LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH.
There are four aspects to keep in mind when considering this topic. 1. The necessity for leadership.
The purpose of leadership. 3. The requirements of leadership. 4. The dangers for leaders.
If a man is filling in an application form there might be several questions asked. 1. “Why do you want the job?” 2. “What qualifications do you think you have for the job” 3. “Are you prepared to work alongside others, who may be quite different from you in a team leadership?” 4. “Are you totally committed to the job?” These are relevant questions in an application for leadership in the Church.
Jesus washed the feet of the Disciples. It was the ultimate example to show them. In Israel when guests visited another home they had to pass through streets covered with camel and donkey dung. It was the job of the lowest servant to wash the feet of the guests when they arrived. It was smelly and disgusting. The equivalent today might be to clean out a badly blocked toilet. The house where the Last Supper was held was hired for the occasion and there was no servant in the house to perform this task. Jesus undertook the task and set the example for Church leaders to be willing to do the dirtiest task. Yet despite that there was an argument amongst the Disciples as to who should be the greatest. Luke ch 22 v 24-27. After three years of teaching they had not grasped the point. The leader is to be the servant. This goes against the whole teaching of the World in which man lives. If a leader is not prepared to accept this fact from the teaching of Jesus he is unlikely to succeed as a leader.
In the World political leaders, who in their private lives, cannot keep their wives faithful or their children free from drugs are expected to find solutions to the most complex international problems.
1. Every group of people needs a leader. The Church as a group of people needs leaders. God does not necessarily overturn the natural order of things. When sin ruined the human race, God created a new Heavenly family. He still used the family as His building block of social order. A group of believers also needs leaders. But the Church is special. God has said that it needs leaders in the plural. Paul went about setting up Churches and he appointed leaders or elders. There are advantages in having two or more leaders. If one falls into sin, the other or others can continue. The one in sin would have to stand down but that would not mean a defeat for the Church. Also leaders are able to share and carry one another’s burdens and weaknesses. It is inconceivable that any one person would have all the gifts of leadership. God shares them out. In any battle situation the leader is the vulnerable one. If the enemy can defeat the leader, he will have a big advantage in the battle. It is the same thing in spiritual warfare. Church leaders need prayer. They are especially vulnerable. A bus needs a driver. There is no point in passengers getting on board, if there is no driver. The genius of leadership is to bring the best out of all the people, who are being led and to lead them in the right direction.
2. The Church. J.I. Packer: “The Church is a divinely created fellowship of sinners who trust a common Saviour and are one with each other, because they are one with Him in a union realised by the Holy Spirit.” It is vital for leaders to know what they are called to lead. The word “Ecclesia “ means called out by God to be a holy nation before Him.
3. How does a person become a leader? 1 Tim ch 3 v 1. He is not appointed by men but responds to an aspiration within his spirit, put there by the Holy Spirit. In 1 Tim and Titus Paul spells out the requirements for a leader. If it is a true aspiration of the Holy Spirit, then there should be no selfish motive in the aspiration. It is God who anoints the person for leadership. If a person is not anointed for leadership he should get out of the road. God may well have other purposes for the person. Status seekers keep out! In African culture the Chief is respected and there is a danger of the pastor seeking to fulfil the role of chief in the Church. “It is not so with you!“ Luke ch 22 v 26. A Church leader holds the eternal destiny of the members in his hands. It is an awesome responsibility.
4. Vision. Without a vision the people perish. Proverbs ch 29 v 18. Many Churches do not hold people
together because they do not know where they are going. It does not matter too much what the vision
is as long as there is an objective to which all agree. Those who join should know the vision and know where the leadership is going. “This is our vision. Join us if you agree with it.” So many join a Church and have no idea where the leadership is going. Then they find that what they would like to do is not within the purposes of the Church. Frustration results and people move from Church to Church. A new member should be told what the vision is. If he does not agree with it, it is better that he goes to another Church than that he stirs up trouble in the one where he disagrees with the vision.
