Leadership is not a matter of control. It is not a matter of receiving things from those being led. Leadership in the Church is a God-given grace given to assist the body of Christ in growing to become a testimony of Christ in the earth. Everyone carries a measure of authority for others. That authority is some substance of life given to them for the sake of making others come alive. When we experience Jesus in our lives there is a measure of living water that flows from within us for the sake of others. It is a substance of life and it is a testimony of relationship with others.
The apostles were the ‘sent ones’ of authority in Christ. They were the source of submission to God in a physical way. Jesus had sent them to the Church as His Father had sent Him to them (Mt. 28:18-20). They illustrated a lifestyle of giving life to others with the power and presence of Christ in their lives. This same truth continued into the generations of leadership in the Church. Paul, an apostle born out of time, challenged his spiritual son Timothy in regard to the responsibilities of leadership.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Timothy was to be an example to those God was sending him to. His example was to be a testimony of the word of God, the conduct of Christ, God’s love, faith, and purity. He was to do the tasks of reading the Scripture, exhorting the believers, in order to assist them in living in the teaching or way of life of a Christ-like community. Timothy was to receive Paul’s instruction and to propagate the same pattern of leadership to the successive generations.
2 Timothy 2:1-2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
This pattern of leadership was set in the foundation with Jesus and his disciples. At the completion of Jesus life, He prayed a prayer to His heavenly Father. His words were words that reveals a relationship that He had with twelve men that God had given to Him in His earthly destiny as a man. His prayer reveals that His ultimate goal was to give eternal life to twelve men who could also lead others into the eternal life of God in Christ. Those men were to lead others into the same life that Jesus had led them to. Eternal life was not something to start when they died, but it was a testimony of a personal relationship with Him and with God as their Father.
John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. Jesus
Jesus had done what every leader is called to do. He had manifested the name of God His Father to those God had given Him. He manifested the character, nature, way, power, and authority of God to those He had been sent to. This is what all leaders are called to do.
John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”
Everyone has been sent to someone. Parents are sent to their children. Leaders are sent to those they lead. Even friends are sent to their friends. Life is about relationship and our goal in life is not evangelism of the world, but evangelistic relationships of life. Jesus influenced thousands in His journey of life, but He was called to reveal God to twelve men who also had relationships with others. We can learn a good lesson from the life of Jesus. If Jesus was sent to twelve, what makes us think we are sent to thousands. We may influence thousands, but we are only sent to a few. It is a matter of relationship, not influence. Prayers of relationship are prayers of love. They are knowledgeable prayers of intimacy concerning individuals known by us.
John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
Who are those in our lives that we are called to give life to? Jesus was glorified in the testimony of His disciples. Who has been sent to us that inspires us to become who we should be in Christ? Who are we sent to for the glory of Jesus name? The commission and the pattern is one of relationship. Like Jesus, we are called to give God’s words of life to those God gives us.
John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
The disciples of Jesus were being sent to the world in the same way that Jesus was sent to the world. They were being sent to find those God had given them so they too could lead them into eternal life, a personal relationship with Jesus and God their Father. They in turn would propagate this same pattern to the generations that would follow.
John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
The leaders of the New Covenant Church were men sent by God to bring release to the Church with the grace of the laying on of hands and the authority of Christ. We must position ourselves to receive all that is being given so that we can in turn give all that we have in order to release life to others. We are sent to a few and a few are given to each of us that we might affect many. We are set from relationship with God and one another and to relationship with others. This is the way of the Spirit of Counsel.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson