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Creative Spiritual Leadership

"I know the Lord, I know the Lord;
I know the Lord has laid His hands on me."

If we truly know that we can lead our people into hell and back.
We can also lead them to the heights of heaven. But we must lead them!

People are as they are led.

Paul has much to teach us about leadership in his teachings and in his actions.
When we look at Paul and the other disciples,
we notice that their focus was always on the message,
not the messengers.

Their focus was on the Treasure, not on the earthen vessel carrying it.
When people looked at Paul, they saw Christ.
As a leader, Paul demonstrated love by affection, by teaching, by giving,
by persistence, by concern, and by availability.

Acts 20 shows four dimensions of his ministry.

Toward God: He was "serving the Lord with all humility." (v. 19)
Toward the church: Paul "kept back nothing that was helpful." (v. 20)
Paul declared "The Whole Council Of God" (v. 27),
commending them "to God and to the word of His grace,
which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance
among all those who are sanctified." (v. 32)

Renewal must come from the leadership, for you cannot teach what you are not.

Leaders should not be slaves of tradition,
but must recognize a constant need for
"deprogramming" from their own culture and worldly habits.

Toward the lost: "... testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks,
repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 21)
A leader is a herald of the Gospel.

Toward himself: Paul sacrificed for the ministry,
"But none of these things moved me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,
so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God...
Remember that for three years I did not cease
to warn everyone night and day with tears." (vs. 24, 31)

Paul demonstrated that a leader must be right with God:
"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.
Continue in them, for in doing this you will save
both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4: 16)

"A bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God,
not self-willed, not quick-tempered... self-controlled,
holding fast the faithful Word as he has been taught,
that he may be able, by sound doctrine,
both to exhort and convict those who contradict." (Titus 1: 7-9)

Styles and philosophy of leadership.

There are two kinds of leadership:

A lording leadership
A serving leadership

A lording leadership centers more on getting the job done by supervision and control.
It exercises influence and power over others in order to accomplish the task.

A serving leadership allows Christ to be the Head in spirit as well as in letter.
Leaders as well as members must submit to the will of God.
They deal with all members with a servant's heart.

The primary goal is to build people in the faith
and to have a community of love by edifying them through the Word of God.

A layman shared with his pastor what he termed to be
"Four Signals of Failure," which we need to recognize:

Little or no reading
No training.
No goals.
Goals should be prioritized and kept in mind constantly.
Goals are to function as the touchstone for every thought, decision, plan, or action.

Blame others.
Too quickly we can rationalize about the people with whom they serve,
and the culture in which we find ourselves,
and the situation in which we face, and then find someone to blame.
Quit trying.
Some leaders have not said it or told others that they have quit trying.
They may be going through their jobs routinely,
but in their minds they have told themselves
that no one can lead these people to victory.
So, they have little success. In reality, they have quit trying.

As a leader, do you recognize any of these symptoms in your leadership?
If so, you will want to deal with them directly and firmly.

We must do God's work in God's way!
God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply!

Dynamic leaders know where they are going.
They have a plan for getting there and they work wholeheartedly at it.

Dynamic leaders will have a vision for the future,
plotting plans and strategies which grow out of the educational process.
With a high sense of mission,
they will not become frustrated over
the unproductiveness and unwillingness of some churches.

Dynamic leaders will be flexible, recognizing open doors.
Routines can become traditions and tradition blinds us to opportunity.
It is easy to deteriorate from an organism into an organization --
from mission to maintenance - from function to form -
from leadership to bureaucracy -- from participation to spectators.

Dynamic leaders will make "disciplers" out of disciples.
The success of any movement is in direct proportion to the success achieved
in mobilizing and deploying its total membership
in the continuous propagation of its beliefs.
An aggressive equipping program is required to accomplish this.

There should be the kind of dedication to which Frederick Wentz refers:
"Church members need to view themselves as paratroopers
dropped behind enemy lines on Monday
with the expectation of making their way back to the supply depot on the following Sunday."

Every church needs leaders who will continue to train themselves --
and never stop training and growing.

A high priority will be put on faithfulness and a team spirit among leaders.

Workers and leaders should never be ranked - each must be kept in high esteem.
Leaders must know that they are appreciated.
And all glory must be given to God for what every leader contributes.

Dynamic leaders will make certain that the congregation is effective
to the degree to that - it is clear as its own identity.

Dynamic leaders will make certain that its members
are equipped and committed to function.
All must be welded together in fellowship and divinely energized.

Dynamic leaders must direct and coordinate
an intelligent, deliberate, and strategic effort to accomplish God's purpose for it.

