To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Leading In Repentance.

This post from last week leads me to think about how leaders should demonstrate their leadership in repentance. This is essentially counter-intuitive because the thinking of the world is that you have to prove yourself to be strong and in control if you are a leader. However the godly leader is not of that ilk.

The model of our leadership is a Saviour who was humble and lowly of heart. Now our Saviour never had to repent of any sin. However for us who are weak in our beings and prone to wander from the ways of God there should be the readiness to repent.

This so important because it is how we display the gospel into our family and into our church. Parents and church leaders who are not repenters set a bad example to those under their care. The gospel we affirm, after all, is a message which has its fulcrum in repentance. Gospel grace swings into our lives when there is repentance. Forgiveness is experienced when there is repentance.

So parents and church leaders make sure that you are a leader in repentance. Children and church members who see their leaders ever proving their strength and refusing to face up to their sins are hindered from seeing the gospel clearly displayed before them.

Happy To Be Wrong.

Some leaders are a menace because they always have to be right. Such people are generally quite insecure because if they are found to be wrong they feel themselves to be threatened. It is my persuasion though that leaders should be happy to be wrong. Leaders should be happy to lose arguments.

Now I am not talking here about matters of principle, particularly those established by scripture. We should not be prepared to be wrong about those issues. If we are prepared to accept being wrong on such issues, we are truly untrustworthy people. But we should be happy to be overruled on matters of procedure; if others have a better way of doing things we should be happy to accept that. Another instance would be when when we have simply misunderstood a situation we should not obfuscate the matter rather we tell openly of our wrongness.

This is refreshing for those under our care because if we defy the evidence and deny our wrongness then we just lead to them being exasperated. Which leads me to ponder upon the scripture Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Parents should be willing to own up on the occasions when they are proven to be wrong. If they don’t then they will exasperate their children.

We win so many over to our leadership if they realise we are honest people who do not just force our will upon others. Lets us not exasperate our people / children through our leadership, but rather delight them and encourage them through our willingness to accept when we are wrong. There is a sense in which leaders should lead in acknowledging their failure and wrongness.

Influence.

How are you influencing those under your influence? Let us ponder upon what is said of King Ahaziah in 2 Chronicles 22:3 He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. Ahaziah was influenced for bad by his mother.

Now there are many people who come under our influence to a greater or lesser extent. In family, church, work and so many areas there are a lot of situations happening which lead to influence being exerted. Generally it is the older, more experienced and people of higher ranks of authority which are doing the bulk of influencing. But there is a lot going on between peers and siblings and church members and in all kinds of relationships.

What I want to ask amidst all these situations is what kind of influence are you having? Are you prompting people to go in a good way or a bad way? Is our lifestyle, instruction and advice to encouraging people in the ways of God or the ways of the world?

What a sobering thing it is that in Scripture Ahaziah’s mother is seen as an influencer unto wickedness for her son.

I do want to exhort parents, church leaders and employers to think about the influence they are having. You are having an influence whether you like it or not.

So let us all just stop and think about the influence we are having upon others. Parents how are you influencing your children. Church leaders how are you influencing the church? And in all the other relationship structures you are involved, what is the influence you are having?

 

Sorting things Out

When issues arise in any community of people whether that be in a family, office or church (or wherever) then there is a pressing need to resolve those issues. Very often if the issues are not resolved then they will fester in the community and suck much needed life-blood away from the group.

I am suggesting that there is a five stage approach that needs to be adopted:

Consider: Gather together all the information. Speak with relevant peoples. Consult those who may have specialist expertise regarding the issue. Talk things through with the other people who are responsible (e.e. elders in church). And as you do so be praying to the Lord for His undertaking in all this.

Decide: There comes a point when a decision needs to be taken so that there can be a resolution of the matter and a moving forward. Sometimes that will take a length of time, at other times it will be quite swift. Generally that depends on the magnitude of the issues involved.

Communicate: Inform all those who need to know what is happening. This is a key element in the process. Lack of communication can lead to all kinds of confusion and frustration about what is happening. Discretion as to the detail of the message and extent of who is told is needed, But full clear and open communication will save an organisation from lots of energy needlessly wasted.

