Summary: A study of Christ’s leadership challenge to Peter in John 21:15–22 will motivate us to jump-start our participation in the church.

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This morning we are going to be talking about Leadership. As a matter of fact I am going to challenge you this morning toward leadership. But, my definition of church leadership that I am challenging you toward might be a little different from what you think leadership within the body of Christ is all about.

We will be looking at Christ’s challenge to Peter in John 21:15-22—Christ challenges Peter to leadership.

Let me read for you a quote from a book that a few of us are reading currently. Many of you know that we are meeting regularly discussing the formation of small groups within our church. One of the books we are reading is entitled “Leadership Explosion.” It’s written by a C&MA missionary named Joel Comiskey—a top authority on cell group development. Let me read to you what Joel writes in this book under the Heading of “Priesthood of Believers.” He says, “While the church has done a good job of training people to go directly to God, by and large, it has failed to train people to minister to others.”

Let me stop here and just say this is what I am talking about when I say leadership within the church, It is people ministering to others.

Continuing, “The pastor is still considered the priest, the only one fit to minister. This barrier, tied in with lack of mentoring, produces a church of spectators who watch the pastoral performance each Sunday. Long accustomed to sit and soak, the “sermon tasters” in many churches become experts in critiquing the pastor and grumbling when their needs aren’t met. How far we have fallen from New Testament Christianity of Peter’s day when he depicted the church as “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:6).

This morning as we look at Peter’s challenge to be a leader and as we consider our challenge to be leaders within the body of Christ keep in mind it’s this leadership concept of ministering one to the other that I’m speaking about. It is not our typical understanding of leadership that I’m challenging us toward, but a biblical understanding.

So when I say all of us are being challenged to be leaders I’m not saying that all of us are going to be teachers, or elders, or deacons, or deaconesses, or youth workers, or worship leaders, or pastors. I’m talking broader than that—I’m talking involvement. When you become involved within the body of Christ by ministering one to another then you are a leader! You are leading by example.

Next week is Ascension Sunday! We’ve been working our way from the celebration of Resurrection Sunday to the remembrance of the Lord’s Ascension.

Our main text this morning is John 21:15–22. We find here an occurrence of the Lord appearing to His disciples during theperiod of His resurrection and His Ascension.

Peter quickly becomes the main character of Christ’s attention in this passage. The disciples are out fishing in the boat, not having much luck. Christ appears and tells them to fish on the other side and they miraculously catch a boat load of fish. AT this point John recognizes Christ and tells Peter that it is Jesus. Peter, impatient, impetuous Peter can’t wait for the boat to go ashore, so he jumps overboard and swims to the Lord. Peter is eager to be with the Lord.

Follow me as I read verses 15-22 of John 21.

Read the text.


As I was reading this section in John I realized that this was an account of Peter getting started in ministry. Peter’s role was being redefined. He was no longer going to be that Peter who denied Christ prior to the resurrection, He was becoming the leader of the Church that we know post Ascension. I began to see as I read that Christ was in effect saying to Peter, “Are you ready for this new role? Get set! Go!”

Folks, I believe everyone of us who are committed to following Christ need to transition from spectator to participant. That is we need to go from always viewing and taking it in, to becoming active and giving some back. We are a priesthood of believers. There are times that we should receive (otherwise nobody else would be able minister), but there are also times we need to be the ministers ourselves.

As we work our way through this passage I’m going to use the “Ready, Set, Go!” perspective of understanding what Christ is saying here.

As we study this leadership challenge we will be motivated to be actively involved in ministry within the body of Christ.

Are you ready? That’s our first point this morning:

1. Ready?

I believe that when Christ asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” He was in effect asking Peter are you ready?

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