Leadership: Disorder's worst nightmare

Leadership is key to order in the church

Leadership is key to order in the church

What’s the most annoying church experience you can think of? Maybe someone going on and on about some insignificant announcement with no one to stop them? Or even worse, someone else gets up and starts speaking over the other person and the two compete for the attention of the audience. What about a church that doesn’t start until an hour after its supposed to? Or doesn’t end until a couple hours after its supposed to?

Ever tried to get information off of a church website that is terribly out of date? Have you ever shown up to what you thought was the weekly church meeting only to discover that they moved to a new location and failed to notify anyone? Yeah, that happened to me once.

Many churches have been painfully and publicly ripped apart by sin and scandal from hypocrites at the highest levels. I’ve experienced all of these things, and I’m sure you’ve seen some of them too. These are symptoms of a lack of order. But as usual, Jesus has a solution:
“Whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
When Jesus was on earth, he was just one of many Jewish teachers. Their job was to take the ancient Law and apply it to specific situations in their modern time. This was called binding and loosing, because they would lead Israel by binding the things that were prohibited in everyday life, and loose the things that were acceptable. Jesus spent a lot of time binding and loosing in front of large crowds and in the synagogues. But his priority was mentoring his disciples and teaching them to be like him. This conversation with them about the Assembly is a great example of discipleship because he’s telling Peter that he’s going to have authority to bind and loose just like him.

Talk about some big shoes to fill! But Peter had already begun to fill them. Remember that this whole conversation started with Peter revealing that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus hadn’t ever directly claimed to be the Christ. In fact, Jesus sternly warned his disciples to tell no one else who he was. But Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”. Peter wasn’t repeating regurgitated theology. Peter was giving fresh teaching revealed from God. It’s no wonder Jesus told Peter that, because of his statement, he would have authority over the assembly to bind and loose through teaching.

Instruction is critical to the very purpose of the Assembly. To “instruct or improve someone morally or intellectually” is the definition of edification. We discussed previously that edification for battle is the reason the Assembly exists. But individual soldiers running in different directions cannot win a battle because they are not an army until they are unified. Read what Paul wrote to the Ephesian Assembly:
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
There can be no unity without a common understanding. That common understanding comes from teaching. Prohibiting and allowing things on behalf of the whole Assembly sets the direction and defines the goals so that we can be unified and fighting for the same thing. For this reason, every Assembly must have someone with authority to bind and loose.

When there is no strong leadership, chaos ensues. Unfortunately, order is lacking in many Assemblies. Lack of order though is not a new problem. First Corinthians is an entire book of the Bible dedicated essentially to speaking against the same lack of order we have today. There are instructions about men and women’s roles in ministry, how to be considerate of those that don’t have as much, how to make visitors feel welcome and convicted, how to use spiritual gifts, not talking over each other, how to love each other, and much more. We would do well to better apply the principles found there. This kind of order comes from strong leadership.

But leadership is often abused and misunderstood. The rest of the Assembly does not serve the leader by supporting his ministry as many leaders believe. Rather, the leader serves the Assembly by supporting their ministry. He does this by keeping the assembly orderly and equipping it for battle. Teaching is not an audience sitting around listening to one speaker. Leaders should teach like Jesus -- encouraging disciples to get hands-on and try ministry for themselves. This requires humility. As Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”


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