Spiritual parents

Family meal

If the primary metaphor for church in the New Testament is family, then the primary model for leadership of an individual house church is spiritual mothers and fathers. Healthy families need healthy parents. Parents care what happens to their kids. They are always looking out for their good. They love it when their kids succeed. Their greatest longing is that their kids do better than they have done. With good  parents, there's no envy, no one-upmanship.

A good parent will not do something for their kids that they could do for themselves. They assist their kids towards maturity in every area of life. Their goal is that their kids don't remain dependent on them any longer than necessary, but that a healthy interdependence results. In a healthy family, the kids will leave home and start their own families.

A good parent doesn't dominate their kids lives. When they sit down for their family evening meal, Dad doesn't pontificate for an hour on what he's been doing at the office. Everyone shares, and everyone takes an interest in what's been going on each person's life. The parents don't talk about things that are above their kids heads, or if they do, they explain to them in ways the kids understand so that they can take part in the conversation too.

Our own kids are now our best friends. We love getting together, and with those in town, do so frequently. What a privilege!

Within simple/organic church, spiritual parenting is the natural form of leadership. These more mature believers help those in the group to listen to Jesus and respond to what he says. They encourage and equip each person to follow the vision that God has given each one. They facilitate rather than take a dominant role and train others to do the same. They are an example to those in their spiritual family. They strengthen the weak, encourage those who are discouraged, care for those with needs.

What is your experience of good leadership within a simple/organic church context?


Community and/or family

Most of the last few blog posts (and the insightful comments everyone has posted) have been about community and mission.  Here's a question:  we talk about Jesus creating community.  Is family the same thing?

There is extensive Biblical support for the notion of church as family.  (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5; 2:19; Galatians 6:10).  Community is described, e.g. in Acts 2, but the word community is not used per se.

In the context of this discussion, is there a difference?  What implications does it have?

Crayon drawing of family