HANDOUT FOR THE SERMON: LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH. “MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE” Manchester, TN March 26th, 2023
INTRODUCTION: The Manchester Church has been blessed by God with growth and maturity and we should be ever grateful for that. All glory goes to God for this. Our Church family has a unique strong bond in Christ, a bond of acceptance, love and joy that I find very helpful, encouraging, fulfilling and rewarding. We are blessed in so many ways. I am very hopeful and positive about the future of this congregation of God’s people. However, there is one area that I have some concern and that is Church leadership, otherwise described as the organization of the local Church. We know that Jesus Christ is the Chief shepherd of the universal Church, as for the individual local congregations of His people, our Chief shepherd has decided the local Church needs additional shepherds (elders or pastors).
LESSON: What is the work of an elder? God tells us such “work” is vital, good and is His expectation and will. I sometimes worry God’s people do not understand the important concept of pastoring from a scriptural eldership. We have become comfortable with a located preacher who teaches and does much of the “pastoring” that God intended for the Shepherds of the flock. I fear maybe God’s people today have a lost concept of true shepherding. We need to study “pastoring” as presented in the New Testament. Are the men of this congregation invested in this local church family? Are you integrated and involved in each other’s lives?
1.SHEEP NEED PROTECTION AND FEEDING. God compares His relationship with His people with the shepherd & sheep relationship. Sheep often wonder off and go missing. Sheep need direction in finding proper nutrition. Sheep need to be protected and shepherds are to be protectors of the Lord’s flock.
Jesus is called the “Chief Shepherd” and He serves as an example for us as men in the area of leadership. Scripture: 1 Peter 5:4 Hebrews 12:2. Philippians 1:21-26 Jesus lived the principles that we must aspire to achieve. Jesus lived to give much to and for other. He was willing sacrifice for everyone.
- THE NEED TO GROW INTO A SENSE OF SELF-SACRIFICE. Acts 20:32-35 To serve like the Chief Shepherd served, men MUST learn to be self-sacrificing. This will take a focused heart and it will take time. I want every man, young man, and boy in this room to get this point – You need to strive to grow into a sense of self-sacrifice. Who is Paul speaking to in Acts 20? It is to the elders of the Church in Ephesus. Read the text. Take note of what God through Paul says to these elders: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God speaks of the willingness to give of self. The cost it will be for the men of God!
- A CALL TO LEADERSHIP. Do we truly understand what Biblical leadership is all about? God says leadership is about the blessedness of giving, the importance of sacrificing for others not self! Being an elder is not just making financial decisions or having business meetings once a month! Being an elder is so much more than just “making the hard decisions about the teaching from the pulpit and in the classrooms!” The question is NOT do you desire the long meetings, hard decisions about the direction of teaching or getting along with the other elders!! God intended for the elders to pastor the flock! What does that mean? We will look at 3 areas of pastoring. We need to keep our elders responsible to the call that God has called them too.
- HELPING PEOPLE. Are there men in this room willing to sacrifice for other people? The work of helping people is what the Chief Shepherd focused on! Do we? Elders may make decisions; but they are definitely called to help people. Read Acts 20:33-35. Elders are to help the weak, help people, help all the “sheep.” Help people spiritually, physically, and emotionally (mentally) and they should do it with JOY! A potential problem: only 80 % of most church memberships are in the same assembly at one time! Elders must be better at going out there and visiting those, sit down with them, pray with them and for them. Offering a part of ourselves! Truly helping people will cost you!
1 Peter 5:2 Elders serve with eagerness! Get out there, help and encourage others. The shepherd is ALWAYS looking out for the sheep. 1 Corinthians 11:1
QUESTIONS: Is it important to you to help other people, do you serve and encourage others? Offer a little more of yourself for others. All Christians are to do this NOT just an elder. Shepherds need to grow to do this well, but ALL OF US need to grow more in this area.
- TEACHING PEOPLE. We need elders who are capable to teach. Acts 2:32. “commit you to the word.” Are you able to build others up and help them achieve an inheritance among all those who are sanctified? We may be losing preachers, good preachers, but elders are more important and valuable to the flock. Elders must step up and open their Bibles and teach people. Elders need to stop hiring other men to be the significant teachers and preachers and get busy doing what the Lord has called them to. Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:17. The elder must do well in word and in doctrine. Elders provide guidance to the sheep. Elders provide personal guidance, help, support and encouragement. If you need such, who in our group would you feel comfortable to call on? We should feel this way about all the Shepherds of the flock!
- PROTECTING PEOPLE. Acts 20:28-31. Jesus is our Chief Shepherd Psalm 23, Luke 15:1-5. Jesus wants men in the Church to be concerned about the integrity of the Church, the condition of the flock. Scripture: Titus 1:9. God instructs elders to be apt or able to teach. The emphasis is on the value of God’s word and one’s ability to share and teach it with others. (This is something all of us can do!) Hold fast to the faithful word with the ability to exhort and refute is a work of the Shepherds. Protecting God’s people involves both hands, two hands at once. One hand is on the back to exhort, support and encourage and the other hand is available to fight off or swat away the wicked and outside danger. When this is done correctly – it is all about helping other people, not ourselves. CONCLUSION: LEADERSHIP IS WORK! THE WORK IS THE PEOPLE. Jesus wants shepherds to protect the sheep, not an institution!