Leadership: “The Traditions of Men” and Choice

Lead – to go before or show the way, conduct or escort, to guide in direction, to influence, cause or induce, to serve or bring to a place, to go in advance of…

Leader – a person that leads,

Leadership— the actions of a person that guides or directs,

Who is a leader? Is anyone watching you? Do people do things because of what you do (good or bad)? Whether you are aware of it or not, you are an influence someone’s life!

In Christian tradition, our relationship with Father seems pretty shallow for the most part to me, contradicting our destiny to “be like Jesus”. Our conversations tend to be about things that acquaintances talk of, not that of close friends or family. We seem to be still about, “what can we get from Father for us or me”. We are like toddlers who think that everything is about our needs; our wants and us.

The conversation we have with God reveals our relationship with Him. (Never doubt that truth).

The content of our communion (dynamic, intimate conversation) tells us how deep our commitment to the marriage is. God compares our relationship to him with the marriage relationship. It does not speak well of the relationship when the conversation is always, “You promised to give me the desires of my heart”, “God you must keep your promises”,  “What about my needs”, or whatever else we say to make the responsibility and the failures found in the relationship all His fault. Most of our rhetoric is about “You promised” and “I should receive” and “the Lord must give”.  We are good at pointing out His promises and responsibility concerning us. They show none of our responsibility or accountability in the relationship.  Our daily petitions for the most part show little or no trust and show where our focus truly is.  I do not hear a lot of prayers or prayer times that start with, “How may I fulfill the desire of your heart today Father, what is on your heart today for me” or anything that brings “OUR” commitment and responsibility in the relationship into focus. If you desire a relationship that is close, dynamic and personal with someone, you find out what they like or care about and do those things with them to show you care to be close! It is a daily thing as situations change constantly—change is inevitable continual!

We need to tell people the truth; Jesus did not come just to get you to heaven. He came to restore a relationship between man and God that was broken, John 17:3 – The relationship is eternal life. Heaven is simply a by-product of this relationship, as is escaping hell.  Jesus became the mediator of a new covenant! Covenant not convenient! Covenant is; an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people, the followers of Jesus Christ. One-sided covenant is not covenant it is simply convenient! The foundation of all that Father does is found in covenantal relationship! 

How does covenant responsibility fit into leadership? Just like a husband and wife are to demonstrate covenant to those around them, leaders are to be the example and demonstration of covenant with God to the followers of Christ and the lost. What kind of covenant do we show? Are we being examples to the lost that would compel them to want to walk with Jesus? How about believers, what do we show them about “covenant with Father and Jesus”?

Tradition and Traditional are very used words in the present day Body of Christ. We actually call our practice of meeting on Sunday, “traditional church meetings”. There may be much more to our use of these words tradition and traditional than we would like to know. The traditions of man and the Word of God are usually at odds in the scripture. It seems that Jesus is not very fond of the practice of “man’s traditions” in relationship to God our Father. It might do us good to look at the meaning of the words and the connotations of them in light of Jesus’ covenant with the Church and the role of leaders in this age.

Before we do that, I want to say that no one is free from tradition and some of our traditions are good. We should realize we all make “traditions” almost instantly. We seem prone to starting a new one every day.  So there is no condemnation to those who have fallen to some of those that maybe we should eliminate as they are actually against Jesus’ commands. We need to look afresh at Jesus commands and place traditions in alignment with them or eliminate them if we are to see Jesus and the Church be whom we are to be!  The choice is ours as to the future!  It is always exciting to me when God brings truth into my life where a lie has been in power before.. God does love us so much and answers our prayers, He shows us what hinders or keeps us from being more like Jesus. Are we willing to hear?

The definition of tradition or traditional: habitually done, customary, time honored, set, fixed, routine, ritual, old, ancestral, handed down, and finally – long established habitual, fixed belief. 

Just because we are doing something “traditionally” in the body of Christ does not mean that it is the will or way of God !