5. Businesses have a business plan. When Jesus was only 12, He said that He must be about His Father’s business. At the age of 12 a Jewish boy went into partnership with his father. God – not Joseph – was the real Father of Jesus. What is the Father’s business? Jesus said that He would build His Church. What are the purposes of the Church? John ch 17. An Earthly business will pass away but a spiritual business will last forever and in the process believers are laying up treasures in Heaven. All the different aspects are held together under the framework of a business. A bus needs a destination or else it becomes a mystery trip. A vision is a word from the Lord, which is designed to hold the people together.
6. There is a strange balance to be struck. Jesus said: “I shall build my Church.” Contrast with the statement – “the Church is the number one obstacle to personal faith in Christ.” When the institutional Church gains the upper hand, the Lord is squeezed out. That is a difficult balance to maintain. Wisdom is required. It is a personal relationship between the individual and the Lord. The Church must never get in the way. Only faith pleases the Lord. “Do not neglect to meet together.” Heb ch 10 v 25.
7. The purpose of the leadership is to build up the body to the point when they can say: “We do not require you to lead us any more. We have grown up and can manage without you. The Lord has a new task for you.” The leaders should have in mind the need to train and build up the members so that they grow into maturity, leading them to enjoy meat and no longer milk. The danger is for the leader to hold on to his position of security and the salary for fear of losing it and being no longer required. That involves faith that the Lord has another job waiting for him. Only faith pleases God.
8. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts of man.
Daniel was given the privilege of seeing visions of the World to come. There would be 4 empires. The Babylon Empire – the Empire of the Medes and Persians – the Greek Empire – the Romans Empire. All four still exist. Babylon – a military Empire. Persia – Iran. Religious empire – built on oil wealth. Greeks – Humanism. Roman – Economic.
God would establish His Kingdom. Ch 2 v 44. Man has to step out of the Kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Light. God wants to run a Kingdom and needs taxes to make it work. The Scriptures call them tithes. It is not in the same way as the World taxes. It is a tenth for everyone. The more believers give the better job God can make of His Kingdom. It is not just a token but is very practical approach. The Church needs teachers, pastors, evangelists, carers etc. It is a test of the commitment of the believers to the Lord.
This Kingdom will last forever. It will be in force alongside the other empires. The trouble is that believers are members of two Kingdoms in that they have to render their taxes to the rulers of their land and a tenth to the work of the Lord. It is the responsibility of the leaders to administer the funds and to take the instructions from the Lord as to how He wants the funds distributed.
The task of being a Church leader is a huge responsibility. Moses was one of the great leaders in the Scriptures and in history. He did not enter the Promised Land. Why not? Numbers ch 20 v 10. He misrepresented God to the people. He told a lie and involved God in that lie. That was a serious sin. It is an awesome responsibility to be a leader of God’s people. The leadership is responsible for the picture of Jesus, which emerges to the World at large. Jonah ch 1 v 12. “The World is in a crisis and I am responsible.” This is a key verse. The World is in a mess and God holds the Church responsible. The World does not know how to get out of the mess because it does not recognise that the mess is caused by sin. It is a privilege to be a member of the family of God but it is also a responsibility.
Should a leader be full time or part time? Dangers of being full time are that others expect too much and themselves do too little. A leader should set targets and deadlines so as not to fall into lethargy. Life is not just one day at a time. Jesus showed what a schedule was like. He was busy about His Father’s business. Yet Jesus never lost sight of the day in Jerusalem when He would lay down His life. That in itself did not take His mind off the duties and tasks of each day.
Vision. John ch 17. 12 purposes. Hold onto your vision. A Church without a vision is like a bus, which never leaves the bus station.
1. To worship – to give God His worth.
2. To keep God’s Word and fight for the truth. To be upholders of the truth. Teaching and learning.
3. To honour and raise the name of Jesus.
4. To love one another in fellowship.
5. To establish the Kingdom of God – the rule of God in the hearts of men.
6. To make Disciples. All believers are disciples – not the really keen.
7. To do the things Jesus did – dispensers of grace by caring for others. Jesus was full of grace and truth.
8. To be a moral light to the World. Salt and light.
9. To have fellowship with the Father.
10. To build up the body.
11. To do the will of God. What does God want the Church to do? Find out!
12. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil. The body of Christ is to finish the task. Ephesians ch 6 teaches about the spiritual warfare of the Church.
