Today in staff meeting we had the honor of inviting a guest, Chris Wienand, to share some thoughts with us. Chris has been a church planter and leader for a long time, most recently as the lead pastor of Southlands Church in Brea. A few months ago he and his wife turned over the leadership of Southlands to Alan Frow, a man they had mentored and trained, and now they are finding new ways to partner with current and future leaders to further God’s kingdom. He commented that the American church has come to rely on savvy hiring to achieve its vision—filling specific positions that are fashioned to achieve specific purposes—but that the model laid out in scripture for achieving the vision of God is really one comprised of fathers and sons.
At first I wasn’t sure what he meant. He went on to explain.
Clearly, at the very center of the biblical storyline is the primary relationship of God the Father and God the Son. The Father gives the Son, and the Son acts in accordance with his Father’s will to achieve specific purposes. That much we take for granted. But the point Chris was making is that perhaps we have overlooked the inherent model that’s displayed in this central relationship, more specifically it’s possible that we have ignored the fact that it was a relationship at all.
The Father loved the Son. The Son loved the Father.
The Father guided the Son. The Son tended to his Father’s business.
This wasn’t a contractual agreement; it was a relationship.
At its best, the Church can look the same. When men and women—leaders in the faith—care for the ones with whom God has entrusted them, when they love them like their own despite the subtle and the glaring faults, when this love compels these leaders to take responsibility for the mentoring and training of these sons and daughters, then they have become fathers and mothers.
This isn’t a contractual agreement by which a person has been given a position, a title and a job to do. This is leadership rooted in relationship. This is mentorship founded in mutual love and affection.
While I may be thinking too far into the future, placing my hopes upon a seed that has hardly been given a chance to break ground, what a beautiful vision that we might—through this journey together—become fathers and sons, mothers and daughters to one another and to those whom God has placed in our paths.
Update: Chris posted some further thoughts on the topic on his own blog. A good read.