Summary: The proper growth medium and conditions that help Christians grow. Also, how to spot a bad leader.
Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. ESV
Being a leader in a church is a wonderful thing. Paul said: The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. (1 Tim 3:1). And yet James said: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1).
In this study I want to use Jesus’ word to leaders to talk about the responsibilities of a leader, and use that as a jumping off place to talk about how we as Christians should also care about our own lives as Christians; making sure we are healthy and growing. It’s not a leader’s responsibility to make you mature as a believer-it is our responsibility to create an atmosphere where that growth can happen.
After I talk about some things to look for in a good and a bad leader, I want to use the illustration of a plant to talk about how to care for our own growth and health as a Christian.
The responsibility of a leader
Feed & Protect
1. Feed. We have a wide range of people-from pre-Christians to those who have been walking with the Lord for decades. So in my teachings I try to give something to every group, hopefully a challenge to those just considering Christ, but also perhaps an insight to the mature believer as well.
Someone once said that if they were stranded on a desert island and could bring with them only one book of the Bible it would be Romans because you could literally study it your entire life. The Bible is like that, it is so deep that you will never fathom it all.
The teachings are designed to be historical, theological, and practical. If we don’t understand the context in which something was written we will misinterpret the message. Though all the books of the Bible are God’s Word they were written by men and women to other humans. There is tons of theology in the Bible. We need to understand the doctrines of our faith in order to tell the difference between truth and error. But the Bible is also filled with practical advice on living a life of faith in Christ. Head knowledge can only get you so far without application.
I also strive to have more than one learning environment. That’s why we have Bible discussion times on Tuesday mornings with the man, and Tuesday afternoons and evenings with the women.
In addition as leaders we try to encourage maturity amongst the flock by one on one discussion, discipleship, resources, prayer, counseling, and facilitation.
One of our themes here is this verse:
Ephesians 4:12-13 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ NKJV
Let’s look at by contrast:
Ezekiel 34:1-6 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. ESV
2 Timothy 3:1-9 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ESV