Taken from the intimation sheet: 1 March 2015
By the time you read this you’ll probably have heard me preach on the qualifications for deacons from 1 Timothy 3. The standards are high and every church Fellowship ought to hold its deacons to them.
That said, the work of all leaders within the church should be respected and members should be a continual source of encouragement to them. We ought to read 1 Timothy 3 and think “How can I help my leaders to live up to that?”
I’m very aware that it’s the easiest thing in the world for church members to blame the deacons for all of the church’s ills, in much the same way that it’s easy for members of any society to blame its government for all that is wrong with the nation. It’s the easy option, but not the godly one.
We live in a culture deeply suspicious of authority. (That’s not all bad of course – consider some of the ways people abuse authority to exploit the weak and vulnerable.) But authority in itself is no bad thing, we need it, and so should be thankful for our leaders. The Bible is counter-cultural in its demand that God’s people respect those in positions of authority.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
If the question from this morning’s sermon was “what standards should we expect from our deacons?” the question for this article is “how can we show our respect and love for our leaders in the Lord?”
Here are 5 ways we can bless our leaders – be they deacons, Fellowship Group leaders or auxiliary group leaders; lets redouble our efforts to strengthen and encourage them in their service.
1 – Let’s pray for our leaders. (1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 Thess. 5:25)
Every Christian would agree we should pray for our leaders, but I wonder how much stronger our churches would be if every Christian actually did it! How much time did you spend in prayer for your spiritual leaders last month? How much will you give this month?
2 – Let’s use our tongues to build and to bless, not to crush and to wound.
Don’t gossip or grumble behind a leader’s back. If you have an issue, speak with them – not about them (Matthew 18:15-17). If you love them and value them, let them know – we need more “sons (and daughters) of encouragement” (Acts 4:36)
3 – Let’s learn from our leaders lives
Reflect on their best attributes, consider how you can learn from them. Try and grow in the graces that they have modelled for you (Heb. 13:7).
4 – Let’s say yes with a smile on our face!
Obey them… (it gets worse!)… joyfully!! (Hebrews 13:17) Unless authority is clearly being abused, it should be our joy to honour it and abide by it.
5 – Let’s remember we’re on the same team (1 Cor 4:3-7)
Avoid creating factions within the church of Christ. How many churches have split because they’ve allowed wee groups with wee leaders to battle for power? Let Christ be Lord of his church, and let us follow him together.
Yours in His service