Implement: Put into operation what you have decided upon. Inform all those who are involved in putting the strategy in place about what is required.

Monitor: There is a sense that the matter having been dealt with it can now be left and the organisation can move on effectively and productively. However, the arrangements implemented as a result of the decision should be monitored so that any improvements, that are necessary, are introduced and set in place.

Are You Caring For Those Sheep?

In Hebrews 13:17 we read: Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

It is easy for elders to concentrate on how the church should be submitting to their authority. However, the key injunction to the elders of the church in this verse is for them to be watching over the flock. This is a relentless work for a shepherd to be involved in. Sheep are prone to wander and stray. Sheep easily head off in harmful directions. Elders should be always lovingly watching for those in the congregation; the sheep in their care.

There should be no favoritism; all should be equally cared for. There are some sheep we warm to more than others, but all should have our loving attention. Some cause us more trouble than others, but still all should be loved. The quieter ones, who can so easily be ignored, should know they are cared for too.

Also we should be remembering what our goal is. It is not to produce a bunch of compliant individuals whom we control. Rather it is to see their spiritual progress. We long to present everyone perfect in Christ. In Colossians 1: 28-29 we see Paul’s heart which should be our heart He (Christ Jesus) is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in meWe, like Paul, should long and labour so that no spiritual harm comes to the sheep in our care.

The godly sheep will warm to this care because they know we are demonstrating their Lord to them. Others who do not have a heart for God will resist it. But whatever the response we must continue to labour for our Master among those sheep He has given us as a stewardship.

 

Preaching For Eternity.

What are we doing when we bring the Word of the Lord before people? What response are we wanting from the people? The ministry motivation of the apostle Paul is instructive in seeking to answer those questions. In Colossians 1:28-29 we read:-

He (Christ) is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Paul is thinking of a day when everyone he has ministered to appears before God. His desire on that day is that all will be perfect, or fully mature, in Christ. So Paul is not preaching for popularity or temporal results; he is preaching, labouring and ministering for eternal results. He sees people as eternal beings and their value to God, others, and even themselves, will be found when they are growing in Christ Jesus and for His glory.

Paul would, therefore, be preaching to root out all that would hinder growth in Christ, Accordingly, he would deal with sin; he would have a sin exposing and repentance urging ministry; and so should we. Moreover, he would have a Christ directing ministry. He would be preaching to people so as they would have faith in Christ and to rely on Him and Him alone.

So Paul would not be preaching to get lifestyle change or outward conformity. He would be preaching to get lives which matter for eternity. And so should we.

You Have To Get Involved

Today I want to counterbalance the post from last Thursday (see here) which dealt with the issue of elders keeping their focus. I am addressing here the issue of the need for the elders at times to make sure that they do not avoid getting involved in a pressing task.

In Nehemiah 3 we see a wall being built. This wall was essential for the effective operating of the city of Jerusalem. Moreover, if the people of God were going to start effectively to function as the people of God again they needed this wall. So as we look at Nehemiah 3 we see that all were involved in contributing their part to make sure that the wall was built.

It is interesting that the first involvement was with Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate (Neh. 3:1). The leaders led the way to indicate that this was something all needed to be involved in. And interestingly there is a gentle hint of condemnation concerning the nobles of the Tekoites who would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors (Neh. 3:5b). They thought themselves of too high a station in the community to lower themselves to working for building foremen.

So what do we learn:

  1. There are times when there is necessary works to be done among the people of God for the benefit of God’s church. In such a situation all, including the leaders need to be involved.
  2. The leaders need to take the lead in being involved in these tasks.
  3. The leaders need humility to submit to others who are perhaps more familiar with building work. Pompous refusal to submit to others with appropriate gifts and expertise is not golly.
  4. We need to consider the comparison to last Thursday’s post. There are times to delegate and times to get involved. It takes wisdom to know which one to do and when.
  5. Even when there are necessary jobs to be done elders need to retain tehir focus on prayer and the Word. These are, after all, at the heart of our calling.

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