Blair Mundell is a full-time elder at Jubilee Church in Maidstone. We asked him about his church’s commitment to public leadership.
How did your church’s journey into equipping public leaders begin?
As a local church, Jubilee was replanted in 2001 but the journey to see leaders released into the public sector is something that was sown into the fabric of Jubilee years before. It is a part of the DNA we carry in Church of the Nations (CoTN), the family of churches we relate to. Having said that, it was through the replanting of Jubilee that a clear vision and strategy to see people equipped and released into all areas of life was birthed.
How do you practically equip young public leaders in the congregation?
Our biggest effort has been through the training centre we planted in 2001. We invested time, finance and energy into equipping young adults, with the desire to release them into all aspects of public life.
We have provided those in the public sphere with time on a Sunday morning to give testimony and explain how God is using them in the public sector. We have hosted a number of conferences over the years covering topics such as business, education, government and family. Some businessmen in Jubilee started a forum to help small business leaders through mentoring.
What is your biggest celebration story?
We started a business school a number of years back to release young people into the business sector. One of the students got a two week placement at a large Canary Wharf accounting firm through the business school. The accounting firm then opened the door for his employment at the end of the business school in the full knowledge that he had no university degree. His employment was based purely on character. They provided the opportunity for further study as well.
What was your biggest learning point?
As church leaders, we know church leadership but our experience in the business sector, government, education, the arts, etc. is limited. Therefore, the propensity is to default back to equipping for church life. Realising this in early 2015, we began the process of redefining all the equipping we do in Jubilee. This caused us to place all our programmes into stasis. We have only now, at the beginning of this academic year of 2017, re-launched one of the equipping programs. We continue to ask the question, “How effective and valid is the equipping we offer, so as to release people into the public sector?” If not, then all we will do is continue to build strength into the operational efficiency of Jubilee church.
Why is it important for the local Church and church leaders to support those leading in the public square?
The majority of the people in Jubilee live their lives between school runs, office hours and weekend socialising. It is only for a few hours each week that they receive input from the leadership of Jubilee. This only reinforces our belief that the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, does not refer solely to church ministry. They are to be ministers in the place God has called them to. Therefore, church leaders have a high calling from God to equip, empower and support their people, as ministers of the gospel in the place they are.
Jubilee has been investing in public leaders for almost 17 years, that’s a long-term commitment! Why is it so important to you?
We are to be equipped for the work of the ministry; for all of us who believe in the finished work of Christ, we are made to be a holy priesthood. As an elder in Jubilee church, my calling to serve in Jubilee is no higher than that of the stay-at-home-parent, the business person or the student. We are all called with a heavenly calling to be priests of the Most High and the work of the ministry is to be brought into effect by all the saints. We want to see Jubilee make the jump from child of God who receives ministry, to child of God who ministers.
What’s your hope and vision for the future?
Simply to see disciples made. As is with all churches, our calling is to go make disciples. Disciples first. If we make good disciples we will make good business leaders. If we make good disciples we will make good political leaders. If we make good disciples we will make good worship leaders. The hope and vision we have is to be faithful to the great commission.
Any final thoughts?
The challenge for the Church remains: do we continue to build the local Church through the multiplying of leaders to lead in the local Church or do we impact the society our people live in by equipping them to lead in the place they spend most of their time? Too often we equip our people to make small groups and Sunday celebrations run smoother and more efficiently, so as to lighten our load. Rather, our efforts should be poured into the discipleship of people, not the preparation of programmes.