HOW TO LEAD GOD’S PEOPLE 4 DUMMIES Part 1/?
So I’m young, just a few months after turning 21, have no clue what I’ll be doing after graduation yet, still technically live with my mom, and still use the term “When I grow up…”. What do I know about leadership? What do I know about leading God’s people?
Young and totally clueless, Timothy probably had similar thoughts when he was assigned to lead a church. But Timothy had Paul, his spiritual father to counsel him through the letters Paul sent Timothy from prison. And many many years later, Paul’s letters to Timothy, especially 2 Timothy, can still be used to counsel young leaders like me even now.
So what did I get out of 2 Timothy?
- Things won’t be easy. Being a Christian does not mean that things are all sunshine and rainbows. The Gospel is not easy. Paul even says to Timothy, “join with me in suffering for the gospel,” (2 Timothy 1:8). Does that mean I do completely reckless things? No. But it does mean that sharing the Gospel, standing up for my faith in a world that tells me not won’t be easy.
- Gospel of the world vs. God’s Gospel. “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2 Timothy 2:2-4).The world tells me I have to be rich, beautiful, successful or I have no worth. Jesus says come as you are. I can work with whatever limitations and inadequacies you have and make you new in Christ”. Also, many times the world tries to add or take away from the Gospel. There does not need to be any addition or subtraction to it. We live in a broken world full of hate, sadness, greed, violence…the list goes on. We thought we could take care of ourselves, that our idols were greater than the one living God. We deserved to die but God loved us and sent Jesus Christ to earth as a man to live amongst us, to die on the cross for our sins, and then be resurrected 3 days later, overcoming death and promising eternal life for all who followed and believed in him. He also called us to spread the good news, that despite the fact that we’re still in such a broken world that there is still chance for eternal life through him, despite our sins. We just need to accept Him, believe in his teachings, confess our sins, and choose to follow him. That’s the Gospel.
- Confidence in God. “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:10-13). God is good. He can do great things. He sent his only son to die for us. Half the time I struggle to remember that and the other half I’m in disbelief that someone like me, so imperfect and flawed, could still be wanted by Him but I am and He promises to be with me always.
- Keep your head, do the work, discharge the duties. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction…keep your head in all situations, endure hardships, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Essentially, go and follow Christ and let him be the center of every aspect of you life. Hardships will happen, so pick up your cross and follow Him.
Here’s a reflection I had after reading 2 Timothy:
(July 7th, 2014)
There’s a lot of areas in my life that need to be transformed by God. I think one of my biggest is to be able to relate to and love others in a Christ centered way.
I think I also need to be more focused on being more Biblically grounded in order to not allow myself to be persuaded into following idols because I lack foundation and relationship with Christ.
Also, I want to and need to be more active in encouraging others to do the same, “guarding the good deposit” that Paul talked about being aware of what gifts are in the fellowship.
So yes. I am young. Yes, I am unexperienced and will probably make mistakes. But I have an awesome God so…I think I’ll be fine.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts and I am helped,” (Psalm 28:7).