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Sunday May 19th
Leading In Your Church

Welcome to The Journey Church. I'm Pastor Paris Pasch.

I’ve felt for some time the need to teach God’s people on the topic of leadership in the church.  It’s a topic that has consumed me over the 41 years of my ministry.  I have always longed to be a spirit lead leader of integrity.  It has become something that our culture is very susceptible to and yet very suspicious of, so listen this morning to hear the spirit of truth.

 

Most of you present today know that God has a plan to disciple His people and part of that plan is the church collective.  It shouldn’t take the place of your personal discipleship of yourself, your children, your friends or neighbors, but it should enhance it.  God has assigned certain people particular tasks within His church in order to fulfill His discipleship plan, but are you aware of how they are developed and  qualified?  Do you know how to receive from these spiritual people and are you trying to figure out how to interact with them and know how to do your part?  Each of you has a part to play if you are a Christian you know?

 

Ephesians 4:16 (NIV) From him Jesus) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

In our more progressive churches we have many who feel that belonging to the church club is all that is required to get the benefits.  The Bible however describes our part as much more essential than simply belonging.  We are each identified as body parts and no body part is considered unnecessary. 

 

Our God is a skillful designer and all you have to do is look at a flower or a bird to see that.  Every part of His design is beneficial, if even simply for beauty (Randy).  He has also designed a framework for human existence and it is a wise person who seeks to know and follow the design of God.  Today I will purpose to sort through some Bible text to see if we can see this framework more clearly.

 

First, we start with God at the top, in the front and encompassing all things.  The Father God made all things and then put Jesus in charge of everything.  Keep in mind that if you begin by understanding the structure of God wrong you will certainly end up completely wrong.

 

Ephesians 1:22–23 (NIV) And God placed all things under his (Jesus) feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

Colossians 2:9–10 (NIV) For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

 

Jesus is the undisputed leader of the whole Church with all its connected parts. Jesus is the supreme head of the church, not some human figure, only Jesus.  He rules and He guides.  He has commanded and He expects obedience.  He is LORD not a mere organizational figurehead nor has He assigned the lead role to a close relative.

 

Colossians 1:18 (NIV) And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

 

Jesus as the overarching leader, assigned roles to specific individuals that would function as servant-leaders in HIS church.  See if you notice that the roles have a purpose and a function?  Please note that purpose and function is not a position of value.  My left eye is no more important than my ear, both have enormous value, but completely separate purposes and functions. 

 

Jesus didn’t lead like an earthy king; He didn’t wear a fancy robe of purple and gold.  He didn’t require people to kiss his ring or genuflect in His presence other than by their own volition.  He didn’t sit in a lofty seat and let the little people admire Him.  He ate and lived with average people.  He had compassion, care and servanthood as part of His life as the leader.

 

Next the scripture instruct us that Jesus Himself set a structure of leadership in place in His church.  Pay special attention to who is to do what?

 

Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 

These identified leaders are not mere figure heads or organizational power players.  They are assigned by Jesus and not earned by intellectual effort.  They didn’t complete a higher education course or achieve a status of importance through breeding or accomplishments.  They are assigned and anointed by Jesus to serve His plan not the organization they serve in.  I have long stated that I work for Jesus, not the corporate organization.  I have always believed that Pastors are not employees, they are God ordained leaders.  They have a task that they are responsible to fulfill or they are simply taking up space.  The Apostle Paul gave a brief on how you might recognize one.

 

1 Timothy 3:1–5 (NIV)Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

 

Notice the absence of qualifying through intellectual prowess, business acumen or even seminary accolades.  They must be anointed and fruit bearing examples of Godly vessels full of integrity.

 

Next these assigned ones themselves are to assign to others specific roles that also have a purpose and a responsibility.  Let’s read what the Apostle Paul told the newly appointed Pastor Titus to do in the young church.  See if this is just a lite duty preparedness or is it similar to the primary leadership?

 

Titus 1:5–9 (NIV) The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

 

Paul told Pastor Titus to appoint spiritual leaders to serve the local church.  They were to be significant, committed followers in their lives and even in their homes.  At the Journey it is the Pastor who calls and assigns every leadership role.  The Apostle said similar things to the appointed Pastor Timothy.

 

1 Timothy 3:4–5 (NIV) He (church leader) must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

 

The Church is organized, but not a mere organization.  It has a leader who assigns leadership.  It is a family that functions as a single collective.  It is made of very diverse parts who labor to work in harmony under one head, Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV) Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

 

This body imagery is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and is an excellent read for all of us to plow through.  It clearly reminds us of the value of cooperation for one single purpose.  It refuses to elevate one part over another, but always communicates the value of every part doing its specific function.  It completely rejects the idea of belonging to a special hierarchical club with dues and perks.  It tells us that if any part of the body is missing, uncommitted or disengaged the whole body suffers.

 

You have value to the church according to Jesus.  What is your assigned role?  How do you fit in this wonderful thing called the church.  We don’t need dozens of pastors but we should have some in development.  We don’t need everybody to lead worship but those who are gifted should seek to serve in some capacity.  We don’t need everybody to teach but we need to be taught.

 

So seek to find your very needed function in the body of Christ.  Read, study, observe and test drive until you determine your place.  Then offer your gift to God and to His discipleship ministry called the church.  Maybe your gift is you just keep bringing guest through the door.  It is only when you do your part that you will reach fulfillment, because you will be doing exactly what God designed you to do.

Next week Pastor Ben continues with Leading In Your Home

      Message Questions

  1. Who is the undisputed leader of the church?

  2. Who gave Him that authority?

  3. What did Jesus do in the church to disciple His followers most effectively?

  4. Discuss leadership qualifications according to scripture.

  5. Why does scriptyure speak of every member minisrtry instead of lone spiritual mouthpieces?

  6. Why do you think so many people stay observers in a church rather than see that they have an essential role to play just like the pastor does?

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