When we look at “leadership” in the body of Christ these previous statements are imperative to keep in mind. Generally speaking, “as the leaders go, so goes the flock”. We see in scripture that as leaders went so went Israel. God’s people were and are dramatically affected by those who lead.

We are called sheep in the New Testament, but most people do not understand a herd of sheep and how they operate. They are not aware of the concept and hierarchy of the herd or a band of sheep.  The Sheppard walks before the sheep and the flock follows His voice, the attentive ones, the “bell sheep” or lead sheep follow hard after the Sheppard. Other sheep follow them. A hireling or “sheep herder” tries to push the sheep rather than lead them.

The bell or lead sheep are scattered throughout the flock and when the flock is moved from one pasture to another will always be in the same place in the band as the sheep move, following the sheppard.  Following these “leaders scattered amongst the flock” is the rest of the sheep. (remember there is only one Flock and one Sheppard!) In amongst the rest of the herd will be other key sheep also but they are for the most part only following someone before them and are not fully aware of the Sheppard’s voice as much as they are aware of those following the Sheppard, going before them.

Whenever the sheep move this hierarchy will be seen. So, leaders become very important to the flock or band. Though they look like and are regular sheep and live in and amongst the flock, the Sheppard knows them and counts on them – though he does not single them out and remove them from the flock or treat them special in any way.

When younger I saw the results of what happens when a sheppard and the lead sheep in a flock of sheep lose their way. It was in a semi-arid environment where there were water tanks for animals being grazed in the area every so many miles. When a herd of sheep was in the area grazing, the sheep owners would haul water to these tanks, and these tanks were where the sheep would be bed down at night.  In this scenario the sheppard went down the wrong draw (path) and got lost. Though later he realized his mistake, he could not get the sheep to the tank that night for water. He had missed the water tank so He let the sheep wander further away until night fell. The sheep did not have water all day and that night the sheppard had to bed the flock without watering them. (sheep cannot go a long time without water). He would have to change direction in the morning and go back up the hill to the tank. Sometime early the next morning a few of the lead sheep woke and smelled water on the wind further down the draw they were in. They got up and headed for the smell of water. The sheppard had not woken yet. Those sheep that normally followed these lead sheep that has smelled water fell into line behind their leaders. The water was not that far away but what was not known was that there was a 100+ foot cliff before they could get to the water they were smelling. The lead sheep came to the abrupt drop and to late tried to stop but the sheep following them on the trail would run into them from behind and push them off the cliff. Each sheep following would end up shoving the one in front over the edge. When the sheppard finally caught up with his sheep, and got them turned, over 120 sheep had already gone over the edge and died. It was not a pleasant sight.

This story is not about right or wrong. It is about lead sheep and the flock missing the direction they should be going in, not waiting for nor listening to the sheppard but choosing their own way that seems right and what can be the results. The sheppard had not been willing to lead the sheep back in the way they should have gone because it is hard to turn a herd that has started down an easy trail and it was late in the day. The lead sheep had not heard nor waited for the sheppard’s direction the next morning, but smelled water and went for it. The lead sheep that died with those following them were actually following established trails in the wilderness, but missed the turn at the edge of the cliff. These leaders were not worried about those following them as they started off in the wrong direction. They were just thirsty and wanted water. They were sure they knew the direction to go and set off to get water. (Leaders tend to forget that because they are leaders, someone will be following and they need to be careful where they are taking those following.)

Jesus called the religious leaders of His time on earth lots of interesting names—because they had quite following Father and had become men who followed traditions, blind leaders of the blind. Traditions were more important than their relationship with Father and His direction.

This scenario shows what happens when we human leaders do not listen for and obey the Chief Sheppard and the truth. By assuming we know the right direction, (by looking at our “general” road map –the Bible) we cause the whole flock to error and not hear Father’s voice and follow Him. Every wind of doctrine becomes viable direction to the flock.