In His wisdom God has set out the requirements for being a Church leader. To ignore these is asking for trouble. If a man aspires to being a leader, he is inspired by God and is not appointed by men. He must want it and be prepared for opposition from the enemy, who will not be pleased. A leader cannot afford to be too nice. He must be prepared to discipline and if necessary put a member out of the Church in exceptional circumstances. He needs confirmation of the appointment from the Lord by a Word from the Lord. A leader is likely to be under the most severe attack. Enemy strategy is to get the leader out of the way and the group will falter. That is why Paul appointed leaders in the plural. This provided company in the physical sense and moral direction and accountability for each of them. It provided spiritual cover. It spread the attack from the enemy – not just one to pick off. There are leaders in every walk of life. When the leader falls, the whole group suffers from a lack of credibility. It is essential for a leader to think through the consequences of his actions and how they will affect others.
It is essential to recognise the sources of division in the Church.
(a) Water baptism – infant or adult?
(b) Gifts of the Spirit – are they for the present age or not?
(c) Tongues – are they biblical or demonic?
(d) The role of Israel today. It is a special burden for some members but not all members. The
Church is not the new Israel. Is present day Israel a fulfilment of prophecy or a political accident?
(e) Rapture. Is there to be a secret rapture before Jesus returns or is the rapture at His coming?
(f) Baptism of the Spirit. The difference between baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit.
Is there a second experience of the Holy Spirit or do all believers receive the Spirit at conversion?
Feed my sheep. John ch 21 v 15-22. Mark ch 14 v 29. Jesus was testing Peter. Peter had made big claims and denied Jesus. Was he ready for total commitment now? Is the leader totally committed? He is no use to the Lord, if he is not. Never mind anyone else. Each must do as the Lord leads him. Each one is unique. “Be yourself.” If it takes seven years to train a doctor or dentist, who is entrusted with physical life, how long ought it to take to train a person entrusted with eternal life? Should someone entrusted with spiritual – eternal life be less well trained? A Church leader has the eternal destiny of people in his hands. Scripture warns against a new Christian being a leader. Sometimes it is necessary, because there is no one else, but it is a dangerous business. There is so much trouble if the Scriptures are wrongly interpreted. Schisms are the history of the Church. It should not be, if the Holy Spirit is there to lead man into all truth. Even senior scholars disagree on basic doctrine. What chance do new believers have? There are 3 danger areas set out in Deut ch 17 v 14-20.
1. Love of money. With money comes power and independence from God.
2. Sexual attraction. There is a danger of seduction and pride.
3. Pressure to conform to the ways of the World. Marrying unbelievers. Burying unbelievers. Seeking a respectable position in public life. Single-mindedness is essential. Only a regular study of the Word of God will keep a leader in that situation, or else he will be drawn back into the ways of the World.
Solomon proved the dangers. Here again shared leadership will share the knowledge of Scriptures.
Leadership is functional and not a question of status. Leadership means leading in a direction. Jesus entrusted His Church to twelve Disciples. It was a risky business for God. Ezekiel ch 34. God had some harsh words to say to the leaders of Israel. They were not looking after the people. v 11. God would come Himself to do the task.
In His wisdom God has set out His requirements for a Church leader. The Bible sets out the basic qualifications in Titus and 1 Tim ch 3. To ignore these is asking for trouble. Anyone who aspires to be a leader desires a noble task. 1 Tim ch 3 v 1.
1. Male. Plural. (Titus ch 1 v 5) Strength in numbers. One is less likely to go off course, if he has colleagues alongside. God established a male-oriented society in Judaism. It was His purpose to do so. Feminism is a new phenomenon. All the patriarchs were male. All the prophets were male. All the Disciples were male. They were chosen by Jesus. All the principal people in the Old Testament were male. One is less likely to fall away, if he is supported by others. A leader is likely to be under the most severe attack. The enemy strategy is always to put the leader out of the way and then the group will falter. That is why Paul appointed leaders in the plural. If one is away or incapacitated for one reason or another, then the other leader or leaders will be in control. This applies in particular to teaching. False teaching is the chief line of attack by the enemy against believers. Consider the damage, which has been caused to the Church by false teaching. The leader must be prepared to work alongside others, who may be quite different from him in a team leadership situation. Deborah was the only female leader. Was this because there were no men suitable at the time? The word “elder” means a Church leader. The word is always used in the plural.
