our church has been in existence. These leaders consist of people who were lost, far from God, and are now leading an incredible movement of God. To explain it even further, these people represent a story of life-change that started from risking the ocean in their own life.

Is it challenging? Yes.

Is it messy? Definitely.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

We are watching an army of individuals rise up and develop into leaders who are impacting our city, influencing our nation, and changing the world. Their leadership abilities are matching their discipleship qualities and creating a community that is making an eternal impact every day.

So yes, we love leadership at Awaken Church. But more so, we love how leadership is the foundation to seeing our world impacted for Christ!

Brandon Bowers serves as Lead Pastor of Awaken Church in Charleston, S.C. This article first appeared on his website, Follow Brandon on Twitter @_Bbowers.