We have been teaching discipleship/intimacy with God for many years and when I am presenting the concept of Mt. 28:18-20, with a foundation of a close, dynamic, personal relationship to Father, to leaders in traditional church settings I get some interesting comments after the training is over. Many of the pastors or leaders will come to me and say, “We see that what you are saying is true, but we will continue to do what we have done as this discipleship thing is too hard, or “we do not have time for it” – or they will say it will not be accepted by their denomination – or they will say that if they do it they will lose their “position” as pastor.  NOT ONE HAS EVER SAID IT IS NOT SCRIPTURAL! Just the opposite, they know what we teach is The Truth but will not repent and follow what they admit is scriptural and God.  It is easier and more comfortable for them to do what they have always done. Even though they know what they are doing doesn’t work or change the communities they exist in and is not scriptural. How sad is that?

These same leaders will get together and pray that God will save the people in their communities with fervor and tears flowing.  They will fast, pray and constantly bring in “new programs” and “anointed teachers or preachers” in hopes of seeing a move of God. But, they will not repent nor change and obey the simple truth found in scripture.  Christ followers trust leaders to teach/model the TRUTH, so they end up doing what their leaders do—that is scary!  And it does not work for them either.  Eminently there is a cliff in the future.

Leaders, not Lords!

Believers (not that they want to) for the most part are doing very little, exhibiting little faith, a powerless love, and have very little hope that anything will change in the traditional church setting. They are frustrated, and feel insignificant, rejected or neglected by Christ and leadership. They, like our frustrated but trapped leaders, are tired of not seeing what is written in the Bible in their lives.  They pray but have little power. As a result they feel helpless. Because they are frustrated, they go from building to building, meeting to meeting looking for something new or real. As a result of not finding what they are looking for by doing this, they are walking away from “traditional church gatherings” in mass. Believers are tired of being considered as not good enough and being restricted to the position of spectators and givers.

Their lives have become insignificant in traditional church settings. In spite of leaders’ desire to equip the church to go, we teach them that their prayers and walk are insignificant by our example and what happens in our traditional styled gatherings. Inadvertently by passing on the practices we have been taught, we have caused the body to become irrelevant in their own eyes. They do not believe that their prayers or obedience to Jesus commands are important, thus for them most part they do not, “Go”.

 In leaving the traditional church buildings, these believers are finding many who share their frustrations, but still few are finding a different place to live in where they see what they are looking for. What the body needs is leaders willing to embrace a paradigm shift into a place of serving and scriptural function that will produce the presence, power and love of Jesus in the lives of His children – The Church.

In discipleship/intimacy trainings we do around the world, we have found that on average 93% of the church is primarily sitting,( attendees, watchers in meetings).

{in hundreds of trainings we have given to traditional church leaders/groups in a variety of countries the leaders reported the average percentage of sitting “believers” is – 93%}. That means that only 7% of the body is actively engaged in the resurrection commands or as Paul calls them the elementary principles of Christ (Heb. 6:1-2.).

Relevant, scriptural leadership of the body is a desperate need in this day. We need leaders that are humble and willing to change upon seeing they are not being scriptural. They need to demonstrate a walk of integrity in word and example.

They need to be willing to confess their faults and change, (truly repent), not continue to lead according to the world’s leadership standard or in the traditions of man that have deceived us and become our guide. They are not to be “Lords” over people.

One pastor after a training we were doing on leadership/discipleship asked me, “Where are the true prophets of God who will stand up and guide us back to the teachings of Jesus rather than “prophesy about our great future”? Many leaders are frustrated are tired of “good or nice” words coming to the body that do not edify (build people up into the nature and likeness of Christ) or cause us to see scripture truth. My reply was, “you have the Words of Jesus, that should be enough”!

As leaders go, so goes the body. All through the bible there is the reality that what the leaders of Israel and the Church model and speak; so go the people of God. Thus, the direction, attitudes, and the modeling that leaders do are paramount in the direction the church takes. In the Word, leaders (teachers Jms.3:1) are more accountable – because they are leading.  Because we are more accountable as leaders we need to ask ourselves this question each day,

 “Where are we taking those following us”?

