What happened after Easter Sunday morning changed the culture and the world. All 13 of the Apostles of Jesus, including Paul, suffered greatly for their faith in God and His beloved Son, Jesus. The cruelty they and other Christians endured defies imagination. John was the only disciple to die peacefully.
These are the men who were to continue the ministry Jesus had begun. It would all now rest on their shoulders. Have you ever thought about the persons you would have chosen for this task? They came from a variety of occupations. None were college or seminary graduates.
They were fishermen, one a tax collector, another was a physician, one a tent maker. We would classify them all as bi-vocational ministers. Not one worked with a Board of Deacons or Board of Trustees. Annual budgets were not in their vocabulary. There were no music leaders or worship teams or choirs. I do not recall reading about youth pastors or children’s pastors. There were no church buildings and custodians and organists were not needed. There was no yearly salary, no Pastors Appreciation Month.
They were the initial leaders of the church. As far as I know, they never had a class in homiletics. Their only request of Jesus was simply, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). That was their one basic need. And ours – to know how to pray.
Recently, I listened to Pam Farris, Executive Director of Leadership West Virginia, speak to a Rotary meeting. If I were developing leaders for our state or any other state or even speaking to these would-be-leaders, just what would I say? My leadership necessities would include.
1. Love and have concern for people – all of them of every age, race, sex and status.
2. Be knowledgeable, well read, educated, trained in many things. “Be able to ride more than one horse.”
3. Do not hide old skeletons in any closet. They may come to life and say things you will not want others to hear.
4. Start well and follow the advice of Billy Graham’s latest book, Finish Well. Recall the words of St. Paul; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
5. Do not overload. Do not try to work 28/8 each week. Not even 24/7. You cannot work every hour. Build and maintain a strong and healthy body and mind if you want to be a leader. You cannot do it all. Bring some others along whom you may mentor.
6. We meet potential leaders almost daily. Become their friend. All those we meet on our way up the ladder of success we will need on our way down. Always be armed with business cards so others may get in touch with you. Two people may become mutual mentors.
7. What is it you want to do more than anything else? When I was a senior in high school, my pastor at the Scott Depot (WV) Church of God, Mark L. Haynie, Jr., shared the following Bible verse with me and it has become my life’s goal. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you? (Matthew 6:33). Every leader must have an over-arching goal in life.
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus quotes Him saying, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). God never called us to be successful. He did, however, call us to be faithful in all things.
© 2013 Wm. C. Ellis
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