Living and Discipling Among the Lost – A Word to Spiritual Leaders
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (Ephesians 4:11-12)
The commander was covered with oil. He had been helping the mechanics fix a truck in the motorpool. But make no mistake; he realized that his greatest contribution that day was inspiration and team building, not his mechanical skills. Just like this young military commander, the spiritual overseer must have a firm grasp of his essential role as a leader. Certainly spiritual leaders practice the art of personal evangelism, but that is not their primary role. Their role is to equip those around them in the convictions and skills of leading men and women to Christ. It’s a matter of multiplication rather than addition.
The art of equipping and delegating is one of the hardest leadership principles to practice. We tend to value the work so much that we lose sight of the need for guidance and vision. We get busy doing the daily tasks and fail lead the troops into battle. Everyone has their place and the Kingdom advances when we practice our gifting and position as God intends.
Jesus understood this when He would not stoop to being an earthly king at the expense of being Lord and Savior of all (Jn 6.15). The Apostles understood this when they chose to prepare themselves to serve the people spiritual food rather than waiting tables (Ac 6.1-2). The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy not to allow the insecurities of youthfulness to interfere with his duties as a spiritual leader (1 Tim 4.12).
For those who oversee ministries, we need to remember that our leadership is our greatest contribution. Yes, we will model witnessing, the basic things of the faith, and never use our responsibilities as a cover for laziness or sin. But, we dare not forget that the Lord Jesus has not only entrusted us with the flock but there is a lost world to reach. The task is so daunting that we cannot afford to only practice personal spirituality. We must lead the people of God. It is God’s design. To do otherwise squanders the gifting of the Holy Spirit and short changes the Kingdom. Jesus didn’t just pray for fishers of men, He equipped them (Mt 4.19; 17.4,18). Responsible spiritual leaders will do the same.
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