Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.Hebrews 13:7-8 MSG
I have made it a practice to pay attention to those who have lived a fruitful life for the Lord. Especially those who have been doing it for a good while. This last week I had the opportunity to spend time with an elder in the Body of Christ who is a pastor in Cuba. He is past 80, and he has faced difficulties most of us can only imagine. Despite the circumstances, his church is powerful and growing, and his attitude is nothing short of miraculous. He is impacting his world.
In my time with him, I took note of three things he said that I thought were particularly helpful.
- Worship is not entertainment. The worship services I was in were very powerful. The leadership baton was shared, and no one in any way drew attention to themselves. The sense was very much that we were all joining together to worship with them, not to watch them sing. God’s presence was all over it. The key? Pastor said that the moment anyone seemed to be performing, or drawing personal attention, or causing division in the team, they had to sit down.
- Obedience is a leadership requirement. It was quickly clear that there was a team of leaders who functioned well to accomplish the vision of the church. Things got done. I asked Pastor what he considered important in choosing and training leaders. His response was swift: Obedience. It’s OK to have an opinion while the discussion and decision-making process is going on. It is not OK to have a rebellious attitude, even if you disagree. Once a decision is made and marching orders are given, there is no second opinion.
- The church is here to impact the world. The purpose of the pulpit ministry is to equip church members to touch their world. Church is not a spectator sport. This Pastor has many university students who will leave and return to their own towns, many to other nations. They are with him to prepare to impact the places where they will live. He was adamant that the church must be taught who they are in Christ and what the Holy Spirit empowers them to do, then be encouraged to do it.
I am very grateful to have been allowed to glean from this man. Please, avail yourself of his wisdom. We have a job to do in the earth, and I am always ready to learn how to be better at it.