Ch 3: Looking for Missing Links

  • Series: When All Else Fails...Read the Directions
  • Author: Robert W. Smith
Read the Scripture: Ephesians 4:16
Ephesians 4:16

16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

New International Version
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People and Principles

"...the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, make: bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love." (Ephesians 4:16)


"when each part is working properly." What does this mean in terms of administrative structure in the church? In the Body of Christ what are the links? Are they people---or principles of operation?

I'd say they are people operating in accord with certain principles just as the joints and tendons of our bodies are members functioning in accord with definite principles.

Administrative Gifts

The members of Christ's body designed to fulfill its administrative needs are those who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to fit the required function. For instance, in looking for those who are to rule we must look for the gift of governing. Some people are not suited to govern, since those who govern must somehow have the consent of the governed.

Churches poorly governed soon find one or more of these cases:

(1) a constant need to whip the saints into line by social pressure, harangue, false loyalty pleas, false guilt, etc.
(2) discontented, grumbling people
(3) a fast-disappearing congregation
(4) frustrated leaders who are trying to carry the entire load.


And those with the gift of governing will rule in accord with biblical principles. For example, there must be a discernible unity of spirit with other responsible leaders, a joint commitment to know the mind of Christ on a matter, not lust to settle for a majority vote. This calls for openness of heart, honesty in prayer and unanimity in action.

Governing

How do we recognize the gift of governing? We do it by looking for men who are easy to follow, men with orderly minds and orderly lives. And we look for men of good report. This does not equate with popularity or view lust an affable personality, but encompasses a quality of life that calls out men's willingness to follow.

Leadership

But there are other administrative functions besides governing. The church has many leadership needs. Here too we look for those who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to fulfill these equally vital functions in the Body, for example, leading meetings, worship services, etc. We have all experienced the painful torture of groaning through a service where the leader was scared, self-conscious, and painfully uncomfortable. We became uncomfortable with him and alternately felt sorry for him, prayed, and wished he would shut up and sit down. On the other hand, a gifted leader is so unobtrusive as to blend into the scenery, and is used of God to draw out our hearts to worship, pray, sing and rejoice in a genuine experience of fellowship wrought by the Holy Spirit.

Ministrivia

A third kind of administrative person is the one gifted by God to perform the multitude of 'household chores" needed to keep the church running smoothly. The sixth chapter of Acts records the early appointment of those whom we call deacons,* from the Greek word diakonos. In this case their function was to distribute the food among the Saints, or to wait on tables. And as we read the account we find they were to be men of high spiritual qualifi-cations, so this was no second-rate, demeaning job. They were to be "men of good report, full of wisdom, full of the Holy Spirit." Every church has many deacons, not always in terms of title or office, but as fulfilling a needed function in the Body. As in Acts, this is no less important an assignment than the appointment given to those who are to rule. All the gifts and ministries are important to the operation of the Body!

People, functioning in the Body of Christ according to God-given principles---that's the way it should be, not one man (the pastor) expected to do everything. The three basic administrative functions described above are identifiable in Scripture as seen in this chart:
------
*A fuller consideration of deacons is included in chapter 8.






GIFT





GREEK WORD





SCRIPTURE





DESCRIPTION





Governing





kubemesis





1 Cor. 12:28






To guide or direct, as a
pilot does a ship





Leadership





proistemi





Romans 12:8





To "stand before" in the
sense of taking the lead





Service





diakonie





Romans 12:7





"Household chores"

in the family household of God




Faith

Then there is the gift of faith, and what an asset are those who exhibit this gift! A dear friend whom I learned to call Caleb because he is so like the Old Testament character by that name (Num. 13:30) is a wonderful example. Of the Old Testament Caleb the Scripture records at least five times, "He wholly followed the Lord." And so it was with my friend. Whenever we confronted seemingly impossible situations he would say, "I wonder how the Lord is going to get us through this one. Let's find out!" Many times when we could see no financial support for a move we believed the Lord wanted us to make he would ask, "Do we really have the mind of the Lord on this? If we do, let's go ahead and expect him to supply the funds." At that point, not only he but ten other men on the governing board sought very seriously to gain that sense of peace and unanimity that gave the go ahead on the action. As a result, never has the Lord failed to supply our needs, even though we embarked on many ventures with no human assurance that the funds would be forthcoming. All this came about without our ever soliciting a pledge!

