The Gospel Life in Hawaii


(Church Plant Leaders From All Over North America) 


In my 13 years of ministry I have discovered that spiritual leadership is vital in order for church leaders to be effective in God’s mission here on earth.  In my personal journey I have been blessed to be mentored by great men and women of the faith.  One of them is the man that led me to Christ in 2002, my Alabama brahdda Vance Pitman, Pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, NV.  Vance has played an important role in my walk with Christ, and he has instilled in me 5 key spiritual leadership principles that have been foundational for me and how I lead God’s people, specifically the new church plant we launched over a year and a half ago, Ohana Church.  I pray that these principles would sharpen you as a follower of Jesus.

1.  Spiritual leadership is focused on intimacy with God, not ministry for God.

The goal is not to do stuff for God, It’s to be with God.  The number one failure for all Christians Is thinking that ministry is the goal, when in all reality ministry will consume you and cause damage to your fellowship with God, your family, and everyone else.  Jesus modeled this in the gospels, specifically in Mark 1:35, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” This is a game changer to how we lead.  Affective spiritual leadership is rooted in intimate fellowship with God. Everything else is the overflow. How you live your life is a reflection of your intimacy with God.

2.  Spiritual leadership is defined by humility, not authority.

Your leadership will be honored by others based on how you view and establish church discipline.  Church discipline has been an unpopular term in the evangelical churches today because of how it has been used.  The scriptures give a two fold understanding of church discipline, 1. Formative Church Discipline and 2. Corrective Church Discipline.  Formative church discipline focuses on the teaching and application of the Word, and Corrective church discipline focuses on the rebuke of certain actions that don’t line up with biblical behavior (2 Tim 3:16-17).  As a leader your role is to remember that Christ is THE Authority, and he has placed us in a position of leadership to love people to him by way of church discipline and that encompasses humility.  Proverbs 22:4 says “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”

3. Spiritual leadership pursues faithfulness, not success.

Numbers is one of the biggest discouragements in church, and I have fallen as a victim to that.  Especially in our context here in Hilo, Hawaii.  I saw a church in just a few years in Las Vegas explode from 18 people to 2,000 people in just a couple years.  Right now, our current plant is declining in our Sunday attendance and it has bothered me, but also it has reminded me to remain the course.  A game changer for this is what Paul says about God’s faithfulness, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” I bank my calling here in Hilo based on that text.  An other game changer is adopting a strategy that focuses more on your sending capacity rather than your seating capacity.  What does that mean?  As a young church we have been involved in 4 new church plants in less then a year and a half, and we plan to plant 2 more in 2016.  That’s a sending mindset, and we must remain faithful to advancing the gospel beyond Hilo.

4.  Spiritual leadership has a vision for the city, not just the church.

It’s easy to be focused so much on the church it self that we forget about the city God has called us into.  One of the greatest ways to be influential in your community is identifying and researching the needs of your city.  We are currently involved in the local High School football program, and a Christian Elementary School who 60% of their students are unchurched.  We have seen great connections developed through these partnership.  One of my roles as a coach on the football team is leading our equipment department and 7 team managers.  We have gained such a trust in these organizations that we have been able to leverage the verbal gospel through circumstance.

5.  Spiritual leadership views the church as the starting line, not finish line.

My professor in seminary once said “the church is the base in which Christ will reach the world.”  We must view the church as a launching pad in which we get to see God move mighty and strong both locally, globally, and generationally. Because we planted a few churches, it does not mean we have arrived and finished our task.  This world has over 7 billion people in the world today and research says that more 5 billion are with out a relationship with Christ.  The answer to seeing this changed is our view as the church being the starting line, not finish line.   The finish line is the glory of Christ.
(These principles are credited to Pastor Vance Pitman of Hope Church Las Vegas)

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