A common issue I hear time and time again from our congregations is, “we just don’t have enough good (my emphasis) leaders for our church.” Sometimes they simply say that there aren’t any leaders at all. But, to be honest, I can very much understand the sentiment. In many of our congregations we just don’t have much man power because our numbers are few. In other places where it’s not a numbers issue, people are so busy, so overcommitted, so this or so that, it’s difficult at best to put together a decent slate of candidates for our leadership positions. I empathize with this situation, it is no easy task. But who said the work of the church was going to be easy.
It is a very interesting phenomenon in many congregations…we often look at our people and instead of raising up leaders who have a particular passion for the role and responsibility God has placed before them, we look for the one who, “won’t say no”. We treat this wonderful opportunity we have to serve our Lord as if it were of secondary importance to all of the other things we have to accomplish. Now, I’m not saying that our families, our jobs and whatever else we are called to do aren’t important. In fact, these are of utmost importance as well. But it becomes a matter of the whole life of a Christian. As ones made new in Baptism, we are called to a whole life of stewardship to the Lord. We are His and thus in all our various vocations we are called to serve. Paul puts it this way in Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
What if then, we shed our fatalistic view of things which says we have no one to do this. What if we were to take to heart what our Lord says about His church and trust that He is providing everything we need to accomplish the work that He has set out before us? What would happen if we intentionally planned out our congregation’s work and set about raising up those leaders which God has placed in our midst? Imagine the possibilities! Pairing people with jobs for which they have a passion, aptitude and a God given gift instead of “who won’t say no”. Describing what it is they are expected to do and then training them on how to do it. Supporting them in their tasks, understanding that it is difficult to balance our time and various vocations. Imagine doing this and celebrating and thanking them for the service that they provide. What a blessing it would be to assist and encourage our leaders and other servants to regularly be in the Word of God so that they are fed and strengthened for the task before them. All of this is so that they understand who and what they really are. From A-Z Stewardship Resources we learn, “In Our Calling, a classic essay on the relationship of the Christian faith and Christian living, Einar Billing writes: My call is the form my life takes according as God Himself organizes for me through His forgiving grace. Life organized around the forgiveness of sins, that is Luther’s idea of the call [vocation]. Our calling is the sum of all those tasks that God daily gives us along with the forgiveness of sins until the end of life.”
These aren’t by any stretch revolutionary ideas, just common sense (my reason and all my senses) ways to assist our people in the vocations God has given to them to serve the church. If you’d like assistance with this task or help coming up with a plan for Leadership Training or Strategic Planning, please contact us or check out our resources at www.lcms.org/rstm.
Col 1:9-14 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.