The church’s mission, argues Reggie McNeal, engages every aspect of life. The front lines of the collision between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness are homes, schools, offices, health clubs, civic organizations, and neighborhoods – wherever God’s people find themselves. Equipping the church for this mission can no longer be the responsibility solely of professional clergy. A new team of leaders, drawn from the membership of each congregation, must arise to meet the challenges that ministry in the third millennium will present. Yet where and how will these leaders be trained?
For the answer to this question, McNeal looks to the first generation of leaders – the disciples gathered around Jesus in a unique learning community. Like that earliest group of Christian learners, our churches must become centers of continual and ongoing learning; they must see the training of a local lay leadership as the starting point for all their ministries.
Drawing on the New Testament picture of the learning community that gathered around Jesus as his explicit model, McNeal offers useful and practical guidance on how churches can recruit, train, and commission leaders from within their own ranks.