"…With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people…"
As Church leaders, we serve our Lord and minister to His people. It is not about us! We must remember that as leaders we are ambassadors of Christ. We are to proceed in any endeavor with the Fruits of the Spirit with love primary. We must have the proper motives before we can lead effectively!
At the close of this Epistle, a request of prayer is made followed with a call to faithfulness and encouragement. These were Paul's passionate instructions to his churches: know who you are in Christ, pray, and be faithful. We are to be alive and active in the Holy Spirit, allow Him to use us and keep the unity and faithfulness of our churches intact and vigorous. In so doing, we are to be attentive to pray--really pray for each other--having each one's best interests in our mindset. We are to pray specifically for each one's needs and that their God given-opportunities and Divine-appointments open up. We are to pray that we can be our best for God's glory because of His empowerment and of each other's encouragement and support. In this way, we can be all that we can be and more; we can endure spiritual warfare and overcome, make known the Gospel, not be in fear, and build a fruitful and faithful church. When we are tighter, we can accomplish great things. When we are fighting or distracted with bad or meaningless things, we do nothing. Remember, God sent His Son, and He sends us His grace, peace and love. What more do we need? So, let us respond and act as we are made, empowered, and called to be!
What we exemplify and teach is that we pray with passion and conviction! The essential tool for knowing God and growing in Him is to pray for others. Prayer is our dependence on Christ and our platform for His power. In context, it is our urgent defense and main offensive weapon in spiritual warfare--like a Roman soldier standing together in battle formation with interlocking shields and pikes pointed outward advancing in unison (Jer. 33:3; Matt. 9:35-38; Luke 4:1-13; 11:1-4; John 14:12-14; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 1:15-23; 6:18-20; 1 Cor. 14; 1 Thess. 5:17, 25).
What we exemplify and teach is that we are an ambassador for Christ! An ambassador represented a kingdom or official and was supposed to be protected from harm while in a hostile country, even in prison. Paul only sees Christ as His ultimate King and he as the representative no matter what the hostility. We have been transformed! Now, we are ambassadors and demonstrators of God's transforming power to those around us! God did not save us to be self-centered; rather to be His representatives wherever we are and whenever we go (2 Cor. 5:20).
What we exemplify and teach is that we Encourage! This means we are to call to one's side, as to cheer, reassure, strengthen, comfort, and warn another person. This means taking mere encouragement and putting into action, not just saying to someone to do well, but helping them do it. Paul's passion was to make Christ known, especially to those who did not, and wanted Christians to understand and implement this (Acts 19:33; Rom. 1:13; 7:1-4; 11:25; 12:1; 1 Cor. 2:16; 11:2; Col. 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thess. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6).
To get this simple solution for leadership and church growth, we have to know God and His precepts for us, and we do this through reading the Word, paying attention to the Holy Spirit and our Lord's example, and putting them into practice with our faith. This means we imitate His love and character into our relationships walking in His love and allowing it to spill upon others. Then we will be used and even grow for Christ's glory!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/