MEN- 4 Common forms of Leadership among Christian Men

 

    In nearly 20 years of ministry and marriage, I have observed a lot of different forms of spiritual leadership among Christian men. At some point in the journey, even the most spiritual of men will embody each of these forms. Truth be told, I will embody each of these forms at various times every week! However, it should be our goal to strive toward greater leadership at the Lord equips and trains us for the calling He has set before us as men.
4 Common forms of Leadership among Christian Men
1. The Abdicated Leader- “I don’t want to lead.”
The word abdicate literally means “to renounces one’s throne.”  The throne carries honor, but it also carries responsibility.  Sadly, there are many men who abdicate their role as a leader because they do not want to carry the burden of leadership for their marriage and family.
Picture of the Problem- A Leadership Vacuum:  Wherever there is a vacuum, something will eventually fill the void.  The reality for many families is that where the man has abdicated his role, many women have had to step up as spiritual leaders in the home.  Even more devastating is how media, negative peer influences, other men, and even gangs can fill the void that a man who has abdicated his leadership leaves behind.
2. The Impotent Leader- “I don’t feel I can lead.”
This man wants to lead, but feels powerless to do so.  Perhaps a negative self-image, a lack of a role model, or a more domineering member of the family has made this man feel unable to fulfill his role as a spiritual leader.  
Picture of the Problem- A Leadership Doormat:  The impotent leader will quickly become the house doormat if he is not able to assume his leadership role.  This will ultimately cause him to disengage from the family and resign to let someone else lead.
3. The Ill-Equipped Leader“I don’t know how to lead.” 
This man wants to lead and feels empowered, but has not been equipped with the tools to lead his family spiritually and emotionally.  In this form, either the man or his marriage and family will be frustrated and may even run into conflict due to the inability to navigate the leadership dynamics skillfully.
Picture of the Solution- A Leadership GPS:  Men need the tools and equipping to be spiritual leaders.  Thankfully, God has given us the Scriptures, the church, and the perfect example in Jesus Christ.  One of the wisest things that a man can do as a spiritual leader is to enlist a mentor who can help guide him in his leadership journey.
4. The Spiritual Leader“I am ready, willing and able to lead.
The Spiritual leader is the man who is God-directed, Christ-empowered and Bible equipped in his leadership.  He is by no means perfect, but he leads from a heart of service, humility, confidence and courage.  The spiritual leader guides his family to grow closer to Christ, by first modeling it and second, charting a course to lead his family in the ways of the Lord.
    There is no perfect spiritual leader other than Jesus Christ.  All we can do is trust in the Lord and depend upon Him to motivate, empower and equip us for every step of the leadership journey.


MEN- 4 Characteristics of Spiritual Leadership at Home

 

     Men carry the blessed burden of spiritual leadership for their homes.  This is a daunting challenge that is only getting more complex in the culture we live in.  More than ever, we need to find our direction in the Word of God. This passage reveals four characteristics of men who are striving to be spiritual leaders at home…
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27

As men, we are called to be Spiritual Leaders who are…

  1. Christ-directed– Our model is Jesus. He is the one who both shows us and commands us to love our wives and families. Being a spiritual leader begins with being a Jesus follower.  We will only lead our wives and families spiritually as far as we are personally willing to go in our walk with Jesus.
  2. Selfless– As a leader, we put the needs and well-being of our wife and family ahead of our own.  When we make decisions and set the direction for our families, our focus is never on “what’s best for me?”  This might mean not playing as much golf (or video games, or whatever it is you like to play) so that you can be emotionally and spiritually present.  If it means changing diapers, helping with homework, cleaning dishes or doing whatever is needed to help your wife and family succeed, then do it.
  3. Sacrificial– To be selfless requires sacrifice. We must be willing to give up our own personal rights, give up our time, money and effort to lead our homes well.  As the spiritual leader, you demonstrate love and commitment more through the sacrificial gifts of time, attention and emotional energy than by lavish gifts that do not require much of you.
  4. Visionary– As spiritual leaders, we must lead our wife and family with a vision.  The vision that God has given us is that like Jesus, we might present our wife and family to Christ as “holy and without blemish.”  We must be casting vision to our wife and family that we desire to see them become all that Christ desires the church to become- “sanctified, cleansed, washed by the Word- in splendor, beautiful and holy.”  When we lead our family with a vision, it sets the priorities and clarifies the goals that we should have for our family.  With a Christ-directed vision, prioritizing our church involvement, spiritual practices, tithing, mission trips and other spiritual catalysts for growth becomes obvious and non-negotiable.  We know the “True North” that God has given us, and now we can lead our families to set sail and embark on a journey of faith together.
 


