Summary: Everything rises and falls on leadership.
Leadership is vital in any organization, especially within the church. It is important this morning, to know how vital it is to have leadership. I believe the key to the success of any organization; especially the key to the success of the church is quality and character of the people involved, especially the quality and character of the leaders. God is constantly seeking men and women of character to be leaders of the church and when God develops those leaders and those leaders are willing and available for service—Great things will happen!
We need godly leaders—don’t we! Always have and always will. Think about it, if leaders weren’t necessary, God would not have included leadership among the spiritual gifts; the Bible would not provide so many incredible principles of leadership; and the Holy Spirit would not have inspired the authors of the Bible to incorporate so many examples of strong leadership. For instance, Jethro would not have rescued Moses from the burden of administration. Jesus would not have trained the apostles. Paul would not have mentored Timothy, and so on.
This morning, let’s discover refreshing, biblical, effective leadership. Let’s discover leadership that is worth following. The very best places to look for that type of leadership is right in the heart and life of the apostle Paul. So open your Bibles to the 16th chapter of 1 Corinthians. This is the final message looking at the vital signs of a healthy church. Last week we saw some key attitudes. The vital sign that we see this week, the essential ingredient for a dynamic, healthy congregation is the vital sign of refreshing leadership.
Throughout the NT, especially in the writings of Paul, one word that you see in connection with leadership is the word refresh. It simply means to give rest. You see the purpose of good leadership in the church is to lift burdens from God’s people. To refresh them, so that they can become everything that God wants them to be, so that people can develop and reach their full potential in following Jesus Christ.
This is leadership worth following and it is a vital sign of a healthy church. Let’s walk through this 16th chapter again, picking up some of these principles for leadership that God desires in His church. This kind of message can serve 2 purposes: #1—for you who fulfill any kind of leadership function, it is a good self-inventory. I’m not just speaking to our elders or deacons. Anyone who leads someone or organizes something w/in the body is a leader. I’m speaking to those ladies who are heading up our MOPS program, I’m speaking to anyone who teaches Sunday school, works with our children in any way; you are all leaders. #2—it is a challenge for everyone of us, because the kind of principles God wants to see in the life of leaders ought to be in the life of every Christian because every follower of Christ has the potential to lead someone else. So let’s grow together today.
First of all, notice that refreshing leadership is characterized by and has…
1. TEAM PLAYERS
When you look at the life of Paul, you see that he never tried to do it alone. He was constantly surrounded with others who formed a ministry team. Paul was partner in the ministry with many people and he was constantly recruiting, constantly encouraging, constantly bringing new and fresh faces into this process.
When you read through the 16th chapter you discover an amazing number of people who were working with Paul. For example, you look at v. 10 and you see the name Timothy mentioned. There are other names: Apollos, Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Aquila and Pricilla. Every one of these people had been spotted by Paul and encouraged to effective ministry to effective leadership in the church.
I will never forget the influence one of my youth minister’s had on my life. Mark Nichols is a person that I will never forget. There are many things that I remember about Mark: his little maroon, 1979, 4 door, 4 squirrel Chevette that he drove like it was a race car, or the time that he spent the entire summer at my house, or even the times we would play football together in my front yard with all the youth group kids. Those are all very important memories to me, but the most important impression and memory was when he took me to Cincinnati Bible College (now Cincinnati Christian University) for the very first time. We had a lot of fun pulling pranks on his roommate, but even more than that—through his encouragement and life witness, I made CBC my home for more than 13 years and 2 degrees. I have grown closer to the God of the universe because of his personal leadership and encouragement, even entering into the ministry at that time in my life.