Summary: Like God Himself, good Christian leadership means leading in two different manners; leaders must have two sides.
Two-Ply Christian Leadership
1. Christian leadership is a fascinating study. But it is often paralleled by leadership principles in other realms:
"You Attract the People Your System Invites
It’s no secret that healthy environments attract healthy people. Healthy people leave environments that are not or more often than not, get pulled down by them. Yet, it is something we tend to forget. When we find a system or environment that is wrong, there is something wrong at the top. It is from there that the change must come if something is out of kilter." [secular source: http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/index.html]
When it comes to churches, leaders not only determine what sorts of people are attracted to the church, but also in which direction believers mature. Spiritually and relationally healthy leaders attract people who are comfortable with a healthy, balance, Biblical Christianity -- and they also develop disciples in that image. So leadership is crucial.
2. Since one the main criteria for an elder is how he relates within his family, it should be no surprise that the same principles of family management apply to church management and vice-versa.
3. What applies to Christian leadership often applies to life in general.
Main Idea: Like God Himself, good Christian leadership means leading in two different manners; leaders must have two sides.
I. The WARM, Encouraging Side (4-5)
A. The Shepherd, the NURTURER
B. ENABLING and TRUSTING (4)
1. Our desire to Obey and serve Him (4a)
Michael Velasquez writes, "If you look for goodness in others, you will find it. If you choose to interpret a person’s actions as friendly, you will have good feelings towards that person. Conversely, if you expect that others are intent on doing you harm, you will always interpret their actions as hostile, even when they’re not."
Not always true, but it often is!
Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
By making a genuine commitment to follow Jesus Christ, true Christians have already taken a big step; it is reasonable to expect the best from such people…we should assume that our brothers and sisters in Christ really want to follow Him deep down in their hearts…
Many people profess Christianity but have a religion, not a relationship; they cannot understand the burning we have within to serve God because they have never experienced it…
We cannot fix their problem through badgering, guilt, or pressure; they simply do not have a new nature because they have never been born of the Spirit…
2. Responding humbly to God’s commands
• Again, we should expect God’s children to take their responsibility to obey the Lord seriously. Authority struggles are nothing new; people have rarely enjoyed being commanded, but God has that right --and so do leaders if their commands are clearly based in Scripture
• Ego resents submitting; we should not allow others to take advantage of us or manipulate us…but…we all need to submit to someone or some group…
“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt. 28:20)
Those who have been born by the Spirit view themselves as God’s servants and God as their Master and Friend; they see no conflict with their Friend also being their Master, and vice-versa.
C. BLESSING (5a)
• "May the Lord direct"
• His working within us (5)
The Rabbis were concerned that people directed their hearts toward God in the sense of praying towards the Temple:
"Our Rabbis taught: A blind man or one who cannot tell the cardinal points should direct his heart towards his Father in Heaven, as it says, And they pray unto the Lord. If one is standing outside Palestine, he should turn mentally towards Eretz Israel, as it says, And pray unto Thee towards their land. If he stands in Eretz Israel he should turn mentally towards Jerusalem, as it says, And they pray unto the Lord toward the city which Thou hast chosen." [Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth Folio 30a]
Paul, here, is dealing with something deeper: the motives and desires of our hearts
D. DIRECTING (5b)
1. He directs our hearts into His love
This can mean several things:
(1) We can better experience God’s love;
(2) We can better appreciate and understand God’s love, or
(3) We can draw closer to God and thus have more of His love to share with others…or a combination…I think #3 is most instinctive
2. He directs our hearts into Christ’s perseverance
Does this mean that we better appreciate Christ’s perseverance for us in His sufferings, or to imitate Christ’s example of endurance, or does it refer to letting Christ help us to persevere in life’s trials? I think the latter.