What are we actually teaching and modeling for those watching and listening to us? Leaders’ example and living declares to the body what they should really model to the world. The examples we set as leaders and the traditions followed by us or exalted in our modeling reveal to the people what they should think important. If leaders model the traditions of man and compromise with worldly ways, that is what the body will accept as “the norm” and practice in spite of what the Word says. Even though the Word says something different they will follow what they see modeled. Knowing a practice is not biblical they will still trust leaders above the word for the most part and follow them.

I believe that true leaders in the body of Christ are as frustrated as the body, but are caught in a hard place. What they have been taught and what has been modeled to them has placed them in an impossible predicament. When a leader does differently than what they are taught in bible colleges and what denominational leadership says they must do, they will be rejected and possibly lose their “position”.   If they do manage to stand up to their peers and do what the Word says to do what happens? The enemy then tells them that they are failures. To all of this I say; religious persecution and rejection by people “in authority in religious communities” is normal in the bible. [there is a difference between religious communities in the bible and the relational body of Christ we are to be.]

The day we discover we have taught tradition for the most part and not “The Way” should be a day of celebration that brings change, a day of revelation and discovery”. Maybe we should be celebrating with tears as we announce to those around us we have seen a truth that will change our future! Our thought should be, “God has answered my prayers and shown me ‘the Way’!”

When we find ourselves living traditions rather than obedience to the Word of God, we need to simply ask forgiveness, repent, and begin to live the truth that has been discovered.” When we discover more of the Truth, we need simply to continue to change. This is not only ok and exciting but a requirement in showing true humility.

Leaders that change run into problems with congregations because the body is so indoctrinated to the “traditional command” to sit. These taught to sit, give money and be content to support a few leaders, rebel when faced with the command to “go”, and they tend to reject the leader trying to bring them back to the reality of scripture and their position and responsibility to be “just like Christ”. They then leave to find a better (more traditional, comfortable) place to sit (their comfort zone). This leaves the leaders who have  embraced change more frustrated, crying in prayer and probably willing to go back to doing what they know is not correct, — compromise for the sake of having a congregation.

The role of believers in scripture and the position of leaders in the body are pretty much in opposition to what the Word shows they should be. Though believers are as much at fault as leaders. If we want the body of Christ to mirror what we see written in the Word, we leaders are going to have to make a paradigm shift first (in thinking and living), before the body will move. We leaders need to be willing to see where the body is truly at and what we are producing with what we are speaking and doing. Remember, 90-93% of the body of Christ is sitting in “church” not experiencing the incredible naturally supernatural presence and power of Christ in their lives nor doing the commands of Christ. What people do as a result of what we have been teaching shows what we have actually taught. We may need a check-up from the neck up as we may have “stinkin” thinking if we continue to go the way we have went. We have not modeled the Kingdom style of leadership that is depicted by Jesus life and ministry for the most part. And we have not caused “the Church” to be THE CHURCH! We are responsible!

 All the trends and statistics gathered on the Church show that in very few years traditional church will become irrelevant in western countries. (Because of the extremely fast exodus of people from it, we may already be there). Traditional Christianity is in crisis in the world. Though we have many mega-churches and mega leaders with charismatic personalities, and we rant and rave about laws passed that are contrary to our beliefs, the church has little influence on our societies. (Most believers think that laws will bring neighbors to Christ or “save” our country). Laws will never bring people to the Lord. You cannot legislate morality or Christianity. Morality and Godliness are heart issues. Trying to legislate righteousness or morality, to cause unbelievers to change, distracts us from sharing the Good News and only makes people hate us, and our narrow-minded ways. Where is God’s love and presence in what we do? I think that many times we do what we do because we lack the presence and power of God that we should have. So we try to “legislate” people to believe.  God tried to get people to trust Him by giving them “laws” in the Old Testament. It did not work. Man’s law and obedience to them will never produce right-standing with God either.

