Following up on what I wrote in Circuit Riders 1.0, I think what challenges and inspires me to be an effective leader is the early circuit riders’ sense of mission — they simply went wherever the people were!
Lovett H. Weems, Jr. describes the pioneering spirit of the early Methodists in his book, Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit. He describes the early Methodist movement as “a ‘sent’ ministry” that “followed the movement of the people” (22). IOW, they were proactive and went where the people were.
I think one thing that happens as churches age is that they tend to lose their pioneering spirit and begin to take on the mission of maintaining and preserving the work of their forbears. But the mission of modern day circuit riders (and the church, in general) is not to maintain what our forbears built. Our mission is to lead with the same spirit in which they led!
But we honor our forbears, not by continuing what they started, but by living in the same pioneering spirit in which they led and operated!
A pioneering spirit is necessary simply because what worked to reach people in previous generations will not necessarily work in this generation. And pioneers are willing to do whatever it takes to connect with the people God calls them to reach in ways that bear fruit.
The early circuit riders modeled a pioneering spirit. It’s a spirit we must regain today if we’re going to transform the world for Jesus Christ!