2. No adultery. This is acceptable to the World but not to God. Only one wife – ever. No polygamy or serial polygamy – several wives – one after another.
3. A sober, self-controlled life. Not addicted to drink or temper. Drink liberates the tongue and loose talk follows. People speak more freely under the influence of alcohol. Secret confidences may well get out under drink.
4. Without fault. Humility is an essential quality. Solomon realised what an awesome task it was to lead his people.
5. Above reproach. It is essential that the leader is respected by people outside of the Church and is above reproach. The press are without mercy, if they can expose any immorality in a public figure. The whole Church is affected if a leader is guilty of immorality. Few men have been able to ask: “Of what sin do you convict me?” There are private sins as well as public sins.
5. Not quarrelsome. Are members ashamed of their leader? If so, he ought to stand down.
6. Prepared to welcome strangers into his home. It is basic that the basic human needs are met.
7. Able to teach. False teaching is so dangerous. A new convert still has so much to learn. A leader must have a reasonable knowledge of the Scriptures. If not, false teaching will come in. Paul warned Timothy about doctrines of demons and division amongst believers. This is one reason why the Scriptures teach leaders in the plural. The leader must be able to defend the Word of God. There is a time to tell the lambs to grow up and start being sheep and stop looking for their weekly bottle of milk. Heb ch 6. Milk or meat? What is the regular diet at the Church? Are they being taught the whole counsel of God? Some Churches have a simple Gospel service and never teach matters of relevance to the everyday life of the members. Are the people growing and showing signs of maturity? Does the leader know the normal process of Christian growth and the many obstacles to growth?
8. Not a lover of money. A leader must be able to handle money. Some think that it is very worldly to discuss money. The Kingdom of God needs taxes to develop.
9. Mature – not a recent convert. A priest had to be 30 before he could practise as a priest. Ezekiel was 30 when he began his priesthood. Then the Temple was destroyed. Jesus was 30 when as the High Priest He began to teach. Immaturity and inexperience lead to mistakes, which while made in all sincerity can be costly. A leader must have proved himself in previous service and have experience of spiritual warfare. The enemy uses wiles and will attack the achiles heel of a leader.
10. The children of a leader must be a credit to him. His children should be believers or at least respected by others as under the control of their father. If he cannot control his own children, he loses the respect of the World to speak on moral matters.
11. The leader has a responsibility to protect the members from attack by Satan.
12. The leader must have a passion for the task. He may have to take risks and be able to explain his vision and purpose to the members. There is a need to deal with specific demonic activity, division, gossip and criticism. The leader must be able to keep a secret and a confidence.
13. The leader must be someone who can be trusted to stand in the face of difficulties. The leader must be aware of the dangers of the job? The leaders are the most likely to be under the most severe attack.
14. If anyone aspires to be a Church leader. He must want it and be prepared for opposition from the enemy, who will not be pleased. A leader cannot afford to be too nice. He must be prepared to discipline and if necessary put a member out of the Church in exceptional circumstances. He needs confirmation of the appointment from the Lord by a Word from the Lord.
15. The leader must have an understanding of the basic needs of the members of the Church? Jesus always made time for the most important matters and people – such as Bartimaeus.
16. Whenever Jesus taught, He healed the people who came to Him. The leader must be open to the gifts of the Spirit.
1. Able to speak boldly about his faith.
2. Full of the spirit and wisdom.
3. Of good repute.
4. Only one wife – ever.
5. He should be blameless.
6. His wife must not be a gossip.
7. Tested first, before ordination.
8. No women to have authority over men.
9. Sincere and not greedy for gain.
10. Able to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
11. Able to manage his children and household well.
12. Not addicted to much wine.
13. Serious and not double-tongued.
Deacons are trained for promotion as people are in the workplace in the World. However not all deacons are anointed as leaders. There is no automatic promotion.
1 Cor ch 2 v 1-5. Isaiah ch 60 v 1.
Pitfalls for a leader. 1 Tim ch 3 v 1-7. Titus ch 1 v 5-9.