 The world does not want a powerless Christ or Christian morality. Why would they? What do we have to offer them in our present state, a gathering on Sunday, with what? A prayer meeting on Tuesday, for what? Only the power and presence of Christ in our lives will change the church, people and our world. The body of Christ needs leaders who will take us back to the place where the promises of God prove to be true.

Leadership has always been held responsible By God for the condition of the people in the Bible. Their influence was what directed the path of Israel and is what directs believers today. A leader’s ‘modeled behavior’ was what the people of God became.

This is still true today.   How many leaders are making disciples – like Jesus modeled and commanded us to? How many exhibit Christ’s attitude of “they shall know us by our love for one another” toward other denominations or fellowships? Where is Christ’s love and powerful presence? How many compromise Christ’s Word for the sake of “pseudo-unity”? Most have “good” reasons for what they do, but we must look at the fruit. Compromise and excuses are invalid reasons for neglect of duty. Compromise and blaming others for what is happening in the body of Christ has become an “acceptable sin” used to avoid our responsibility, persecution, rejection and the Truth.

As a result of the “traditions of men’s” precedence in the churches, compromise with the world is the norm for Christianity. The world has demanded of Christians to be more tolerant and compliant to their ways. They have done an excellent job of evangelizing the Church into irrelevance and insignificance and sin!   Insignificance lives in the heart of many Christians, though taught inadvertently by what we do traditionally.

We leaders and the Church or body have need of going back to Jesus’ teachings on leadership and living Christ-like. Then we need to put Paul and Peter’s teachings on the subject of leadership and discipleship under Jesus’ words and stop justifying and exalting the traditions of men above Jesus’ commands. To get back to Jesus example will take a paradigm shift in attitude and example for all of us who call Christ Lord.

It will not be easy, it will take tremendous courage, but if we change – we will see change!  If we obey we will see the “book of Acts” alive again. The body of Christ needs to see leaders leading like Christ and if we refuse, they need to demand scriptural behavior of us. There needs to be accountability for us all to model Jesus and what is written.

Elders, deacons and leaders throughout the NT writings had to be “men of faith”. That is men in whom the Holy Sprit was manifest with the miraculous signs that Jesus said would follow believers. There had to be evidence of their commitment to Jesus and of His presence in their living. . “Living by faith” was not about not working, it was about trusting God in all things and showing His naturally supernatural presence to the lame, blind, halt and the lost world!

A side note on Jesus; the only time recorded in the Gospels that He passed the plate was to give food to those who came to hear Him. The plate or basket was not to get money out of those who came but had fish and bread for them. The apostles at the beginning of the book of Acts told the people who were following Christ to set deacons into leadership to take care of the money (look at Acts 5-6). – It is not recorded that they took any of it. It was used for widows and orphans in  the body of Christ. Is that the attitude of leaders in the body today?  Paul advocates traveling ministers living by the ministry –  giving to the poor  and persecuted members of the body but we have no record of “full-time ministers” living in one place being supported. There is no record of “tithing and giving money to support “a temple or building” after Jesus resurrection. Giving is advocated strongly but all of it was to traveling ministers and hurting or persecuted people in the Body of Christ.

Let’s look at Jesus statements on leaders in His body;

Mt 20:25 –Mt 20:28 (NKJV)

But Jesus called them(His disciples) to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Emphasis mine)

We need to see a radical shift from the world’s and religious leadership style that surrounded Jesus in His time, existed before His time and is evident in business and governments throughout the world, and is still rampant in His church today. We need to go back to a place where leaders serve like Jesus told us they were to. Servants do not dictate to people what they are to do nor set the direction for those they serve. Servants serve the needs and desires of those they work for.

If we believe that what Jesus wrote here in Matthew 20 is actually the truth… Worldly style, top down leadership found in the church today needs to be confronted by we who are the church. Jesus was not suggesting how leaders should lead the Church! He was confronting and instructing His disciples and telling them exactly the way leadership in His Kingdom and in the Church was to be!! He gave them and us a command on leadership PERIOD! Why have we walked away from His command, example, teaching and direction?

