"...in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers..." (Acts 20:38)
Having been involved in pastoral leadership in some form for nearly 40 years, I find this qualifying phrase both frustrating and comforting. It simply teaches that God, by his Spirit, makes, appoints, and connects pastoral leaders to local churches.
This is frustrating because at times the church leadership appointment process does appear to be a thoroughly man-focused enterprise. A man has the position of eldership apparently due to his qualifications and the combined wisdom of the people who voted him into that responsibility. Thus we are sometimes led to over-value human leadership and under-value the hand of God in all things. This truth from Acts 20:38 is comforting in that, despite human weakness and growing pains, God in his wisdom uses and blesses our efforts in affirming and appointing church servant leaders. At the end of our careful and humble efforts of appointing elders and deacons, it can be said of each: he was made by the Holy Spirit.
As we rally our thoughts and prayers over the next few months to find and affirm those “Holy Spirit made” elders and deacons in our congregation, let’s keep a few key identifying marks in mind. Our task is to seek and submit to the oversight of God’s Spirit as he makes men overseers and deacons. As you participate in nominating men in the next few weeks and eventually affirming and appointing, keep these two simple concerns in mind.
First, we are looking for carefully attentive men. The Holy Spirit actively protects and advances the glory of Christ in the church through leaders that are focused, disciplined, alert, and attentive (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Tim. 4:16). While there are many men who are driven to give careful attention to various causes, we are seeking to identify those who are carefully attentive toward their own discipleship, the spiritual health of the church, and the protection of Christ centered discipleship in the church. After a careful reading of these verses along with the Apostle’s self description in Acts 20:18-27, would you be inclined to trust leaders like this with your spiritual development? The Holy Spirit is making and matching us up with men who are demonstrating a careful attention to following Christ, both in their personal lives and in the church.
Secondly, we need God’s Spirit to help us identify men who are submissive. Submissive leaders can be identified by their practical response to God in times of suffering and hardship, their work ethic, and their relational passion (Acts 20:31-38). Men who endure and embrace suffering well, keep working hard to build others up, and have developed authentic relationships show that their core value is dependence on God. They get it. They understand that God is trustworthy, his grace is sufficient, and he is at work making people like Christ (20:32). Do you find yourself attracted to follow submissive leaders like this? The Holy Spirit is at work building submissive men by various means all around Kossuth. We need men like this to lead, feed, protect, and serve our diversely gifted church family.
Please join the cooperative movement to enlarge our leadership team at KSBC by prayerfully and carefully finding those “made by the Spirit” among us. Look for nomination forms and instructions to be distributed on Sunday May 26.