God's people must do God's work in God's way. 

Utilize growth principles!

God's work is far too important for church leaders
to allow their congregations to drift because of a lack of a planning process.
The church growth process, properly understood and conducted,
proposes that the Word be used in a maximum way for maximum effect.

Leadership must encourage an educational process
which will foster the growth of the Word in the lives of people
seeking a life-changing response.

Growth is the nature and functional quality of the gospel:
"... the gospel... bringing forth fruit..." (Col. 1: 5-6).

Growth is essential to the church:
"... Equipping of the saints... edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God,
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature and fullness of Christ;
that we should no longer be children... but... may grow up in all things unto Him...
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

We must do away with our "little plans and programs"
and organize around the Great Commission.

Do we really understand the Great Commission as it relates to our local responsibilities?
Have we caught God's signal?
A sacred responsibility is placed upon us!

We must do God's work in God's way.

Paul told us that we are entrusted with the gospel
and that a sacred responsibility has been put upon us.
Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

In the Great Commission, it is important to recognize that the One
who speaks is the Risen Christ to whom all authority has been given
and that the power for action comes from the Holy Spirit.
The "go" is an imperative and can also be translated, "as you go."

"Make disciples" is the sole imperative
and the central activity indicated in the Great Commission.

Disciples will do the will of their Master. "All nations" is everyone.
Disciples are to be baptized in Christ's name.
Disciples are to be taught to observe all things He has commanded.
Disciples are to recognize that they do not go alone:
"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

If we do God's work in God's way, we must tithe.
We must preach and teach our people that tithing will enable us
to share in achieving the goals and values God has placed before us.

We must tell our people that we will give account to the Lord for our stewardship.
We must tell them that the crucial reason for Christian giving
is a sense of responsibility to God for the right use of all we have.

As the Psalmist put it, "It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves." (Psalm 100: 3)
It is He "Who gives... power to get wealth" (Deuteronomy 8: 18) and everything else.

We must tell our people that unless a person is faithful
in the use of what he has, Jesus said,
"Even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25: 29)

We are to give "As God has prospered us" as 1 Corinthians 16: 2 declares.
This is the type of giving that will give a faithful account of ourselves.

God's work done in God's way -
when it comes to the stewardship of money has to do with tithing.
This is one of the most thoroughly tested ideas in religious life;
it has helped people for at least three or four thousand years.
Yet, it is one which is new to each generation
and one whose satisfactions must be personally experienced to be understood.

Tithing is doing God's work in God's way.

We must tell our people that tithing enables us to stay alive and grow.

A tree, although must have water to live, cannot stay alive simply by receiving water.
It must give away gallons of water every day through its leaves.
If in some way a tree should stop giving, it would also stop growing and would soon die.

It is a basic principle! We must give in order to receive!
Those who don't give are casting their vote against doing God's work in God's way!

One of the best motivations on the subject of giving and receiving
was found on a scrap of paper mounted behind glass in a store
in the desert in southern California.

It was written with a stub of a pencil on a piece of brown wrapping paper
which had originally been folded and put into a baking powder can.
The battered can had been wired to an old water pump
which offered the only chance of water on a long and seldom used trail across the desert.

The message went like this:

"This pump is all right as of June, 1932.
I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years.

But the washer dries out, and the pump has got to be primed.
Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up.
There's enough water in it to prime this pump, but not if you drink some first.

Pour in about one fourth and let her soak to wet the leather.
Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy.
You'll git water.

The well never has run dry.
Have faith.
When you get watered up, fill the bottle
and put it back like you found it for the next feller.

(Signed) Desert Pete

P.S. Don't go drinking the water first.
Prime the pump with it and you'll git all you can hold.

We must tell our people that stewardship of possessions
means that the tithe is the minimum standard of giving for Christians.

Tithing will get the job done!
We must tell our congregation that nothing less than tithing is going to do the job.

We must also teach our people:

That Christian giving reveals who we are.
That Christian character determines the characteristic of our giving.
That Christian giving is motivated by a commitment to Christ.
That Christian giving is in response to human needs.
That Christian giving is voluntary.
That Christian giving is cheerful giving.
That Christian giving is proportionate giving.
That Christian giving is systematic and regular giving.
That Christian giving is generous giving.

Our world is in desperate need.
We have the resources to meet many of those needs.
We can do more than we have ever dreamed or imagined,
if every Christian member of our churches
would just simply give to God what belongs to Him.

God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.

We must declare to God, "All that I am or have I give to Thee."

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
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