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Faithful Ministers of Christ

(1 Corinthians 4:1-13)

Lesson 3 -- second quarter 2000
March 19, 2000

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications

What do you expect (maybe even demand!) of your church leaders? Last week we focused on how they present their message, so I'll not hoe that row again. (However, if some weeds have already come up, you hoe that row!) But is attention-keeping oratory all we expect? I doubt so. We want ministers to be friendly, sensitive, spiritual, perceptive, kind and exemplary. We want them to be in touch with us, knowing us and caring about us. We want them to be humble and meek, but also firm and confident. You expand the list.

How do you react when a minister falls short in one of the above areas? Hmmmm. I find that criticism and harshness come too easily in such cases. I know we don't find it all that difficult to talk to others about ministerial shortcomings. We all know we should reject such responses. Instead, try praying. Try compassion and mercy. Try encouragement, even before he falls short. Oh, yes. And when someone comes to you "fussing" about a church leader, try this response: "You're right! He is human. Let's go over in that corner and pray for him right now."

Can you identify what God expects of church leaders? After verse one identifies ministers as stewards, verse two declares: "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." It seems to me that God expects leaders to exercise faithfulness in all areas of their lives, but particularly in their proclamation of His Message. We think we wouldn't venture to require any less of them. Dare we require any more?!

Do you have a role in the faithfulness of a minister? No, you can't trundle around after him, making sure he stays out of trouble and keeps his shoulder to the wheel. And we certainly shouldn't develop some sort of surveillance network. For sure we wouldn't think of calling him up at least once a day to ask, "Are you still being faithful?" But we can show ourselves supportive.

Pray! To do so effectively, we need to become enough involved in their lives to know how to pray according to their particular needs. Pray for them in their personal and family lives. Pray for them in their church and community lives. But pray specifically and pray according to knowledge. Care enough to pray enough.

Encourage! If you are observant, you will soon learn when a minister needs encouragement and in what areas. Don't avoid him. Let him know what about his message or his life or his decisions have been a blessing and challenge to you. Ask him more about what he said (he likely still has something he wishes he could have said or would have remembered to say). Write him a note.

Defend! All ministers need defenders. Sure, they have The Defender, but that doesn't get you off the hook, my friend. Stand up for your church leaders. They certainly aren't perfect, but that doesn't excuse any attackers.

Is it too trite and superficial to say, "Behind every faithful minister stands a faithful congregation"?

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