Thursday, 31 May 2018

Leading the Family pt.2

"able to teach"1 Timothy 3.2

Yesterday I wrote about the need for the leader to reflect the nature of the church. As the church is like a family, so its leadership needs to be father-like in style. There is though a key skill which Paul highlights for the leader:

The Overseer's tool - v.2

The one skill Paul mentions, apart from caring/protecting the family of God, is teaching. The Church's nature is not just that we are a family, we are a family wholly shaped by the truth seen in Jesus. That is why teaching is so vital.

We don't primarily appoint leaders who are great strategists, administrators or visionaries (unless we mean by visionary someone whose vision is filled by Jesus). Such skills will lead to an organisation growing, but they are not the core skill of the overseer/elder. The key skill is faithful, gospel infused and focused, biblical teaching.

If this is lost we can become an incredibly successful heresy.

So, if, as a church leader, I spend so much time on strategy etc. that I neglect teaching - I have got it wrong. There are times when circumstances have squeezed my preaching preparation time, and yet God has blessed the sermons, but I must remember that that is his grace in my weakness, not licence for de-prioritising my efforts in teaching. 

It also means that as church members, we must seek to protect the teaching ministry of our leaders. Don't wish for a more visionary, strategic leader, but for a great teacher.

Part 3 tomorrow...

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Leading the family

"If anyone does not know how to manage his own family,
how can he take care of God’s church?"
1 Timothy 3.5

I never have enough time! Last Sunday evening I ran out of time in my sermon and so I promised to blog the last page. We were looking at the Person Specification for a church leader, whether an overseer/elder or a deacon. Here are the final three brief points we learn from 1 Timothy 3.1-13:

The Church's nature

Most of Paul's time in 1 Timothy 3 is focused on the character of the leader and not the skills. However, he does also speak of skills - one of which is the ability to lead. Here though he makes an interesting parallel between leading the church and leading the family. 

In doing so, we learn something important about the nature of the Church. It is more like a family than an organisation. That is because it is fundamentally relational. The Greek words behind manage and care are words that speak of caring and protecting. 

As such, a leader in Christ's church will be someone who reflects that approach to leadership. Success leading an organisation will not automatically mean success in leading God's people. I remember standing next to one of my vicars at his leaving do and it came to me that no-one in the room quite understood what it was like for him. On one day he was leaving his job, his home, but most of all his family.

It is also an encouragement to the smaller church. There are great blessing in the big church and the Lord uses them (and ministers like me dream of how easy it must be to lead a big church - never having experienced it of course!) However, the blessing of the smaller church is that being a family comes more naturally.

I will cover the next point tomorrow...

(There's a cliffhanger - it's like an episode of Designated Survivor!)