(From the series ‘For the Edification of the Saints’)
St John 21:15-17 helps us to understand the main role of a church leader, I believe: “…Feed my Lambs…Feed my sheep…Feed my sheep.” Jesus was speaking to Peter, the disciple who had denied Him just before He was crucified and so I believe that verses 15-17 shows us the importance of restoration. As believers learn and grow they will make mistakes, even those who lead. When they make mistakes they may see it as failure, if they do not have good leaders who will encourage them and motivate them to utilise their gifts—leaders who will encourage them to keep trying while helping them to find different methods until they find the one that works for them. Without effective leadership those individuals may hide; becoming like the servant who hid his one talent instead of investing it. This can happen if they have only been exposed to leaders who do not practice the art of forgiveness and therefore may fail to come out of hiding.
The role of a leader is challenging. However, God promised never to give you more than you can bear. He calls you to come and lay your burdens down. I would like to remind you that His grace is available to you, as it was to the apostle Paul, if you need more. He will give you the strength to face whatever task is ahead and endure the trials that will come your way. His grace will never run out. The following verses will help you back on track, if you have forgotten the path chosen for you. As you read the verses, you may find that:
1 You are being taught something new;
2 God is confirming something to you; or
3 You are being convicted of a sin you need to repent of; allowing God to do the cleansing work in you.
Depending on where you are on your faith journey, you may or may not connect with the verses at this point in time. That’s okay! Many verses I now share in articles, I first learned at Sunday school or youth group and they are only just making sense to me now. However, I encourage you to read them anyway, for one day the Holy Spirit will bring them back to your memory. Practice asking God for understanding before you read His Word (see Psalm 119:18). There are mysteries that the mind cannot conceive, unless God opens our understanding. As a leader, you are one of the most influential people in the lives of those in your care. It is time to prepare for the rain, as mentioned in part three but you cannot do that without God’s instructions.
I now share the following Bible verses for your edification. They also tell us what Jesus requires of those placed in leadership positions within the church.
Words to live by
Ephesians 4:11-14: 11)“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: 12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13)Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14)That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive...”
Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Psalm 138:8: “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth him: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
1st John 4:18-21: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Psalm 18:30: “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”
Isaiah 26:3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Looking at the church and its role in my life:
How can the church help the needy in their midst?
One day that may mean that while sitting in bondage in the pews, God will speak through an individual to bring a word that will give life. Another day, while I am at home feeling depressed, someone will call with a word of encouragement to lift me out of that state of depression. At other times that might mean that while I am going through marital problems or struggling with parental issues I am supported by the church through the women’s ministry or via some form of couples or marriage ministry that my husband and I can both benefit and contribute to. Individuals are put into position to head up departments that will minister to different areas of need within the church. If you have been given such responsibility please ensure that you are not just wearing a title but that you are indeed ministering to the hearts of God’s children by edifying the saints.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2nd Cor. 12:9).
God wants us to be overcomers. We may fall down from time to time but His mercies are new every morning. He will not leave us to suffer in guilt and shame. His blood was shed on the cross for the remission of sins. Like Paul, you may be given a thorn in the flesh to keep you humble. Thank God for that thorn that keeps you running to Him for strength, recognising that you cannot do it in your own strength and hear Him saying to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” As we enter the Easter season, may we repent of our sins, knowing that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1st John 1:9). Then accept the gift of forgiveness that is available to all who will follow the resurrected Christ.
We already discovered in part two that the starting point to our ministry is first establishing our role as servants or slaves; recognising Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. That was the first thing Peter did. Prior to being given instruction to feed the flock Peter had denied Christ three times. This was the same person who was willing to die for Christ. He hadn’t yet fully understood the nature of the relationship he had with Christ. He messed up but Jesus wanted him to experience forgiveness and restoration. Jesus reinstated him into the fellowship of the eleven and for the three times he denied Christ there were three counteracting “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me…?” Twice, Peter answered “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” The third time that Jesus asked that question, it finally connected and Peter answered, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” In that one moment we saw Jesus showing compassion, extending forgiveness and restoring Peter into fellowship with the eleven as well as instructing him on what his task was. Peter was restored, ready to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in order to begin His ministry. We now have evidence of how he followed Jesus’ instructions in teaching the flock. Now it’s our call to arise and go teach, extending grace to all as God has extended such grace to us.
Your sister in Christ
Janice S Ramkissoon.
6th March 2013
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Please see links below to previous parts:
Part 1 ~ Looking at the Man in the Mirror
Part 2 ~ Understanding the Role of Leaders in the Church
Part 3 ~ Teaching the Flock
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