WISE INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Volume 12, Number 2 – FEBRUARY, 2018
Greetings. I have read 1 Peter 5 many times. This last time insight came to me and it was impactful. Studying the passage this time, I gained a deeper understanding to how the early Church’s house churches were run and the importance of caring for the sheep. Is it not wonderful and awe-inspiring how the Holy Spirit keeps revealing revelation to us?!!. Enjoy. Mike
SHEPHERDS CARE FOR SHEEP’S NEEDS
In 1 Peter 5:1-4, Peter addressed elders. Elders were church officers who provided supervision, instruction, guidance and discipline for believers and the definition of elder is the word “older”. Elders carried a great deal of responsibility and needed to be good examples. Most if not all Christians met in house churches or small groups, so it is very presumable that elders oversaw and ran the churches whether they were or not they were pastors. They were the shepherds of their small groups.
These elders were to care for the flock of God entrusted to them, to be the shepherds. To get a perspective on what they instruction from, Psalms 23 would be such a passage. Elders were to think as shepherds, realizing it is about the sheep not the shepherd. In verse one of Psalms 23, David said he had everything he needed because the Lord was his shepherd. Then in John 10:11, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. A quality shepherd (elder) put needs of one’s sheep ahead of your own needs.
What do the people whom you have responsibility over need? Do you and I put our sheep needs ahead of ourselves? In order to be a quality leader, I have to lay down some if not all of my preferences, power and prestige. I have to intentionally consider the needs of my group of people as important as my own needs. Some people look at ministry as a career (my job) more than a calling. If I look at what I do in the ministry I have been charge of more as my job than a responsibility to shepherd and guide a group of people, the amount of money I make and the level of power I have will consistently be a focal point for me.
Yes, for many of us, we make our living by what we are doing in a ministry setting but if our motivation to complete the work set before us is to simply collect a paycheck or be able to control people, we need to check our motives for what we are doing. When God has placed me to oversee a group of people whether I am paid or unpaid, my motivation has to be to foremost to serve them. Jesus gives us that example so lay aside power, prestige and preferences, and get involved loving them!
As a shepherd (elder), we have to be willing to be misunderstood. We have to care more about what our sheep need than what they want. Pastor Larry Osborne described this well from Psalms 23:2 as he said that the shepherd makes me to lie down. The shepherd knows what I need at the moment, often before I know what I need. Making people do what they do not want to do or understand at the time is not an easy task, nor popular. Being a spiritual leader is not a popularity contest.
Osborne uses the illustration that sheep get lice. To get rid of the lice on the sheep’s body, the sheep are put into a tank of water that is about 10 meters long and deep enough where the sheep have to basically swim across. As the sheep are going across this tank, the shepherd pushes the sheep’s head underwater a couple of times to get all the lice off the body. Sheep do not like this at all though it rids them of the lice.
People we lead do not always appreciate nor desire what we have to do for them. If you desire to be popular, again check your motives of why you are involved in ministry Shepherds cannot speak sheep language so shepherds will be misunderstood and for ministry people, we will be talked about and even slandered. But do you and I want to be like the Good Shepherd or not?
YOUTH MINISTRY – INTEGRITY, NOT BEING A HYPOCRITE
When Jesus used the term “hypocrite” to describe the Pharisees, everyone knew what He was talking about. A hypocrite was a theatrical term for a big mask carried by the actors in plays in the time of Jesus. Theatrical plays were common so many people would attend these plays in amphitheaters which had no PA systems or stage lighting. The actors and actresses would have to project their voices and when they wanted their audiences to see their emotions, they would use hypocrites to convey the message.
Putting this in a spiritual understanding, Christians can put on masks to hide what is going on inside of us. What is going on inside of us is not the message being conveyed by our facial expressions or words. At this point we are not having integrity, what is on the inside is not consistent with the outside.
Integrity comes from the math term integer. An integer is a whole number whether positive or negative. The definition of integrity means wholeness or completeness; what we see on the outside is the same on the inside. A building can be of good integrity if the outside is whole and the same for the infrastructure of building. Engineers and architects use integrity to describe well-designed buildings, bridges, and towers that will not fall down because the spans of steel, layers of concrete, bolts and screws, glass and silicone work together to create stability and strength.
The word integrity is a neutral term meaning it can be positive or negative just as it is defined in math terms. In Christian settings we equate integrity to be positive. So what you do in private is that the same as you do in public? Or do you live a double life? What would be revealed about you if people knew your private world and thoughts? As a Christian we want to strive to be consistent, that what people see on the outside, how we behave and what we say, is the same in our world that no one sees except God.
This takes consistent work. Our character and who we are does not develop in an instant. It takes time to become who we really are. When our character is described as something being hammered and chiseled out, carved out of stone, this gives an understanding of the work involved.
In Daniel 6:1-13, Daniel had distinguished himself as a person of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. Chapter one to six of Daniel spanned approximately 60 years. In chapter 6, those who did not like Daniel possibly because he was a foreigner or person of integrity in that government office, had the king make a decree that no one could pray to anyone other than the king because these individuals knew that Daniel was the same privately and publicly. The day Daniel heard that he was not allowed to pray to God, he still did and in the same process he had always done so. This got him thrown in the lion’s den. The only way to bring Daniel down was to prey on his relationship with God because he had integrity.
Unfortunately, what takes years to develop can be destroyed quickly by one wrong, sinful action. This should scare us all in the sense that we need to be careful and resist any temptations that come our way because it is easy to fall. Let us work hard to be known as people who are full of integrity and live free of masks.
ILLUSTRATION – The Antidote to Hypocrisy by Thom Schultz
After Alan mentioned he was a Christian, everyone around him clammed up and distanced themselves from him. They automatically assumed Alan possessed several unpleasant characteristics. Justified or not, the public today holds a number of negative impressions of Christians. One of the most frequently mentioned complaints: “Christians are hypocrites.”.
Biting back doesn’t seem to be blunting the negative opinions. This is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of what people really mean when they say “hypocrite.” We commonly assume they’re defining hypocrisy as saying one thing and doing another. But today the allegation is more nuanced. What they’re really saying is, “You act as if you have all the answers, like you’re a superior know-it-all.”
When our neighbors hold these beliefs, making clever comebacks only pushes them further away. If we really want to reflect the love of Christ, we’ll need to be more proactive. In the book, Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore, we advocate “4 acts of love” to help reverse Christians’ unbecoming reputation. One of them applies directly to hypocrisy. We call it Genuine Humility, antidote to hypocrisy.
WHAT GENUINE HUMILITY IS NOT
• Humility is not being insecure in who you are.
• Humility is not belittling yourself in hopes of receiving little nuggets of hollow praise.
• Humility is not saying “I’m so humbled” after being recognized for achievement.
WHAT GENUINE HUMILITY IS
• Humility is admitting one’s own sins and flaws.
• Humility is open to learning from others with different views.
• Humility is communicating a sense of “we’re all in this together.”
Genuine Humility acknowledges that we’re all on this journey of life. None of us has all the answers. When we show we’re eager and open to grow, we invite others on this God-journey. What does Genuine Humility look like in everyday life? The world is drawn to real people who ooze Jesus-inspired Genuine Humility. Here are some practical ways to demonstrate love through Genuine Humility:
Model vulnerability. Share your own struggles and shortcomings.
Share your questions. Be honest. Your willingness to voice your questions about life and
God welcomes others into the dialog.
Control your appetite to be right. Refrain from using proof texts as weapons.
Squelch the pride. Escape the spotlight. Remove your name from the marquee. Refrain
from building your “brand.” Be last, the servant of all.
HolySoup.com . September 10, 2014