Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gather 2015 Igatpuri :Raising up Elders| Gary Welsh


This message was preached by Gary Welsh at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 22nd 2015




Raising of elders is a battleground around the world. We need to fight for this.

In the 18th Century, there were two men who God used powerfully in the UK and the US. Their names are, George Whitfield and John Wesley. Only one man left a lasting legacy. Whitfield is still spoken about and biographies are written about him. However, Wesley was of a whole different nature. He gave his life to lifting up of leaders and elders and has given birth to the Methodist church.

There are 8 basic things that it is good to give yourself to, if you are a leader. We can’t be perfect in every area. But teach and train people in these areas if they are looking at becoming elders. What’s stopping someone from being an elder now? Target those areas to see a significant change in it.
1.      Following Jesus- Jesus is our pattern for all our leadership. When Jesus was crucified, his disciples run away. But it did not stop Jesus from going to the cross. Even though they were weak in many areas, he went on. The leadership skills are learnt from Jesus. 

The disciples were recognized as unschooled ordinary men, but they have been with Jesus. They saw something of Jesus in them. They watched what Jesus did and did what he did. Let’s be taught by the gospel at the heart of all that Jesus talked about.

We need to have elders who have a heart for the lost. Not necessarily an evangelist, but to equip the saints to reach the lost. Everything we do is to reach the lost.

2.      Be a Son-Jesus said, the Father knows me and I know the Father. We must make sure that it is true of us. What impresses you about leaders? We are in an age where many leaders get elevation and publicity because of their teaching, signs and wonders, large church etc. What should impress us is their security in knowing that they are sons. It has been great to be led by a man who knows Jesus.

We need to be a people who love wasting time in the presence of Jesus, hearing God's voice, understanding that however much we know we never get to the end always ready to understand more. The great tragedy of some leadership is that we can do many things for God without knowing God. We need to have not just a daily ritual with a daily reading and prayer but have a real living relationship.

  1. Be a people who know Grace- We have to be a people motivated by grace the to motivate others by grace. Everything we do is to be motivated by grace and thanksgiving. We need to know that we can do nothing that will make God let go of you.
Q.     If we tell them that – won’t they go and do anything they like?
Then they have not understood grace. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free
If we are not a people of grace, we will not lead people with grace. There is now no condemnation/punishment for those in Christ Jesus. There are consequences but there is no condemnation
The Bible says I am righteous! Nothing changes that. There is no possibility that God will find out what is underneath.  God is not going to say, “I saw the robes of righteousness, but I did not know that Gary Welsh was inside!”
If you are not leading in the abundant joy of the grace of God, get some help - otherwise you are going to be a heavy load. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is at work in us.
There is work for us to do but it doesn’t include getting right with God. That’s an unhealthy striving before God. We are loved, accepted and forgiven in Christ Jesus.

4.      We must be servants-  All leaders are servants. Our leadership must be from underneath lifting people up.
Phil 2: 1-4: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”

Humility is a big issue. Christian leaders are humble leaders. Paul is addressing the whole church – humility. We need to be humble enough to serve everybody

Don’t misinterpret a desire to be a leader/elder as not being humble. Watch out for false humility as it’s just another manifestation of pride.

Learn submission. Richard Foster defined submission as being relieved of the burden of always having my own way. If you are looking for elders, look at who is eager to put the chairs out, wash up, who is eager to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Those are the guys who can lead the church.


5. Learn to be part of a TEAM
The word team is not in the English bible. But we see the concept everywhere. Jesus called 12, sent them out 2 by 2. The early church grew by teams. Peter and John went to the temple together. The church is praying together. Philip in Samaria is joined by the apostles. Throughout the New Testament we have Paul and Barnabas, and Paul and his team.

There is a very interesting incident in Act 16. Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia calling them.

Team is what Jesus modeled- it is complementary gifts working together. We see it in 1 Cor. 12 - the church as a team.

You don’t have to be the best at everything and neither should you try to be the best. Don't be scared if some people are better than you at some things.
A measure of wise leadership is to surround yourself with very gifted people. It will make you look better than you are.

In scripture we have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are a team. They are functionally different. The Father didn't die on the cross. Jesus died on the cross.

Sometimes where churches get stuck in appointing elders is because the main leader cannot work in team. To such leaders, I’d say, change or die. If you are leading a church at the moment and you can't work in a team you have to change.

Your church will only work as big as you are. You won’t be as effective as having a team.

6. Learn to Love
In John 10 where Jesus talks about being the good shepherd, he is contrasting with Eze 34 a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel. You've had many shepherds, but I am the good shepherd.

When Ezekiel brings  a prophecy, he says I will come and shepherd my people
These are the charges Eze brings
1. You take care of yourself
2. You don’t strengthen the weak
3. the sick
4. the injured
5. the strays
6. the lost
7. harshly and brutally
8. scattered the sheep (bitten the sheep)

We must be a people of love. We must not be harsh. The fruit of the spirit is gentleness. There is no excuse to be harsh - you need to change. If the spirit is in you, you have to seek God to change you.
John 3:16 - Jesus is our example and model. The temptation is to get out a whip. One of the things that stop us is remembering that Jesus died for my sins. If you do get out the whip, get it out for yourself first.

1 John 3 it says that Jesus laid down his life and we have to lay down our lives. The truth is we will have to lead people who are not easy to love

Some people are nice without God and nice with God. Some people make it tough to love them. Sheep get into all kinds of trouble. Sheep are dumb sometimes - tramples over one another, fall down holes etc. Jesus spoke about the shepherd going after a lost sheep.

We need to lead with a soft heart. Some of us have been in business or seen our parents and picked up leadership skills from there. But we need to learn it from the Bible.

7. Learn to Withdraw- Jesus is our model here. He gave his life for us. But he withdrew often.

We have a big task before us, to take the gospel to the nations
If we don’t have time to be in God’s presence, we will have times of tiring endless activity.

The Statistics say that 1 leader in 10 makes it to the end.
One of the reasons is that they just run out of energy. Some leaders can burn out, run out of energy for the job to be done.

Cell phones have an on off switch but it’s always on.They can be of great help, but you cannot be available every single minute of every day. We need to use them as helpful tools not unhelpful masters

Make sure our identity is in who we are in God not what we do. It can also make us feel important

8. Learn to Reproduce- Reproduction is fundamental to being a Christian
Matthew 28:19 says Go and make disciples of all nationsThis is a command not an invitation. It does not say if you can find some time in your busy life do it. It does not ask us to bring people who warm seats on a sun morning - disciples not converts

Discipleship is sharing our lives, showing stuff we might not want to show. In Acts 15 - Paul takes hold of Timothy. He does not send him to bible school
Acts 16-20 Timothy is watching and learning. Finally Paul writes to the Corinthians- I'm going to send Timothy to you, he know all my ways in Christ. He refers to Timothy as my beloved son.


The result of not reproducing is disaster. Look at guys who can come quickly into eldership. There are a whole bunch of guys who need to be brought into discipleship. Don’t leave someone’s discipleship in their own hands. Someone needs to be doing a hands-on training. Jesus said - make disciples, baptize them, teach them to obey. Our effectiveness to reach all that God has called us to reach is in direct proportion to how well we make disciples.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.