Thoughts From The Staff

Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Advice”

Developing Your Leadership

main image

 

Leadership is a word that is applied across many different areas. Children and teenagers can be leaders as well as older adults, and leadership exists in many different occupations including education, medical, religious and finance. So with such a broad range of leadership, how can each person learn how to lead? One person may lead in their job, at home, at church or on a sports team, with each leadership position having different aspects the person has to learn.

I believe that every follower of Jesus can develop their leadership so they are ready to lead in whatever sphere God calls them to be a leader. The area of leadership I want to focus on is servant leadership with Jesus as the ultimate example of servant leadership. During the last few days of Jesus’ life on earth, He participated in what is known as “the Last Supper” with His disciples (John 13:1-17). The disciples were being trained (discipled) to carry the message of Jesus as the only way for salvation. They were being trained “to lead.” The custom during this time of John 13 was for the host to arrange to wash feet since they sat on the floor at a low table. A servant, or house help, usually was the one who washed feet. As Jesus and the disciples were getting ready to eat Jesus went around the table to wash the feet of the disciples. Wait! Jesus, the Son of God, did the job of a servant? Jesus did this to show that a leader in Christ joyfully serves others even in the lowest tasks. He said, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). 

This is an area I am striving for day by day. One of the gifts God has given me is delegation and I tend to get people involved in various aspects of ministry. I remind myself often that I have to also get my hands dirty if I am asking others to get their hands dirty. To lead and not also be a servant is the opposite of Jesus’ leadership. Being a servant leader is one of the most important aspects of leadership that applies to all spheres of leading and not just at church. Others will see the difference in leadership if we lead the way Jesus calls us to lead versus the way the world tells us to lead. You may even be able to lead some to Christ through your servant leadership! Take a step in that direction. As adopted sons and daughters of God we are all leaders for both this present time and for eternity.

Jeff White
Associate Pastor of Families & Missions
Posted by Jeff White with

What Is A False Teacher?

main image

 

What is a false teacher? I remember someone telling me several months ago about a new church forming in a neighboring county.  This church is centered around one doctrine, namely that repentance is not required. It is always dangerous to have a church formed around one doctrine, but the interesting part of this story is that one of their founding members responded to someone else in their community who disagreed with their one doctrine on Facebook by calling that person a false teacher.

I think the word is used rather loosely in the church today, mostly in the same vein that people blast away on social media…to stop anyone from disagreeing with them. I decided to play it safe and only include pictures of David Koresh and Jim Jones as finger puppets…although if you dare to google “false teachers” you will get a lot of pointing fingers.

So, what is a false teacher? First of all, a false teacher is not someone who has made a mistake in something they taught or is simply incorrect about something in Bible.  No teacher is perfect and we all have room to grow in both our maturity in Christ and our understanding of the Bible. The real truth is that I have been in ministry for over 30 years and my belief system has modified itself (in small ways) during that time. I had a very simplistic theology when I first became a believer and I now understand more of the complexities expressed in Scripture.

Secondly, a false teacher is not someone who disagrees with your interpretation of something in the Bible. Just as no teacher is perfect, no system of doctrine gets everything exactly right. An important thing to remember when it comes to what we believe is that all doctrines are not equal. There are some things taught in the Bible that are essential and cannot be compromised.  These are the things relating to the nature of Christ and His saving work expressed in the cross and the resurrection.

A good way to think about this is to picture three concentric circles. The center circle contains the things that cannot be compromised.  These beliefs form our understanding of the gospel and the nature of God. This inner circle really represents what makes a person a disciple or follower of Jesus.

There is a second circle which is a little farther out and surrounds the first. This circle represents beliefs or doctrines which allow churches to form and doctrinal statements to be generated. Things in this circle would include our understanding of baptism, the meaning of communion and how we govern the church. It becomes important to agree on things in this circle because we are working and worshipping together.

The third circle that surrounds the first two represents beliefs, that although they come from Scripture, do not affect either our faith in Christ or how we worship together. In this circle you find interpretations about the book of Revelation, time tables(?!!) for the second coming of Christ and things of this nature. (I think I just gave away something I believe that belongs in the third circle…). As long as something is genuinely based on the Bible, you can believe as you feel led, and include some speculation on your part as you fill in what the Bible teaches with things that seem logical or consistent with your thinking.

A false teacher is not someone who has a weird theory about the second coming of Christ or who belongs to a church that uses a different form of baptism than yours does. A false teacher is someone who deliberately propagates a wrong understanding of the gospel. A red flag is attached to his/her lifestyle because generally there is a problem there if you are able to look closely. Both Jim Jones and David Koresh taught that they were incarnations of the Son of God. This has obvious implications for the gospel, as they both taught that they were a source of salvation. When someone looks at their lives, one can see obvious moral issues as well. Both men had a practice of sleeping with other men’s wives from among their followers as a part of their “ministry.” Indeed, both of these men developed what we call a cult.

Not all false teachers are cult leaders. Not all false teachers have obvious moral problems. And to be absolutely fair, not every minister who has had a moral problem is a false teacher! But all false teachers are in the ministry for their own profit. This may be financial profit, or power, or control or any combination of these things.

Be careful about throwing “false teacher” out as a label unless you see obvious problems with what they teach about the gospel. At the same time, be aware of teachers who have moral issues, who orient their ministries around money or power, or who claim to have truth that no one else is teaching from the Bible.

Darrell Brown
Minister of Adult Discipleship
Notes:
  1. Image of David Koresh is public domain; http://www.therightperspective.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/david-koresh.jpg
  2. Image of Rev. Jim Jones. This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International By Nancy Wong [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
  3. Handskelett im Röntgenbild; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. By Hellerhoff [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
  4. All three of these images have been altered with a filter and as such do not adequately represent the original work.
Posted by Darrell Brown with

Previous123456789