I have noticed that there is an aversion to responsibility in our culture. It seems as if many are willing to help, just not be the person in charge. I have also noticed that in the church. There are many that are more than willing to help but shy away from being the person responsible. There are many reasons why a person would shy away from leadership. I would like to challenge you to prayerfully consider saying “Yes” when asked to serve.
We have been focusing on what the Bible teaches about leadership in our current sermon series, “What it takes to be a Leader.” We have spent the past weeks looking at how leadership begins by leading ourselves, and expands to our families. This week we focused on leadership in the church. In our studies of the qualifications for being an elder I was impacted by one of the opening statements in 1 Timothy 3 about one desire for leadership. Paul reminds Timothy, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1) I was caught by the last phrase, he desires a noble task. Two key truths in this verse remind us that, first, it is OK to desire to be in positions of leadership, and second, serving in leadership is a good thing. I want to focus on the second, that serving in a leadership position is a good thing.
Why is it a good thing? It is a noble task because we are serving God and others. The word translated here “noble” is simply the word “good.” It means that when a person takes responsibility in God’s work, it is a good thing. What can be more significant that using our talents, abilities and life experiences for God? The simple answer is nothing. There are many important aspects in life but nothing is more important than serving our Creator. We see the value of our leadership when we realize that God’s plan has been to work through people. God has worked in your life through people and He will use you to work in the lives of others. Ministry leaders influence those in their area of ministry for God. Now here he is speaking of the role of Elder, but I believe it could be applied to any level of leadership in the church. It is a good thing.
Paul also reminds Timothy of the importance of the Local Church when he writes just a few verses later, “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15) It is easy to fall into the trap that the church does not matter, but it does. This past Sunday I reminded our people when you need gasoline you go to the gas station, when you are sick you go to a doctor or hospital but where do you go when you want to discover God’s truth? You go to the church. I am not speaking of the building, but the people who are the living manifestation of God’s truth revealed in His Word. Think of the world today as a strip mall shopping area. There may be a gas station, a convenience store, a barber shop or even a restaurant, but God does business through His church! And those that serve in providing leadership in a local congregation are contributing to providing God’s truth to those in our world.
So let me encourage you, when approached to fill a leadership need in your church, to prayerfully assume you will say, “Yes,” unless the Lord leads otherwise!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson