Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, August 14, 2015

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Shepherd the flock, Friend!

We had such an enthusiastic response to our class in Mexico City, I thought I would share the talking points with you. The course is entitled Shepherding the Flock of God: Church Government for Dummies. Two facts drive the discussion. First, the Church is a Christian endeavor, therefore we should act like Christians in its government, looking to the Bible for guidance. Second, the New Testament doesn’t give us “how to” on the subject, so we have to discern principles to apply. That said, we identified 2 non-negotiable values to guide us, and 4 primary principles to apply.

Non-negotiable values:

1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ: The Church is His, He bought it. He gets to run it and receive all the glory. Acts 20:28 / Eph 1:22-23

2. Love one another: He gave us one great commandment under the New Covenant, love one another. We value people. John 13:34-35

Principles:

1. The Principle of Authority and Submission: Authority can only be exercised in your areas of responsibility. Authority flows from the top down. If you are not submitted to authority, you cannot exercise authority.

2. The Principle of Delegation. Authority and responsibility in the local church is delegated by the Chief Shepherd to the local Shepherd, who must give account for those souls. 1Peter 5:1-4 / Heb 13:17

3. The Principle of Ordination: The office of Pastor is marked by a calling from God, time in preparation, and a time of setting apart by recognized authority. Ordination to a position requires recognition of readiness by spiritual authorities. Gal 2:8-9/ Acts 13:1-3

4. The Principle of Accountability. Pastors are people subject to human pressures and temptations. Satan particularly likes to destroy Shepherds because it is an economical way to scatter the flock. A Pastor must have genuine accountability and authority in his life. It is for his protection and the protection of the sheep. Matt 26:31-32 / 2 Co 8:21 / Rom 12:17

Scripture Reading: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1 Peter 5:2-4 NKJV)

Somebody Said: Religion is a very scary thing, because a pastor is in a position of power. And if you use that power badly, you ruin people’s lives, and you ruin your own life. Eugene H. Peterson

What I have discovered in talking to other pastors, is that most folks just sort of accept whatever system of church government they grew up with. As with all our traditions, it pays to stop every now and then and see if they line up with the Bible. For further study, we have this course available in our online training program, Faith Ministry Training Institute. The book “How to Run a Sheep Shed,” is available from our website.

Pastor Virgil Stokes

http://www.fcftucson.org

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