My 15 year old son just got back from a missions trip in Baltimore. He shared lots of stories and opportunities of witnessing to people on the street, to convicts in prison and to church congregations. He’s a genuine teenager, so his eyes lit up when he talked about the meals and snacks he devoured and the fun he and his friends had while doing ministry. It made my day to hear his stories. There’s joy in serving Jesus!
But there was only one thing he talked to me about twice. One of his devotions he had one morning, pointed him to what he called “his new favorite verses”. After church today he brought me the verses to read. He exclaimed, “I love these verses!” When I read the short passage, it occurred to me that we all can learn principles from them (like all scripture).
If you’re someone in leadership at a church, there’s lots to be learned!
The passage is Philippians 2: 1-4.
The Message puts it this way: 1-4If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Did you get that? If we truly love Christ, we’ll do the following:
1. Agree with each other. Wow. Our churches are known for this, eh? Nope. That’s why church business meetings can sometime take a twist. But putting it another way, “try to get a consensus”. I’m not talking compromise of essential beliefs, but when it comes to running the church, it’s up to you to make sure that people are happy and agreeing. How are you doing?
2. Love one another. This is the reason for everything. Do you love your congregation? Really love them? When’s the last time you complained about having to meet with someone or visit someone in the hospital? Ouch.
3. Don’t always want to be first. I’ve been to a lot of churches where the Pastor demands that he’s the leader. He’s first! It’s all about his decision. It’s one thing for the congregation to give him this place. But it’s another for the Pastor to “lord” it over them.
4. Don’t sweet-talk your way. Sermons/messages are often a way to convince the congregation to agree with the Pastor, and not scripture. People in the pews can see through the kind, sweet words that are leading to a request.
5. Help others get ahead. Do you truly want the church members to succeed? The average Pastor doesn’t even know what businesses or occupation that their members are in, unless they in some way help the church in that occupation. In order for us to know how the other can “get ahead”, we need to know about them.
6. Forget yourself. We can all hear that again. Possibly one of the hardest commandments of the Bible!
7. Lend a helping hand. We all need to be reminded that to be a leader, we must be a servant. The Pastor that I grew up with, was often seen helping out one of the parishioners at their home. Or in their business. Now, Pastors often don’t even take the time to shake hands with people after the service. It’s a shame.
OK, I’m not a Pastor. All these things speak to me as a father, a husband, a business owner, a friend. I fail at all of these. Let’s try practicing these principles so that the world will see us as self-less people. People who care and love. I’m going to start with me this week!