Leadership Development from … the Book of Acts?

I like Phil Newton a lot. He is decidedly biblical as pastor of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, taking that church in a solid direction based on Scripture and not tradition. His booklet, The Way of Faith, has been helpful for me for use as a primer for the Christian faith.

Recently, Newton penned an article about leadership development from the Book of Acts. How wonderful! Here’s an excerpt:

Potential leaders had to learn to follow before leading. The consistent pattern in Acts never separated evangelism and discipleship as though the former succeeded in producing new believers even if the latter were neglected. “The goal of mission,” Johannes Nissen rightly notes, “was the formation of a new community in Christ.” In obedience to Jesus Christ’s command (Matt 28:19–20), the disciples baptized and instructed new disciples. Donald Hagner points out that the “therefore” in Matthew 28:19, connects the assignment of disciple making to not only the disciples but to every church that comes after them. The Great Commission’s emphasis falls on the hard work of nurturing in discipleship rather than proclamation, evident by the clause —“teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt 28:20). The atmosphere for training leaders to engage in mission and to strengthen local churches permeated the experience of discipleship. Those that launched out in church planting had a foundation for pastoral work established in the Christian community’s discipling ministry.

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