Wisdom

Right here we need to mention the gift of "the word of wisdom" as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Have you ever had the experience in a board or committee meeting where everyone thought and discussed and argued back and forth seemingly for hours without reaching a decision? It's very discouraging, to say the least. At such a point, in the case I have in mind, one elder, who had been quietly listening and thinking but not contributing much to the discussion, spoke up. "What do you think of this approach to the problem?" And he proceeded to spell out the exact solution which was needed, but which nobody had recognized until then. The response was immediate and positive. This man had exercised the gift of wisdom, or more properly, the word of wisdom, at a time when it was particularly needed and appreciated.

We need men in Christian leadership roles who exemplify these attributes, for without them the church flounders. But do we always see leaders chosen on the basis of gifts of the Spirit? Too often they are chosen on the basis of a different kind of gifts---the monetary ones they give to the church. Putting it another way, the church needs men with gifts of leadership and administration who are able to think through, plan, organize, and keep things in manageable order.

Watching the Plan Work

Some years ago when we experienced a lack in these areas of ministry, we began to pray that the Lord would give us men to fill these needs, or help us to discover men we already had in our midst but so far had failed to recognize.

This, incidentally, is what we believe the Apostle had in mind when he said in 1 Corinthians 12:31, "But earnestly desire the best gifts." Since spiritual gifts are given according to the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit, we are not to desire for ourselves, as individuals, gifts we do not have, but we are to desire the greater gifts to fulfill the needs of the local church body. The verb here is plural, "you all desire the best gifts." This is especially clear when we recognize that spiritual gifts are "for the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7) and, "Let all things be done for edification;" that is, building up the Body (1 Cor. 14:26B).

So we prayed and expectantly examined the men God had in our focus. And sure enough, there they were! One was the youngest elder on the board, but the one (because of his gifts) whom God gave the responsibility of being chairman. This seems foolish, doesn't it, in terms of our usual way of thinking. But this man proved to be the instrument God used to promote the kind of action that is needed in the governing body of a church.

Over a period of time, and in spite of many mistakes, the example of this one man led us, through his heart commitment to be God's man to the place where things began to be put in good order. Every elder was evaluated by his peers as to performance and gifts. We moved from there to the evaluation of every staff man as to how well he was fulfilling his assignment and where he really fit in the ministry of the church. The results of this latter evaluation were published in the church bulletin in a form something like this:

TO OUR CHURCH FAMILY...

The elders of a local church have a very demanding assignment---to find the mind of the Lord, the great Head of the church, as to the direction and functioning of the church. As part of this assignment, during the past several months the Board of Elders has carefully reviewed each of the major staff functions as to where the Lord wants to lead us in the future. Thoughtful consideration was given to current needs, future opportunities, and the spiritual gifts of each staff member. After much prayer and thorough discussion, the Board unanimously approved the following directives:

Pastor X
Pastor X is appointed to a prophetic ministry (this means illuminating the Scripture) to the local body and to be our ambassador to the Body of Christ at large. We believe that his gifts and ministry are such that the Lord wants to use them toward prospering the whole Christian community. He is directed to reduce to writing his expository teachings given at the home base so that this material can be effectively distributed to the Body at large. We especially want him to have time to develop new lines of study and make the results available to all of us.

Pastor Z
Pastor Z is appointed the Pastor/Leader of the staff to work in a relationship of Advisor and Counselor to the general operations of this local church. He is directed to pursue a teaching/training ministry particularly aimed at developing leadership. He is directed to limit his counseling to premarital counseling only---taking on no other types of counseling (this is necessary to respect his health situation), and is also directed to Continue his documentation of expository research and significant material presented in connection with our ministry locally. Also he will assist in some of the administrative activities.