God’s Game Plan for Success

 

God’s Game Plan For Success

     Have you ever been giving a task that seemed too overwhelming or “God-sized” to imagine completing?  In 2 Chronicles, the young leader Jehoshaphat gave his spiritual leadership team a God-sized task, to manage and mediate all of the problems and conflicts of the people of Israel.  Whatever your task, job or mission, you can find God empowered success by employing the words of Jehoshaphat-
“Thus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart.”
 2 Chronicles 19:9.
3 Guiding Principles for God Empowered Success
1.  The Fear of the Lord: The “fear of the Lord” is a holy mix of humility, obedience and awe of God’s greatness in your life.  As Proverbs 1:7 reminds us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It is also the beginning of success.
2.  Faithfulness: Faithfulness is a steadfast commitment motivated by a steadfast belief.  Our faithfulness to God is driven by our faith in God.  Since we believe God is a faithful God who is able to do all things and fulfill His promises, we are able to do what has called us to do for Him day in and day out until the job gets done.
3.  Whole-hearted devotion:  Jesus said the most important command is that we “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.”  Luke 10:27 A whole-hearted devotion to Jesus will be reflected in a whole-hearted devotion to the ministry and the calling that God has placed before you.  When we give our very best to the calling that God has given us, God will honor us and work through our efforts to multiply the impact.
     While “success” may look different depending upon your circumstances and God’s sovereign plans, you will know that you have put yourself in the best position to experience God’s blessings and fruitfulness in whatever calling, task or ministry He has laid before you. 


Why Deacons Are Essential

Why Deacons are Essential- by Warren Mainard
     This Sunday will mark another significant step in the life and history of Essential Church as we commission our first group of deacons.  The New Testament leadership position of deacon is first described in Acts 6:1-7.  The church was growing rapidly, and certain groups of people were being neglected and were falling though the cracks because the Apostles could not keep up with the sudden growth.  The twelve Apostles discerned a need to expand the leadership within the church by identifying 7 men who would be able to lighten their load and increase their impact.  The initial search qualifications mentioned in Acts 6 are described in v. 3- “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.”  Deacons
     As we began the process of identifying, training and commissioning spiritual leaders in the church at Essential, we determined that we would use the following process.
1.  Identify men who are growing in their faith and invite them to participate in the ASPIRE Spiritual Leadership development plan.  ASPIRE is a 2 year, weekly commitment.  For the past year, each of these men have faithfully met every Thursday morning at 6am for in depth discipleship.  During that time, I have continually been assessing them and holding them accountable in the things that we have been learning together.
2.  After the first year of ASPIRE, I met with each of the men individually and together we read through and discussed the Acts 6 passage on deacons.  Using the scripture, I assessed their readiness for the role of deacon based on the following qualifications-
* Good Repute: I asked each man to describe how they would assess their current reputation with their family, workplace, neighbors and church.  I also asked them if there was any sin or behavior that if it were to become public, would adversely affect their reputation.
*  Full of the Spirit:  I asked each man to assess their personal relationship with Christ.  Is it growing?  Do they sense the Lord is actively transforming them into a greater likeness of Christ?
*  Full of Wisdom:  I asked each man to honestly assess whether or not they are making wise decisions in regards to their lifestyle, their finances, their family and their time.
     Finally, I concluded my time with them by emphasizing that while the role of deacon literally means “servant,” it was important for them to realize their responsibility as spiritual leaders within the church body.  We read verse 7 which says that after the deacons were commissioned, “the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly.” I challenged each of the men to see their role as spiritual leaders who will actively make disciples and live according to the Word of God.  
3.  Those men who have been approved to move forward in the role of deacon will be considered at the end of year two for the role of Elder.  While a deacon is a spiritual leader who leads through service and by modeling the Biblical values of Essential, the role of the elder goes an additional step further by serving as an “overseer.” For a greater description of the role of an elder, click here.  During this second year of ASPIRE, each of the men will be taking their wives through the year one ASPIRE curriculum.  The purpose of this will be to strengthen them as spiritual leaders within their homes and equip them for future leadership of individuals and groups to go through ASPIRE.  
     As we commission our deacons to serve and lead our church, we recognize that we all are in constant need of grace and that each of these men are continuing to work out their salvation as they grow further into the likeness of Christ.  With this in mind, we as a church should both hold these men to a high level of accountability as spiritual leaders, yet also pray for them and extend them grace when they fall short.  We must also keep in mind that because the Lord is working in them in this new way, they will also become a greater target to the enemy.  I encourage each of us to regularly lift these men up in prayer, asking God to protect them from the wiles of Satan and strengthen them for the calling of deacon.  In all these things, we believe that God will be honored as we continually strive to “Magnify Christ and Multiply His Kingdom.”