Saturday, April 16, 2016

Leadership Notes

Leadership                                                           4/17/16

I Samuel 16:1-13, John 20:24-29


Reminder of the theme in our Membership series:

Members of Christ’s body by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

Members of a congregation, specifically, Presbyterian understanding


Definition of the word: (Merriam-Webster)

A position as a leader of a group

The time when a person holds the position

The power, ability, capacity to lead other people

Verb:  to lead

To guide on a way especially by going in advance

To direct on a course or in a direction

Biblical Definition:

One of the Spiritual gifts defined in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12

“if it is to lead, then do it diligently”

Presbyterian Structure, there are 3 positions of ordination for church leadership

Elder, Deacon, Teaching Elder (Pastor)
Everyone in a congregation, when using their spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit, demonstrates leadership.  We are moved into a deeper relationship with God and community by the Holy Spirit. 

The Story of David Becoming King
Saul was the first king of Israel.  He was made king though God says this action is a rejection of God by the people. God had communicated to the Covenant people that he would be their king.  Israel wanted one like everyone else had, when really they had the one that no one else had.  They couldn’t see the life and blessing before them.

Saul does not obey the instructions that God gives him, and the word comes to Samuel “I regret that I have made Saul King”.  Out of this background, today’s reading emerges.

Some lessons we learn from Samuel about Leading:

It is the job of a leader to do the will of God.  (16:1)

The Lord calls Samuel out of mourning.  In this case, God had rejected Saul, and now God was sending him to ordain the next king that he had chosen.

It is the job of a leader to think biblically and godly (16:6-7)

We are to place our thinking and understanding before God, so that his plans and ways are honored.  The Lord tells us he has a very different way of looking at the world, and at human beings.  God tells Samuel to start thinking more like God.

It is the job of a leader to ask the right questions (16:11)

Jesse provided all of the information he had wanted to do, to the prophet.  But Samuel then asks, Do you have any other sons?   Leaders can ask thoughtful and creative questions, which move toward solution and fulfilling God’s will.

It is the job of leaders to rise and anoint when God’s word comes.

Maybe not literally, but in this case, when God calls to Samuel and makes his command Samuel obeys.  In those times when leaders are to lead, they do so as a response by faith, to where they feel God is leading them.

John:  Our Response to Jesus Christ
All of us can lead when we use the spiritual gift the Spirit has put within us.  For all the gifts testify to the Lord.  They all announce, in their own ways, the glory of God.

The Disciples Announce:  We have seen the Lord.

Yet so often, the gut reaction by Thomas prevails:   “Unless I see, I will not believe”

The Living and Risen Jesus Christ:

He gives peace, making us right with God.  “Peace be with you”

He tells the truth, silencing our objections.  “Put your finger here, reach out your hand”

He invites us to life:  “Stop doubting, and believe”


Scripture reminds us “a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).  We might often be surprised by who God puts in our lives to direct his will into our hearts.

If we are paying attention, everyone will lead when they display their spiritual gift.  Definition was “to direct on a course or action”


Friday, April 1, 2016

Notes on the Benefits of Membership

The Benefits of Membership

II Chronicles 34:13-33

Culturally, the decline in people becoming members of organizations is well documented.  This is not limited to the church.  But the easier work is to recognize the deconstruction that has taken place.  The more interesting question is, by placing less value on membership, what are we missing?

Definition from the Book of Order:
MISSION with a Purpose

*Church engaged in God’s mission

*Engaged with all the gifts necessary for being a church

*local congregation provides an example of the witness of the Church, contributing strength to the whole

The specific mission:  Reach out with the gospel, gather for worship, offer care and nurture, speak for justice and righteousness, bear witness to truth and God’s reign coming to the world

Not designed to work without trust and love.

MEMBERSHIP by a Promise

What is membership?

individuals living together in covenant life with God and each other through their confession of Jesus Christ as Lord.

Baptism:  of believers—God’s gift of grace calls forth a response
               of children—God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith.

 Let us understand membership in Christ's body as a gift of grace that has come to us from before us, and a gift that needs a response.

Illustration of giving a gift:
Take what you know of a person you love, that you want to bless.
You take care and the steps necessary to make another person happy.
What do you hope for when you give the gift?  Thank you response.

Ultimately, the benefits of membership are not self-fulfillment but participation in God’s mission for the world.

 What do members do?  The ministry of members    (read directly from the Book of Order)


Model led by Josiah (Healed by Yahweh)


*Transition from Assyria to Babylon, Jerusalem free to rule itself

*Josiah comes to reign in 631

*a time of monarchy, not constitutional representative

*part of God’s work in Israel, not the church nor America

*lessons of the benefits to membership to be learned by this story

The benefits of community and membership
1.         Leaders who seek the righteousness of God and are attentive to and humble before God. (19)

2.         Truth telling, even if it involves judgment of sin against the community  (21)

3.         the gifts of a great variety of people are valued, such as Hulduh,  (22)

4.         to be brought into God’s story, his call and judgments  (23-26

5.         mercy to the humble  (27)

6.         being called together (the least to the greatest, together) to listen to God’s word together (30)

7.         healing and mercy to the community that remembers the word of God, even if it has not been reviewed or practiced for generations (30)

8.         togetherness that invites participants to remember God’s covenant with the people and obey it now (32)

9.           to clean the space of idolatry (33)

10.     to live in devotion to the Lord (33)