Pastor W
Pastor W has been appointed to an expository teaching ministry from the pulpit (in conjunction with Pastor X), and to teach, counsel, and work in the area of a couples' ministry. He is also directed to continue his activity in disciplining men and is encouraged to pursue and develop home churches composed of small groups meeting in different locations throughout the area.

Pastor V
The Board believes strongly that Pastor V needs to develop his own gifts and assume responsibility wider than his present ministry and that his situation at this local church inhibits this process. So he was asked, for the sake of all the Lord wants to do through him, to seek a new situation. This action is based strictly on his best interests, and we want it clearly understood he is not being discharged. He is currently looking at opportunities the Lord has for him in areas outside of this local church. When he has found exactly the right place the Lord has for him, he will leave his responsibilities here. Until this is accomplished, he is directed to Continue his responsibilities overseeing his present ministry, including the Summer programs.

Pastor T
The Board has directed that he continue his responsibility for the Body Life ministry. On June 15, he leaves the high school ministry to undertake a ministry of teaching in adult electives and evangelistic home Bible studies. He is directed to employ his illustrative gift to assist the audio/visual and Christian education ministries.

Pastor J
Pastor J has accepted the Board's invitation to become the pastor overseeing the college ministry. On May 1, he began on a formal basis to continue the ministry he has been carrying as a second-year intern under the leadership of Pastor W.

Pastor R
Pastor R has accepted an invitation from the Board to become a pastor overseeing the high school ministry here. On June 15 he will formally start this ministry and until that time lie Will be finishing his seminary work.

Pastor P
Pastor P has accepted the invitation of the Board to begin as Pastor/Administrator. This involves overseeing administrative matters connected with the general operation of this local church. (He will work in concert with Pastor Z in many of these areas.) He is directed to take these responsibilities beginning May 1, some of which he has been carrying as a consultant during the past year. He is also directed to continue his teaching ministry in the adult area.

Intern Coordinator and Publication Director
The Board has directed that they continue their activities essentially as before.

The Board is also concerned that pastors be available to meet counseling needs, crisis situations, hospital calls, weddings, funerals, etc. To accomplish this aim, Pastors P and Z are to be available (one or the other) throughout the week at the church office to see that these needs are met. This doesn't mean that these men will do it all themselves, but they are to see that some member of the pastoral staff is alerted to meet these needs.

The following lists all of our staff. [There followed a listing of all secretarial, accounting and facilities personne]. Much could be said about those who contribute such a great deal behind the scenes. We just thank the Lord for giving us this operating staff of wonderful secretaries who faithfully and cheerfully carry many diverse responsibilities. The same is true of our facilities personnel.

As our congregation has grown, so our staff has grown to minister to the larger body of believers, but we need to recall that our Lord's directive is still the same.

"And his gifts were that . . . some should be pastors and teachers toward the equipping of the saints for their work of ministry . . ." (Eph. 4:11-12).


And "All of you are brothers"---no clergy, no hierarchy---all ONE in Christ! We ask for your continued support and prayers for our staff, board and ministry here as we all serve the Lord together as mem-bers of His Body.

THE BOARD OF ELDERS


This is a unique document, wrought by the Lord out of the crucible of head-to-head confrontations in many long meetings, agonizing heart-searching, and genuinely dependent prayer. It represents the unity of the Spirit demonstrated in the lives of strong-willed, hard-headed men---but God's men, committed to the Lordship of Christ in their lives and in the life of the church. And what a glory it is to see!

You mean that God's plan for governing the church really works?

The answer is a resounding yes!---as long as we allow Christ to be who He is, Lord and Head. Incidentally, the second man God gave us as the result of prayer was Pastor P, the Pastor/Administrator, whose gifts and insight have shaped things up like never before!

It's most exciting to recall that Pastor X (the one who would be called the senior pastor in most churches) graciously responded to the elders' directive to relinquish the administrative leadership of the staff to a fellow pastor who has had no seminary training. This was especially meaningful in that all of the Board were spiritually less mature than he, and they were led by a young salesman who grew up under his ministry.

How could this happen? Pastor X is truly humble, and more than that, he recognizes the validity of spiritual gifts and their function. But perhaps the most important point: he is subject to the authority of the elders and is committed to God's ability to govern a local church through his appointed leaders.

