Will the Real Church Leaders Please Stand Up?
Leadership. Just saying the word out loud can make some people break into a cold sweat. But for believers, leadership is a fundamental characteristic of our Christian faith. Let me explain.
Several of the staff at Alpine Bible Church recently finished studying a book called Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck. These gentlemen did an excellent job of reminding us that all Christians are designed to lead. Every believer is designed by God to influence others through leadership. Mr. Geiger and Mr. Peck summarize their main point by saying this, “Christian leadership is designed for the glory of God and the good of others. So, the church is designed to develop leaders who will bless and serve their families, churches, communities, and the world as they glorify God.”
To illustrate, they relate an Old Testament passage that many are probably familiar with:
Jeremiah 29:4-7 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’”
Many from the nation of Israel had been taken captive to Babylon, and God instructed Jeremiah to explain how He wanted them to live in the land of their captivity. In part, He said, they should desire peace for the city and pray for the city because, as they help their new neighbors be at peace, they too will be at peace. God is telling Israel to glorify Him by blessing those whom He has put them in contact with. Even in their captivity, they should bless their neighbors by seeking their peace, by praying for them, and by doing what they can do to bring His peace to them. In short, be a blessing where He has put them.
Do you see how God’s message is applicable to us as well in the situation that we are in right now? In this time of unknowns (things changing daily, the stock market ups and downs, everyone at home, empty shelves at stores, restaurants closed, even churches closed), pray for those around you and be the blessing and the peace of God to them. Mr. Geiger and Mr. Peck stated it this way, “God has sent His people into the world to be a common grace to the world, that all people may taste the grace of God and the peace of God.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the Person of grace and the Person of peace indwelling us. We have His peace that passes understanding even in difficult times like these. You and I have the grace and the peace of God to pass on to those God brings us into contact with. Alpine Bible Church, like many churches across the country, has endeavored to provide several ways we can extend the grace and the peace of God for others to taste. They are great ways to get involved in the lives of those around us who may have needs we can help meet. They are all great opportunities to be a blessing in our families, our churches, our communities, and even the world. *
Being the grace and peace of God to those around us is exactly the way God wants His church to function.
Romans 12:10-13 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
The word “contributing” in this verse means distributing or imparting to the needs of the saints. Be devoted to one another by helping meet the needs of each other.
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
“Bear” means to carry in the hands each other’s burdens. Specifically, in this verse it carries the idea patiently carrying in the hands one another’s burdens. That way we fulfill the law of Christ, which is to love God and love others.
Hebrews 13:15-16 – Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
The word translated “sharing” in verse 16 has a similar meaning to the “contributing” in Romans 12:13 above with the added thought of sharing financially. And notice that it all takes place through Him in verse 15.
So, take care of each other, share with each other, carry each other’s burdens patiently, and love God by loving each other! And if you are one of those with needs, let the body of Christ be a blessing to you. Let your church family love on you and be what God established the church to be. While we are not in captivity in a foreign land like the nation of Israel, we certainly are being held captive by a virus that we have little control over and that seems to be out of control. But we know God is in control and we can be a part of comforting His people by being serving each other.
Even with all that is going on, God is encouraging us to be peace and be a blessing to those around us like He encouraged Israel to desire peace where He had put them and be a blessing even in exile. As Christians, this is our time to lead and to influence others. This is our time to shine the light of Christ. This is our time to be the hands and feet of Christ. This is our time to be peace, to be grace, to be a blessing. This is our time to be the church.
Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
The writer of Hebrews could have just as easily said, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to be the church.” Mr. Geiger and Mr. Peck point out that part of God’s plan for Israel in Babylon was “as God’s people they would strive to live according to the image of God and in so doing bring light and life to those around them in kindness, justice, and goodness.”
May we, as God’s people, strive to live according to the image of God that we bear. And in so doing, bring His light and His life to those around us in kindness, justice, and goodness. May we, as God’s people, be the church in whatever situation we find ourselves in.
As believers, we are all leaders and we are all influencers for the glory of God and for the good of others. May we love and serve those around us with the grace, the peace, and the blessings of Jesus.