A leader must know that it is God who stands with them. Though they feel alone at times, they must always know they are never alone. They are an expression of the authority of God and not merely ministers to the needs of people. Authority is a testimony of life and proper authority is a testimony that comes from intimacy with God in who each one is in life. Authority is a measure given by God for the sake of others. It is a substance of life given in order to empower us to give life to others. Even as it was in the life of Paul, there will be times when people will abandon a leader. This will even include other leaders at times. Paul exhorted Timothy with his testimony of the faithfulness of God in his life. The Lord stood with Paul and the message was preached that those who did not know God could hear it.
2 Timothy 4: 17-18 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
A leader must know that God will support them in their commission of ministry. This even includes a confidence of God’s protection and deliverance. A leader should know that God is with them and He will do whatever is necessary on behalf of them as a leader. God delivered Paul from the mouth of the lion. A Leader can expect to need the supernatural intervention of God at times. A leader leads in knowing the loving protection of God in their lives. Paul knew that Lord would deliver him from every evil work and would preserve Him. This is the confidence of a leader who knows the love of God. The glory in all things belongs to God.
Paul set an example of a true apostolic leader. He was more concerned with people than he was with numbers. He knew those within his sphere of influence by name. When writing to Timothy he named those in the church that were significant in the church. This was the case in every place that Paul was sent as an apostle. A leader must know that relationships are the foundation of ministry. Even Paul’s appeal for Timothy to come to him was one of relationship, not mere duty of ministry.
2 Timothy 4:19-21 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.
Paul commended several who were also doing the work of God and being true to the faith. He knew them by name. Paul encouraged Timothy that the Lord Jesus Christ was with his spirit. Grace would be given to him. Grace is the divine empowerment of God’s Spirit at work in our lives. A leader knows the power of God’s Spirit and the working of His grace in their lives.
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
The foundation of relationships was also in Paul’s letter to Titus. Titus is also a letter written from a spiritual father to a spiritual son. It is a letter written from an apostolic leader to a leader responsible in the church. The letter of Titus was not written to church members, but to leaders responsible in the pastoral care of God’s church. Titus was left in Crete to set things in order that there would be nothing lacking. He was to appoint elders in every city as Paul had commanded him. Paul’s example to Titus was not one of a hierarchical bishop in the church, but as a servant to the body of Christ. Servanthood is a necessary attitude and attribute in the heart of a leader.
Titus 1:1-4 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Paul’s greeting to Titus revealed that he clearly understood that his role of authority was one that represented God, but it was also subject to the will of God. He was a servant of God before he was a servant of the people of God. His role was to lead others in what God desired in their lives. He recognized that he did not choose his role of leadership, but God had chosen him. He acknowledged that his part was one of faith, thus it was the result of an intimate hearing of God in his own heart as to what his role was in the community of God. God had committed him to the will of Christ as a leader in the body of Christ. His relationship with Titus was one of being a spiritual father and Titus a spiritual son. It was about relationship, not ministry. He knew that the essentials for the life of Titus were the same as his. It was the grace, mercy, and peace that come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every leader must know their role in the body of Christ. A leader must understand that thy are a servant of God first and then they can be a servant of God’s will with the people God appoints them to. Before they can serve God in His will, they must serve God. It is a matter of intimacy with God not obedience to His commands. It is a matter of relationship, not works of ministry.
A leader leads others into things God desires in their lives. The role as a leader depends upon hearing God in their hearts. Relationship with God and relationship with God-given and God-sent authority is essential to a leader. A leader must know who are the divine connections in their lives that are human expressions of God their Father. It is about relationship, not ministry. This is true for a leader and it is a true attribute of the community of God. Leaders lead people in the aspects of relationship with God and as the community of God. Knowing God’s grace, mercy, and peace in all things are essential attributes of a community of Christ. These things must be qualities found in those who lead.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson