Are we there yet?

I’ve been loving the titles we’ve had for our preaching series, “Who’s Minding the Church?” Craig had the final one, of the above title. I really appreciated the fact that he only had 4 points this time, and that he numbered them briefly before going over each one in more detail.

So to “get us There”, there are 4 primary functions of leadership, and 4 important responses of “follower-ship”–which are actually the same; you can think of each point either as a leader, or as a follower. And as Craig said, follower-responses are of equal importance. (Hover your mouse over any scripture reference, to see the NLT version of it.)

  1. Embrace life as Pilgrimmage. Lead by following Jesus radically–no matter what–knowing that this world is not our home (Hebrews 13:14). Leadership is not about position, but about provision: of teaching (so, they should be rooted in Scripture), of example, etc. We are to copy our leaders’ example.
  2. Live all of life as Ministry, Hebrews 13:15-16. The “sacrifice” is of praise & proclamation, and of doing good & sharing–if we love Jesus, we love others, and this is our worship/ministry.
  3. Formation of Disciples. Leaders must nurture, with a persistent focus of making disciples. And here is a controversial part–this verse (see below) speaks of “obeying”… but the obeying is to leaders who are infused with Jesus’ character (gentle, compelling, nurturing). So, leaders must pay attention to themselves, and followers must also accept that they are human. And leaders should know they will be in the line of fire, but “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”. I like the verse for this point in The Message: “Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?” (Hebrews 13:17)
  4. Build Community (Hebrews 13:24). There should be no gulf between leaders and followers. And it shouldn’t be a spirituality of convenience (“church shopping”), but we should have the perspective of God’s work also in other places, both here & abroad.

So, Craig concludes that no, we are not there yet… but we are heading in the right direction. And it is “necessary and possible for us to move forward”.

Yay!

 

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