From Pastor Johnny

How to Choose Leaders in the Church Day 2

By Making a Plan: 6:2-4

Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 

            Let’s examine the plan for leadership 

  1. Step 1: Seek out from among you seven men:
    • Good reputation
    • Full of the Holy Spirit
    • Full of wisdom
  1. Step 2: WE will appoint them:
    • To administrate the meals and be certain they are properly distributed.
    • Take care of the widows meal needs.
  • Step 3: Apostles (pastoral leadership) devote themselves back to prayer and the Word.

Be sure to communicate the plan clearly and know that, as much as is possible, everyone understands.  Some will NEVER understand but be sure that everyone who cares, does. I am not sure which is more important – making the plan or communicating the plan to followers. There must be a clear plan for choosing leaders and for leading, and that plan must be communicated to those whom you are leading.

In a recent article in Preaching.com, pastor John A. Huffman, Jr. told a story about communication that had been shared with him. In this account, communication is the key.

 “A school superintendent told his assistant superintendent the following: "Next Thursday morning at 10:30, Halley's Comet will appear over this area. This is an event which occurs only once every seventy-five years. Call the school principals and have them assemble their teachers and classes on their athletic fields and explain this phenomenon to them. If it rains, then cancel the day's observation and have the classes meet in the auditorium to see a film about the comet."

Assistant superintendent to school principals: "By order of the superintendent of schools, next Thursday at 10:30 Halley's Comet will appear over your athletic field. If it rains, then cancel the day's classes and report to the auditorium with your teachers and students where you will be shown films, a phenomenal event which occurs only once every seventy-five years.

Principals to teachers: "By order of the phenomenal superintendent of schools, at 10:30 next Thursday Halley's Comet will appear in the auditorium. In case of rain over the athletic field, the superintendent will give another order--something which occurs only once every seventy-five years.

Teachers to students: "Next Thursday at 10:30 the superintendent of schools will appear in our school auditorium with Halley's Comet; something which occurs once every seventy-five years. If it rains, the superintendent will cancel the comet and will order us out to our phenomenal athletic field."

Students to parents: "When it rains next Thursday at 10:30 over the school athletic field, the phenomenal seventy-five-year-old superintendent of schools will cancel all classes and appear before the school in the auditorium accompanied by Bill Haley and the Comets."

As God leads and empowers, my desire is that the placing, direction, function, and plan of our leadership be clearly communicated so that all the church body knows. As God leads us, we want to put leaders in place for that purpose. 

How to Choose Leaders in the Local Church

Great organizations, institutions, churches, or events have been accomplished by great leaders. Leadership is critical to the success of a project or organization.  This is a true principle. 

It is no different with the church of Jesus Christ.  It seems that, when God sets out to accomplish His work, He puts His leaders in place.  God has a method and mind set for placing leaders in His church. 

In Acts 6, the church had grown dramatically in and around Jerusalem. Many of the converts were Greek and Jewish widows. The church began to be heavily involved in providing meals for these widows who most likely had few options in that day. An issue arose amid this ministry that could threaten to divide the church. The Apostles responded by organizing putting outstanding leaders in place. This story and passage offer a glimpse into effectively placing leaders in the local church. How are we to put these leaders in place? 

By Meeting a Purpose: 6:1 

Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 

 I hope you understand that the mission of the church was laid out for us in Matthew 28:18-20.  It is called the Great Commission. It calls God’s people to worship God, disciple those who are saved, and reach those who are not. Churches express this in different terminology in their mission statements, but the mission is the same no matter what church you attend.   

If a committee, position, or group of leadership is not helping accomplish that – or they are not accomplishing that as well as it could be – then they should be re-organized or re-established.  If not, we sink into ineffectiveness. If a ministry in the local church is being accomplished ineffectively, then that ministry may need to be abolished or have new leaders in place.  

A group of appreciative tourists watched a demonstration put on by the Royal Artillery of the Queen. The six-man team worked with flawless precision. Only five of them worked with precision. One of the soldiers positioned himself about 25 yards away from the cannon and stood at attention during the entire exhibition, doing nothing. After the exhibition, one of the tourists asked the staff officer to explain the duty of the man standing off to the side. “He’s number six,” came the reply. “Yes, but what does he do?” “He stands at attention.” “Yes, I know, but why does he stand at attention?” No one knew why number six stood at attention. None of the other five knew, the man himself didn’t know, and even the commanding officer didn’t know. After many hours of research through old training manuals, it became clear what number six was to do. He was to hold the horses. 

Within the context of our church leadership, I believe we MUST ALWAYS be open and available to doing whatever needs to be done to accomplish the mission of the church.  For any local church out there, we must be available to adjusting to whatever leadership strategies best accomplish God’s mission for us. 

 

Will I Stay Faithful to Christ Amid Chaos? Day 3

Sharing Truth Through the Chaos:       Acts 5.26-32

26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

             In the face of chaos and opposition, these Apostles and followers of Christ continued to speak and share the truth of God’s Word. Chaos and opposition around us will expose whether or not we really believe God’s Word.

            If, in the heat of the moment, your first tendency is to move away or back off from the truth you said you believed in the leisure, then you will not make it.

 Trusting Christ Out of the Chaos:                     Acts 5.33-42

33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. 34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” 40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

 

            After the incarceration, threats, and beatings, the Apostles “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” The faithfulness of the Apostles had far more to do with their faith in the power of God than any faith in themselves.

            If chaos causes you to back away from church fellowship, biblical giving, studying God’s Word, gathering for worship, or gathering with other believers, then it is not likely that you were really trusting in the power of God in the first place. When one is fully resting in God’s power, cultural and external circumstances – as chaotic as they may be – will not cause you to stop.

            Will you stay faithful to Christ in the face of chaos? God has provided you a way through the very power of Jesus Christ.

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