What a picture of mingled grace, conviction, and obedience!

We could multiply examples of how ". . . the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love" (Eph. 4:16). But the Lord is still writing the story and he wants you to write the next chapter in your church!

It may be helpful in specific situations to review the following chart compiled from the biblical information on qualifications for spiritual leadership and spiritual gifts. We found this an excellent way to take a spiritual inventory of present and potential leadership.

Further information on spiritual gifts and ministries is included in the study of 1 Corinthians 12 entitled "Saints Alive!" (Appendix B).

Leadership Evaluation For _______________________________________

"But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one shall bear his own load" (Gal. 6:4-5, NAS).

Note: These qualities are to characterize the man's life style. Perfection is not in view. The Lord knows we are all "men under construction."

Qualifications for Spiritual Leadership (Titus 1, 1 Timothy 3. ""Must be..."





#1
Essential





Yes





No





??





1 Timothy 3:2

1. Born-again believer (holy) "Without me you can do nothing."

John 3:3, 10; Titus 1:8, 2:12; John 15:5

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

2. Above reproach. Not open to justifiable reproach.

Titus 1:6

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

3. A "one-wife" husband.

If married, not a polygamist or philanderer

Titus 1:6

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

4. Temperate. Not thoughtlessly.

Ephesians 5:15

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

5. Sensible. Sober-minded

Titus 1:8

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

6. Respectable. Orderly disciplined life

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

7. Hospitable. Given to hospitality

Titus 1:8

- - -




1 Timothy 3:2

8. Apt at teaching.

Able and capable to teach. Also teachable.

- - -




1 Timothy 3:3

9. Not addicted to wine. Not a drunkard.

Not given to excess.

- - -




1 Timothy 3:3

10. Nonviolent.

Physically gentle, noncombative.

- - -




1 Timothy 3:3

11. Not quarrelsome. Not self-willed or contentious

- - -
-

12. Free from money greed.

Not money hungry, not loving money

- - -
-

13. Managing home and cildren.

Home and children under control with dignity.

1 Timothy 3:4-5

- - -
-

14. Not a novice.

Not a beginner in the faith (new Christians)

I Timothy 3:6

- - -
-

15. Good reputation with unsaved.

Well thought of by non-Christians in community

1 Timothy 3:7

- - -
- 16. Fair-minded. Just

Titus 1:8, 2:12

- - -
-

17. Self-controlled.

Not quick-tempered

Titus 1:7

- - -



Spiritual Working Gifts

Every believer has least one, and perhaps more





Yes





No





??

1. Wisdom

I Cor 12:8
To understand how truth applies

- - -
2. Knowledge

1 Cor. 12:8
Ability to recognize and
systemize spiritual facts

- - -
3. Faith

I Cor. 12:9
Vision to see what God wants done;
courage and faith to tackle and accomplish "impossible"

- - -
4. Prophecy

I Cor. 12:10, 14:3, 2~25
A spokesman for God, using God's Word,
causing it to shine; moving people to worship

- - -
5. Discernment

I Cor. 12:10
Able to distinguish between truth and error,
spot subtle forms of phoniness

- - -
6. Helps

I Cor. 18:28; Rom. 12:7
Lending a needed helping hand, support;
being moved by pity to give aid, mercy

- - -
7. Teaching

Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28
Ability to give spiritual instruction
resulting in someone learning truth of God

- - -
8. Serving

Rom. 12:7
Caring for details, from 'household servant"

- - -
9. Leadership

Rom. 12:8
standing before and leading;
chairing committees, etc.

- - -
10. Guiding

I Cor. 12:28
Standing behind and steering;
guiding spiritual affairs

- - -
11. Giving

Rom. 12:8
Sensitive to needs;
all assets available for Gods use

- - -


12. Exhortation

Rom. 12:8
Ability to encourage, comfort,
motivate people with God's Word;
get people moving

- - -


(Chart compiled by Walt McCuistion)

Title: Ch 3: Looking for Missing Links Author: Robert W. Smith
Series:When All Else Fails...Read the Directions Date:1974
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