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Pastoral 2013

Church Leaders

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All the leadership training available today cannot produce church leaders. All the years of experience in leadership of social, commercial, political, government or any other institution cannot make church leaders. The church is a spiritual institution which cannot be run like a secular organisation. The church exists to glorify God in all matters and to fulfil all His will concerning it. Its aim is not material gain or earthly powers and glory, but salvation, sanctity and spiritual maturity of people whom the Lord adds to the church that they may be ready for His coming. In order to guide the church to achieve its spiritual goals, we need men of spiritual understanding, conduct and abilities.

The members of the church must also discern the spiritual demeanour and goals of their leaders. Church members must be like the early church believers who, when directed by the apostles, “chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch” (Acts 6:5). They were guided by the apostles’ solemn admonition, “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3).

In the administration of church matters, whether they be elders or deacons, we need men who have exhibited abiding faith in God and His Word; submission to the Holy Spirit; godly and practical wisdom in their individual, family and church affairs. Spiritual attributes that are required by the Scriptures are essential in all church leaders (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-14; Titus 1:5-9). Absence of any of those spiritual virtues would mean that wrong men have entered the leadership of the church. So it is essential that those who have been nominated to the Church Session will yield themselves to these inviolable spiritual requirements of church leaders. No man is perfect, so every leader must have growing commitment to God’s truth, holiness and effective service. The best spiritual leaders are those who are constantly growing in knowledge, faith, holiness, prayer and service.

Church Session of Gethsemane BPC

We praise God for His provision of men of faith, holiness and zeal to serve in our Church Session in the past 25 years. Though we cannot claim to have a 100% perfect Church Session, we thank God for helping the Session to strive wholeheartedly to be a faithful, loving, united and an efficient leadership of the church. It has always been our greatest desire to please the Lord in all matters of our church ministries and administration. The Lord has been pleased to bless all the undertakings of the Church Session till this day.

That which was said of the leadership of Moses and Aaron that God has provided for Israel can also be said of the divine leadership that He has provided through our Church Session – “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Psalm 77:20). Praise ye the LORD!

Nonetheless, the Scriptures and our own history warn every man in our present Church Session that he should not take his appointment to be an elder or deacon for granted. Self-examination and vigilance are much needed to avoid pride, laziness, tardiness, irresponsibility and all kinds of sins that would soon render a leader an unprofitable and dangerous individual in the leadership of the church.

I am particularly worried about anyone who pretends to be an overseer of the Lord’s flock, and often slumber during his watch, and wait for things to somehow work out just fine. Such an attitude is very dangerous. The leaders of God’s flock must be vigilant, diligent and wholehearted in his oversight and duties. If they are neither vigilant nor thorough or careful, the church and its ministries will soon be overcome with great tragedies. May it never be said of our Church Session members that “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10). O, let us pray, dear fellow elders and deacons, that we will be men of due diligence and faithfulness in preaching His Word, caring for souls and managing the affairs of the church.

“To the work! To the work!
We are servants of God;
Let us follow the path
that our Master has trod;
With the balm of His counsel
our strength to renew,
Let us do with our might
what our hands find to do.”

Selfless service to the Lord is what makes a good leader of the church. To be a faithful and fruitful leader, having a servant’s heart is paramount. Everyone who stands this day before the congregation as a nominated candidate to the Church Session must humbly yield himself to the Lord’s service. Let us not fail to keep the trust that will be laid in our hands.

Let every elder and deacon know his work. Let him bend over it, throwing his heart and soul into it, whether it be great or small. Let him pray earnestly for the wisdom, skill and power that he needs to fulfil his work with excellence. Let him not grow weary when the work is very difficult and demanding. Let him also take care to avoid a casual or sloppy attitude towards his work because it is small or a familiar one. Everything that the Lord has given us to do, whether big or small, needs our utmost dedication. Half-hearted work will bring no real advancement. We shall reap real rewards if we throw ourselves unreservedly to the work that He has entrusted us with. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

May the leaders and members of Gethsemane labour with one heart and one mind for the glory of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ! Let us be labourers for Christ!