(From the series ‘For the Edification of the Saints’) “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
The aim of this series of articles is to encourage leaders to become more effective in their leadership so that they can empower those under their leadership who will grow and empower others to shine for Christ.
As followers of Christ, we are all disciples and must be true witnesses for Christ. Therefore our actions and our speech must be in line with God’s will. Nevertheless, some are specifically given the gift of preaching and teaching (See Ephesians 4:11) and therefore, I believe that is their main responsibility. The pastor of a church will have the responsibility to teach the flock. That leader cannot do this alone and so God, who calls him/her into office will equip him/her with other leaders who will help to carry out the work. The pastor needs to train up these leaders to follow the instructions given by God. When this pattern is followed, the pastor is ensuring that the DNA runs through the vein of the various ministry groups within the fellowship. As they are taught, they will go out to teach and those they teach will do likewise. It is a revolving cycle.
In part two we highlighted the miracle that took place of three thousand souls being added to the church in one day. More souls were also being added to the church on a daily basis. All those people needed to be taught. How did Peter deal with this in response to Jesus’ instructions to feed the flock? There had to be an element of teamwork. In the beginning they all spoke but Peter emerged as the natural leader. That was pre-destined as we saw in St. John 21:15-22. Peter would not have been able to do all the teaching that was required for such a large crowd that was growing on a daily basis. Responsibilities would have been given to the other disciples. This caused me to think about how he distributed the responsibilities. I then went back to Exodus 18:13-16 to see how Moses carried out a similar task.
If you are given the role of a church leader, please do not try to do it alone. Moses tried to do it alone and, according to the scripture below, he found it quite difficult. He complained to His father-in-law (see Exodus 18:13-16) and his father-in-law’s response, in verses 17-23, serves as a guide to all leaders today: “…The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.” God has given us instructions we do need to follow in order to see results. Let us practice to follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
What have I learned so Far?
What I have learned from reading these Bible verses (in all three parts) is that if we follow God’s instructions; being obedient every step of the way then things will naturally fall into place. Despite the mocking, Peter was obedient in feeding the lambs as Jesus had instructed. He only had to do what Jesus asked him to do and the opportunities would be presented for him to take the next step. He didn’t go looking for the opportunities, God created those opportunities for Him as He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading. As they were given utterance, they began to speak with other tongues (other languages). However, it was Peter who stood up, with the eleven, and began to preach. After the people heard the preaching we are told in Acts 2:37 that, “…They were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter was then given the opportunity to teach, explaining that they first need to repent and then get baptized. Then those who received that teaching were baptized and given the opportunity to fellowship with the 120, continuing to learn more about Jesus and what He requires of them. Therefore, it shows that all the disciples were involved in that process and not just Peter doing everything.
There are many individuals sitting in our pews hiding their lights under a bushel because our leaders aren’t leading effectively. There are many individuals within our places of fellowship whom God has sent to our fellowship in answer to our prayers but we fail to see the raw material and recognise that we have some work to do, in order for the answered prayer to be manifested. When we pray for water God may send rain and depending on our need we would need to have our buckets ready or build a well to receive the water. He may send someone with a bucket of water, a glass of water or He may send you to a tank or a river where you can scoop the water for yourself. God does not always do things in the same way each time, so don’t limit Him based on human understanding.
I leave the following dialogue with you to think about until we meet again for part four.
From the movie, ‘Facing the Giants’, the following dialogue took place:
Grant Taylor: I admit to you, I have been struggling. But I’ve also been praying. I just don’t see him [God] at work here.
Mr. Bridges: Grant, I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?
Grant Taylor: The one who prepared his fields for it.
Mr. Bridges: Which one are you? God will send the rain when he’s ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it.
A leader is also like a farmer who has to till the land and prepare it to receive the seeds in his hand. Once he plants the seeds he will need to water it, fertilise it, allow the sunshine to penetrate it, and dig up the weeds that threaten the growth of the plants. I would like to encourage you to be like the farmer who prepared for the rain.
Continues in part 4: Bible Verses for Leaders to Meditate on
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