image

Apart from the obvious well documented biblical examples of central leadership I believe there are other reasons that a centralised leadership is the best model for God’s modern day movement!

Tools and resources we have today that Jesus and the Apostles did not have.

1. Complete New Testament volume for every disciple.
2. International transportation.
3. The Internet.
4. Mobile Smart Phones
5. Personal banking system
6. Increased access to education and medicine.
7. A world population at its highest and increasing rapidly

These differences have the following consequences.

1. Puts responsibility on every disciple to know the truth. Have personal daily study. Scriptures can be transmitted remotely.
2. Makes the movement of central leadership (Acts 20:1-6) and therefore the evangelisation of the world (Col 1:23, Mt 28:18-20) in a generation even more possible. Makes central training ministry like ICCM possible.
3. Makes unity and transmission of teaching more centralised and instantaneous.
4. Makes evangelism and centralised discipling more international.
5. Makes many individuals capable of financially contributing in a centralised and structured way.
6. Makes opportunities for advancement and longevity more available.
7. Greatest need for evangelism since the creation. (1 Tim 2:4)

image

With these tools available our ministry will look different to that of Jesus or of Paul. In many ways the first century church were as centralised as they possibly could be and as they could afford to be. In many ways we have the possibility to be more centralised because of the advances humanity has made. This is good if we use it for good.
We have adapted to take advantage of these differences in the world that we are currently evangelising. Due to the advances in technology, our leadership structure will be very much “tighter” that that of the first century.
More disciples learn languages and fly to other mission fields.
More finance is required and acquired.
Central leadership play a more immediate role. Their decisions are more urgent and are seen and felt more regularly and more strongly.
The world sees more of the details of our lives.

Ways the first century church was assisted or driven by technology or human advancement.

1. Letters were used to oversee/instruct churches.
2. The language of Scripture was Koine Greek rather than Hebrew.
3. The message was internationally spread using the Roman roads and shipping routes.
4. The Roman empire facilitated international knowledge and travel.

image

Judiasm had already adapted to these changes to some degree with the Septuagint and Synagogues in Roman cities but it had no clear mandate for world evangelism. God did not command a change in the language of Scripture. Hence, God allowed innovation in the transmission of the Scriptures in the Greek language (beginning with the Torah in the 3rd Century BC and the completed OT in 132BC). As the world became more centralised by the Helenisation process God gave man freedom to adapt the method of transmission from Hebrew to Greek and then into Latin, Syriac and eventually English and many other languages. This is quite clear. God adapted to centralisation brought about by empires in terms of the Lingua Franca. Even the inscripturation process from around 1200BC was a much earlier adaptation by God to Man’s increasing transmission of ideas in the written form. God himself wrote the commandments for Moses with His own “finger” (Ex 31:18). God’s allowed his chosen people to centralise into cities (Numbers 32:16) and commanded and used cities in his Theocracy (Numbers 35). Paul spent a lot of his ministries in cities also. Humans have centralised their resources in cities since very early times (Gen 4:17). Centralisation is a feature of Humanity. God is not against it. There is a hierarchy in heaven with angels and archangels (Daniel 10:13). Even within this central place for God’s head quarters (Job 1:6) there was rebellion (Rev 12:7-9). The centralised system of government favoured by God in heaven and on earth is not perfect in every feature but it is good. It is the ordered environment that God wants. Satan is a central leader (Mt 5:21). God is a central leader. God has a central leadership that opposes Satan (Daniel 10:13)

image

The first century movement took full advantage of the environment in which they evangelised the world.
So should we.
We therefore have Cyberevangelists, church websites,  international budgets, unified plans and efforts to plant churches (Crown of thorns) with the required administrative leadership and management personnel (World Missions Evangelists and Administrators).
Finance needs are predicted and met according to these plans.
Communications are broadcasted. We work collectively on these goals.
American imperialism is the modern empire of the 21st century. The American churches have shouldered the initial costs and a big percentage of the running costs of both the ICOC and the ICC. God has raised up an American to lead His movement and many of our missionaries are American or have American influences due to the central church of this movement being American.

image

image

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED. THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT USED NEW TECHNOLOGY AND INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIES TO FULFILL GOD’S PLAN. WE HAVE ALSO ADAPTED TO OUR CHANGING WORLD.

Whatever tools we have, the evangelisation of the world remains hard work.

Luke 13:24 “make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

Our goal is to work as hard as possible to win souls.

1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

God wants the whole world evangelised.

1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

The “movement” temporarily lost it’s centralised leadership bet 2002 and 2004 and then essentially regained it again when Michael Williamson contacted Thomas McKean to offer him the helm of the Portland ICOC. Michael (my personal friend since 2006) now leads the London International christian church. Jeremy Ciaramella (who now leads Phoenix International christian church) was also key in bringing Tomas McKean to Portland. These men together with many others such as Nick Bordieri (CEO of Mercy Worldwide) became missionaries from Portland choosing to follow Kip (Thomas McKean) as a central leader. They took a stand for truth and this has been evidenced by the rapid geographic spread  and numerical increase in disciples.
If centralised leadership has proven to be the biblical model that achieves the greatest success no-one should waste time arguing about its pros and cons. No leadership model is used perfectly. No leader or group of leaders is perfect. The ICC has, for the most part, the same successful leadership structure the ICOC used between 1979 and 2002. A decrease in centralisation has lead to a drastic decrease in the rate of the evangelisation of the World by the former ICOC Churches. The mainline church autonomy in the 19th and 20th Century stagnated 1000s of their congregations. The ICC has centralised leadership as a key strategy in its international and local structure. The goal of the ICC is the most rapid evangelisation of the world,  death and Glory. Amen.

James Morgan
London International Christian Church
http://www.londonchurch.org.uk

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: