I’d like to share some personal experiences in the following parts to help leaders understand the need of building up the body.
Ephesians 4:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT) helps us to understand what’s required of leaders:
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
When we are seen as disciples and treated as such we will mature as individuals, grow in our marriages and learn the importance of discipleship as parents. We will then disciple our children who will mature in Christ and disciple others. Discipleship is an ongoing life-long process which is based on the principle of multiplication.
Whilst a member of that particular fellowship I spoke of in part 5, I was used to hearing the message preached in a very condemning way. I would often find myself complaining about the delivery method rather than focussing on the Scripture itself. I remembered a female leader addressing the married ladies with the use of derogatory terms like ‘MBA’. In my naivety, I was thinking of basketball (NBA) and waiting for the analogy.
It was ‘Women’s Sunday’. I was sure the message would touch on the topic of motherhood and wifely duties. It did. But the speaker missed the mark. After a few minutes ranting ‘MBA’ was explained: “Some of you all are married but available…” That was in the context of teaching about adultery. It would have been embarrassing if I had invited a friend that day. I knew then that I was in trouble and I needed to start seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Breaking point, for me, came at that moment on the journey. It left me confused.
I was hurting for the young people I was serving who had always been quite vocal about what they wanted out of life. For those who saw marriage in their future, they had nothing but condemnation to take away. What would they share with their friends or their parents who weren’t at that meeting?
I was hurting for women in the congregation who were struggling with their marriages because of adultery. Instead of help on the road to recovery they were given ammunition to fuel and prolong the pain inflicted on them.
If there were any wives in the congregation who were committing adultery, they were in the right place to get the help they needed. Nevertheless they wouldn’t have received that help. Instead, they would have left with those famous words the church is too often labelled with: ‘Judgmental and condemning’.
If only she had preached the Word, it would have done the washing; the Holy Spirit would have done the convicting; and a process of transformation would have begun in the lives of those women.
Again, I asked myself: “After a sermon like that, why would they go to the leaders for help?” That is when I realised that my anger was not out of line. It wasn’t sinful to be angry about the things that were placed as stumbling blocks to growth in the faith. Nevertheless I needed to ensure I didn’t allow the anger to cause me to sin. I looked at the things that were causing anger and I began to ask God to use me to make a difference in those areas.
As I share my journey with you, I believe that God will use my offering to plant seeds of righteousness in the hearts of leaders. My prayer is that those leaders will be inspired to do the work that they are called and anointed to do.
The journey continues in part 7 ~ Taking A Step Forward