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What does your leadership pipeline produce?

August 24, 2011

Chances are, you are in a church that has a leadership pipeline. And by “pipeline”, all I am referring to is an intentional method to create and develop leaders. Now I’m not saying every pipeline works well, but most churches have something they are intentionally trying to do to create and develop leaders.

The question some of us on our team have been asking this week: What does your leadership pipeline produce?

Here’s what I mean: Most churches only really produce one or two different kinds of leaders (and by leaders, I’m specifically referring to the Ephesians 4 Five-fold ministry: Apostles, Teachers, Pastors, Evangelists and Prophets). In fact, I might be able to break it down into different streams.

  • Baptist pipelines tend to produce pastors or teachers.
  • Highly attractional, seeker-sensitive churches tend to produce evangelists (of a certain kind).
  • Pentecostal/Charismatic churches tend to produce prophets.
You get the point.Now generally speaking, it’s not what “stream” you find yourself in that dictates what kinds of leaders you are producing but the LEADER of the church. If the leader is an evangelist, the pipeline will tend to produce evangelists. If you’re a teacher, your pipeline will tend to produce teachers. The maxim holds true, “We recreate who we are.”

The real issue here is that we need more than one or two of the five-fold ministries at work in our communities. We need ALL OF THEM. That will require a real intentionality in the way we intentionally form people and shape them in an organic leadership development process. Because what has probably happend is that we have people who are apostles that are being forced to function like teachers, or evangelists who are trying to be pastors, etc. Now there isn’t anything wrong with spending a season in a ministry that is not your own (at 3DM we call that a ‘phase’), but it’s not for forever. I worry that for many people that are in communities where they will be living in a place that isn’t their nature base for five-fold ministry.

How about you? What kind of leaders is your church producing? What’s working? What isn’t? Have you been in a place that was good at shaping and allow all 5?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 1:36 pm

    My question would be, how does a teacher produce evangelists or prophets or apostles? Because you’re right, we tend to reproduce ourselves. I suppose you could let them grow in those areas through experience, but it would seem like they need some coaching from someone who is gifted in the same way. Or is experience and prayer enough if the person has a natural gifting in that area?

  2. August 24, 2011 2:05 pm

    These is no doubt we need more 5 fold leaders. One of the challenges is that there are as many definitions or beliefs about the role of the 5 fold leadership as there are denominations.

    We place pastors and teachers in the role of an apostle. And then we reproduce after our own kind. When someone with genuine apostolic giftings comes along, they don’t have a voice because they serve under someone with a pastoral or teaching role. Additionally, the “hierarchy” doesn’t allow for a 5 fold team working together.

    So where to begin? I’d say a healthy definition and role understanding is the place to start.

    Could it be that we don’t produce disciples because we have people who care for the soul needs of the saved (pastors) running the ship?

  3. August 24, 2011 7:24 pm


    Was wondering…

    Have you ever considered a “Seven Fold Ministry” model to create a pipeline
    for producing “Servants of Christ?”

    As apposed to a “Five Fold Ministry?” Producing “Leaders?”

    Seems “The Five Fold” model is – EX-clusive – Only available for a special few.

    BUT – “The Seven Fold” model is – IN-clusive – Available for who-so-ever will.

    The “Five Fold” model doesn’t seem to be working very well. 😉
    Many leaders guilty of “Spiritual Abuse,” “Cover-ups,” “Exercising Authority,”
    and “lording it over” God’s heritage. 😦

    Seven Fold Ministry… {Two Folds Higher} 😉

    1. Kings. 2. Priests. 3. Brides. 4. Servants. 5. Sons. 6.Disciples. 7. Ambassadors.

    1 + 2 – Kings and Priests
    And hath made us “kings and priests” unto God and his Father;
    Revelations 1:6

    Hast made us unto our God “kings and priests:” and we shall reign on the earth.
    Revelations 5:10

    3 – Brides
    For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD* of hosts is his name;
    Isaiah 54:5

    … Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
    Revelations 21:9

    4 – Servants
    If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am,
    there shall also my servant be:
    John 12:26

    And on my servants and on my handmaidens
    I will pour out in those days of my Spirit;
    Acts 2:18

    5 – Sons
    But as many as received him,
    to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
    John 1:12

    And because ye are sons,
    God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts…
    Galations 4:6

    6 – Disciples
    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man
    will come after me, let him deny himself…
    Matthew 16:24

    John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified,
    that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

    7 – Ambassadors
    Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…
    2nd Corinthians 5:20

    … a faithful ambassador is health.
    Proverbs 13:17

    And, since an Ambassodor is – The highest – diplomatic representation
    that “ONE” soverign power – sends to another…

    In the body of Christ – NO one is higher than an “Ambassodor for Christ.” 😉

    • August 24, 2011 7:52 pm

      I think I’d say that 5-fold isn’t exclusive. It’s what allows us to see that EVERYONE gets to play; it’s just that we function differently. The way I see it, if you’re a disciple, it means you’re a leader. Period. Because the Great Commission imperative is that disciples disciple people. Even if you’re discipling one person, that makes you a leader. However, being an apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist or pastor will be the lens through which you lead. So even if you’re leading just one person (or millions), everyone gets to play. It is Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4 which allows everyone access and should lead us away from the stratification of the spiritual elite that we see today.

