Monday, September 21, 2015

Numbers 11: Spiritual Leadership must be Spiritual

KEY TEXT: Num 11:16-17 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.

KEY THOT: Moses was overwhelmed by the people’s latest complaint: “OMG! Not manna again! When are we going to get real food?” Spiritual leadership (especially in the church of “volunteers”) can be a real burden for any senior pastor/elder. God’s answer to this challenge is shared or team leadership. God took some of the Spirit that is on Moses and put it among the 70 elders so they could ease Moses’ leadership burden. Moses has to learn to share his anointing with others and not hoard it all for himself. Jesus’ burden is light and His yoke is easy because he spent his three years mentoring and training his twelve disciples. One fails to reach his potential but the eleven other disciples were there on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out upon them.

Spiritual leadership is not just about management skills or corporate experience. While corporate management and skills can be useful for God’s work, they are useless for spiritual ministry until the persons are filled with the Spirit. Otherwise, they are only secular leaders holding spiritual leadership position, instead of spiritual leaders exercising spiritual ministry. What the church needs are more spiritual leaders who are anointed by the Spirit with the gift of leadership. Not everyone with the management or corporate experience automatically qualifies for spiritual leadership—we need men and women who are equipped and empowered by the Spirit, like the seventy elders. The seventy elders were already in leadership position, but they were unable to carry the burden of spiritual leadership responsibilities because they were not filled with the Spirit. God’s first priority is to take the Spirit on Moses to distribute them to the seventy elders—it is the priority equipment that all spiritual leaders need.

Alpha provides a platform for the renewal of church leadership, not just reaching new members. The Alpha weekend is the place where all participants are taught the ministry of the Spirit and receive the anointing to be filled with the Spirit. In some churches, they do not allow “Christians” to attend Alpha—that is a real tragedy, It shows the pastors lack a proper understanding of Alpha's true potential--to renew and revive the local congregation, starting with the leadership. There are churches who emphasize disciple-making, but so often they leave out the ministry of the Spirit, but turn the whole discipleship enterprise into a human-initiated programme instead of a Spirit-anointed one.

My ministry calling to the wider Body of Christ is to mentor the pastors and elders to become missional leaders. I do so by introducing the ministry of the Spirit to the churches that I am coaching through Alpha. Churches need the Word (all churches will say amen to that) but all churches also need the ministry of the Spirit (some are cautious). Like a plane, churches must fly on two wings, not one--the wing of God's Word and the wing of God's Spirit. Otherwise, they cannot take off. Or worse, they crash as they are taking off.

Many denominations reject the Alpha and its emphasis on the Spirit’s ministry by focusing on one issue--speaking in tongue. Instead of focusing on the larger issue of spiritual leadership and corporate anointing, they narrowly focus on the gift of tongue and reject the ministry of the Spirit on this issue alone. They have thrown the baby away with the bathwater.

Father, grant Your people wisdom from above, to discern the kind of leadership they need for their church. May Your anointing increase in the local congregations, beginning with the pastors, elders and deacons. Amen.

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