Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Leadership devotions: Fresh Expressions - Isaiah 56:11

Isaiah 56:11    They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain. 

Yesterday I was reading a quote from Bishop Graham Cray who is an Anglican and a leader of the newly formed “Fresh Expressions” organization in the United Kingdom. His quote was something that I heartily agree with, because it addresses the current leadership crisis in the Western church.

Bishop Cray stated, "When I was ordained 37 years ago it took a particularly inept Minister to shrink a church. All of that has changed. It now takes an exceptional minister to prevent decline."

Sadly, I have found this to be true on both sides of the Atlantic. Seminaries and divinity colleges are producing inept pastors who go from church to church creating havoc, or who cannot stay in the ministry beyond five years. I’ve even seen one pastor be given three different churches by the same Presbytery and in each case the congregation diminished. The same pastor is a big voice at Presbytery when it comes to making decisions for new church developments!

In my opinion, the leadership crisis that we face can only be averted by raising up strong leaders who know, believe, and teach the Word of God. There are too many unsound preachers and self-serving seekers in our pulpits, or as Isaiah put it so succinctly, “They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain.” 

So what can we do about it? We can start to pray for leaders to be raised up in the next generation of Christians who will stop the decline and re-grow the Faith. There are some great young people in our congregations who may be called by God to do this. If that is the case, then our work is to encourage, support, and guide them so that they will become strong and faithful Christian leaders to their peers.

Prayer:                        Lord Jesus, You called for leaders from all walks of life to grow the Faith by establishing Your Church. We pray for those of our young people who are feeling called to ministry and we ask that You empower them with Your Word and strengthen them with Your Holy Spirit. In Your Sacred Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Easter drawings called “Star Fall.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7202/6811333724_b8573e54b6_b.jpg

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