Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Sheep and the Shepherds

Here is an important lesson I have learned as a pastor: Those in leadership need to hear from those in the body, and those in the body need to share with those in leadership (Gal. 6:6).

Let me explain how God wants this to work. If the leadership of a church is in the center of God’s will, they will want to hear from the church body. They need to hear words of encouragement when people are blessed by their ministry. On the other hand, if they are not in the will of God, they still need to hear from the church family so as to bring needed correction to their leadership.

In both cases, God wins because in the first case the leaders are encouraged to “keep up the good work.” If the second case, the leaders are corrected through the body to change. Leaders must be humble and receptive enough to hear words of concern, so that if they are not leading in the Spirit, the Lord might use those comments to bring needed repentance.

At the same time, those in the church body need to share with their leaders. They need to share when things are going good so as to give appropriate affirmation. We leaders sure need encouragement! Also, the church body needs to share with their leaders when they have concerns, instead of murmuring and complaining to other members of the body and thus creating satanic division. In this scenario, God wants to get the attention of the leaders, and He is trying to use various members of the body to do so. If you have concerns, go to the leadership of your church and speak the truth in love. Do nothing that will cause division. Remember, unity is so important to God that being divisive is cause for church discipline (Titus 3:10).

One more thing: If the leaders are “right on” but people are still voicing concerns, then the leaders need to do a better job of communicating so as to bring peace and harmony back to the body. Often leaders know why they are doing something, but if they fail to clearly articulate this to the body, the church at large will not have a clue as to what is happening. And in the absence of information, we can all assume the wrong thing!

Let us all, the sheep and the shepherds, be diligent to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).