Sky Links 4-19-14

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
Truly,truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.  But if it dies, it produces a lot of grain.
-John 12:24

He died so we could die

Ben Sternke wrote about dying to self and discipleship.  You Have to Die to Make Disciples:
On Good Friday I’m always reminded of Dallas Willard’s statement that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we would never have to. Instead, he died on the cross so that we could join him there. Good Friday, when we commemorate this beautiful act of love and sacrifice and atonement, is a fitting time to reflect on the journey we take as leaders.
Ben Sternke writes about how we die when we offer discipleship and how we die some more when we walk beside others.

Plurality of Leadership is the NT model

I was browsing some denominational documents about how to run a church and there was a section on how, in their tribe, that the pastor (solo pastor, senior pastor) is the one who calls the shots, so to speak.  It basically said that each important decision is made by the one person.  The rationale or reasoning behind this was given as that it expedites getting things done.  There wasn't even a fuzzy proof-text from the pastoral epistles.  A note to that line of argument is that Timothy, Titus, and most other names mentioned, were not pastors or leading local churches.

Ron McKenzie wrote in Being Church, about Leadership by Elders:
The New Testament calls for a unique leadership model.  Each church should be led by
the Holy Spirit working through a team of elders who are equal in status, but bring different gifts to the leadership process.  The co-ordinating and directing role belongs to the Holy Spirit.  He should be the leader of each church.
The principal of plurality of leadership is basic to the New Testament.  Each church should be led by several elders working together in unity.  They will submit to each other, by giving others permission to speak into their lives.  Important decisions will require consensus among the elders.  No elder will stand above the others.

Lucas Allen, Giff Reed, and Jordan Warner are three men who are doing this, leading their church together.  Jordan wrote A Case For Shared leadership in the Local Church.  Here's some excerpts:
...In contemporary America, long-standing approaches of plurality in leadership have given way to today’s widespread hierarchical models which establish one person as ultimate authority. This pyramidal model of leadership generally leaves final control of the church in the hands of a senior pastor, who either originally founded the church or was appointed to serve in that capacity... 
...most pastors would shudder at even the mention of the idea of shared leadership, or a plurality of shepherds to oversee each local church. With clever phrases and anecdotes – such as, “anything with more than one head is a monster” – most church leaders brush aside any questions concerning the appropriateness of modern leadership structures. Unfortunately, the rates of pastoral burnout and moral failure continue to shock the body of Christ, all the while putting even greater pressure on those called to shepherd the flock....
...All the while, in its typically soft yet compelling voice, the Bible has something to say about the issue of leadership within the church. In fact, Scripture seems to speak authoritatively and clearly regarding this issue. To begin with, it should be noted that every church mentioned in the New Testament, best as we can tell, possessed an appointed set of elders. Many churches also had members who were pastors. It is significant to note that the title of “elder” denoted a specific office given to help govern the church, while the term “pastor” referred to those who had a spiritual gift of shepherding others (whether in leadership or not). It is important to understand that the leadership of the church was not given to exclusively to those with pastoral gifts, but instead, was placed in the hands of a council of elders with a variety of spiritual gifts. Scripture reveals a consistent precedent in which a plurality of elders was given shared authority over new churches established in the early church....
...From the perspective of the study of God and his revealed will for humanity, it can be demonstrated that shared leadership promotes a healthy response to Christ’s Lordship and encourages Christian virtue.
...a culture of shared leadership encourages the church to view Christ as the head, rather than a senior pastor...
...a plurality of leaders embraces the heart and central theme of what Christ came to do... ...the death of Christ was a redeeming effort that enables each man to be a minister.
The full post is here.


Burnout and Early Body Wear-out 

Eddie Hyatt is a church historian, who cited a letter from John G. Lake to Charles Parham, from 1927. These men were both fathers of the Pentecostal movement. Lake wrote (page 5):
In my spirit I have been troubled about you. The last time I saw you you were too fat. You were eating too much and manifestly you were eating more meat than a man of your years can assimilate without producing
blood pressure and heart strains. I am not aware that my advice or council ever did you only good--that you paid any more attention to it than I have to yours. However, I do want to assure you, brother, of my deep heartfelt and continued prayer for you. I will never forget the man who brought the
glorious message of Pentecost and all that it has meant to both hell and heaven in my life.
Hyatt comments:
Faith does not exempt us from looking after our mortal bodies in this life. Lake reveals that his health is broken and expresses concern about Parham’s health. Interestingly, Parham died 2 years later at the age of 56 and Lake died of a stroke 7 years later at the age of 65.
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The picture of the three elders was borrowed from Dave Miller's Baptists and Elders post.

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