Thursday, September 30, 2010

2 Timothy 3: The Use of Scripture in Alignment

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that  the man of God may be competent,  equipped  for every good work.

Scripture is God's training manual for equipping the man of God for every good work, including the work of leadership. Too often the Scripture is used only in a devotional way -- pointing people to a closer relationship with God. That is very good in itself. However, the Scripture is God's tool for effective leadership, particularly in aligning God's people with His vision and purpose for the church. Alignment requires the leader to do the following Word-based tasks:

1. "Teaching": Teachership is an essential part of leadership. One of the requirement of eldership spelt out in 1 Tim 3:2 is "able to teach." Spiritual leadership is about aligning God's people with God's vision for His church and the world. The leader's tasks is to explain this vision and purpose as revealed in the Scripture. No one is qualified to lead God's people if he or she does not know the mind and purposes of Christ. Spiritual leadership is not about getting God's people to pursue the leader's personal dreams, but aligning them to pursue God's vision for our generation. Teachership is the task of casting  God's vision before His people and detailing the processes needed to fulfill that vision. In fact, God's vision is primarily framed by the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Jesus spent 40 days before His ascension to teach his disciples about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). There is a general lack of teaching in this very vital subject. For this reason, many church leaders have become empire-builders rather than kingdom-builders.

2. "Reproof": After clarifying God's vision, the leader needs to call the people who have gone off-track back on-track. The function defined here as "reproof" is simply exhorting people who have gone  astray to return back to the right path. The church cannot be aligned with God's vision until the people who have been going on their own ways pursuing their personal agendas are brought back in line with God's vision and purpose. Depending on how far a church has gone astray (theologically and practically),  reproof is an important task of leadership to align the congregation with the will of God.

3. "Correction": After calling people to turn from their self-centred pursuits, the leader needs also to provide corrective paths to restore them back to the path of righteousness. It's not very helpful to tell the congregation they are wrong without at the same time being told how to get back on track with God. The correction is where the leader details the path to restoration and revival of the church. The path of repentance needs to be spelt out in practical terms so that those who want to get back on track know what  remedial actions to take. Correction is the key task of leadership alignment.

4. "Training in righteousness":  Once the leader gets his people on track and aligned with God's vision and purpose, he needs to impart to them new knowledge, attitudes and skills to obey God's call. The Scripture contains all that a church needs to be trained in righteousness--that is in doing the right things. If the leader wants his people to fulfill God's vision for the church, he has to equip them with the right knowledge, attitudes and skills to pursue that vision. This is where coaching, mentoring and facilitating play an important part in the church alignment process. All leaders  need to acquire these three training skills  in help their congregations fulfill the will of God.

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