"Brothers, look among yourselves for seven men who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3a).
In 1984, after seven years of high-octane ministry in San Francisco, I met a man named John Wimber who changed the trajectory of my life.
Wimber was the leader of a new movement called the Vineyard, and he invited me to his Southern California conference called MC510 Signs, Wonders and Church Growth. A few months later I attended this conference with my wife, Diane, and we were powerfully impacted by the work of the Holy Spirit. We saw many amazing healings and miracles during this week.
We returned to San Francisco, and the same miracles began to happen through us as a result of the impartation we received. At that point I was hooked, and I signed up for all of Wimber's conferences for the rest of the year. The next one was on church planting and planning. I arrived expecting the 2,500 people from the first conference, but only 25 showed up. I was overjoyed to spend such an intimate time with the man who would become my mentor.
It was during this seminar that I hear Wimber's story. Before John Wimber was filled with the Holy Spirit and became the pioneer of contemporary worship and healing ministry, he was the president of the Fuller Institute of church growth in the 1970s. Along with C. Peter Wagner and other key leaders, Wimber developed the church growth principles that became the foundation of the seeker-sensitive megachurch movement of recent years.
I like to say that Wimber was an expert in both "the art and the science" of church. And I believe this is the key to effective kingdom leadership in our generation. We need a combination of the Word and the Spirit; we need to reconnect the supernatural with the super-practical.
In Acts 6, the apostles were riding high on the series of revival waves that had been crashing since the ascension of Jesus. Massive miracles and healings were multiplying, and thousands were coming into God's kingdom. Yet in the midst of all this, their administrative structures could not keep pace, and certain widows were being underserved. In response, the apostles told the congregation to choose some additional leaders to help with this problem. The qualifications were simple: a good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom. We can learn a lot about leadership from these three basic points.
— A good reputation. This quality follows a leader who is living a kingdom lifestyle. This is someone who loves Jesus, knows the Scripture and has fostered Christ-like character. They know who they are in Christ and who Christ is in them. They walk in integrity and represent Jesus in every aspect of life.
— Filled with the Holy Spirit. This comes from time spent in prayer, worship and personal encounters with the presence of God. They have learned to hear the voice of God and apply revelation to the practical issues of life. They are walking in the gifts of the Spirit and fostering the fruit of the Spirit as well.
— Filled with Wisdom. This quality belongs to those who consistently apply the knowledge of God's word to the challenges and circumstances of daily life. Knowledge becomes wisdom as we live the truth, learn from our successes and failures and continue to pursue our God-given destinies.
A mistake that many leaders make is to create a false dichotomy between the supernatural and the super-practical. Some become so heavenly minded that they are of little earthly good. Others become so principle-driven that God could step away and they wouldn't even notice. I believe God wants leaders who know how to integrate these two elements into a leadership model: He desires someone who is able to hear the voice of God and perceive the blueprint of heaven. But God also wants leaders who can walk in practical wisdom and partner with Jesus to see his kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We have been transformed by God so we can transform others, and this will happen as we combine the power of the supernatural and the super-practical!
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