Sunday, December 30, 2007

“I’ll Tell You What our Problem Is: Lack of Leadership!”

As I talk with elders, deacons, preachers, and other concerned Christians, I hear this statement often. I am also concerned about leadership in the family, in the church, and in our county.

It is my understanding that we have the leadership that we deserve, that we want, that we have prayed for, that we have asked for, and that we have trained.

When Jesus saw the multitudes without leadership and direction, He said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38, NKJV).

Sometimes when a brother makes the statement about the lack of leadership, I ask, “How many leadership seeds have you been planting?”. God’s law of sowing and reaping has been in effect since creation:

We reap what we sow. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
We reap more than we sow. “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).
We reap in proportion to how much we sow. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

These principles of sowing and reaping will work for plants (Genesis 1:12), evangelism (Acts 2:47; Acts 5:42; Acts 6:7), judgment and/or forgiveness (Luke 6:37, 38), giving money (2 Corinthians 9:6, 7), and training leaders (2 Timothy 2:2; Ephesians 4:11, 12).

If I don’t like the crop of leadership that I see, I need to evaluate my leadership planting. It will take many, many leadership seeds to produce that crop that we need. In the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, 75% of the seed is ultimately lost: all that falls on the wayside, stony places, and thorny ground. Only the good ground produces.

When I make the wise statement: “I’ll tell you what our problem is: lack of leadership!”, I need to evaluate my leadership farming.

How often and fervently do I pray for workers for the harvest (Matthew 9:37, 38)?
How many “leadership seeds” am I sowing by telling men, women, boys, and girls that I believe in them and that I am praying for them to become elders, deacons, Christian fathers and mothers and grandparents, Bible class teachers, and evangelists (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 5:14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5)?
How often do I express appreciation privately and publicly to present leadership (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13)? How long has it been since the congregation has had an elders’ appreciation day and/or dinner? Several members of one congregation told me, “The reason we don’t have elder appreciation dinners is that we don’t appreciate our elders.” That says more about the people talking than it does about the elders. God’s will is to honor leaders (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17). Caesar was not a perfect elder in a local congregation but God said, “Honor the king.” Caesar will have to answer for how he responded or did not respond to the grace of God. I will have to answer as to how I honored my leaders. Elders will have to answer for their effective or ineffective leadership (Hebrews 13:17). I will have to answer as to how I honored my spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13).

How is your leadership crop this year? What are you expecting next year? Can you say in your encouragement of leadership, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6)?

God’s law of sowing and reaping works regardless of the seed!

If the problem is lack of leadership, the solution begins with me!

We are starting a leadership sowing class in Eddyville, Kentucky, Wednesday night, January 2. This same class will be offered in Albany, Georgia, March 12-15. For more information: . The brethren at Beattie Road welcome others to come to Albany that week to study and pray with us that God will send more laborers into the harvest. This class is portable – we will give tools and methods for teaching leadership principles that can be taken to other congregations and shared there. If I can answer questions, contact me: .