I find the task of ministry and leadership in the church quite daunting… It often feels like what people joking call the Pentecostal two step… standing in one place taking a step or two forwards and then one or two back. Often facing issues that well I never felt trained or prepared for…
This morning in my ‘Bible in One Year' devotion (see my review) that feeling and also encouragement came in the form of God’s ord to Joshua and Nicky Gumble’s reflections.
The verse are Deuteronomy 31:6,8 “7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’
The reflections was honest and hopeful.
“Moses would not have said this if there had been nothing to fear and no cause for discouragement. Rather he knew that there would be causes for fear and lots of discouragement. All leadership requires courage to cling tenaciously to a vision and toughness to endure the blame for every difficulty along the way. Both then and now, the people of God need strong leadership that is courageous and not frightened of discouraged by all the opposition and resistance that there is bound to be.
The answer to fear is this: God’s promise that he will go with him (The lord your God goes with you v.6). God makes the same promise to me and you today.”
He then goes on t encourage his readers to ask God to be with us and go before us as we face the ups and downs ebbs and flows of the task that God has called us to do. After all the abiding presence of Jesus Christ with and withus by the Holy Spirit is the reason we are able to be about the great commission that Jesus gave the church in Matthew 28.
I know that the image of ‘strong leadership’ often bring s up a certain type of leadership style but it is equally a characteristic of all leadership styles. Being strong in the Lord, being gentle or meek which Francis Faulkes defines it in his commentary on Ephesians 4:2 “the spirit of one being so focused on seeking some worthy goal for the common good that they refuse to be deflected from it by slights, injuries or insults or any personal consideration of any kind’.