Renewal begins with leaders

Published 4:53 pm Saturday, June 10, 2017

By Larry Stover | Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene.

Serving as a leader of God’s people is a very special privilege and a great obligation.  Spiritual leaders carry the responsibility of the condition of God’s people. They are judged more severely if they lead God’s people astray.

Anytime you have a leadership assignment from God, it becomes your obligation to provide spiritual guidance to those people under your authority.
According to God’s pattern for revival and spiritual renewal, he works through leaders to call the people back to himself.

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In 1 Timothy chapter three, the Apostle Paul gives some straightforward guidance as to what constitutes a leader for the Kingdom of God.

Included in this group are pastors, ministerial staff, teachers, leadership team members and those who serve on any council or committee.

Pastors, for example, are to live above reproach, be the husband of one wife and be moderate in all things, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable and able to teach.  They are to be sober, not violent, gentle, not quarrelsome and not a lover of money. Pastors should be established in the Lord, have a good reputation and manage their family well.

Paul doesn’t stop with the pastor. Deacons are to be respected, sincere, sober and honest. They must be tested and approved before leadership is given to them. This group is also to be the husband of one wife and manage their family well.

As I reflect on the message of Paul to Timothy, about leaders, there are some critical observations.

First of all, there must be a sense of urgency when it comes to the spiritual needs of our congregations.  Above everything else, people today need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That should motivate and drive us more than everything else put together.

An up-to-date personal relationship with Jesus Christ is paramount to being the leader that God needs us to be. Those who would follow us need to see a reflection of Jesus Christ emanating from our lives every day. Leaders need to have an absolute faith, trust and confidence in the redemptive power of the Lord.

Leaders need to have a wholehearted love for God and Jesus Christ his son. Jesus demanded absolute surrender to him. He spoke of taking up our cross daily to follow him. If we are willing to accept the call of Christian leadership, the cost of discipleship will keep our spiritual life thirsting for more of him.

Leaders must be driven by a life of intense prayer.  We need to put God to work in our churches and in our lives more than ever before. Prayer is the foundation of all that we will ever accomplish for the Kingdom of God.

The cost of discipleship is often overlooked today. Being a leader in the Kingdom of God is not always the easiest role around.

Excellent leaders will seldom win a popularity contest. They realize that they must please God more than the people they serve. When spiritual leaders are filled with the Holy Spirit and walk with him step by step, they will know that the benefits far outweigh the costs of being a leader in the Kingdom.

We need Godly leaders in the church today. If God calls you to an area of leadership, will you unequivocally say “yes?” We need to let God mold us into leaders that will take his church through the many crises going on in our world today. Will you be willing to allow God to guide you to Scripture that will enlighten you for the journey? Can you surrender your agenda to help people seek God’s agenda? Will you “stand in the gap” before God and intercede for a rebellious people?

The church is in desperate need of leaders who will give spiritual guidance and model the virtues and principles of the Christian faith.

A revival in the church today has to begin with the leadership. As they experience a fresh encounter with God, life will become “Simply Beautiful.”