Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1 Corinthians 12:7 – 11, 14 – 26
Understanding the body

I. Leadership (modern American concept)

"the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members" (House, R. J. 2004: page 15)

House, R. J. (2004) Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2004

A. Skill (things to do and not do)

1. Passion, changing the “collective emotion” (“Ripple effect”)

The ripple effect: emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior
Administrative Science Quarterly, Dec, 2002 by Sigal G. Barsade

2. Direction, changing the group mind-set. (Burnsian model: shared vision. The measure of leader is the ability to influence, especially in creating group values.)

3. Not necessarily details... which can ultimately create frustration.

B. Personality (type of person, personality test, “trait theory”)

1. Charisma (uncanny charm, likeableness, persuasiveness)

2. The ability to work with people (the ability to get people to do what you want them to do, and make it think it is their idea).

C. Behavior traits.

1. Hierarchy that is imposed by position, experience, or knowledge.

2. To be a leader, one must have followers... (those who are deferent toward the leader) (Typically how we evaluate a leader... By that standard Hitler was an effective leader.)

3. Results oriented (Blake, R. & Mouton, J. (1964) The Managerial Grid: The Key to Leadership Excellence. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co., contend that concern for people and concern for production are different axises, on a graf, that are contradictory. In other words, a results oriented person is seldom a people person and vice versa.)

****** All Western theories are based on leadership being the key element in change. The necessity of change is based on “liberal modernism” which says that man is the measure of all things and that the traditional must be discarded. Any attempt to maintain traditional beliefs or practices is often labeled in negative terms. *****

There is a danger, or as Gordon MacDonald put it: “The very drive that propels some leaders toward extraordinary levels of achievement is a drive that often keeps expanding even after reasonable goals and objectives have been achieved. Like a river that breaks its levy, that drive often strays into areas of excitement and risk that can be dangerous and destructive.” (Gordon MacDonald, “Out of Ur” Nov. 5, 2006)

The entrepreneurial spirit has been suggested as one of the contributing factors to the fall of Ted Haggard: “Some of the highest achievements of contemporary evangelicalism can be credited to our entrepreneurial energy.... This entrepreneurial spirit, however, has also has been the cause of organizational chaos, a characteristic of our movement. Even worse, it has repeatedly provided the occasion for abusive staff relations, sexual or fiscal immorality, and pride-fueled cults of personality...

That starts with relearning what it means to be the body of Christ—where we are mutually dependent on one another – and not just a dynamic movement led by gifted leaders.” (Christianity Today editorial, “Entrepreneurs R Us” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/december/10.22.html)

II. Biblical view.

A. There are a variety of positions/responsibilities (Ephesians 4:11).

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [12] to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up [13] until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11 – 13]

1. Notice it is God who chooses not the individual or the organization.

2. Notice that these “leadership” offices are given for a purpose: “to prepare God's people for works of service.”

3. How many times do we hire someone to do the work for us? (Fix food, fix our car, fix our lives, fix our plumbing, fix our church....)

B. There are a variety of gifts/responsibilities (Romans 12:5 – 8).

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. [4] Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, [5] so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. [6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. [7] If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; [8] if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” [Romans 12:3 – 8]

1. Notice that the church is a “body” with “many members.”

a. The members differ in “function” but belong to one another.

b. In other words, it is not yours to decide if and how you will contribute to the body.

2. The gifts are different “according to grace.”

a. These are not given according to rank, skill, talent, training, or standing.

b. There is no room for boasting or elevating, only humility.

3. The gifts are exercised in proper attitude

a.The key expression is; “let him (or her).” In other words, if you have it, us it! [BTW, “let him” is not in the Greek text, it is added to give us the sense of a command.]

b. Other attitudes like “generously, diligently, cheerfully”

C. This variety is controlled by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7 – 11).

1. [v 11] “He gives them to each one, just as He determines.”

a. Our problem is control... We want it, no matter what it costs ourselves or others.

b. Control issues ultimately boil down to trust. When we do not give God control we are giving away that we do not trust Him (probably including for our salvation).

2. [v 7] The “manifestations” (commonly known as gifts) are given “for the common good.”

a. In other words, it builds up the body not the individual. Our problem is that we are very individualistic... we want or make everything to be about us (as individuals).

b. We feel the group exists to support the individual. (Which is backwards to what the Bible says.)

III. Problems:

A. There is only one model of biblical leadership...

MK 10:41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. [42] Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. [43] Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. [45] For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

1. Jesus is the model.

2. Jesus model is one of sacrifice and service.

3. Addressing the issue of “exercising authority,” Jesus said, “not so with you.”

a. Jesus specifically said, the church was to be different.

b. The world’s view of leadership (“exercising authority”) is much different than Jesus view of leadership (“whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” [Greek, two very different words... possibly classifications of servants/slaves.]

B. Our concept of leadership is nowhere near the biblical concept.

1. We lead by position and skill not by supernatural means.

2. We lead by personality not by calling.

3. We lead as individuals not as functioning as part of the body under the headship of Jesus.

4. We lead to build up/benefit the individual not the body. [Ill. A body builder that works on one arm to massive proportions while everything else is neglected.]

5. As a result following has become “commercial”... we shop around, compare, and judge. Root cause is the American inability to trust (God).

C. When we do not full fill our function the body (church) is severally disabled. (1 Corinthians 12:14 – 26)

1. No part is indispensable.

2. No part is unnecessary.

3. No part can continue to exist apart from the whole.

4. No part is in absolute control because we are a body... Jesus is the head!

IV. How do we reconcile the differences?

A. Understand, if it is not biblical, it is wrong at best and evil at worst.

1. In the “Holiness Manifesto” we (Free Methodist and others) confessed our sin of becoming “indistinguishable from the culture.”

“... The power and zeal of churches has been drained by the incessant search for a better method, a more effective fad, a newer and bigger program to yield growth. In the process of trying to find the magic method for growing healthy vibrant churches, our people have become largely ineffective and fallen prey to a generic Christianity that results in congregations that are indistinguishable from the culture around them. ...

Further, we are awash with leaders of churches who have become hostages to the success mentality of numeric and programmatic influence. They have become so concerned about 'how' they do church that they have neglected the weightier matter of 'what' the church declares. We have inundated the 'market' with methodological efforts to grow the church. In the process, our leaders have lost the ability to lead. They cannot lead because they have no compelling message to give, no compelling vision of God, no transformational understanding of God's otherness. They know it and long to find the centering power of a message that makes a difference. Now more than ever, they long to soak up a deep understanding of God's call to holiness—transformed living.”

2. The pull to the American definition of success is too strong for us to resist.

a. Pastors who do well get to keep their jobs. Pastors who do better get recognized, rewarded, and asked to write books and speak at mega-gatherings.

3. Thus, the temptation to sell our souls to the devil’s tools to accomplish a “greater good.”

B. Focus on who you are in Christ:

1. Parts of the body fulfill function and purpose.

a. This will mean we will have to surrender the selfishness. (E.g. “This church is not meeting MY needs.” “I need someplace where...”

b. This means we will have to surrender the individualism. The church, our exercise of the faith is about something that will last for eternity. It is about someone who loves us so much He died for us. It is about the desperate (and often unacknowledged) problem those who do NOT have a saving faith.

2. One part that hurts, shuts down, envy/rejects another, or tries to take control over from the head (like Satan did when he fell) damages the whole.

3. No one or no role is insignificant or unimportant.

a. If we were honest with ourselves, we would see that evangelism is a “group effort.”

b. The “group image” influences how attractive Jesus is to others.

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