Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
I am thankful for the positive encouragement I often receive in response to messages I have written. I do also get some negative reaction as well, and that’s a good thing. If everyone is positive about everything I say, then I’m probably not saying anything worth reading. Just to give you an idea of where we are heading, I’m going to be writing on this “bridging the gap” subject for about another week, before we change topics to “our Transformation as a Church”. I’m already thinking about other units for the months to come. So, if you are getting “fatigue” from these topics, don’t worry, in another week they will change, and we will discuss another topic.
Who should be a leader in the church community? What are the most important qualities that such a person should have? The answer to these questions comes from the two greatest commandments: Love God and love others.
A good leader in a church community has to love God. That is the most basic of requirements. People who love God love prayer. They love worship. They love reading the Scriptures. They love following God’s commandments.
There are lots of people who have volunteered or been elected to church leadership who I’m not sure love God. Obviously, I don’t have a way to view what is in the human heart, but I have witness people in leadership positions in my 20+ years as a priest who rarely worship, who rarely commune, who have never been to confession, who have never attended a Bible study or a retreat, and who hold prominent positions of leadership.
A good leader in a church community has to serve others. True leadership is servant leadership—to stand at the front but be ready to do the most menial of tasks if necessary. A good leader takes time for all people, not just his or her friends. A good church leader interacts with all the members of the congregation.
Over the years, I have also known people who have volunteered for something or been elected to some office who did nothing. I have known church leaders who used their position to garner favor for their friends. Church leaders have used their position and actually been destructive towards other people.
There are two more requirements to be a church leader. A church leader needs to understand the purpose of the church. It’s more than just having a balanced budget. I’ve known plenty of church leaders who think the highest goal in the church is having lots of money in the bank. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard “We need an endowment for the day we don’t have enough people to keep the church going, so that we can keep the doors open.” A good church leader doesn’t think this way. Maybe a good businessman does, but the church is not a business. It is the church.
A church leader has to have a desire to grow the church, to spread the Gospel, to make disciples. A church leader who just wants to safeguard the status quo is not a leader, but a guard.
And obviously, a church leader has to have appropriate skills needed for their position. The church treasurer should love God and love people, and want the church to grow, but they also need to know something about finances.
However, I put loving God, serving others and understanding the mission of the church above skills. Why? Because Christ took a small group of men who were mostly illiterate fishermen, who many times we see weren’t even successful fishermen, and through them spread the Gospel to the entire world. If Christ could do that with a small group of people who had faith in Him, and yes, they had plenty of doubt, the Church can and should follow the same formula today. Find some people of great faith and moderate skill set and you’ll have a great group of people to lead the church.
There are many people who think that they can’t be a leader in the church, that when the cry for leaders goes out, it doesn’t refer to them. If you are a person who loves God, loves serving, understands the mission of the church, and has some skill to offer, please step forward and take on a leadership position. The church needs you.
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint. Lead Thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for Thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in Thy tent forever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of Thy wings! For Thou, O God, hast heard my vows, Thou hast given me the heritage of those who fear Thy name. Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God; bit steadfast love and faithfulness watch over him! So will I ever sing praises to Thy name, as I pay my vows day after day. Psalm 61
If Jesus could change the world with illiterate fishermen leading the way, the Church can have an impact on the world with leaders who love God, who love serving, who understand the role of the church and who have moderate skills.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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