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When serving God is no longer seen as a privilege, man has an immediate tendency to corrupt spiritual leadership.  Unfortunately, it’s a mistake that many have made and many will make. Some think they deserve to lead. Others believe they have earned the position. Still others view leadership in God’s church as their right. But spiritual leadership is servanthood. It’s taking the lowest position seeking to serve Jesus by serving others. Similar to salvation, the privilege of serving is a gift from God, not something God owes you or me.

Psalm 75.6-7 (NKJV)  For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another.

Peter instructs us in his first letter that he was elder just like other elders. He served God faithfully not above people but alongside of them. He doesn’t refer to himself as the pope, as the absolute authority of the church, or as any other position of hierarchy.  He simply referred to himself as a fellow elder.  And as our fellow servant, Peter in chapter 5 of his first epistle gives us 9 ingredients to effective spiritual service.

 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share his glory and his honor when he returns. As a fellow elder, this is my appeal to you:  Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example.  And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor. 1 Peter 5:1-4 (NLT)

#1 – Spiritual Leaders ARE UNDER-SHEPHERDS. (5:2)

Jesus v4, is the Chief Shepherd and we need to remember that this church does not belong to man. This is His church, His flock, and His bride.  We don’t serve in our own authority, but in His! In whatever role we have, we are at best, His under-shepherd.

#2 – Spiritual Leaders are SHEEP TOO. (5:2)

We need to always remember we’re sheep alongside each other. Spiritual leadership doesn’t place you over but really under in mutual submission.  While we may be given more responsibility within His church, we never stop being His precious lamb.

#3 – Spiritual Leaders are SERVANTS. (5:2)

Jesus our great Shepherd laid his life down for the sheep. He came not to be served, but to serve! Spiritual leaders in the church ought to be the greatest servants of all. PERIOD. There is no other alternative. If you’re not a servant, then you cannot lead.

John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,  rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

#4 – Spiritual Leaders SERVE WILLINGLY. (5:2)

This is a place where many sadly falter. They begin to serve unwillingly. They start to hold grudges. They get mad at the people. They become frustrated and unfruitful.  If you’re serving in any ministry in your church  and you’re feeling tired and burned out it’s time to take a break. Don’t keep serving with a grudge. You’ll hurt people that way! Serving the Lord is a joy, filled with hope & love & His Spirit. In the early church men pastored the flock and preached the Word because there was burning desire to please Jesus in their hearts!

2 Cor. 5.14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;

1 Cor. 9.16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

I love what Charles Spurgeon taught his young students and future ministers of the gospel:

If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, or a grocer, or a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth let him go his way… we must feel that woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel; the word of God must be unto as a fire in our bones, otherwise, if we undertake the ministry we shall be unhappy in it, shall be unable to bear the self-denials incident to it, and shall be of little service to those among whom we minister! Lectures to My Students pp26-27″

#5 – Spiritual Leaders SERVE HONESTLY. (not dishonest gain) (5:2)

It seems so obvious but I will share it anyway. Don’t get into spiritual leadership to rip God’s people off! Obviously! It’s sad to say and see, it’s not just on TV, but throughout the world men are stealing from the people of God! The ministry is not a place to fleece the flock, but feed them. Too many men jump into the ministry for what they can get from it when in reality all you need you should get from Jesus.

#6 – Spiritual Leaders SERVE HUMBLY. (not being lords) (5:3)

Another reason you shouldn’t get into ministry is so you can boss people around. This isn’t the right place.  Really as a believer, no place is the right place for that type of attitude.  I’ve met many who just want the control and power ministry positions may afford them. But that’s not the heart of God and neither should it be your heart.

#7 – Spiritual Leaders SERVE AS STEWARDS. (5:3)

We can’t help but notice Peter teaches us that those who serve are entrusted with souls. It’s a privilege, an honor to serve the Lord and His people. We don’t deserve it. It’s a grace gift entrusted to us. It’s not some ministry we’re building. Not some MEGA-Church or MEGA-this or MEGA-that. These are the souls of men & women Jesus died for and we joyfully have the privilege of serving them in Jesus’ name!

#8 – Spiritual Leaders ARE EXAMPLES! (5:3)

This is so important. In the house of God, among the leaders in any church we have to have godly men and women that we can see as examples of what the life of Christ is all about! Leaders aren’t perfect, but they are living in unity & fellowship with Jesus Christ and it’s evident that Jesus is their life! But because we’re examples, that’s why it’s so serious and so hurtful when a pastor, an elder, an overseer falls into sin. Because they weren’t just another sheep, they filled a role to model how to walk in Jesus Christ. Its’ serious. We lead by example… out in front, leading not pushing!

#9 – Spiritual Leadership is REWARDING! (5:4)

Yes, the Chief Shepherd will appear and those who served Him will receive the crown of glory! Spiritual leadership may not be glorious on this side of heaven, but Jesus takes special joy in those committed to serving Him! And there is a special reward for those who lead and serve His flock!

“Vital Elements For Effective Service” from Calvary Church Colorado on Vimeo.

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