Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Appreciating Church Leadership

I am thankful for strong spiritual men in my life that have exemplified faithfulness to God’s Word. Their humble efforts have served to help me see that leadership within the Body of Christ is not a dying breed, but rather, it continues to thrive and strive towards a united goal to see souls come to Christ and stay in Christ. These men are respecters of the blood-purchased church and Her local congregations. They do not want to see Christ’s church be defiled by a subtleness or an overtness of self-will, but instead, be overcome by selflessness, sacrifice and submission. An attitude of a Diotrephes (3 John 9-10) will not survive within Her ‘walls’, and to that I’m thankful for such love and dedication from these leaders.

This type of leadership is attainable. I’ve seen it and I continue to see and hear about it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are out there and through any local congregation’s efforts, they can continue to be established, maintained and flourish for God’s glory. There are many things we can do as members of the congregation to help see leadership such as this grow, but I’ll just share a couple thoughts right now.

We definitely need to pray for our current leadership or for future leaders to humbly rise to the occasion in service for God. The importance of praying for our leaders is clearly seen in Acts 20 where Paul meets with the elders of Ephesus. At the end of their gathering Paul prays for them! Yes, the elders of the Ephesian church are extremely saddened because of Paul’s nearing departure to Jerusalem, and that may be partly why Paul prays for them, but I believe it’s mostly due to the seriousness of their duty as an eldership and the importance of Christ’s church. There is a warning to a possible internal upheaval in the church, which they should be on guard to watch for and to stymie any God-less attempts, just as our leaders are faced with at our congregations today. Praying is a principle we must follow for the sake of maintaining a strong family now and for the next generation of Christians to follow after we depart. Jesus definitely prayed for His Apostles in John 17, the leadership of His soon-to-be-established church. So must we.

Next, we should make an even greater effort than we already do in following, or submitting, to our leaders (Hebrews 13:17). This would include any individual leader out there submitting to the congregational leadership. Sometimes there are rogue individuals who give in to temptation and desire to fall out of formation because of their pride and start their own ‘quorum’ thinking there is a better way to do business. Thankfully, a strong leadership often recovers from such an act and perseveres. Our loving desire to serve under these men is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength in Christ and pleases God when we think above pettiness and above our own motives. The church we read about in Acts 2:42-47 has always been for me a standard by which we should follow.

Finally, we need to be thankful and express our gratitude to them and their families. They as our overseers are our shepherds. And with that responsibility comes many long nights, days, weeks, you get the idea…they are serving the Lord by watching over our souls. Let’s do our part to not let their job be a “thankless” one, but instead, full of “thanksgiving”. Though those who are members do not share in their congregational duties, we can share in their love for the church and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with them for the same eternal cause. We can honor God by honoring our leaders. Praise God for sound leadership in the church today!