1. Isolation. 2 better than one. 3 stranded chord.
2. Pride. The only disease, which makes everyone sick, except the one who has it.
3. Gifts are functional and not conditional.
4. A leader should know his limitations. People will respect him, if he admits that he has never met this situation before. Prov ch 18 v 16. He should not try to do more than he is capable of. It is important to learn to say “No.” It is a rule that if a man wants something done in a Church he asks the busy people. But it is easy to become too busy. Burn out is a real problem. Exhaustion can happen easily. When a leader pastors others with problems, it is inevitable that he will take on part of their problem. If not, he is not much good as a pastor. But he cannot afford to take on all the burdens. Moses learned to delegate. Jethro – a non-believer – gave him that advice. Do not despise the advice of non-believers. It may be part of the common grace of God.
5. Do not try to copy others. God will give a leader his own gift and his own personality. A man can only speak from his own experience and not from the experiences of others.
6. Sexual temptation. Jesus has to be Lord in the secret places. Finance and sexuality are the two most powerful temptations and forces for evil. 2 Sam ch 11. David was in the wrong place. Be in the right place at the right time. It is often a lonely position to be a leader. This is why there should be plural leaders. There is a danger of seduction and pride.
7. The leader should keep the vision clearly before him.
8. The leader should lead with confidence. Phil ch 2 v 3 – 11. Servants lead the people as a shepherd leads the flock. Shepherds in the Middle East led the sheep from the front and did not drive them from the rear. Some may well hold back and decide not to follow. The leader cannot always be going slowly to help the slowest or else the others lose heart. Often the leaders are so involved with the weakest sheep that the strong ones lose heart. They long to go on but are held back until the weakest ones catch up.
9. The leader should not try to do more than he is capable of doing.
10. Press on to the goal.
Purposes of leadership.
1. To train others to lead.
2. Multiply – 60 is a good optimum number.
3. Find natural and supernatural gifts and use them for the benefit of all the members.
4. Worship should be meaningful for all and involve others.
5. Teach the members at different levels.
6. Avoid an institution and make time for personal intimacy with Jesus.
7. Care. Is there a programme of care for others?
8. Joyful place. Serious business but also a place for joy to attract others who lack joy in their lives.
9. Defeat Satan. Military attack. Is there a planned offensive? There may be casualties.
10. Involved with people at work – that is where the cutting edge is. The world is not at the services of believers but they are watching individual believers at work to see how they cope with the pressures of work and difficult situations. The Hebrew word for “work” and the Hebrew word for “worship“ is the same word.
11. Outreach – to develop gift of evangelism.
12. Prayer meeting to build up others in their prayer life.
13. Family life is under attack. Defend it.
14. Healing – physical, emotional and spiritual.
15. Encourage growth
16. Encourage faith.
17. Discipline. May need to exclude others for serious sin.
18. Meet personal needs – to be loved – to belong – to achieve.
19. If there is a prophecy – write it down to remember it.
20. Team ministry is essential to avoid burnout and ensure enthusiasm.
It is essential for the leaders to keep the vision for the Church and their purposes in front of them and to have regular check ups to see what is being neglected and why people are no longer actively involved. It is easy for Satan to deflect the leadership unless this is done. “This is not the Church I joined.”
There is an atmosphere against leadership. A leader should document his experiences to pass onto others. Isaiah ch 58 v 6. The leaders must break the bonds and lift the oppression. There are certain spiritual powers are arrayed against the Church and opposed to the spread of the Word of God. The enemy holds back the growth of a Church in a box. When the Church is in unity there is a blessing from God. 2 Sam ch 18 – 26. Enquire of the Lord what the problem is. If the leader does not feel like it, he should do it and go aggressively against the spirits – taking the opposite spirit. Fight apathy with action. Use an opposite spirit. If the enemy says: “Don’t do it.” then do it twice as long. Use a contrary spirit. Overcome meanness by giving. Overcome apathy by enthusiasm and action. The way to fight hate, is to show love. It is time to embarrass the Devil. If believers are not in the battle, they might as well be out of it.
The mind may speak negatively. Do not be ruled by the mind but by the Spirit. Do not rely on the same strategy each time. Wait for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Do not react but respond. The spirits are stirred up when they are exposed. Obedience is paramount to victory. It may involve a new strategy. The challenge is to let the oppressed go free and undo heavy burdens. 2 Sam ch 5 v 18. Steps to be taken to make a break through. The enemy seeks to bring a depression on a leader.