If we are to see Jesus be Lord in our age and see the Gospel of power Paul talks of preaching we need to embrace change. We need to move from being angry at confrontation that reveals truth and shows we are not doing what is written to a place of embracing truth and being excited about Father’s correction. Seeing we are wrong and showing the way we should travel should excite us – it is the Holy Ghost  correction that leads us to know we are “sons of God:!

What is the relationship between compromise and disobedience. Compromising words and thoughts, justifying our wrong direction makes our disobedience look less repugnant. Compromise is the justification to disobey or remove a standard to keep peace or pseudo unity. It is rationalizing that what we are doing is not so bad. It exalts the traditions of men and the ways of the world. “Everyone else is doing it, so I need to conform, not be so harsh and narrow-minded”. Compromise destroys integrity. Holiness can have no part in a life of one who concedes a truth for the sake of the cooperation of others. Holiness can only be found in being totally separated unto the Lord, His Word and purpose. “No Compromise” needs to be written afresh on our foreheads!! The whole world system that we find has infiltrated the Church is based on compromise. The worldly system of leadership has infiltrated and overtaken the church in many ways. It’s presence will not bring what we are looking for. Until we are willing to see what we do not want to see, we will not see!

Eph 4:11 –Eph 4:13 (NKJV)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the “equipping” of the saints for the work of ministry, for the “edifying” of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (all emphasis is mine)

 Paul and Peter’s writings must be put under Jesus’ words. Their writings cannot stand alone. When what they wrote is put under Jesus command for leaders, it takes away the right of “ministers” to do the work of the church body by doing all the preaching, sharing, praying, teaching, and hearing.  To edify (build up) and equip (give tools to) is to come alongside or be under and lift up those we are amongst, so they can “live in the fullness of Christ”. The Church should do all that Jesus did.

They –the body- should walk like Jesus, in the fullness of His nature. (church meetings are to be about what “each joint supplies” that says that when two members come together something happens. It is not about special anointed leaders, it is to be about His Special Anointed body )

1Pet 5:1 –1Pet 5:3 (NKJV)

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; (again emphasis is mine)

Serving as Overseers” ;  one who supervises (observes and directs the execution of a task, project, or activity) — denoting a person appointed by a testator to assist the executor of a will).  According to Christ this supervision is to be done from the place of being the least or the servant of all. It is not one who dictates direction, it is one who comes along side and equips and helps! Jesus sets and gives His Church direction.

Among; surrounded by, in the company of.

“Nor as lords but being examples; if leaders are not making disciples, going and reaching the lost, living in humility and selflessness, walking naturally supernatural lives then how do we expect the flock of Christ to do it.  LEADERS are to be the i.e.

So we see from all the above scripture that Leaders are to be examples and servants.  Real leaders will raise others up to walk like Jesus. Elders and the “five fold ministry” in the Church are to serve, not take the glory or control. Leaders are to be selfless, like Jesus. They are not to bring a message, They are to BE the message… like Peter, John and Paul. Ministers are to be examples of a life lived in the Spirit, led by THE Spirit, exhibiting the nature of Christ.

If we are really Christ’s leaders our authority in the Spirit we will show spiritual power against the enemy, not so we can be great, but so Christ will be exalted through us.

Leaders should be fulfilling the suffering of Christ so the body may find grace and strength to live like Jesus also. Leaders are to go, give, and die for the Church. They are to have Jesus heart of serving others and living for the audience of one (FATHER GOD), not the audience of people.  It is evident to those around Christ’s leaders that God not only speaks through them but moves through them. 

The scripture that says ”obey those who are over you in the Lord” (Heb.13:17) has a total different meaning when it is interpreted with Jesus teaching on leaders and with Paul and Peter’s other words about leaders. The meaning would be more like; honor, trust and follow those who serve you, lift you up and are good examples of Christ’s life and love… so you may walk in the fullness of Christ and be like Jesus, fulfilling the desire of HIS heart.

