Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Gospel Gripped Leader

A few weeks back I went to the NEO Leader conference here in Brisbane.  Adam Ramsey (from Mars Hill in Seattle) spoke about being a Gospel Gripped Leader.  Add to that the elective I went to by Joe Khan on having Gospel Centred ministries and I have had many thoughts running around my head which I've wanted to process here.

As a Christian Leader I feel I have a much bigger 'purpose' and 'drive' than your everyday leader.  There are so many books and seminars out there on leadership but as a Christian leader I find all of them lack a key element that I work towards.  That is that I, being a pastor, have a Gospel identity which in turn creates a Gospel activity which I am leading.  This is a totally different focus, and gives a completely different goal to worldly leadership.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 holds a clear description of this Gospel I am alluding to...

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

To me the Gospel is simply this, that Jesus was punished for our sins (in our place) that He experienced death (was buried) in our place, and that He was raised so that we can have a new life in Him.  As the verse above says this is what I have received, and what I consider the first importance in everything I do as a pastor.

With that in mind the 3 points Adam Ramsey made at the conference really hit home.

The Gospel Gripped Leader always has the track on repeat.

We don't tell people the Gospel and then move on.  It's not about 'getting the basics' then worrying about other stuff.  All I ever want to see my youth and my congregation do is go deeper into the Gospel. I will preach the Gospel in every sermon, I will mention it every Friday night - in fact to the best of my ability I try and preach the Gospel to myself every single day.  I never get sick of it - I see it as the core value for my entire life - so just as Paul reminds the church again, I will do so again and again.

The Gospel Gripped Leader sees Christ as their 'there'.

Are we there yet?  We all know the question, and I am sure at some point we have all asked it.  I'll be 'there' when I finish school, or graduate college, or get that promotion or car or house or relationship...  As ministers maybe our 'there' is a certain number attending youth group on a Friday night, or certain people growing and becoming leaders, or a book series, larger building, better sound system?  We're always searching for a 'there', but Christ is our 'there' - once we find Him then everything else is just a bonus.  We aren't just given a map to find a route to somewhere we want... but we are given a person to follow continuously.  With that in mind our whole existence is our 'there' because we follow Jesus.

The Gospel Gripped Leader knows they are not awesome... but Jesus is!!

My leadership isn't based on how well I perform.  My ministry isn't rated on how well I do. My desire for self reliance to do my job is essentially an anti-Gospel, because I am not capable of doing Gospel ministry.  I am not, but I know I AM.  Jesus is God, He is awesome, He is the I AM of Scriptures. I know the I AM - I know Christ, and though I am not awesome, I know Jesus and it is not I who does the work, because I can only really do it through Jesus.

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