This message was preached by Steve Oliver at the Regions Beyond leadership meeting held in Mumbai.
This is part 1. Click here to listen to the audio
We are living in exciting days. The work that God’s called us to do is wider, deeper and higher than we imagined.
At the HUB we had a word about the mountain streams filling the dams that burst open. The second word was ‘Don’t shepherd God.’ God is moving quicker than we think. I will never call you to more than what the grace of God has called you to.
We want to talk about being a family and tackle some key values. “1952- Hudson Taylore- China Inland mission” has deeply impacted me. His story is inspirational and how he has to battle for what his values are.
The church was caught up in Cathedrals and had no heart for the nations.
Like Jacob walks with a limp, God gives him the wisdom that in his weakness he has the ability to tap into God’s grace.
Two things that shaped my life many years ago but I never taught on it- but its shaped what I have become i.e Family Values and Leadership
In Burundi we have this land that has a vision that is bigger than I dreamed of.
1999- I was leading a church in Clarens. Simon Petit spoke about leadership- Eldership we realized that only 1 or 2 churches had Elders. Biblical foundation was lacking. So we began a process of raising up leaders- men and women in Southern Africa. Within 6 years all churches had Elders. If you don’t understand the importance of bringing people through you will not have people resources.
Mark 3:13, Luke 6:12- Appointing of the Apostles:
We see from Jesus that he was intentional about raising leaders. If you want to know the reason, look at Matt 10 to see the heart of Jesus and the Father.
Matthew 9: 35- “went through all the towns… healing all...” and in verse 36, ‘when he saw the crowds, he had compassion… harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd- the harvest is plentiful…” Jesus could have said that ‘He is the man’- he did not need anyone. But he knew in his mind, it was never to be about personal ministry but about workers. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers.
We are not the answer to the world. Jesus is. We need to see as He sees. Modern day leadership sees with ‘where is my place, recognition, ministry, what is in it for me’. Jesus sees the crowd and is moved with compassion.
Matt 10:10- is the response. He calls the 12- it’s always about multiplication. If we are to fulfill what God wants of us, we have to keep multiplying ourselves.
So Jesus calls, appoints and sends. He takes this multiplying very seriously. Even in the action of choosing leaders he models team. He wants to be in the presence of the Father and wants the confirmation of heaven. Can you catch the intensity of the moment that he spends the whole night in prayer? Many are following him but he wants to know who will be at his side and who he can give himself to.
What can we learn from this?
1. It wasn’t haphazard- Jesus was very committed to this task. It did not happen at the end of his ministry but right at the beginning- with great intentionality committed to the task. He needed 12 of the many. As a church is planted you gather a lot and then you choose a few. As a leader you need to realize that you can’t do it on your own. So he models working in team. He wants immediate successors. He was not interested in himself.
2. He called those he wanted to be with- ‘desired to be with’. This is a real key you need to understand the whole thing of calling. Our nature is to choose people who are like us or make our life easy and hopefully not oppose us and not have their own agenda. But this is not one of the reasons why he chose there 12. They did all the above. Knowing they were going to betray and desert him he chose them to change the world. He puts his own emotions aside and worked with these men.
“The call of God to be a leader is the mere outcome of a very big rock” – Philip Greenslade. When God calls us it’s a very special thing. When we call people to join us, they understand. In our selection we must go to God and know whom to choose. When I read that many years ago, I thought it gave me liberty to choose my friends. but when you read your Bible you realize that he chose a Judas and a Peter.
This is a whole new dynamic. We need to choose people who will enable us to fulfill the purposes of God.
Abraham Lincoln was a simple man highly gifted for a task. When he became the President, people were shocked. He appointed his rivals into his administration because they were gifted- but they undermined him all the time. He said that it helped him to check his heart.
When you have a look at Jesus, he formed a team out of mis-shaped men. Jesus did not need any shaping but you and I do. You have to think about yourself- what will strengthen my weakness and teach me about the grace of God. What’s best for our church and not what’s best for me. It’s not easy but will keep you praying.
Jesus called! “The music and the call” is a book in which the author likens our togetherness like that of an orchestra- each one has a part. The call of God is not for him to join our little world but for us to join his call. As leaders, be careful of your language- ‘come join my team’. That is too small a thing. Come join the team to fulfill the purposes of God which are so big! ‘what is my role?’ the answer is that we don’t fully know. This will stop us thinking we are a big fish in a little pond.
Hearing the call of Jesus, they have to see how Jesus sees. Then we will have nation changing people in our churches. When he calls you, he calls you by name. It’s communion before commission- before being given a task by God. We are called to play a part- not to individual ministry.