Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sermon--Faith's Call of Leadership--1 Peter 5:1-5

Faith’s Call of Leadership—1 Peter 5:1-5

This was a difficult passage to develop into a sermon as it was speaking to “elders” which is primarily understood to be pastors. However, there were several principles of leadership & motivation that were spoken of in the passage that are helpful for our churches.

Leadership is a vital part of the success or growth of any organization be it a nation, a business.

Can you imagine England surviving WWII without the leadership of Churchill? Or America surviving without the leadership of Washington during the Revolution or Lincoln during the Civil War. Great Leadership often manifests itself during times of great turmoil or conflict.

It’s even necessary in the church. The Kingdom of Light is setting up battle fronts in the Kingdom of Darkness. Each outpost must be manned and prepared for an enemy that is ruthless and cruel and wants nothing more than to “Steal, Kill and Destroy” Leadership within the Church is Vital—that’s why Paul spent so much time identifying and setting up leadership for the churches he established and visited.

In many ways, this was a section of 1 Peter directed to me. The elder of a congregation or Presbyter, as an office we typically understand as a pastor. However, since the word is plural, it also means that it was written either with several pastors in mind, either multiple congregations reading the letter or each congregation that will have several who hold places of leadership within the fellowship.

READ 5:1-5

Elders—Pastor—I am an elder or leader not by age, but by calling—we both felt God’s leadership

Pastor to Students, Deacons, Trustees, Council Members

A Call of Maturity

A Call of Responsibility

A Call of Privilege

A Call of Example

1. Elder

Witness of Christ’s Sufferings—Peter was an eyewitness in the literal sense. But we have not been an eyewitness, but it must still apply to us. We must have witnessed and called upon and depended upon Christ’s suffering in our own lives. You and I must have seen Christ suffering in our heart and spirit and applied its power to our lives—as a result of doing this, we share in the glory to be revealed.

IOW, we must be saved. Leadership in the church must have a genuine, authentic, sincere faith that has had time to grow and mature. Leadership is a Call of Maturity.

Maturity—is not perfectly dependent on age—but it often is related to it. Maturity as a Christian has to do with understanding the faith, with wisdom, with humility, not insisting that you’re always right, willingness to forgive and not strike back at someone who has offended or hurt.

Scripture teaches more about the Qualifications for someone serving as a leader than it does explaining what that leader is supposed to do.

Titus 1:6-9—Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, 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.

1TI 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching

James—says there is a ministry of prayer for an elder as well. “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

2. Beware of Wrong Motives for Church Leaders

Greedy for Money—Gain, Compensations, Gifts, Benefits or Perks

In this you are banking or taking advantage of the generosity of others.

Money is a powerful motivator and can ruin lives and ministries.

Lording It Over—controlling, power hungry, manipulative, superiority complex

If you enjoy being the boss and telling other people what to do. If you had to take orders for a long time and struggled through it, now it’s your turn to make someone else squirm. Don’t get involved in ministry or service to others in the church just to boost your own ego

Don’t let me come across as power hungry—

3. Be Shepherds—gentle and firm Guides

This title is personal for Peter, for it is the language that Jesus used while reinstating Peter to the ministry of the Kingdom after Peter’s denials. “Do you love Me?... Feed my Sheep” In other words be their shepherd. It is a Call of Responsibility

Its meaning embraces on who:
Feeds—when they are hungry—you see to it that they have their need met—spiritually speaking, you have a responsibility to help nourish their spiritual hunger.
Guides (sheep and keeps them from going astray or necessarily their own way
Guards (against wolves—THOSE people, those teachings that are dangerous to the sheep)
Heals (the wounds of injured)
Protecting, leading, guiding, feeding.

As a leader in our church, in some way, God has given you a Call of Responsibility for which you must show care—concern, devotion and responsibility.

We are to organize around each other—so we may encourage one another, so we may help one another, so we may give us a sense of family when all other family has abandoned us.

If you are a part of University Baptist Church, then you need to look at who your leaders are—you need to look for those you can go to in time of need.

Flip Side—if you are not an elder—and even if you are, b/c you need people to minister to you.

Then God has placed you under someone’s spiritual care and responsibility. Live in that—do not resent it or spurn it. Do not take advantage of it either.

4. There is a Call of Privilege Must vs. Willingness—--Quote from “Disappointment With God”—We who live now are not disadvantaged, but wonderfully Privileged, for God has chosen to rely primarily on us to carry out His will on earth.”

We are privileged. Embrace this calling—take joy and satisfaction at seeing those you care for are growing, are involved and have their family and spiritual needs met. This doesn’t mean that you enjoy everything you do—but your attitude going in will many times shape the outcome and the blessing you receive.

Flip Side—be willing to live under their care— vs. 5—Young men—submissive to those who are older—show respect—hear their wisdom—be willing to bring your concerns, questions and needs—willingness is key for you to get the most out of your elders. They are there for your benefit and support. They can be a great asset to you, your family, your future, your walk with Christ—They can be a mentor for you.

When you have questions, needs, concerns—don’t do it all by yourself. Willingness isn’t about gritting your teeth, either when it comes to living under the guidance and leadership of the elders. Too many times, you hear talk about the Problematic Sheep than the Helpful Sheep.

Don’t be the sheep that is constantly wandering off—constantly lagging behind or dragging your feet or the one that needs the most prodding. Then you become a burden when you should be a source of joy and strength.

Peter also told “all of you” to Clothe yourselves with Humility—Peter knew what this looked like. The tendency of Leadership is to see people as serving you, but Peter remembered just the opposite and he saw it in Jesus. Upper room experience—seeing Jesus strip down to just a towel and wash feet. Leadership and maturity in the faith is not about

A Call of Example--Set an example in Service & Humility

Leaders—lead by setting an example—others see your actions, hear your voices, notice how you live and behave

Leaders--Don’t expect anyone else to grow if you are not growing. Don’t expect anyone else to attend our activities or services if you are not willing to attend. Don’t expect commitment, don’t expect time, don’t expect giving, if you are not willing to do those things.

Think of Attendance--In many ways, the health of a church’s attendance is not measured by Sunday Morning numbers or even whether giving makes the budget or not. Rather, a truer measure of a growing and mature church is the attendance on those other days when there isn’t such a perceived obligation.

Sunday Nights or on Wednesday Nights—when prayer is a greater emphasis—when growth in the word is done.

That health starts by a good example—from the Top-Down. If attendance and growth is not important to the leaders, why would anyone else need to be there?

What are other signs of living by examples?

True Leadership and willingness begins and ends in Trust. It’s not that your leaders are perfect—it’s not that I will ever be perfect or the best at everything—but do you trust—is relationship established enough that I won’t take advantage of you—I won’t look down on you

5. Remember that You Too are Under A Shepherd—vs. 4

He is the Good Shepherd—He willingly lays down His life for His sheep.

He will hold accountable—parable of talents or cities in Matthew 25 or Luke 19

He Greatly desires to Bless—blessing for faithful leadership—i.e. reward

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