Father is not going to do any more.  Jesus has given us all there is to receive.  Holy Spirit is here, willing, able and ready to be what the Word says He is – if we become who we are to be – starting with leadership.

It is only the truth that sets us free. Are we willing to really see where we are, what we have created and what we are doing? What have we to lose by changing? Our traditions, Our worthless, without power meetings, Our religious status, The religious Church or the world’s distain, Failure? … Maybe we should replace “good things with God things and get rid of that extra “o”.  I wonder what Jesus thinks of our unwillingness to return to and walk out the biblical example He and other’s set? I wonder if He will accept “our need to compromise for the sake of unity” excuses? Will He say, “Well done good and faithful servant you have compromised My Word well”?

  One regional denominational leader in an Asian country that Dana and I taught servant leadership/discipleship to along with the 200+leaders under him told me after the training was over that he would be kicked out of his denomination if he committed to do discipleship and become a servant instead of a “lord over” style leader. He shared with us that he had spent 20 years “attaining” the position of regional director in his denomination. After 3 days of discipleship/leadership training he realized that he had actually never obeyed Jesus’ desire and commands like He should have. He recognized that he had actually built his own kingdom and his denomination’s kingdom instead of serving Jesus. He was so broken and ashamed of what he had done that in front of all the pastors in his region he committed to make disciples the way Jesus did and to stop being a lord over them. He committed to be their servant and model the life Jesus wanted him to live. (He told me he would probably resign within a few weeks as he realized that what his leaders and teachers had taught him was not scriptural). He became a discipleship trainer, left the position he had worked 20+ years to attain and went to an unreached area to make disciples like Jesus. Following Jesus and His style of leadership could cost us the position as a leader in traditional church settings. ( I do not think that is necessarily what must happen: )

I believe that the body of Christ is so hungry to be needed and used by Jesus that if we leaders begin to serve them and help them begin to walk like Jesus, we will find that they will follow us as we follow Jesus. The members of His body are looking for relevance, reality, love, and His Word being true. His body is looking for significance and a way of becoming relevant in today’s society. That will only happen as we leaders submit to Jesus Word and become the example they need so they might find the boldness and strength to be—like Jesus… 

How can we lead without hearing the truth from Father and submitting our lives to the revealed truth? – In spite of where people think they are, only Holy Spirit can shed light on the truth.  He alone knows the heart and we must not only know the truth but live it to set people free and cause them to be the leaders needed to reveal the kingdom of God and Father’s heart to the world! Remember, we ALL are sent “just like Jesus! (Jn.20:21)

The same questions are always here. Why do we pray if we are unwilling to obey? What have we been praying, more love, power and His presence? Why do we cry yet refuse to acknowledge the error of our ways that He shows us in answer to our prayers? Why do we read the Bible if we have already decided what it says in-spite of what is written on it’s pages.

Why do we justify our powerless gospel and reject biblical statements like Jesus saying, ,… “As the Father has sent me so I send you!” (Jn.20:21)  or Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians, “… my speech… in demonstration of the Spirit and Power” and “…for the kingdom of God is not in word but Power (1 Cor. 2:4 and 4:20 NKJV).  We leaders must step down from our “positions of authority” and “empower and equip” the Church with the authority and “fullness of Christ” so Jesus may be seen by the world through them.  The greatest must become the servants of all…we must go back to the elementary principles of Christ, the resurrection commission commands and walk them out equipping others to lead others to do the same.  

The future is directed a lot by our choices.  Peter tells us we can “hasten the coming of the Lord”. That means our choices and the way we live can change the future! God is not time oriented, He is event oriented… What could happen if we decide (make the choice) to humble ourselves, turn from our evil ways, obey and seek His face? What if …?

SELAH!

In Father’s Hand, neil

 

If the above is scriptural, what are we to do — change or continue as we are?

{ I wonder what would happen if groups of leaders were to set aside their agendas, lay down their plans, went aside and spend time together (more than a day or so) sitting before God until He speaks and directs us in ways we do not know? We need a fresh perspective!} Then return changed and bring change!

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