This is a trustworthy saying: “Whoever aspires to be a church leader, desires an honourable position.”
Monday 26 September
1 Timothy 3:1 One of the key tasks for Paul and Timothy was to find good leaders. Without godly and effective leadership, the Church was never going to thrive. In this chapter, Paul spelt out the qualities that a church leader needs. And in 1,900 years, it is worth noting that the list hasn’t really changed much! A church leader still needs to have good relationships within their family. They need to be faithful, hospitable, able teachers and gentle. It’s interesting that Paul felt the need to say that a leader shouldn’t be a heavy drinker, violent, quarrelsome or a lover of money, but no one would disagree with him. Paul was also concerned that leaders were not new Christians and that people outside of the church community spoke well of them.
What interests me is that Paul begins these comments by talking about those who aspired to be a church leader. He wanted to encourage them; they were desiring an honourable position. And I believe that that is still the case. Ministers of the gospel certainly do not have an easy life and won’t always be popular, but to serve God is a wonderful thing and should be actively encouraged. I’m grateful to those people who, when I was a teenager, encouraged me to reflect on the possibility of becoming a minister. I was firmly convinced that they were wrong and headed off to study law. However, their kindness and persistence were a crucial part of me becoming a church leader and I am very grateful to them.
We all need to be on the alert, looking out for those whom God might be calling to church leadership. With our love, encouragement and prayers we will see a new generation of leaders who will be able to take forward the work of God.
What other qualities do you think might be necessary for a church leader in the 21st Century?
Lord God, we thank you for those whom you call to lead your Church. Help us always to be there to love and support them. Amen
Our focus today is all about watching, waiting and building faith – and then crucially catching the wave of faith as we build our spiritual treasure of faith.
The art of surfing is waiting and watching for the big wave and then launching to catch the power of the wave. Momentarily we have to travel as fast as the wave if we are to share in the power of the wave. More..
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The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
Friday 16 September
One of the words that has been repeatedly used of Queen Elizabeth is faithfulness. She has been faithful to her vow to serve the nation, but also faithful to her husband and her family. Faithfulness is a wonderful word and these verses from Galatians remind us that its source is the Holy Spirit. God is perfectly faithful and so as we open our lives to him the fruit of the Spirit naturally grow in us. All the fruit flow from love and are an expression of love.
The world has changed so much in recent years. It used to be quite usual for people to stay in the same job for the whole of their working lives. Carriage clocks and gold watches were awarded to people on their retirement after decades in the same organisation. Marriage was seen as a life-long commitment between two people, to a far greater extent than is true today. We cannot put the clock back, but I do believe that we should continue to celebrate faithfulness wherever we find it.
God is perfectly faithful. In Hebrew the key word is hesed which embraces both the words love and faithfulness. God supremely showed his loving faithfulness in the covenants that he established with his people. In Lamentations we read: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) God can always be relied upon to be faithful but, sadly, that isn’t true of us. Hard as we might try to be faithful, we get distracted and slip up.
Queen Elizabeth lived in the real world within which her own faithfulness was not always matched by the faithfulness of others. She witnessed many times of disappointment and brokenness, and especially within her own family. It is never easy to remain faithful and it wouldn’t have been so for her. But, inspired by her strong Christian faith, she remained faithful to the end. In her preface to the book “The Servant Queen and the King she serves” she wrote: “I have been – and remain – very grateful to God for his steadfast love. I have indeed seen his faithfulness.” I pray that we will allow her godly example to challenge, inspire and encourage us to live faithful lives.
PRAYER Lord God our Father, we praise you that you are always faithful. Fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit so that we will continue to be faithful to you and those around us throughout our lives. Amen
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