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One final quote from Reggie McNeal, The Present Future.

“If our Bible study does not show up in a life that looks increasingly like Jesus’ (captured by his heart for people), it is merely a head trip, a point of pride, and an idolatrous substitute for genuine spirituality.”

In churches of Christ, we’ve often done a very good job with knowing the Bible, but this has not always translated into a deeper relationship with God. Sometimes, like the Pharisees, we “searched the Scriptures” because we thought that by them we possessed eternal life. We “knew” the Scripture, but our assemblies were still plagued by divisions and strife. We knew what the Bible said, but somehow couldn’t learn to love one another.

How do we ensure that our study of Scripture leads to a deeper relationship with God?

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McNeal’s final “Tough Question” is: “How Do We Develop Leaders for the Christian Movement?” McNeal writes, “Leadership development that supports apostolic leadership and a missional renewal in the church pays attention to four arenas of learning: paradigm issues, microskill development, resource development, and personal growth.”

Paradigm issues are concerned with how we see our world. We are still in a paradigm shift from “doing” church at the clubhouse to “being” church in the world.

Microskill Development is concerned with cultivating a new skill set. “Vision cultivation and casting, communication, team building, change and transition leadership, mentoring and coaching, corporate culture management, conflict management and resolution, networking, project management, systems thinking, and interpersonal relationships” are all important. This skill development is not limited to clergy.

Concerning Resource Development, McNeal writes, “A leader who does not know how to resource his work just produces ideas, not results. The key resources for spiritual leaders include prayer, people, time, money, facilities, and technology.”

Personal development is concerned with self-understanding.

Are we prepared to develop new leaders? What would a curriculum and program look like?

Reggie McNeal writes about his sixth reality and suggests our “Wrong Question” #6: “How Do We Develop Leaders for Church Work?” He asks, “If church work is not getting the job done, why do we continue to train leaders to do it better?”

McNeal believes we need an “apostolic leadership.” The challenges of the 21st century parallel that of the 1st. Religious pluralism, globalism, collapse of institutional religion, accompanied by an increased interest in personal spiritual development are common to both time periods.

McNeal argues that apostolic leaders are: missional, visionary, entrepreneurial, work in teams, and release ministry to people and people for ministry. “Other leadership motifs require leaders to be competent to work inside the church. The apostolic leader’s competency revolves around the ability to work outside the church in the world that is not a part of the church culture.”