Continual pounding of the enemy in prayer is essential or there will be no angelic support. The angels go to work when the saints pray. Take territory back. It is God’s World and He wants it back. Warfare is deadly. Spiritual and physical death is a possibility at any time. The enemy has been let loose and is making a last ditch stand. Victory has been won. This is the mopping up operation. All power is given to the followers of Jesus. It is time to embarrass the enemy. Leaders need to live lives, which are transparent. The Church grows as a result of persecution. Move with the Spirit. Jesus said: “I only do what I see my Father doing.” Dan ch 10 v 13. The angel took thirteen days to get through to Daniel because of opposition. Be persistent. Psalm 18 v 37. Pursue the enemies until they are destroyed. Psalm 18 v 44-46. David did that until the enemies were crushed. This is a physical picture of a spiritual reality. Enemies tremble. Ezekiel ch 18 v 30. Repentance. Leaders have allowed into the Churches things, which should not be there. New believers bring in their own pagan ideas. The Jewish Church lost its Jewish roots when the Gentile believers joined.
Wake up. If there is no battle – start one. How can victory be won, if the leaders are not engaged in a battle? Walk in total honesty. Angels are there to help them, if believers call on them. Angels are there to minister salvation. Heb ch 1 v 14. There is more about angels than demons in the Bible. Make decisions. The demons delight, if leaders discuss and never reach a decision. The message should have the thumbprint of God on it – “it is just for you, and you know it.”
Identify the power by its symptoms. 1 Kings. ch 19. Demonic powers have no gender. The Jezebel spirit is not restricted to women. There was also an intimidating spirit in Jezebel. Do not be intimidated by the spirit. Enjoy trouble. It is a battle. 1 Kings ch 19 v 3. The Jezebel spirit opposed Elijah. Fear comes upon man. Elijah ran for his life. Leaders ought to offend people than God. The Jezebel spirit drove Elijah to isolation and he wished he was dead. “I’ve had it. Never again.” “Arise and eat,” was what the angel told him. Arise and feed on the Word of God. He obeyed and went on. John the Baptist in prison fell to the wiles of a Jezebel spirit, when he spoke against Herod. Then he lost his confidence in Jesus. Come into the presence of God every day. Leaders need to grow up and not let the enemy hold them back.
When a leader feels the controlling power on him, he should praise God. An intimidating spirit tries to have the leader stop speaking. Well-intentioned dragons hide in the seats and murmur against him. Stir it up so that it will manifest itself and then it can be dealt with. Bring the enemy out into the open. Love trouble and bring it out. This was followed by a death threat. “The Church is not like it used to be.” This is a death threat. Do not allow roast preacher for lunch. This was followed by fear. It is better to fear people than the living God. The spirit will drive a leader to isolation and discouragement. The one-man ministry is especially vulnerable to this kind of attack. It may even lead to a feeling of suicide.
Tell the Church – Stop acting like a baby and grow up. Some believers who are twenty year old still need their nappies changed. The milk is too hot or too cold. “I haven’t been well.” It is time to grow up. Others are so mature that they have died. They have retired as believers and are still learning the same old things again and again, always waiting for the new ones to catch up. It is time they restarted or dropped dead. Older people have so much wisdom to share with young people. They should be at a youth meeting to impart it to the young ones. It is a sin to separate the young believers from the older ones. It is good for both to share. Age is only relative. The young think that the old are old. The old do not think that they are old. In terms of eternity all are only babies.
Mat ch 11 v 1-6. John in prison was oppressed by the spirit of Jezebel and needed to hear again about Jesus. Attack the stronghold and kick some doors down. The physical battle in scripture is a picture of the spiritual battle. Everything, which happens in the physical, seen World is a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual, unseen World. Moses prayed and the battle raged backwards and forwards. The people pledged their loyalty to help David be king. Isaiah ch 54 v 1. Victory comes at the height of the battle. David’s zeal for God overcame the giant Goliath. He stood against intimidation. Stop being so nice. 2 Sam ch 16. Turn up the heat. It is only when the heat is turned up that the rubbish is seen coming to the surface where it can be skimmed off, leaving the pure metal. Deborah. Judges ch 5 v 6 and v 18. A leader should encourage himself and make sure that the gift of God is not going mouldy.
