The Stewardship of Christ Himself
In order to move our thought processes into the leadership mode, I would like to approach each blog from the standpoint of really treating Jesus like the “Lead Pastor.”
What must our thoughts and actions reveal if we are really going to let Jesus build His church as He promised? Here is #1. We must really believe who He is as revealed in Scripture, what He did, what He said, and then act upon it. I might add, as leaders, we must talk about it over and over again with our sheep to encourage their faith, inform their minds, and move them along in life and ministry. We must make Jesus large, present, and active to them. He must be treated as an active Head and not just a beloved symbol.
In my personal ministry, I have found strong personalities that hold tightly to personal preferences humbled with a practice of Christ’s presence on the part of an under-shepherd.
My pastor, Andy Harkleroad says, “We must think biblically if we are going to live godly.” I agree with him and might add, “We must think biblically about Jesus if we are going to lead effectively under His authority.”
Food for Thought
Who is He?
What is the potential of His life being released in our congregations? What are the possibilities of this God-man living His life out with us and in us? We must bring our congregation up close and help them see it—see Him. Just for starters, take the “I ams” of John’s gospel. Go to the majesty and mystery of Jesus in Colossians 1. Then check out the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3. Every challenge in every church can be overwhelmed by the character of Christ applied by the prayer of faith.
We try to “handle” too many things. These issues of darkness, shadows, and divisions need to be exposed to the Light for overpowering and expulsion! (John 1:5) There is much more, of course, but these few thoughts can get us started.
What did He do?
Was there not a celebration of His birth? A prophetic message from a forerunner John the Baptizer? How about a perfect life? An obedience into death? A profound power of resurrection? Is His ascension and seated-ness noteworthy (Ephesians 1)?
You see all these are one-time historical events that have ongoing eternal results in our churches. Is He not still interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25)? Is His activity dormant? I don’t think so. Paul prayed for the Ephesians believers to know “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion . . .,” (Ephesians 1:9-21). With all that power and authority available to use, surely, we can appropriate in prayer what is needed to make some real disciples! Are we getting the idea?
What did He say?
With that being said, let’s walk through the New Testament with Jesus as our tour guide and let Him point to the qualities of the church He works with us to build. Here they are in the first person.
I will build My church.
I will build My church upon My own person and work.
I will give to My church My presence for conflict resolution.
I will give the church My authority to make disciples.
I will work with My church and remain in them.
I will call ministers from My church and give them ministries that I have ordained for them.
My church is the dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
My church is limited only by My sovereignty.
I give leaders to My church who will equip the saints who will then work in ministry to edify the body.
Through this process, I will build the spiritual health of My body.
I am the head of My church (v. 23).
I am her Savior (v. 23).
My church is subject to Me (v. 24).
I love My church (v. 25).
I gave Myself for My church (v. 25) (to sanctify, to cleanse to present to Myself glorious, no spots, no wrinkles, holy, without blemish).
I nourish and cherish My church (v. 29).
My church is My body on earth (v. 30).
My church is a mystery (v. 32).
I Timothy 3:15
My church is the pillar and ground of the truth in society.
I hold the pastors for My church in My hand.
Revelation 2 & 3
I know My church intimately.
I have the answers for My church.
I have My church’s best interest in mind.
I have the right and ability to remove the witness of My church.
I know the conditions around My church.
The unveiling of who I am is to be testified in My church.
As a steward, feel free to add your insights to these qualities. Anything we can do to encourage our affections for this “Elect Lady” and her builder will affect the ages. The fact that Jesus nourishes and cherishes His church should be a call on our lives to do the same.
Let me respectfully say, as someone who has had the privilege and responsibility of pastoring for a long time, church ministry can be messy. In the trenches we are dealing with many varied personalities at different stages of maturity with baggage, bondage, plurality of worldviews, budgets, meetings and details galore. It’s very easy to be swamped. I might add, our people also get overwhelmed and need to be gently and constantly brought to the “Light of Life.” That’s what shepherds do. Good shepherds keep reintroducing their people to the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:2).
May this short treatment of Christ present and in charge be food for thought on your part.
I do a lot of driving; therefore, as a driver, I do a lot of things instinctively when situations arise on the road. Slowing down, speeding up, merging left and right, anticipating and respecting the needs of other drivers just come naturally as I drive. Recently I traveled with one of my grandsons who now has his permit. He, of course, wanted to get some hours. As he drove and I rode shotgun, I noticed he had not developed those instincts, so I did a lot of coaching! Needless to say, I could not really relax during some dangerous moments. But I know he will learn like the rest of us.
So it is with our leadership. Continue to walk with Him closely. Have your leaders walk with you especially in the Word and prayer, and you will develop a church that at the core will intuitively know if Jesus is not only leading but feels very at home in your midst (Ephesians 3:17). We are then ready to advance through.