  4. jon parker permalink
    August 24, 2011 7:36 pm

    How do you produce and train people in your ministry that have all 5the gifts?

  5. August 25, 2011 10:53 am

    I realise that we’re talking about generalities here, but I’m not sure I recognise the different ‘streams’ of leadership pipeline. Having been part of a historically charismatic/evangelical church for about 15 years, I don’t see lots of evangelists or prophets being ‘produced’. If it’s the church leader who most influences the pipeline, then we should by rights have produced lots of Pastors, which on reflection probably do make up the majority of our leaders. Maybe the reality is that our church isn’t actually acting in a charismatic/evangelical style and we need to wake up to that.

    I suppose my point is that if the leadership pipeline is defined by the type/denomination of the church AND the gifting of the leader, then there could be a tension there that we need to be aware of.

    Having said all that, we’ve had a new leader now for about a year, following effectively a 2 year interegnum period, so good things are happening and (as a Prophet with a bit of Apolstle thrown in!) I can see an exciting, challenging and fruitful time ahead!


  6. August 25, 2011 6:58 pm

    I agree with you Mike – I think the big five is very inclusive and everyone has a part with at least one of those currents in the ocean of God’s kingdom (it just isn’t always from a stage as we falsely assume in the West). I think the biggest issue behind production of a healthy body of believers is the intentionality (I know that isn’t a real word) of what we are doing. We can be an evangelistic church that is seeker driven that produces apostles/missionaries only if we are intentionally moving people in our church to missional actions around them. Likewise, we can be a prophetic/vision driven church that produces sound teachers and pastors only if we are intentionally discipling and training those in our family. The real issue seems to be whether or not the stage is truly the formative platform for doing this or is it the greater community and what we are aiming to accomplish together?

  7. August 26, 2011 1:57 pm


    Really like it when you say…
    “EVERYONE gets to play; it’s just that we function differently.” And…
    “should lead us away from the stratification of the spiritual elite”

    But, today, I now question this – ”if you’re a disciple, it means you’re a leader.”

    I no longer proclaim this as I once did – when I was considered a leader. 😦
    Seems in order to make disciples we are to teach what Jesus taught. Yes?
    **teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you**
    Mat 28:19-20 NKJV

    I could no longer reconcile “Disciples of Christ” being called “leaders”
    because Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders” in Mat 23:10.

    King James Version
    Neither be ye called masters: for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.

    New American Standard Bible
    Do not be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible
    Nor be called leaders, for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English
    you must not let people call you leaders, you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version
    nor should you be called leader. your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

    It was kinda hard for me – thinking I was a “leader”- to teach disciples of Christ
    NOT to be called leader – for you have “ONE” leader – Christ.

    Seems Jesus told *His disciples* NOT to be called *leaders* and NONE did.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    In researching the Bible…
    I could NOT name one “Disciple of Christ” who called themself “leader?”
    I could NOT name one “Disciple of Christ” who was called a “leader?”

    For me it became…
    Do I want to be called and known as a “Leader?” OR…
    Do I want to be a “Disciple of Christ?” Known or un-known? 😉

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • August 26, 2011 7:43 pm

      I think it’s about how we are going to define leadership. In Jesus’ day, leadership was dealing with the fuedal system and his response was that we need to reject the tenants of lording power over people because we provide for them (Luke 22…”You are not to be like that”). However, if we define leadership as intentional influence (which clearly we see Jesus doing, as well as the Apostles and early church), it isn’t an abdication of “being a leader” but an abdication of being a certain kind of leader.

  8. August 29, 2011 7:05 pm

    So Mike

    Are you saying…???

    Even though Jesus told “His Disciples” NOT to be called “Leader”
    For there is “ONE” leader – Christ…

    And NONE – NOT one disciple – called them self a leader…

    All we have to do today is redefine the word “leader” from it’s actual meaning
    You write… “if we define leadership as intentional influence”

    and now it becomes okay for us to be called leader and known as leader…

    and we can instruct future “Disciples of Christ” to *ignore* what Jesus said…

    even after Jesus told “His Disciples” to go and make disciples…

    **teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you**

    And he commanded “His Disciples” NOT to be called “leader.”

    But now – today – we re-define leader – and teach – wannabee disciples…

    Oh yeah – you’re a leader – you provide intentional influence…

    Just *ignore* what Jesus told “His Disciples.”

    Hmmm? I’ll have to think about that for awhile…

  9. August 31, 2011 10:47 am

    Great questions, Mike! I would assume: leadership is more caught than taught – so people will pick up the dimension that their church/senior leader exposes (as you said). Then the question is more whether the churches and groups have an awareness of the need of 5-fold gifts and are actively looking for complementary skills in their teams.

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