Monday, January 14, 2013

Authority of believers

Last night we had this awesome event at the church where 400 volunteer/leaders gathered for an event we called "Equip". It was a chance for our lay leaders to come together and be fed - both physically and spiritually. It was a chance to laugh (some of our staff presented our longest tenured volunteers (over 50 years!) with a Mike Baker Fathead. Yeah, it was funny...and scary! It was a chance to worship! Matt and some musicians led us in two times of worship. It was a time of being set apart. The elders of the church prayed over and blessed these co-workers in the faith with a prayer at the was moving. I also had a chance to challenge this group of faithful servants from God's Word and I used one verse to do so. I Thessalonians 5:14. As the church grows, I and the church leaders clearly understand that we can not be the only authoritative voices in the congregation. We have been given the responsibility and stewardship of leading here, but in the Word, God calls all of us to some authoritative work by the fact that we are brothers. In fact, the word "urge" in this passage is usually translated as "fellowship" in the English and literally means "call beside". Here are the things that Paul (and now me) calls us to as faithful followers in the church (brothers here) 1. I have the authority/responsibility to warn the idle. Everyone in the church has the right to speak in Christian love to others who profess faith in Jesus but are not "showing up for the work" of the gospel. 2. I have the authority/responsibility to encourage the timid. There are those in the fellowship who don't think they belong...don't think they matter...don't think they are useful... Will you encourage them to be a part of the body? 3. I have the authority/responsibility to help the weak. This word "weak" can be used of illness, poverty, literally weakness, etc.. Is there anyone in your church that is weak. How can you help them. 4. I have the authority/responsibility to be patient with everyone. This is the key. Growing in Christ and spiritual maturity takes time. Give people the time that God has given you to grow. Keep watering. Keep planting. Eventually God will grow them. The cool thing about all of these is you don't need an elders meeting, or approval from the Sr. Pastor, or a call from a staff member. You are biblically released to act. So....act, you have the authority and the responsibility.

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