The enemy attack is in stages. Phase A.
1. He questions. Did God really say that?
2. He tells half-truths and coloured stories.
3. He spreads twisted and unclear communications.
4. He spreads confusion and uncertainty.
5. There are rising insecurities. Fear. Depression. Despair. Desperation.
6. He tells lies.
7. He makes accusations.
8. He suggests a refocusing of the vision.
9. He claims a loss of the vision.
10. He claims uncertainty regarding the future.
11. He says that the Church is collapsing.
12. Women lose confidence in their husbands, in their leadership, in the home and in the Church.
13. Gossip starts.
14. There is separation of friends.
15. There is condemnation of the new things.
16. There is condemnation of the old things.
17. Whatever was done was wrong.
18. Collapse of the Church – “you have no future.”
Avoid those who cause division and have no fellowship with them. Only Samson, Saul and Solomon did not have a wilderness experience before they started. Wilderness is a place a believer passes through on the way to achievement. Welcome the opportunity to spend time with the Lord, knowing that He is preparing the believer for the next mission. A believer cannot grasp what God has for him, if his hands are full of other things. Is he hanging on to his own preconceived ideas of God? Ph ch 3 v 7. The members must support the leadership and trust that God will direct them. Believers spend half their ammunition on one another. They are the only people who shoot their wounded.
Isaiah ch 6. Isaiah said: “Woe to them” until he had a vision of the Lord and then he said: “Woe is me.” Leaders must stop criticising others. Spectators always become critics. Get into the action and find out that it is hard. God wants to know what leaders have done with what He entrusted to them. How hungry is the leader for God? How much time does he spend in the presence of God? He has no right to challenge people unless he prays for them.
Signs and wonders will follow those who follow Jesus. Faith is spelt “RISK.” Those who are depressed are probably depressed as a result of disobedience. There is no point in waiting for God to do something. He has done it all. He has given man everything He has to give – Heaven itself – His own Holy Spirit. The word “witness” means martyr. Believers should be obsessed with Jesus and addicted to Him. They cannot live without Him. Dead people do not have any rights. They are servants. Life and death is in the power of the tongue.
Acts ch 6. Religious spirits will dispute with those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. They knew it was God. Pride would not let them admit it. There is unity in division and unbelief. The ecumenical movement will be unified against faith. The people murmured against the leadership of Moses. There are too many nice people. Be different from the World.
What guidance is found in the Scriptures?
1. Intimacy with the Lord. Prayer. God does not always use the same strategy. There are intricate spiritual powers. God will tell believers how to attack them. Listen to the movement of God. Do not react to a problem in the natural but respond to a problem.
2. Obedience is paramount to victory. God gave David a new strategy each time.
3. God is looking for people of purity. There is nothing the enemy can do to a person who is walking in the light. The enemy can only go as far as God allows him. The Church grows when there is persecution. The enemy does not like it. Keep in step with the Holy Spirit and join in with Him. Joshua ch 2 v 7.
4. Repentance. Ezekiel ch 18 v 30. Leaders have allowed things into the nation and Church, which should not have allowed. A word of prophecy, which is not of God, may be a spirit of divination. Do not accept such prophecies. Put them out of the building. Love a good fight. Welcome trials and difficulties. 1 Pet ch 1 v 6. They are allowed to forge the character of the believers.
5. Walk in total honesty. Satan is alive but not well. Do not colour the truth.
6. Make decisions. The enemy hates leaders who make decisions. It is easy to talk and not decide. Leaders should hold onto the decisions once made and should not lightly reconsider them. There may be a curse placed on the life of a leader by a false prophet. Look for the thumbprint of God on a prophecy. A thumbprint is the inclusion of something only known personally to the person and God. No one else could have known about it, so it must come from God.
7. Do not be afraid of discipline. Have nothing to do with the false prophet. The false prophecy is designed to stop leaders going on. Do not listen and cower before them.
8. Be in constant fellowship with Jesus.
9. Pray against the enemy in a united group. Do not allow a breaking of the ranks. Break out of apathy into growth. Travail in birth for the new believers. Isaiah ch 54. The enemy will hold back the new births. Break his power to do this.