When the early church began to get traction there was a shortage of leaders. In response, the church chose some men to help out who were known to be wise and full of the Spirit. Once selected, hands were placed, prayers were prayed, and responsibilities were passed. The text says from here “the word of God spread.” Ever since, we have been raising up leaders to guide the church to follow Jesus’ final instructions as recorded in Acts 1:8. Today, we’re asking four questions to serve in the development of our leadership base to address the same need for spiritual leaders that the early church had. Those guiding questions are: (1) Do I know God (including bible and theology)? (2) Do I know how to make a disciple? (3) Do I know how to develop a disciple making culture in my church? And, (4) How can we work together as churches to do what we could never do alone?
Over the next couple of months I’d like to briefly outline where these questions are leading us. The first question really sets up the other three. The first question we’re asking in developing spiritual leaders is: Do you know God?
The answer to this question includes issues of character, calling, and the ability to hear and respond to the Spirit of Jesus. That said, we also recognize the essential need for a leader's biblical and theological understanding to be well formed prior to being turned loose as a “pastor” with a license.
To enter into formal leadership in the Alliance Northwest, a person must go through a doorway called an “Accreditation Interview.” This interview (sometimes referred to as a licensing interview) involves an extensive conversation between mature leaders and someone seeking to serve in a pastoral role. The interview is designed to help discern a person's readiness to be formally recognized or “licensed” as a pastoral leader.
The Accreditation Interview isn’t new – but how it works is. Following tons of processing with the Licensing, Ordination and Consecration Leadership (LOC), Field Office staff, and in consultation with the National Office, we’ve altered and moved much of what was required for Ordination and Consecration to now be done in preparation for the Accreditation Interview. (Ordination and Consecration is being reconfigured as well, but to address a different question – stay tuned for next month’s news.)
The Accreditation Interview is now the primary place where we ask leaders the question: “Do you know God?” Issues of character and spiritual maturity are all vetted, but ensuring a biblical understanding of God and his unfolding story is primary before we “place hands, pray prayers, and pass authority.”
Dennis Pust (supported by Lisa Casper) oversees the LOC Leadership. Lisa is a wealth of information. You can contact her here.
Courageously following Jesus…
Randy Shaw Field Director, Alliance Northwest